One of the cornerstones of a Syracuse University education is preparation for entry into the professional workplace after graduation. Job openings in the field of marketing and communications are plentiful, but the competition is fierce. Successful marketing demands state-of-the-art skills, strategic knowledge and the agility to adapt to rapid changes in technology, media and practices. The classroom provides a solid foundation as students gain the knowledge they need to build a career path, but internships deliver real-world experiences that build skills, confidence and the ability to stand out among job applicants.
The University’s Division of Marketing and Communications offers a variety of paid student internships that create hands-on opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students—in any major—from all 13 schools and colleges. “I know from personal experience that internships can be rocket fuel for advancing careers,” says Dara Royer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the division. “For me, this is deeply personal and about paying it forward. I want our incredible students to have access to hands-on experiences in the marketing industry as well as access to experts and educational sessions that enhance career planning. This aligns with the broader University’s dedication to providing opportunities outside the classroom and preparing our students for what’s next.”
The opportunity to develop career skills while being mentored by industry professionals gives students a powerful advantage. Marketing and communications interns are immersed in a cross-functional training environment that enhances skills like writing, editing, innovating, teamwork, project management, data analytics, presenting and more. “Communications is a broad, interdisciplinary field, and we try to build on skill sets from all backgrounds and interests,” says Jaclyn Grosso, executive director of marketing strategy and strategic initiatives for the division. “We have an incredible group of students who are working on some really valuable projects that augment their classwork, and we also have ‘alumni’ of the program who have landed great jobs.”
I know from personal experience that internships can be rocket fuel for advancing careers. This aligns with the broader University’s dedication to providing opportunities outside the classroom and preparing our students for what’s next.—Dara Royer, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Division of Marketing and Communications
There are currently eight Syracuse University students working as interns in the division. Three of them, representing four different schools and colleges, are highlighted below.
Rui Wang: Creating Strategic Insights
Rui Wang G’21 is pursuing a master’s degree in marketing in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management . Wang made a remarkable first impression when she began her internship in marketing strategy last fall. She created an interactive data dashboard that monitors the performance of marketing campaigns promoting Syracuse University schools and colleges. The dashboard provides valuable performance and engagement insights into each of the campaigns.
“I didn’t expect to create a dynamic dashboard that benefits our department, but the support from my team members and the space my mentor provides motivated me to explore my potential,” Wang says. “I want to be a marketing professional, and all the work I do in my internship is marketing related. It has helped me gain confidence in examining data and communicating the information it reveals. This is a great hands-on opportunity to understand how the work of a marketing professional is completed.”
Wang is from Jiangsu Province, China, and is mentored by Brennan Terry, director of marketing strategy. Terry was impressed not only by Wang’s ability but by her commitment to making the internship more than just a learning experience for herself. “Rui quickly became an expert in creating and managing dashboards that visualize results from our digital marketing campaigns,” he says. “Based on how she is tackling projects with fervor, applying her degree, and proactively learning more to benefit Syracuse University, I cannot wait to see how successful she will be during the rest of her career.”
I want to be a marketing professional, and all the work I do in my internship is marketing related. It has helped me gain confidence in examining data and communicating the information it reveals.—Rui Wang
In addition to her graduate studies and internship, Wang runs a student organization called Master Toast, which helps students improve public speaking skills. She also serves as vice president of the Whitman Graduate Student Organization. “For me, ‘being Orange’ means being supported and supporting each other in the Orange community to become better individuals,” Wang says.
Lily Datz: Promoting Syracuse Voices in Media
Lily Datz ’22 is a junior with a dual major in magazine, news and digital journalism in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and geography and the environment in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs . Reporting to Ellen Mbuqe, director of media relations, she helps to get Syracuse University and its professors featured in various media outlets.
“My job helps increase Syracuse University’s visibility in local and national media,” Datz says. “When a Syracuse professor is quoted in an article or writes an op-ed for a publication, I create a list of the features and publish them on the Syracuse University News website. I write brief articles about the professor, their expertise, and what they commented on in the piece. I also maintain the faculty experts page on the website to make it easier to find a faculty member with expertise on any given topic.”
Datz’s internship has provided a meaningful opportunity to gain familiarity with journalistic practices and processes. She has also been able to make connections with established industry professionals and discover her personal strengths in the field.
“Lily has been instrumental in helping the media relations team do their jobs as we communicate the broad expertise and thought leadership at Syracuse University,” says Mbuqe. “She's assisted us in pitches and has updated portions of the website where our community and the world can see why the media turns to Syracuse University for trusted insight on the day's events. On top of it all, she is a pleasure to work with. I look forward to seeing the great things she'll achieve in her professional life.”
Being Orange means having the confidence to succeed in life, knowing that behind you is an incredible education and network of people supporting you.—Lily Datz
A native of Skaneateles, New York, Datz is a Renée Crown Honors student and serves as the Class of 2022 representative to the Syracuse University Alumni Association Board of Directors. She is a staff writer for “Baked,” a student-run food magazine that publishes twice a year, and she serves as the social media coordinator and research assistant for the University’s interdisciplinary Autonomous Systems Policy Institute , which facilitates research and teaching related to the design, governance and wider implications of autonomous systems such as driverless cars, unmanned aerial vehicles and more.
Taking the skills she’s learned in the classroom and applying them to real-life challenges in the media industry is very rewarding, Datz says. “It has not only helped me become a more helpful member of the internship team, it’s made me a better student. I believe that being Orange means having the confidence to succeed in life, knowing that behind you is an incredible education and network of people supporting you.”
Sayf Ahmed: Web Development and Teamwork
Sayf Ahmed ’21 is a senior majoring in computer science in the College of Engineering and Computer Science . He is interning with the marketing and communications digital team under the mentorship of Nick Lyga, director of web development. “My role as a student intern is to build and manage web services for the University,” Ahmed explains. “Sometimes I work with my team to build an application the staff can use, and other times we create services to monitor and maintain University websites.”
Ahmed performs tasks that build functionality for web applications. “I’ve worked on a website management tool to give more administrative control of websites to owners and administrators,” he says. “I also created a flow for user functions such as ‘update theme’ or ‘backup site’ by running scripts with a series of commands created by our systems administrator.”
As a computer science major, I learn a great deal about the different layers of technology and how they work together using different techniques. It’s fascinating to see that from the perspective of the web development team.—Sayf Ahmed
Working with fellow intern Caitlin Sanders, Ahmed developed a directory system to store and manage staff profiles that are displayed on school sites. “We built the back end of the application that took in requests, such as ‘get a user’s profile’ or ‘update profile fields,’” he says. Other projects have included organizing and storing data on Centro bus schedules and using external applications to run security scans on University websites.
“I’m constantly learning about all the work that goes on behind the scenes for a large organization to manage an internet presence,” Ahmed notes. “As a computer science major, I learn a great deal about the different layers of technology and how they work together using different techniques. It’s fascinating to see that from the perspective of the web development team.”
Ahmed’s ultimate goal is to create his own startup company that will develop an influential product through technology. “This internship will help me, because it has given me insight into maintaining public communication, especially through the web,” he asserts.
“Sayf has made amazing contributions, and we’ve really enjoyed watching him grow into an experienced developer,” says Lyga. “His passion—along with his ability to adapt, learn new technologies and solve complex problems—has made him a vital asset to our team.”
A native of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, Ahmed is a member of Innovate Orange, a student organization that encourages student creativity with an emphasis on the field of technology. He also helps handle all tech-related tasks for CuseHacks , a hackathon where students spend 24 hours building a product—usually an application. “It’s all part of being Orange,” he says. “Being a team player, being positive toward others, and having pride in what you do.”