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My Internship at the Pentagon

Working Projects in the Air Force Office of Public Affairs

by Beth Gosselin

As I nervously walked by the half a dozen police officers and through a security checkpoint, my eyes wandered to the armed HUMVEES to my right, and it hit me that I was about to enter one of world's most powerful buildings.

I walked through the metal detectors, rode up the giant escalator and finally entered the Pentagon. At that time, I had no way of knowing that this walk would become standard for the next year.

During one of my early Public Communication courses, Professor Vince Tocci took our Public Relations class to the Pentagon, where we interacted with members of the Air Force's Public Affairs Team. It was during that tour that I realized this was an interesting place to work.

I immediately contacted Air Force Public Affairs and continued to keep in contact for four months while studying abroad in Australia. I finally had an interview, via phone, with the deputy director of Air Force Public Affairs at midnight, Sydney time. He was very impressed with the courses I had taken at AU and the skills I have polished since being there. I was offered a one-year paid internship in the Integrated Marketing Department starting June 2004.

The most valuable learning experience from this internship was observing and participating in focus groups for the new Air Force commercials this past August. The Air Force sent me to Orlando and Portland, Oregon, for four days to gauge the target audience's opinion of the commercials. I then made a PowerPoint presentation with my findings.

One of my responsibilities is to create a media plan for the distribution of 250,000 children's books titled "My Mommy/Daddy is an Airman." Base Family Support Centers, military organizations and Child Development Centers across the country are the focus of this distribution.

AU has given me the confidence to go after opportunities I never thought possible. I would never have imagined, senior year of high school, that my last year of college would be spent getting up at 6:30 in the morning, three days a week, to work at the Pentagon. This experience has allowed me to relate class material to briefings at work and vice-versa. I feel so fortunate to have chosen AU for the quality coursework and incredible opportunities.