Internships are more than making coffee and copies

Melissa Paolangeli ′09
Communications major
Hometown: Centreville, Virginia

Five-year old Melissa Paolangeli watched world-renowned operatic tenor Placido Domingo sing “Look through the Window” on the classic PBS program Sesame Street and felt a spark. By age 19, she was writing press releases, planning press conferences, and promoting one of Washington D.C.’s premier social events – all on the singer’s behalf.

As a public relations intern for the Washington National Opera, Paolangeli—a communications major at Messiah College—spent her summer garnering international exposure for one of the world’s most famous opera houses, and its general director Placido Domingo. Just three days into the job, her team hosted a press conference at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where Domingo announced the broadcast of live operas to college campuses that coming fall. Weeks later, she worked with D.C. media outlets to publicize the Opera’s annual ball at the home of the Ambassador of Peru, Antero Flores-Araoz. The guest list of 500 included 21 ambassadors from Afghanistan to Sweden, and national public figures such as astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“It was the most magical night of my life,” recalls Paolangeli, a singer herself who has performed in five Messiah theatre productions—including the highly-acclaimed Godspell—in addition to various community theatre shows.

Paolangeli attributes her success to an innate “go after what you want” determination and to her classes at Messiah. “Nance McCown [public relations professor] taught me you can be a Christian and be successful in public relations. The advertising class I took through Messiah’s Philadelphia Campus at Temple University taught me how to create campaign strategy that I’ve used in several professional projects, including an internship for Time Warner Cable where I researched the wireless preferences of young adults,” she continued.

Paolangeli said stage managing several Messiah theatre productions also helped. “One of the women who interviewed me at the Opera was a stage manager so we spoke the same language. It made me realize how grateful I am for the hands-on experience I’ve gained at Messiah.”

Room for Thought:  Why do over 380 colleges, universities and organizations use the materials of, or model their programs after, Messiah’s Internship Center? Because we set the standard for excellence. Link here to Messiah College’s internship center to learn more.





Posted in 2009, Arts, Communication, Internships, Marketing, Philadelphia Campus, Theatre | Comments Off

Posted on November 12th, 2008

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