Endings and Beginnings

With final exams and graduation right around the corner, I have begun to reflect upon my experiences as an undergrad, and how all of these moments have contributed to preparing me for the next step in my academic career. Serving as an intern with the writing camp has been one of the defining experiences of my undergraduate career, and it has been a great way to end my time at Duquesne University.
Although the internship duties will continue until the end of the camp, a large part of the marketing work is beginning to wind to close. Mass emails have been sent, Facebook posts scheduled and posted, and the fundraising campaign is finally live. I will continue to update social media and send emails, but the challenge of getting the camp’s name out there has been accomplished. The whole experience has been fantastic, and it has allowed to me apply many of the ideas I learned in the classroom to a “real world” setting. From this experience, I have gained confidence in my abilities to adapt to different environments, to apply my liberal arts degree in unique ways, and to make a lasting impact on the communities I am a part of.
Coordinating the marketing campaign efforts has been an exciting and informative experience. Although I had worked on numerous marketing campaigns before, marketing for the camp was different than any of my previous experiences. The target audiences of teens, parents, and high school teachers were more widely varied than the groups I helped shaped campaigns for in the past, and it took some creativity to reach all three groups. Admittedly, some of the process was trial and error, and it strongly reflected the editing process. I would try one thing and then adjust accordingly until the final project captured whatever it was we were trying to promote. I found emailing teachers directly was the most effective at increasing inquiries from parents, and flyers seemed to be most effective when distributed by guidance counselors. Guidance counselors were a source I originally had not even thought about, but their involvement in student life proved to be quite beneficial to the camp recruiting process. By viewing the work I was doing as continually open to revisions, I found the outcome to be a strong, constantly improving campaign.

One of the goals I set for myself upon entering the internship was to increase viewership by 25% on Facebook, so I am proud to see this goal has been surpassed. Now that I have made many posts on social media, it is possible to see just how our impact has changed over the last semester. The analytics on Facebook show that viewership of our posts have increased by 35% and interactions also increased by 12%. The audience members interacting with the posts mainly fall into the 30-45 age demographic which shows we have been reaching users in parent age demographic. These numbers support my original thesis that Facebook would function as a great tool for reaching parents, and it shows how important knowing one’s audience can be when executing a campaign. The posts made on Facebook were specifically tailored to a more mature audience than the posts we made on platforms like Instagram, and they took on the language of the audience. As I continue to maintain the Facebook page, I will be sure to keep our audience in mind and provide informative posts to continue to bring in more applicants.

As stated previously in this post, the fundraising campaign is now live! The following is a link to the site:

Thanks to my fellow intern Jamie Crow and :lexicon Editor-in-Chief Victoria Wilson, the video on the website perfectly captures our mission. So far, this video and link have been shared 13 times on Facebook, and three people have donated. Following our return from Easter break, our marketing efforts will focus on promoting the campaign to current English students, alumni, and parents of current students. I encourage anyone reading this blog post to check out our website, consider donating, and share the campaign on social media! I am very proud of how all the materials have come together for this fundraising campaign, and hopefully, we can raise enough money to send at least one student to camp on a full scholarship!

I am grateful the Duquesne undergraduate English program gave me the opportunity to apply my education outside of standard classes while receiving credit for my work. This opportunity allowed me to explore other careers and possible applications of my degree I may not have previously been exposed to. I normally think of myself as more of an academic person, but forcing myself out of this box and into the realm of marketing was beneficial in showing the wide range of applications for my degree. Marketing is only one possibility among countless others, and this experience shows there is no need to try to justify the practicality of my English degree as the opportunities I have received speak for themselves.

My final semester at Duquesne has been bittersweet in many ways. I have enjoyed my time here, and although I know the next step in my journey will only take me down Forbes Ave to Carnegie Mellon’s Literary and Cultural Studies MA program, I cannot help but think of all the unique opportunities Duquesne has provided. The writing camp internship has been one of these unique opportunities, and it has proven to be the perfect finale to my undergraduate experience. On May 10th, I will no longer be a Duquesne English student, but it is from the end of this journey that the first steps of my next adventure will take shape.

-Catherine Evans


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