Communication interns prove invaluable to their companies

May 18, 2022

Communication majors are highly sought-after job candidates across many professional fields due to their ability to communicate effectively across varied situations. 

So it’s only natural that communication interns are also in high demand. Portrait of ASU student Madelaine Beitzel. Communication major Madelaine Beitzel turned her internship into a full-time job. Download Full Image

"All fields consistently look for capable communication-focused college students to help and hire,” said Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko, internship director at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. 

“For our students, internship opportunities facilitate wide exploration of the communication field, since there are so many factors to consider, process and understand.”

Dybvig-Pawelko tells her students that internships provide unique skills and opportunities that they would not receive otherwise.

In the best-case scenario, an internship may lead to a full-time job upon (or even before) graduation.

This is how communication major Madelaine Beitzel got the job she’s in now.

Beitzel interned in the summer of 2018 as a marketing coordinator for Kimley-Horn, a planning and design consulting firm. By the end of the year, the company offered her a full-time position upon her spring graduation.

Kimley-Horn's post on LinkedIn about hiring Madelaine Beitzel.

“Initially, I only had an internship for the summer, but asked if I could extend it,” said Beitzel. "I was promptly told ‘no’ because it wasn’t in their business plan. However, I think they quickly saw how the support I was able to provide helped the team. They offered to extend my internship on a part-time basis and were very accommodating to match my class schedule. That helped them understand my potential as a team member post-graduation.”

Beitzel earned six course credits in Dybvig-Pawelko’s COM 484 Internship course by working at Kimley-Horn. All of those hours counted toward her communication degree.

Not only do interns gain technical knowledge in the industry of their choice, but they also learn how to interact with professionals in a workplace setting. In addition, they develop essential skills like time management, organization, adaptability, problem-solving and teamwork, many of the same skills they learned in their communication coursework.

Beitzel says she remembers being surprised by the amount of responsibility she was given so quickly in her internship. 

"I was trained, briefed on the task, then given the freedom to drive the process and get it done," she said.

When asked which communication courses were helpful for this internship, she noted Interpersonal Communication, Advanced Research Methods in Communication and Public Speaking.

"Those courses helped build my critical thinking abilities, improve my research and writing skills, and become more comfortable working and presenting in large teams full of people with different personalities,” Beitzel said.

Zach Rangel

Communication major Zach Rangel

Communication major Zach Rangel is working as a marketing intern with Versant Capital Management Inc., a wealth management and investment firm.

Rangel, who hails from Austin, Texas, says he has always been interested in marketing, sales and public relations. 

“For me, studying communication provides a great foundation for a career in these areas,” he said.

Rangel found this paid summer internship by applying to every communication-related internship he found, both through ASU and on the internet. 

Rangel said the internship interested him because he wanted to be able to focus on marketing and grow his social media marketing experience.

"Versant has given me the opportunity to reach those goals," he said. “When I interviewed with Versant Capital, it just seemed like the perfect fit. My boss and mentor, Lisa Greve, has a degree in communication and was looking for an intern in a communication degree program. I felt like I could learn a lot from her. 

"I was asked to stay on after my summer internship and have been interning part time all year.”

Greve, a marketing and administration manager at Versant, says they had many interns from ASU, some of whom have gone on to full-time jobs with the firm after graduation.

“Because Versant is a wealth management and investment firm, we typically have a finance or econ major apply for internships. Zach thought outside of the box and asked if he could do a marketing internship to get hands-on business experience,” Greve said.

She says Rangel is thoughtful and hard-working and is involved in many areas of their marketing activities. 

A posting from Versant on LinkedIn about Zach's work

A posting by Versant Capital on LinkedIn about Zach Rangel's work as an intern.

“He recently helped to create a series of 16 short videos around the topic ‘Financial Tips for Young Adults.’ The project required multiple skills, such as strategic planning, researching, writing, graphic design and video editing. Once the videos launched, he helped to track and interpret data and analytics,” Greve said.

In terms of advice for current students who are considering an internship, Beitzel says: “Before you even start applying, my advice is to really think about what you want out of an internship.”

She adds, “Identifying your must-haves will help you narrow your search and land an internship that provides you with real value, not just a job you can put on your resume. You should ask yourself questions like ‘What skills do you want to grow or add?’ ‘What industries interest you?’ ‘Do you have specific values that your future company must align with?’ ‘What kind of people do you enjoy working with?’ It’s also helpful to think about what you don’t want. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions in your interviews to get clarity on what you might enjoy doing long-term.”

Manager, Marketing and Communication, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication


Workshop offers students the opportunity to study rare documents from New Spain

Young scholars visited the archives at the Newberry Library in Chicago

May 18, 2022

On a cold and rainy spring Chicago day, students inside the famed Newberry Library accessed an array of rare manuscripts and materials for study and discussion. 

The workshop, titled “New Spain at the Newberry Library: Demystifying Colonial Documents from the Ayer Collection,” took place April 22 and was led by Seonaid Valiant from the ASU Library and Claudia Brittenham from the University of Chicago. Seonaid Valiant, curator for Latin American studies at the ASU Library, holds a facsimile of the Codex Nuttall. Seonaid Valiant, curator for Latin American studies at the ASU Library, holds a facsimile of the Codex Nuttall, published in 1902. Photo by Lia Markey Download Full Image

The Edward E. Ayer Collection holds 4,000 rare books and manuscripts from New Spain and documents early contact between Indigenous peoples and Europeans. Aimed at helping graduate students gain skills working with primary sources, the workshop offered access to handmade documents and primary source documents, such as the Popol Vuh from Guatemala

Partners for collaboration

The workshop was made possible by a partnership between the ASU Library and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS), joining together with other institutions in the Newberry Consortium at the Center for Renaissance Studies. It was the first such workshop to take place in person since 2019

The competitive workshop hosted 20 students from across the country.

"The workshop was designed to help students early in their careers understand how collections of Indigenous materials were built, how to access them and how to interpret the documents," said Valiant, curator for Latin American studies at the ASU Library.

Five applicants were from ASU, more than any other university. Czarina Lagarda López, a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Spanish and Latin American cultural and literature studies in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, received a scholarship to attend. In López’s undergrad and graduate studies, it was often challenging to gain access to documents in order to analyze original texts.

“What I enjoyed the most was knowing that there are plenty of resources about archives that I am interested in and that these institutions — like the Newberry Library — are open to working with us young scholars,” said López.  

Examining ‘living documents’ in the archives

People gathered in a classroom at the Newberry Library

Claudia Brittenham, associate professor of art history at the University of Chicago, discusses a hand-painted map with workshop attendees. Photo courtesy of Seonaid Valiant

The highlight of the day was when the group examined early modern manuscripts from New Spain (1519–1821), now Mexico. 

“When looking at these manuscripts, you can see how they display a continuity of Indigenous ideas stretching back to the time before the Spanish arrived in Mexico,” said Valiant. “Even in the 18th century, you can see visual elements from earlier codices that tell us about the lives of the people in the valley of Mexico.”

Students were eager to understand which symbols could be understood by both cultures, as well as the vast amount of materials that were lost. Only 14 Meso-American books are in existence today. ASU Library holds a facsimile collection of Meso-American and colonial books from Mexico available for research and study. 

“One thing I learned from attending this workshop was that there are numerous possibilities to approach the archives,” said López. “Currently, we know that archives are also part of the memory and, as such, offer other epistemologies. Archives are living documents from which we can be constantly learning.” 

López will carry this experience into further study and research for her dissertation.

“Something I am currently working on is the concept of race, or what would be known in the colony as castes. I am interested in seeing how Indigenous people represent themselves in these texts produced in the 16th and 17th centuries,” she said. “In this sense, it seems essential to me to analyze the texts that were made by them, such as those kept by the Newberry Library, and I hope I could find more texts about it in other libraries.” 

For information about the Latin Americana Collection in the ASU Library, contact Seonaid Valiant at

Marilyn Murphy

Communications Specialist, ASU Library