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Undergrad’s Classroom Studies Had Big Effect on Successful Internship

Jennifer Pritchett’s study of public relations gave her an advantage at nationwide nonprofit organization.

Date: 3/2/2012
By: Tom Robinette

Jennifer Pritchett needed an internship but had no specific ideas about what kind to pursue. When she found one available for Darkness to Light and read about the nonprofit organization’s dedication to raising awareness of child sexual abuse, she knew she’d found the right opportunity.

Pritchett, a senior communication major pursuing a public relations certificate, was aware of the damage abuse can cause and wanted to learn more about how it affects others so she chose to intern with Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children. The nationwide program offers training for adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to instances of child sexual assault.

Pritchett also liked that the topics she’d been studying in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences were directly applicable to the internship’s requirements.

“I saw that the internship would allow me to utilize a lot of things we talked about in class,” Pritchett says. “I would be using social media, making press kits and brochures, and promoting events. Instead of just reading things out of a book and looking at things on a PowerPoint presentation, it would become more practical because I would actually be doing what I learned in class.”

Pritchett’s primary duties for the internship involve handling public relations for all Stewards of Children programs in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. She helped coordinate various events for the group, including an upcoming information session open to communication majors and other students March 5 on campus.

The two-hour program will be facilitated by a local certified Stewards of Children facilitator and will feature three segments of video, workbook instruction and discussion. Attendees will learn what can be done to prevent child sexual abuse by clearly defining the assault and understanding why it continues. For more information, email Pritchett at or go to

“I hope participants learn how children and adolescents are affected by abuse as well as how family members, teachers and friends are affected,” Pritchett says. “I also want them to know that there is a world outside of their own, and we have a responsibility to be ambassadors of fruitful works, to help other people, to get away from the mentality of only looking out for yourself.”

Through her internship Pritchett has learned numerous professional skills such as email etiquette, proper meeting conduct, writing press releases, conducting research and understanding how to create messages for a variety of audiences. The internship has also helped her with her studies at the University of Cincinnati. She has learned to respond more confidently during classroom discussions and be more receptive to her classmates’ differing perspectives.

On a more empathetic level, Pritchett’s work with Stewards of Children has made her understand the importance of reaching those in need who might be reluctant to accept help or admit they need it.

“I’ve learned how to create a need in an audience who doesn’t see their need or deems that need irrelevant,” Pritchett says. “The majority of people who have been affected by child sexual assault or know someone who has been affected does not understand or does not want to educate themselves on this issue because of the harsh reality of this epidemic.”

Her internship was scheduled to end in December, but she’s learned so much from the experience that she’s stayed on indefinitely. In the future, Pritchett wants to keep her professional options open. When she completes her degree at UC, she’s considering multiple career paths. And though she might be undecided on her profession, she knows her education at UC has prepared her for anything.

“I plan to do many things, but I will see where God takes me,” she says.

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