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Reflecting on What it Means to be a Hawthorne Intern

Back in January, Hawthorne Strategy Group welcomed two new interns to the team—George Murphy and Anna VanWingerden. Over the past several months, they have grown in their budding careers and learned some of the ins and outs of the public relations industry. As their internship program now comes to a close, George and Anna reflect upon their experiences. 


George Murphy 

George is a graduating senior at DePaul University majoring in Philosophy.  

Like a domesticated Pomeranian being released into the wild, I am about to graduate college. And until my onboarding at Hawthorne, I’ve felt unprepared. I was welcomed into their office with a blank slate in terms of public relations. I’m majoring in Philosophy at DePaul University and my only introduction to PR had been through working as general manager of our college radio station. My navigation through the field had been a process of trial and error, but Hawthorne gave me the tools to find my confidence.   

This is mainly thanks to the company culture and the gracious, intelligent people I’m surrounded by in the office. From media lists to press releases to coverage tracking and social copy—they taught me how to keep up with the pace of the PR world. I was given the opportunity to learn from a team of patient professionals and took advantage of it.   

One of my favorite experiences was building publicity for the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting, one of the largest dental conventions in the world. My first month in the office was dedicated to promoting the convention through social media campaigns and marketing strategy. It was satisfying to see the amalgamation of all our work into one packed weekend. It taught me how to set, plan, and tackle goals as a team. To this day, I have never seen such an energized and bustling professional convention.  

Wherever I end up after this, I’ll be searching for a close-knit team like the one at Hawthorne. We can easily transition from joking about our weekends to strategizing a client’s marketing calendar—I’m grateful that my coworkers can transform from guiding mentors to friends I can grab lunch with.   

Thanks to the Hawthorne team, I’ll be leaving with the newfound knowledge and confidence to survive in the wild.   


Anna VanWingerden 

Anna is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago and has B.A. in English. 

Oftentimes, there’s this stereotype that all interns do is grab coffee for executives and run from errand to errand, attempting to prove that they’re able to handle the smallest of projects. However, from the moment I started my internship with Hawthorne, I knew that would not be the case. 

The Hawthorne team not only welcomes their interns; they make them feel like true members of the team. From the moment I began, I was given important tasks to do, such as sending out press releases and media advisories to a plethora of media contacts. I began writing blog posts, op-eds and social copy almost immediately and received wonderful encouragement and feedback from my supervisor and fellow team members. I was looped into meetings and helped create presentations and reports for local and national clients. I joined in on team meetings and got to know my colleagues on a personal and professional level. Anywhere else, it would have taken me much longer to find my footing, but not at Hawthorne. 

My internship at Hawthorne has been immersive, exciting, challenging, unexpected and—most of all—the best learning experience I could have asked for. No day is ever quite the same; with a constantly changing wave of client needs and time-sensitive events, it’s impossible to be bored. As interns, we assist in some way with almost every account that the Hawthorne team has taken on. It has been incredible to learn about so many different organizations, companies and people. In my opinion, no other job allows you to have such a full repertoire of knowledge and involvement. 

I feel confident in saying that my internship experience at Hawthorne has helped prepare me for my future career in a way that nothing else has. I have been blessed with amazing mentors and teammates who have helped me in my journey to becoming a true professional, and my life would look completely different if I had never found my way to Hawthorne. I am forever grateful for my time here as an intern, and I look forward to the future that this experience has prepared me for.  


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