EPICS Off to a Great Start

November 24, 2008

It has been an epic year so far for the new Office of External Programs, Internships, and Career Services, otherwise known as EPICS.

Watch video interviews with our EPICS internship coordinators, as they discuss the intern program in their respective cities:

Video Carey Graeber (New York City)

Video David Downs (Los Angeles)

The newly anointed program, created to be a resource for students interested in internships, career advising, and alumni networking, is an extension of the school's already highly successful national internship program. The EPICS staff serves as the contact point for student interns and the companies that host and hire them. The EPICS office also hosts workshops, seminars, career fairs, information sessions, entertainment panels, and guest speakers in addition to administering the International Media Seminar in Paris and other off-campus opportunities such as the Arts in the City program.

Career Night, Nov. 6


Students chose 2 of 3 panels to attend


Marketing / advertising / PR panelists offer students advice. From left: Jenny Topolosky (C04), Senior Account Executive at Margie Korshak PR, and Angela Topel (C00), Promotions Manager at PepsiCo (Tropicana)


Students approach radio /tv /film panelists. From left: Stuart Flack, Executive Director Chicago Humanities Festival; Fred Weintraub, Station Manager WCIU; Sally Lou Loveman, Senior Audience Supervisor Harpo Productions

EPICS director Kate Neal says, "EPICS grew in part from feedback and excitement from the alumni community who expressed interest in helping our students transition into the working world, and in part from the interest we saw on campus for such an initiative."

Already this quarter, EPICS has hosted an Internship Information Session and Career Night.

More than 80 students attended the Internship Information Session on October 15. Associate Professor Emeritus David Downs, the Los Angeles internship instructor, and Carey Graeber (C75), the New York City instructor, talked to students about the programs on their respective coasts. Five students who have participated in the internship programs in New York or LA (or even both, in the case of one student) also shared their experiences.

On November 6, more than 150 students attended the 25th annual Career Night. Three groups of panelists from career areas in radio-television-film (RTVF); advertising, marketing, and public relations; and non-profit organizations shared their professional world experiences with the students in two separate sessions. Many of the panelists were alumni of the School of Communication.

"The panelists had a lot of experience in their fields, and they were able to give us an idea what it's like in those jobs and careers," said Andy Ertell, a senior RTVF and economics major who attended Career Night. "They talked about what it takes to get there - not only the experience it requires, but also the passion."

Another endeavor EPICS will take on throughout the year is the "EPICS Connections" program, which brings successful alumni and friends to campus for Q&A sessions with students. The goal of the program is to get students and alumni talking about potential career paths in informal, intimate settings. Ten EPICS Connections visits have already been scheduled, with many more to come. The program officially launched on Friday, Nov. 21, when actor, writer, and director John Cameron Mitchell (of Hedwig & the Angry Inch fame) visited campus.

"EPICS Connections" Q&A with John Cameron Mitchell, Nov. 21

Future visits include David Hollander, writer of CBS's hit show The Guardian and the new film Personal Effects starring Ashton Kutcher and Michelle Pfeiffer; an organizational and change practitioner from Deloitte Human Capital; and Catherine Gottfred, president of ASHA and founder of Leap Learning Systems. The EPICS Connections visits will represent all five majors in the school and will be moderated by Dean's Advisory Council students.

EPICS has also hosted a resume workshop this fall, and will host two career workshops in the winter. In addition to these internship and career programming initiatives, the EPICS office also maintains a recently enhanced database listing more than 400 internships, easily searchable online.

"Although this is the first year, the EPICS program hopes to make a tremendous impact on our students, by connecting them with alumni and professionals in various communication fields and helping them get started on their career journeys," says EPICS director Kate Neal. "I look forward to receiving feedback from students and support from alumni so that we can further develop the program in future years."

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