Schwartzentruber nominated for state ‘intern of the year’ award

By Ariel Ropp

For Alicia Schwartzentruber, a senior majoring in public relations, Goshen General Hospital provided the senior internship experience of a lifetime – and recognition at the state level for her excellence as an intern.

As an assistant in the hospital’s public relations department, Schwartzentruber was given the opportunity to organize not one but two major PR events. One was a press conference to announce the hospital’s official Baby-Friendly Designation. The second was a recognition event for Dr. Douglas Schwartzentruber, a Goshen surgical oncologist and medical director of the Center for Cancer Care who was recently named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine – and, coincidentally, Alicia’s father.

Both events received mass media attention and gave Schwartzentruber plenty to do throughout her internship.

“[This internship] forced me to deal with real life deadlines and improve my writing skills, as well as learn how to communicate with the press,” Schwartzentruber said.
An especially unique aspect of the internship was the amount of responsibility she was given. When Goshen General Hospital’s PR supervisor Bridget Levitz took three months on maternity leave, Schwartzentruber was asked to fill in with oversight of press releases and event planning. This included organizing an entire press conference for the hospital’s recent designation as a “Baby-Friendly Hospital.” Schwartzentruber was up for the challenge.

“The week of the Baby-Friendly Designation ended up being one of the highlights of my entire internship experience,” she said. “Two days before the press conference, a baby was born in Goshen General at 10:10 on October 10, 2010 – that’s 10/10/10. In the time between those two events, the hospital became really crowded with reporters.”

Throughout the media frenzy, it was Schwartzentruber’s job to keep in contact with the press and meet with reporters from networks like CBS and Fox. “It was a lot of responsibility but a lot of fun,” she said.

The other major event of the internship was organizing the reception dinner honoring her father’s recognition in Time magazine, hosted at Goshen College on July 13, 2010.

Her responsibilities included writing talking points for the event speakers and acting as a contact person for the press. She also took care of small but important details: arranging the podium and selecting boutonnieres for the speakers.

As a public relations major with minors in business and Spanish, Schwartzentruber hopes to apply her new skills to a career in public relations or marketing.

Although her seven-month internship came to an end in December, Schwartzentruber feels grateful for the valuable experience she has gained while working at the PR department of Goshen General Hospital.

She describes the internship as a positive, life-affirming experience. “I know now that this is what I want to do with my life,” she said.

Further affirmation of her vocational direction came from the Indiana INTERNet awards program, which selected Schwartzentruber as a finalist for its Intern of the Year program. Schwartzentruber was nominated to the awards program by Larry Brooks, vice president of marketing and fund development at Goshen Health System. “She stepped into our current program and improved it,” Brooks wrote in his recommendation of Schwartzentruber. “She has shown us that with little direction she can accomplish exactly what we need and even expand upon it.”

During her six-month internship, Schwartzentruber found herself planning community events and press conferences, co-authoring the internal newsletter, writing press releases, and attending to paperwork and phone calls as the need arose. “Alicia is full of ideas and eager to share and learn from others,” said Brooks. “These qualities have enabled us to seamlessly cover our public relations department during maternity leave for another colleague.”

Schwartzentruber was one of eight finalists for state “intern of the year” honors as part of its IMPACT awards program.

Indiana INTERNnet Inc. is an affiliated program of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. At their annual Awards luncheon, to be held February 10 in Indianapolis, Indiana INTERNnet recognizes internship excellence in three categories: intern of the year, employer of the year and career services professional of the year.

“It is an absolute honor to be selected as one of eight individuals,” said Schwartzentruber. “Quite honestly I am not only shocked, but humbled that I was nominated, let alone picked as a finalist for such an award. This definitely encourages me to never be complacent with average, but to continually expect better things out of myself.”