I have spent the summer as a PR/Event Planning Intern at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. My summer at the zoo turned out to be a whirlwind and a phenomenal learning experience. Throughout the summer, I, along with one other PR/Event Planning intern, planned and executed 5 different events. At times, this proved to be a little more difficult than it seemed. Although it is a children’s zoo, the ages of guests range from 1-99, so we had to plan events with activities that were equal parts entertaining and educational for guests of all ages.
One of the most rewarding parts of this experience was being able to see these events from the beginning stages all the way through to the execution. As PR/event planning interns, we were responsible for the events from the beginning until the very end. Event planning has always been an aspect of public relations that has interested me, and the experience I gained this summer proved to be invaluable.
Along with the planning and execution of the various events throughout the summer, I also wrote press releases for the events, escorted the media around the zoo on the day of the event, and on occasion, gave interviews to the news stations regarding the event. This was all a great learning experience. Along with learning how to conduct myself and answer questions for an interview, I also learned I should have traded that extra ten minutes of sleep in the morning for a hairbrush and some makeup.
While my main responsibilities throughout the summer were all things event-related, I also got a glimpse at other aspects of PR by attending a couple different press conferences focused on different animals at the zoo. This internship was certainly not all work and no play. On one of my last days there, the other PR intern and I got to go behind the scenes of the orangutan exhibit and watch the zookeeper feed three of these powerful creatures up close and personal. It was an unforgettable experience!
The Fort Wayne’s Children’s Zoo was recently ranked the 11th best zoo in the country by Trip Advisor. I consider myself lucky to have spent the summer surrounded by the people who make the zoo experience so great!
Erin Johnson is currently a senior at Indiana University, majoring in both Communication & Culture and Journalism, specializing in Public Relations and Advertising, with a minor in Nonprofit Management.. She currently serves as Director of Alumni Relations for IU PRSSA.