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Adams Brings Ferris Public Relations Skills to the 500 Festival in Indianapolis

Ferris State University students gain valuable work experience through internships. Internships also can confirm or redirect career decision-making, provide marketability, develop people skills and enhance classroom learning. Many academic programs require one, but the experience is encouraged regardless to provide students with a better understanding of what will be expected of them in the workplace.

Many students are participating in myriad internships this summer. Meet: Olivia Adams

Olivia AdamsShe is: A senior from Big Rapids, majoring in Public Relations

Internship: 500 Festival in Indianapolis, an annual celebration of the Indianapolis 500 that features more than 50 events in the month preceding the Memorial Weekend race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Olivia’s paid internship ran from January through May.

What she learned: Olivia managed the festival’s Facebook and Twitter social media platforms, wrote press releases and worked on team projects such as the Month of May Guide distributed in the Indianapolis Star newspaper and at special events.

“The responsibilities I had during this internship prepared me for my career in public relations,” said Olivia. “Every single day of my internship, I woke up feeling excited to go to work.”

Her daily tasks also included tracking media coverage and building media lists. She also was charged with writing a script for the IPL 500 Festival Parade, a signature event that attracts about 300,000 spectators on the eve of the race.

Something cool: Olivia handled social media for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the nation’s largest half marathon.

“Halfway through the event, #MiniMarathon was trending on Twitter,” Olivia said. “It was very rewarding to see that my efforts to build social media engagement resulted in a trending topic on Twitter.”

Core values: Olivia experienced Ferris’core values of collaboration and ethical community in the 500 Festival, which is designed to enrich the community of Indianapolis through cultural, educational and social events.

“The 500 Festival brings together the community of Indianapolis and emulates what being a Hoosier is all about,” she said.

On campus: Olivia is a member of Ferris’ chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, the Honors program, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Spanish Club, and also is a writer for the Torch student newspaper.

“My public relations courses and experience with the Torch prepared me for my internship with the 500 Festival,” Olivia said. “When I graduate next year, I will be prepared for my first job. This internship and my courses have taught me the public relations strategies I need to know to succeed in the industry.”

Right now: Olivia is spending the rest of her summer working for College of Business internship coordinator Barb Renne and completing another internship as a content creator trainee for Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm for young professionals.

Her plan: Adams would like to work for a public relations agency after she graduates in May.

Watch a video about Olivia’s experience here: