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“I’m not a big-city person, and I was anxious about this big-city internship,” wrote Meghan, a senior journalism major, in an article chronicling her experiences at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. “Could I do the job? Would I handle the pressure?”
The answer was yes. A sophomore when NBC chose her and 30 other IC student interns to help produce the winter Olympics, Meghan rose to the challenge of meeting ever-shifting deadlines in what she called “a giant makeshift mouse maze” beneath the Vancouver Convention Centre. Prompted by editors’ notes scribbled on unpainted walls, Meghan created athlete profiles, assembled research packets, and met Tom Brokaw in the process. That intense, 17-day experience was another step in a journey that began with Meghan’s arrival at IC.
“I come from a really small town, where everybody has the same mindset,” she said. “At IC, it was eye-opening to discover a broad spectrum of opinions and backgrounds and so many organizations to join. Part of me said, ‘I’m just a freshman; there’s nothing I can do.’ Another part of me said, ‘Go for it.’ ”
And go for it she did. As a freshman, she honed her management skills through the Leadership Scholars Program and connected with another leadership scholar, Christine Evans, to cofound the IC chapter of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA).
“The organization is a national nonprofit that helps people struggling with suicide, self-injury, and addiction,” Meghan said. “We’ve developed a committed core of people willing to show their fellow students that, despite pain and suffering, there’s hope. Writing love on your arm signifies the healing power of compassion.”
While serving as TWLOHA’s president, Meghan went a step farther and volunteered to coordinate events and educational initiatives for a local suicide prevention agency.
“My leadership opportunities at IC have tested me and made me stronger,” she said. “There’s still a little fear when I face a challenge, but I’m not that timid girl coming out of high school anymore. I’m ready to dive head-first into my future.”
Meghan Swope understands the importance of a quality education. As an account assistant in the education division of strategic communications firm GMMB, Meghan works with a number of nonprofits to help kids get a great education, regardless of their background or zip code.
“The issues facing education today have a ripple effect on some of society’s other issues,” Meghan says. “The foundations we work for are trying to ensure that everyone graduates from high school with the skills that they need for college or a career.”
Meghan’s education led her to the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, where she majored in communication management and design. As a Park scholar, Meghan got not only a full scholarship but also an open door to a world of opportunity in communications and community service. She chatted one-on-one with Christiane Amanpour when the CNN anchor visited IC as part of the Park Distinguished Visitor Series. She studied abroad in Australia. She used IC’s industry connections to land multiple internships—as part of IC’s Los Angeles program she interned in the publicity department of Fox Broadcasting and the production department of the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and during her senior year she interned at PR firm Fleishman-Hillard. All this gave Meghan a powerful edge over the competition when she moved to D.C. after graduation.
“In a city like D.C., there are so many young people vying for one job. I had almost a full year of internship experience at graduation. I think that put me ahead of the game for sure,” Meghan recalls. “At GMMB, I’ve been told that my skills are beyond what they’re used to. When you [are hired at] a public relations agency, there’s an expectation that they’ll have to teach you how to write a press release and use industry tools. Because of IC, I came in already prepared for that.”
The IC experience also ignited Meghan’s passion for supporting important issues and causes. She participated in Relay for Life, Colleges Against Cancer, and Students Taking Action Now: Darfur (STAND). At GMMB, she combines her drive to help others with her communication skills by planning events and developing messaging to grow public awareness of her clients’ missions.
“I want to keep making a difference for my clients and in my own life. I think that’s how the world changes—with optimistic people who are passionate about the work they do, who are motivated and feel like they have the support they need to achieve change.”
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