Just Getting Started–A Quick Introduction

Hi there, and thanks for taking a minute to read my first post! First, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Alex Priest and I’m a junior studying marketing, public communications, and statistics here at American University. The past three years have been filled with amazing experiences–from the 2008 election and President Obama’s inauguration to my personal experience studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark just this past fall. I’ve learned a lot both on-campus in classes and extracurricular activities, as well as off-campus through internships, networking events, and just day-to-day life in one of the world’s busiest and most influential cities.

Speaking of internships, I’ve had some of the best internships around. Check below the cut for the rest of my quick introduction and my experiences in start-ups, politics, nonprofits and now, public relations agency work.

My freshman year I interned with a small, start-up tutoring agency called Achieve Tutoring. There I learned what it’s like for one man to start his own company with huge ambition and, unfortunately, not much support (although last I heard he’s doing an excellent job!). I even got my first bit of experience with marketing strategy, building business relationships, and, in a primitive way, pitching ideas to potential “clients.”

In the spring of 2009 I began interning in the communications office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. There I learned the ins and outs of the Capitol (and the Capitol Building, where I actually worked) and got my first hands-on experience with politics at its finest. I also managed to be there for some of the U.S. Congress’s most productive months in history; during my four month stay they passed bills such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the “stimulus bill”, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act granting equal pay for women, and the 2009 SCHIP reauthorization and expansion, giving millions of children in need health insurance coverage. My months on the Hill have been some of my most memorable in college thus far, and working with some of the finest minds in political communications today was an experience I’ll treasure for a long time to come.

Last summer I was treated to yet another amazing internship experience, this time with the American Legacy Foundation. The foundation is responsible for the incredibly effective and controversial truth campaign for anti-tobacco use. There I worked with their communications team as the truth campaign kicked off another summer tour, the campaign entered a new phase, and the U.S. government passed historic legislation placing tobacco companies directly under FDA supervision. Am I lucky or what?

I took a hiatus from interning last fall to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. But even though I wasn’t interning, I was spending plenty of time getting hands on experience outside the classroom. I couldn’t have picked a better time to go. In October I spent some time volunteering with the city of Chicago for their unfortunately unsuccessful bid to host the 2016 Olympics, as the International Olympic Committee met to make their decision in Copenhagen. Even more prominent during my semester abroad, I spent the entire four months working with various organizations in the environmental movement–including the Danish Climate Movement, Avaaz.org, and tcktcktck. I participated in numerous actions, rallies, protests, marches, you name it, all leading up to the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

So after all that, now where am I? I’ve arrived back in the United States and I’ve decided I’m determined to take this city by storm. First order of business has been getting settled into school, and, of most relevance to you here, my new internship at MS&L Public Relations Worldwide. So far, it’s been an absolute blast. Keep your eyes right here on the AU Intern Blog for more of my posts and some in-depth looks at my first foray into the exciting world of agency public relations. If you’re interested in reading more about other parts of my life, including my insight on politics, technology, social media and social justice causes, take a look at my personal blog, as well. Finally, I invite you to follow me on Twitter, add me on Facebook, and connect with me on LinkedIn, too, I’d love to get to know you.

Thanks for reading.