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Aric Bird CAS Students' summer series

Aric Bird

EMU Junior, Expected Graduation Winter 2020

Public Relations Major

Theatre Arts Minor

What inspired you to pursue a degree in Public Relations?

"I wanted to choose a degree in public relations because I am creative, outgoing, energetic and thrive under pressure. I went into public relations because I knew I would be able to excel and have an outlet for my creativity, which I need. I’ve always been interested in consumer behavior, popular culture and current events. My classes in the public relations program, along with eight years of forensics under my belt, have equipped me with the skills to communicate tactfully across written, oral and social forms.”

Why did you choose EMU?

"I chose Eastern Michigan University because it had a different atmosphere than the other universities I visited. When I visited Eastern it was a big school small school feel. A beautiful campus with a community that made Ypsi feel like home. Also, the forensics program here was a huge selling point for me. To have a program that ranks one of the best in the nation definitely had weight in my college decision."

Aric is serving as a public relations intern at The Arts Alliance this summer. The Arts Alliance is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to champion the arts and creative industries in Washtenaw Country to ensure that the greater Ann Arbor region remains a great place to create, live, work, learn, play and visit. Aric said, "As a public relations intern I am responsible for juggling multiple projects simultaneously such as planning marketing events, writing press releases, newsletters, constructing media releases, creating media kits and digital campaigns."

How did you learn about and apply for this internship?

"In the fall of my junior year I took a course with EMU’s Director of the Office of Academic Service-Learning, Decky Alexander, who taught a performance class called Narrating the Self. This class was a life-changing experience for me, and Decky was the one who referred me to CEO of Arts Alliance, Deb Polich."

What do you hope to gain by completing this internship with the Arts Alliance?

"Experience. Experience. Experience. From working with Arts Alliance I have learned how fast of an environment the public relations world can be. I am constantly multi-tasking, whether it is responding to emails, writing social media plans, or talking with clients, I am on task all the time and it can be stressful. However, I want to walk away from this internship being better with managing the fast-paced world of PR. I want to have that experience under my belt so when I step into the industry I have the skills to be the BEST at what I do."

What has been the most challenging aspect of your internship thus far?

"The most challenging aspect of my internship has definitely been grant writing. Grant writing has many different parts to it which can make the task tedious. However, learning the ropes from a mastermind behind grant writing such as Deb Polich has made it exciting. She has not only introduced me to the craft of grant writing, but has expertly guided me through the process of doing it."

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your internship thus far?

"The most rewarding aspect of my internship has been meeting other artists and nonprofit organizations who share the same love for the arts as I do. I have met so many outlets in the Ann Arbor area that produce and support art. Meeting new artists has been the most rewarding aspect for sure!"

Why are organizations like The Arts Alliance important?

"The impact that nonprofits like Arts Alliance can have on the community. My high school forensics team was funded by a grant called the 21st Century Grant. It allowed me to participate in Speech and because of that support I am here at Eastern Michigan University. I know first-hand how far these grants can go, and the work that Art Alliances does for local artists is MONUMENTAL."

How do you see yourself evolving professionally, or individually by completing your academic program?

"I reflect on my time with the public relations program and believe the most significant way I have evolved is as a writer. When I declared my major as public relations, that was one of the biggest concerns about myself as a public relations practitioner, 'Am I a good enough writer for the profession?' This program has done an excellent job improving my writing skills both as an academic and a young professional."

How has, or will your time at EMU influence your future endeavors?

"Eastern Michigan University is a school of workers. I know students who are involved in multiple organizations on campus, work a part-time job, and are exceptional students in the classroom. The community and students here at EMU have grit and never let a task go unfinished. As I walk into the next chapter of my life, EMU has influenced me by showing me how far hard work can really go."

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CAS Dean's Office
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