Reynolds School Alumna Stresses the Importance of Internships
Amee Christian, 27, was born and raised the Reno-Tahoe area but after graduating from the Reynolds School in 2008, and gaining some full-time experience at a local integrated agency, she wanted to experience something new.
“The move to Texas was a combination of wanting a change of scenery, and to diversify my experience,” said Amee. “As challenging as things were economically, I was able to leverage my academic, internship and a few years of professional experience to land a job in Austin.”
Amee was the first person in her family to graduate from college and she ended up doing enough for two students. She completed required studies for both public relations and advertising and minored in business administration and marketing.
In addition to double classes she also interned for University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and KPS3, the latter became her first full-time job. She started as an integrated account coordinator but her duties ultimately expanded to include traffic management and administrative assistant responsibilities.
“Being in a situation where you’re forced out of your comfort zone and being asked to take on multiple roles and responsibilities, beyond what you were anticipating, is such a good experience for professional life in ‘the real world,’” Amee said. “But I wanted to experience something new and have a new set of professional opportunities.”
In 2010, Amee started as project coordinator for Volusion Ecommerce in Austin. After just over a year she applied for and was offered a marketing communications specialist position at National Instruments. She is now the corporate marketing manager at National Instruments, an engineering hardware and software manufacturer in Austin, Texas. Earlier this year, she was named the company’s Outstanding Marketing Professional of 2012.
“I feel like the J-school prepared me for being successful in my role today, which is essentially leading the marketing for a billion-dollar company,” Amee said. “That’s just not something I imagined possible, especially in this timeframe, and it’s because of the work that people like Bob [Felten], Alison [Gaulden] and Paul [Mitchell] put in during my time at the J-school, coupled with my internship experiences, so I directly credit it to the program.”
Even as her career thrives in Texas, Amee remains in contact with her Reynolds School instructors. One of the things the professors helped her with was the ability to clearly communicate and articulate ideas which can, surprisingly, be a difficult task in high-level leadership positions.
“I remember my professors, Bob and Alison in particular, constantly saying ‘say it in fewer words, say it more concisely, say it more clearly,’” Amee said. “The fact of the matter is that keeping it simple and straightforward is a rare skill set, but highly coveted.”
Amee has some additional advice for current students in the j-school:
“I would say you can never do too many internships. I did three and I can say that is definitely a huge reason why I am where I am. People that look at my resume are always surprised to see how much experience I have at such a young age. Second is to not be intimidated at what some might consider or label as failure. You’re going to get a lot of “no’s” or “come back later” or just “this isn’t the right time” and you just need to keep trying and not be deterred.”
Amee is looking forward to continued growth and learning in her current position and believes her time at the Reynolds School will stay with her throughout her career. “That time is what’s built the foundational blocks that have helped get me to where I am, and onto where I’m going.”