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Student Profiles - Marteena Oliphant
Major: Speech communication, public relations
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
What made you want to pursue an internship with MTV this summer?
I have always loved MTV and wanted to work there since I was 14 years old. I really enjoy the celebration of youth culture that the programs and productions are based off of. It’s a fun, innovative and classic network. I love the media industry, so hopefully I am able to work my way up the career ladder just by having this internship opportunity.
How do you think the classes in your major prepared you for this internship?
My communication courses taught the importance of precision, discipline, how to think and function strategically and why it is so important to be knowledgeable about different aspects of life. I have learned that in order to succeed in the field of communications, during and after college, you have to be a “people person.” I was more cultivated personally, which is something I can keep with me for the rest of my life.
How did you go about getting this internship?
I had a bit of luck with this internship selection process. I belong to the Millersville chapter of the National Broadcasting Society (NBS); Last March, we attended our annual National Convention in New York City and one of the keynote speakers was the college relations manager for MTV/Viacom. She also happened to be a member of NBS and a Millersville alumnus. My academic adviser, Dr. Bill Dorman, communication and theatre, is someone she identified as a lifelong mentor. I took the initiative to introduce myself and express my interests and love for MTV. I interviewed with her first, and then was interviewed by Matt Wilson of the production management department at VH1 a few weeks later.
How important do you think networking is for college students seeking internships and jobs?
It is extremely important for students to network and market themselves, because essentially we are all individual brands that we want others to believe in and be proud to endorse. Making connections with people is the best way to climb the social and job ladder. Not only is it beneficial for students now, its beneficial to future students that may be able to help other students get their foot in the door.
What were your job duties as an MTV intern?
I know that I will be working on the administrative side of television production, which involves working with people that create project budgets, writing and the creation of public relations material, contacting and booking make up artists, designers, venues and anyone who is involved in making the project a possibility.
What would be your advice to a student considering switching to public relations, since you transitioned from broadcasting to public relations?
Pay attention to the kind of person you are first. Broadcasting is a very hands-on and technical discipline, whereas public relations is very business-oriented and analytical. Both fields are concentrated on giving people what they want, but in different ways. Communication is a very intrinsic field in general because you have to be someone who can openly understand yourself, as well as other people, which forces you out of your comfort zone. I saw myself in public relations because of what someone else saw in me, and I didn’t realize it until I became the public relations chair for the Black Student Union (BSU) on campus. However, I have a passion for both areas and being familiar with both fields makes me flexible and versatile in my abilities.
Do you have any on-campus jobs?
Yes, I work at the information desk on campus and help students reserve rooms in the Student Memorial Center for organizational and departmental meetings. I also help to answer questions for patrons. Additionally, I work for the Office of Student Affairs in which I assist the secretaries and I work in University Communications and Marketing.
What has been your best experience at Millersville University thus far?
Serving as public relations chair for the BSU has helped me realize who I was and who I could be. This has caused me to meet people who have changed my outlook on life. I have created bonds with these people that I hope never deteriorate over time.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received throughout your years at Millersville University?
“There is no growth in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growth zone.” Latoya Corbin, the former president of BSU, said this to me in the beginning of the fall semester. It has stuck with me and has empowered me whenever I feel afraid of trying new things or being called to action on something that is foreign to my capabilities.
How has Millersville helped you to succeed?
This University has helped me to succeed by opening my mind and allowing me to exist beyond just being an M# and helping culture myself through learning hands-on and meeting so many different people. When asked why I chose to attend Millersville University, I always say, “I didn’t choose Millersville, Millersville chose me.”