by Hayley Keen
Margo Kalinchak had a huge decision to make before starting her senior year at the University of Rhode Island. As a senior PR major in the Harrington School of Communication and Media, she was excited to complete her final senior-level public relations courses, but something unexpected put that on hold. She was offered the opportunity of a lifetime, working at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Inc. at its headquarters in New Jersey during the winter semester. Taking this job meant that she needed to stay home and work full-time before returning to school in the spring semester. She signed up for a 15-credit ITR internship through the Career Center for Experiential Education (CCEE), and earned the credits she needed to graduate on-time while practically applying all the knowledge and skills that she learned in the classroom.
As the Communications and Events Co-Op Intern, Kalinchak supported the entire Sales Force at Johnson & Johnson. She composed weekly Sales Bulletins and critical communications releases, wrote and published articles to global internal company sites, assisted in planning events, and provided data insights.
“The Harrington School encouraged me to develop effective communication skills and strategies,” Kalinchak said. “Using resources like the Writing Center and Writing and Rhetoric Production Lab, I was able to enhance my writing skills and be better prepared for this opportunity.“
Margo built a strong relationship with her advisor, which in turn made her decision easier when she found out she could receive credits for her hard work at Johnson & Johnson.
“My advisor worked with me to make sure I could complete this Co-Op,” Kalinchak said. “I also worked with the Career Education Specialists to enroll in internship courses, so I was able to get 15 credits total for the co-op, completing a full semester.”
Originally, the co-op’s end date was set for December, but she was offered the chance to extend her work and assist remotely on a project with Google Analytics. Within this project, she is providing meaningful analytics on the Consumer SharePoint Site for the Sales Force team. She is working with her appointed team to convert their website to become more efficient and user-friendly.
This opportunity allowed Margo to truly experience what it would be like to work in a corporate setting, while giving her a chance to see her strengths and weaknesses.
Margo also noticed that a lot of her tasks were graphic design-related. In order to further improve in this area, she enrolled in a graphic design course when she returned to University of Rhode Island this spring.
To younger students in the Harrington School, Margo offered this advice: “Take advantage of all opportunities and resources presented by the Harrington School. It is so important to develop and build positive relationships while you are here. It will always help you down the line and when looking for career opportunities.”