I was born and raised in Palmyra, PA and although I live in a small town I have great ambition. I dream of living and working in a big city with a career in communications or public relations. However, this was not always how I saw my life. When I was younger, I wanted to be a veterinarian but then I realized I faint at the sight of blood. Dreams change.
Luckily, I realized that writing and I got along well and it became my new dream. I attended Palmyra High School where I was the news and feature editor for my high school newspaperThe Cougar Chronicle. English, journalism and creative writing classes filled my course schedule and when I was not writing in school, I was filling my poetry notebooks.
Fast forward to college. Lebanon Valley College was never meant to be a permanent home for me. I was not an eager beaver when it came to college hunting and I ended up waiting until the last minute to choose a college. My mom and I called LVC a “test – run – experience” and I planned on transferring the following semester. Something about the campus, professors and learning experience pulled me in and I never transferred.
When it came to choosing a major, English communications was the perfect option for me. It allowed me to explore the world of communications and take all different kinds of writing and creative classes. One of the most beneficial classes I took in college was a course called Technical Writing. It challenged me – my professor demanded perfection. So I became disciplined. The class taught me how to write memos and business documents which has been very helpful post-graduation. My final project dealt with public relations and it was then that I realized how strong an interest I had in PR.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed my classes and what I was learning my mind wandered. Fulfilling my general education credits required taking a decent amount of foreign studies classes. I chose to complete those requirements with religion classes and slowly but surely I fell in love. The love affair sprang from my interest in the different types of religions and their practices. Being a double major was challenging and quite time consuming – I started referring to it as my “significant other.” It definitely taught me time management skills because I would often have several papers and projects due at the same time. In order to graduate as a religion major I was required to take a Senior Seminar class which involved researching a topic of your choice, writing a 15-20 page paper and presenting it to a group of religion professors and my peers. That was a crazy semester. A few times I think I actually fell asleep with my research books. I had to create my own time schedule for completing the work. That taught me to be more structured and increased my level of organization (if that is even possible because I am an extremely organized person).
Being a double major also taught me to write for different audiences. I learned that in most cases you have to write papers assuming the audience has no knowledge of your subject. My religion papers were more scholarly and I had to define terms for my audience and make sure that I held their interest. I took a lot of English classes that were more communications based which required a different kind of research. Those papers were based on reporting current events and involved writing news clips, blog posting, writing articles etc. Thus, doing research for both English and religion classes taught me a variety of research methods. Post graduation, those skills have helped me gain a broader writing base which is important in PR. It has also made it easier to switch between audiences that I am writing for.
I graduated LVC in 2012 with a bachelor of arts and as a member of the Phi Alpha Epsilon Honors Society. My current internship at Bravo is my second PR internship. In the summer of 2011, I completed a three month internship at the Pennsylvania Association of Non Profit Organizations (PANO). I was the lead intern and gained of a lot of experience editing. I feel like there is so much more to learn and that is why I chose to do another PR internship.
I love having something to do during the day – that may sound cliché but I actually mean it. Since graduation I have been working at a part time retail job a few days a week. I began to miss learning new things, being challenged and doing work. This internship at Bravo is doing all of those things and I cannot wait to see what I learn next!
~ Ali McFadden
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein