COUGARS IN THE WILD: Public Relations student gets hands-on experience at NCERC | New


As a public relations intern for the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center, Allison Simpson worked on a push for video content, in addition to creating social media posts and a social media contest for teachers. local.

Simpson, a junior applied communications student specializing in public relations in Tower Hill, Ill., said her day job usually involves reaching out to client relations manager Jackie Hayes to discuss what’s going on and work. on the social media timeline.

“We’ll see what we’re going to upload for social media that day and sometimes I go to Canva and edit some of the graphics that we have,” Simpson said. “I come up with captions, so eventually for a social media post, I’ll write a caption and send it to Jackie, then she’ll edit it, then once it’s OK, I’ll upload it to social media.

One of the biggest projects Simpson said he worked on was a social media contest for Illinois teachers to win an ethanol demonstration board that shows the process of turning corn into ethanol. She said she also helped update the chart for the board, which hadn’t been updated since 2007.

“We asked people to nominate someone and answer a few questions, like what year, what they taught and stuff like that. In the end, the person we chose received a card $100 gift for … Target and they could spend it on school supplies,” Simpson said. “Then they’re basically going to use the ethanol demo kit as a teaching tool in their classroom, so it helps the kids better understand and they can have something in front of them to physically see.”

Simpson has also used TikTok to create video content on NCERC’s social media platforms. She said she doesn’t actually upload their videos to TikTok but uses TikTok’s editing software to create videos for their Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. One of Simpson’s video initiatives was a spotlight on trainee employees with questions and answers.

“We [submitted] a few questions with one of our summer interns to get to know him better, and then just to let our followers know,” Simpson said. “Then every two weeks we would do a spotlight on the intern employees so basically we would have the blog posts one week and then we would have a video next to them talking more about themselves and stuff like that so people can actually hear from them rather than a written blog post.

Simpson said that after transferring to SIUE from Lakeland Community College, she knew she needed a job in Edwardsville, but didn’t want to work at Walmart like she had in previous years. She said she went to the student employment website and applied for three jobs, but only got a response from NCERC.

“It sounded interesting. I wanted to try and get a job in my potential career field. So PR is ultimately what I want to do, so they asked for an interview, and I was like, ‘OK , let’s see how it goes,” Simpson said.

Although she originally wanted to work in sports, Simpson said working at NCERC led her to consider working in agriculture, which she initially opposed because she lived in a rural area.

“Once I got to NCERC and worked there, I kind of started to…debate if I wanted to do sports and maybe more overall farm work, but so far I am still determined to play sports. Ultimately, I want to work [on] social media for a sports team, preferably baseball,” Simpson said.

Simpson said working at the NCERC has helped her tremendously prepare for her career, as it shows what her day-to-day job could be like.

“I have to work with the staff to get the video content and things like that, and then the graphic design is probably a big thing that hopefully helps me in the future,” Simpson said.

Simpson said she became interested in public relations because most of her college-educated family members have marketing degrees. While marketing initially interested her, she said that as she got older, she realized she liked social media more.

“I see people on TikTok being social media directors for companies and sports teams [and] I’m like, ‘Oh, I want to do this.’ So finally I just decided [to switch] from marketing to public relations, although they kind of intertwine,” Simpson said.

Simpson said her cousin sparked her interest in marketing because she was able to accompany him to complete some of his projects.

“For one of her classes she had to go somewhere to eat, she had to go to a few different stores and see how the shelves were laid out and how they catered to people in that age group…hearing how companies market people has always been interesting,” Simpson said.

Simpson said students should always apply for any internships they want. She said she was scared to apply to NCERC and turned out to really like it.

“I’m anxious when it comes to new experiences, but I got used to it and I can go to Jackie for all the advice I need, and she’s really good at helping me through that, whether it’s either life advice for my future or just career advice,” Simpson said.

Although Simpson is only in her second semester at SIUE, she said she loved SIUE because it got her the internship.

“I’m very introverted, so having to talk with the team and collaborate with others has definitely helped me come out of my shell,” Simpson said.

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