Advertising internship inspires students

Release Date: 9/1/2011

University of the Ozarks students Andrea Dankert and Zach Doty had a strong feeling they would enjoy working in the marketing and public relations field. After a summer internship at one of the leading advertising agencies in the Southwest, they are even more certain.

Dankert, a senior marketing and strategic communications major from Broken Bow, Okla., and Doty, a senior marketing and strategic communications major from Robinson, Texas, spent six weeks this past summer working for Stone Ward, a full-service advertising, marketing and public relations agency based in Little Rock. Dankert served as a public relations intern and Doty was an account manager intern.

The two received real-world experience working on projects such as grassroots outreach programs and marketing campaigns as well as handling media relations, organizing events, developing social media platforms for companies, and writing news releases.

U of O students Andrea Dankert (front row, far left) and Zach Doty (back row, far left) spent six weeks this past summer serving as interns at Stone Ward, a Little Rock advertising agency. The two were part of an eight-person team that developed a marketing and advertising plan for the Arkansas Arts Center.

"It was a great experience," said Dankert. "We had mentors who worked with us on a daily basis, and they gave us real assignments and projects to handle.  They treated us like professionals and that was great."

Dankert has worked the past two years as a student-worker in the U of O Public Relations Office, where she serves as editor of the bi-weekly newsletter The Communiqué. Doty has worked in the University's Sports Information Office for several years, mainly as a photographer. According to Sports Information Director Josh Peppas, Doty was instrumental in starting the first Twitter feed for the Sports Information Office last year.

"My work with Josh in Sports Information has been a driving force for me in regards to creativity and innovation," said Doty. "Handling multiple responsibilities as chief athletic photographer was helpful in staying on top of clients and working in a fun, fast-paced agency environment."

One of the highlights of the internship for Dankert and Doty was being part of an eight-person intern team that developed a real marketing and advertising campaign for the Arkansas Arts Center.

"Whether or not the Arts Center was going to hire Stone Ward was based on the campaign that we came up with, so there was a lot of pressure to do it right," said Dankert. "Our job was to come up with a marketing and advertising campaign from scratch that would benefit the image of the Arts Center. It doesn't get any more real-world than that."

Dankert wrote a public service announcement (PSA) for television about the arts center that was accepted. She had the opportunity to be present when the PSA was produced.

"I got to go to the filming and see all these people and all the equipment working on my PSA," she said. "To see your idea come to life and to know it will be televised was pretty amazing."

As an account manager, Doty's responsibilities included leading the intern team, planning, strategy and dealing with the clients. He said one of the highlights of the internship was the final presentation of the marketing campaign to the Arkansas Arts Center.

"Our team had one chance to present to our client, and I'm proud to say that we put the best possible plan and creative recommendations forward," he said. "It was a great feeling to see it all come together at the end and to see the client pleased with our work."

Dankert said one thing she learned during the internship is that she has a passion for copywriting.

"I love the creative process of coming up with words, paragraphs, and slogans that can make a difference," she said. "I think I probably already knew that, but this internship gave me the opportunity to see my work being used by real companies and organizations, and that's given me a lot of confidence."