What VP Valentina Drake did during quarantine to keep up with the industry

By Sara Lawrence 

Senior advertising major Valentina Drake serves as the vice president of PRSSA, which, among other obligations, puts her in charge of overseeing the chapter’s six committees. Drake is also a member of the Lambda Sigma chapter of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, a Grady Ambassador and a member of the Society of Entrepreneurs. 

Due to COVID-19, it can be difficult for many aspiring public relations specialists to stay involved in the industry; from internships being cancelled or going remote, classes moving online and the job market declining, the pandemic proved to be an obstacle for students at all points in their college careers. 

However, Drake worked hard to overcome this obstacle. She took summer classes, stayed involved remotely with on campus organizations and even became a remote intern for the Feminist Majority Foundation over quarantine. 

As part of her internship, she worked on a campaign called “Get Out Her Vote,” which focused on promoting the feminist vote among college women. All of the interns were college students conducting research on college-aged women and their likelihood to support feminist platforms in politics. 

She also stayed up to date by reading industry-specific outlets like Ad Age, Ad Week and PR Wire, as well as the news in general from The New York Times and The Washington Post on her own time. It was important to her to stay informed for both her summer classes and internship. 

Drake is part of a minority of students who still got to participate in an internship over quarantine. It was her extensive preparedness that earned her the position; she applied to over 90 internships and almost all of them were cancelled (key word: almost). 

“Everything was so up in the air and unknown,” Drake said. “It was really unpredictable, but I am thankful my efforts paid off.” 

Even though she did not lose her summer internship opportunity due to COVID-19, Drake understands many students did and shared some advice for them. Firstly, she recommends to just get involved where you can, even if it is a remote opportunity. 

“All my professors tell me that you learn something from every experience, so even though the internship I had this summer wasn’t exactly what I expected, I still learned a lot of valuable skills from it,” Drake said.

Another tip she offered is to take classes seriously. Grady classes are designed to prepare students for future careers and we should take advantage of that. Plus, they provide many opportunities to build our portfolios. 

“Act like your classes are your job,” Drake said. 

Drake has made the most out of her quarantine experience by staying involved in the industry and encourages others to pursue their passions, even in the wake of these uncertain times.