Every semester, Next Step Communications adds one undergraduate intern who is interested in gaining firsthand experience in public relations to the team. This summer, we are excited to introduce Grace Hogan as NSC’s newest member! Grace is a recent graduate of UMASS Amherst and spent her time there studying English. If you want to get to know Grace better, read this Q&A where she answers questions about working in healthcare PR at NSC, her plans post-grad, and some of her favorite things!
WHY HEALTHCARE PR?
Growing up, I’ve always been infatuated with healthcare and have wanted to work in the industry. My older sister is a nurse and my father is an EMT turned cop, so I’ve always been impressed with the work that they do to help others. Unfortunately, I have found that my skills lie more in the writing world, and because of that, I struggled to decide what area of healthcare I wanted to pursue. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a path where I could use my skills and do something truly meaningful. After four years at UMASS Amherst, one of my professors explained to me that I could still apply my writing skills in the world of healthcare. While searching for a path where I could both write and work in the area of healthcare, I discovered this internship, which perfectly aligned with many of my interests, as well as the areas where I want to learn and grow.
As I continue my journey deeper into healthcare PR, I couldn’t be more confident in my decision! I haven’t second-guessed my choices at all – I feel as though my skills are of use, I’m learning a great deal, and I can work in healthcare.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST AS YOU DOVE INTO PR?
As I delved into PR, I was surprised to learn how much goes into building a news story. For years, I’ve just been a consumer of the news, so to see the inner workings of how to craft and pitch a story has been fascinating. I’ve also loved the communicative aspect of it all. It’s been so interesting to hear the inspiring stories people have to tell first-hand and then help them share that story publically. The process has completely changed the way I read and watch the news.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED (AND ARE HOPING TO LEARN MORE) DURING YOUR TIME AT NEXT STEP?
As an English major, I did a large amount of analytical, argumentative, and creative writing, but no professional or conversational writing. Throughout my years at school, I never found myself writing in a casual or professional voice, so I was a bit nervous to write blogs and social media posts. Because of my writing background, it has been a challenge for me to adjust to writing in this different voice. I still have a ways to go but am looking forward to finding my PR voice.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST OVERALL CHALLENGE YOU FACED SO FAR DURING YOUR INTERNSHIP?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far during this internship is overcoming my fear of phone pitching. I’m someone (like many) who often falls victim to overthinking, so when I first learned I would be phone-pitching reporters, I was quite nervous. The idea of calling someone and having to sell a pitch worried me, but I knew it was something that I was going to have to do. When I pitched over the phone for the first time, I was certainly nervous, but it was much less scary than the anticipation of it all. Of course, the moments before phone pitching aren’t void of fear now, but each new call I make eases my previous anxieties. I just try to keep in mind that the person on the other end has probably been nervous before making a phone call as well :).
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF SO FAR?
I am currently most proud of my ability to manage my time here. Time management has always been important to me, and when I started here I was worried about whether or not I could manage my time correctly with all my various tasks. Between using ToDoist and making a daily task schedule, I have been able to lay out my day and figure out what I need to do and when. Through this system, I have yet to have issues with completing my tasks and also staying occupied.
WHAT IS YOUR (PLANNED) #NEXTSTEP AFTER GRADUATION THIS YEAR
I want to continue to learn and grow in the healthcare PR world. I feel as though I’ve learned so much already, but I know I still have a long way to go and a lot more to learn. Healthcare PR is so deeply important to me now and I believe it plays an important role in providing people hope by sharing similar stories of those who have found success in their journeys. After years of confusion, I’m happy and relieved to finally know what I want to do!
Beverage: Diet Coke
Movie: Barbie or Oppenheimer (how can I not, they both were so good)
Book: Foster – Claire Keegan
Activity: Journaling, reading, walking my dog, or hanging out with my family and friends
Type of Cheese: Feta