Landing on her feet after a leap of faith

Senior Olivia Hottle took a leap of faith when she applied for the national Vance L. Stickell Internship Program. She didn't know what company she'd be interning with. She didn't know what city she'd be living in. And she didn't know what her role would be.

But there were a few things she did know. The internship would last 10 weeks. There were 16 internship positions available. And she'd gain valuable experience learning about advertising processes, business ethics and how to maneuver the big-city corporate world.

Olivia Hottle
"This experience changed my life," said Olivia Hottle, third from left, who recently completed a summer internship with media agency Carat. "New York truly is a city for transformation."

Hottle's leap landed her a plum position: communications planning intern with media agency Carat in Midtown Manhattan. "It was a huge shock when I found out I was heading to New York, but working in the heart of Midtown was such a rush!" said this Cedar Falls native.

The Stickell Internship Program is offered through student chapters of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), an organization Hottle is a member of at UNI.

"I've learned so much from the group that I knew an internship through the AAF would really enhance my education," she said. "I wanted to represent UNI and our awesome, recently created AAF program nationally. Plus, it allowed me to go out of state and experience life and working elsewhere."

The Stickell Program matches interns with companies that reflect students' abilities and interests. Hottle is majoring in electronic media production and electronic media leadership with a minor in interactive digital studies: digital advertising, which made Carat a perfect fit.

She served as a communications planning intern for Procter & Gamble Baby Care and used Carat's proprietary research to help identify the best way to use advertising to communicate to the company's target markets. She also analyzed future advertising opportunities, such as mobile advertising, and she coordinated meetings with potential advertising partners.

"One of the coolest and most challenging things in my internship was the media plan my fellow interns and I created for Macy's stores, which is another one of Carat's clients," said Hottle. "It pushed me to think in an innovative, collaborative way. And it was amazing to work for such an iconic company at this stage in my life."

After her 10 weeks in the Big Apple, Hottle realized that she has a passion for a career in communications planning and that she can hold her own in the advertising/media world. She plans to apply for a job at Carat, which has offices in other major cities, as well as other companies where she can continue her work in video production or communications/media planning.

"The connections I've made and my experience with a huge, real-world client will benefit me in finding jobs and will put me ahead of the competition," she said. "I will put the leadership skills I've gained into practice as I work on executive boards of student organizations in my final year of school. It really is so important for students to make the most of their time in school. Get involved and try new things; you never know what you'll discover or how it will help your future."

Read Hottle's blog about her internship experience at