Interests in Economics and Writing Lead Student to Public Relations Internship

Career Development Center and Alumna Helped Sophia Gourley '19 Find Summer Position

​Hartford, Connecticut, July 12, 2017 – Trinity College student Sophia Gourley ’19 is working this summer as an intern at a marketing agency in Connecticut, helping with media relations, events, and more. Last spring, she completed a writing internship in Trinity’s Office of Communications. Here, she checks in to share what led her to this opportunity and what the experience has been like so far:

I have an interest in working in business after graduation, so I decided to major in economics after taking Economics 101 during my first year at Trinity. Studying economics heightens one’s problem-solving, analytical, evaluation, critical thinking and quantitative skills. I thought that this course of study – although challenging – would be useful for many different types of jobs in the real world. I chose my minors in formal organizations and writing, rhetoric, and media arts based purely on my interests.

With those decisions behind me, now comes the challenge that every college student faces: translating my interests into a career. A background in economics could help me do well in a business setting, but I want to find a path that also incorporates writing and communications. Marketing seems to offer a good overlap between my major and minors, as aspects of economics are clearly incorporated and communication skills are key. This summer, I wanted the chance to see if marketing was actually something I was interested in before I graduated, so I felt that an internship would be the best way to explore this option.

Sophia Gourley '19, in the McDonald's tent at Sailfest in New London, CT

While researching internship opportunities, I learned about Cronin, a marketing agency in Glastonbury, Connecticut, whose motto is “Truth Wins.” The company’s approach is to discover the truth in their clients, and help them use this to their advantage through a variety of services ranging from technology and innovation to creative and content. Some of Cronin’s clients include McDonald’s, Liberty Bank, Amica Mutual Insurance Company, and the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

With the help of Jett McAlister, associate director of Trinity’s Career Development Center, I was able to get in touch with Trinity alumna Sarah Reder ’02, who works for Cronin’s Engagement and Influence team. I contacted Ms. Reder to set up an informational meeting because I wanted to learn more about what she does and how she was able to use a Trinity education to ultimately work for a successful company. After a great conversation, Ms. Reder encouraged me to apply for one of Cronin’s summer internship opportunities, and I was offered a position as an Engagement and Influence intern.

Cronin’s Engagement and Influence team manages a client’s social media presence, public and media relations efforts, event marketing, and much more. As one of the two interns for this department, I primarily help with the McDonald’s and Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) clients. Some of the projects I have worked on thus far include helping to create social media content calendars for the Twitter pages of McDonald’s Connecticut & Western Massachusetts and Albany, submitting photos to local newspapers and websites, and organizing press release clips for the clients in the company’s data base.

While I work on many projects in the office, I get the chance to do some outside-of-the-office work as well. Cronin helps organize the McDonald’s Happiness Tour, which is a chance for McDonald’s to get involved in the community and give out free samples and promotional items. The Happiness Tour has stops across Western Massachusetts and Connecticut, including New London’s Sailfest and the Hartford Jazz Festival this summer. In addition, I will help at events for a McDonald’s-sponsored singing competition called “Solo Tu Voz,” which allows anyone the chance to audition for the chance to win a grand prize of $2,500.

Sophia Gourley '19, center, with fellow interns at Cronin.

Not only is this internship a great opportunity to learn more about what goes into representing major clients, but I also am getting the chance to apply what I learn to a summer-long project. Working together with the nine other interns across different departments at Cronin, I am helping to create a mock marketing plan for a client with the goal of appealing to the millennial generation. From creating a budget and social media content calendar to making media images and developing a brand identity, all of the interns have something different to offer, and we look forward to presenting our work to the entire company at the end of the summer.

Although I went into this summer initially wanting a marketing internship, I found that learning about engagement and influence at Cronin and working in the world of social media and public relations has made me reconsider what career I may want to pursue after college. I love this line of work, and it complements a lot of what I’ve been learning at Trinity. I constantly use the problem-solving and critical thinking skills I’ve honed by studying economics, and have explored new styles of writing through press releases and social media. Taking what I have learned in the classroom and applying them to a real-world scenario has been an indispensable experience, and I am grateful to Trinity’s Career Development Center and to the alumna who helped me gain this valuable opportunity.

Written by Sophia Gourley ’19