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Russell, Haley land prestigious summer internships

Max Russell and Tristan Haley

Max Russell (BSJ, 2023) and Tristan Haley (BSJ, 2022) are gaining hands-on experience in advertising and public relations through competitive summer internship programs. Russell is one of just 11 students in the nation to be selected as a 2022 Stickell Honors Intern, and Haley is one of 40 finalists participating in the International Radio & Television Society (IRTS) Summer Fellowship Program.

The Stickell and IRTS internship programs place students at top U.S. marketing communications firms. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, both are running on a hybrid format for the summer 2022 term.

Russell, a junior advertising and public relations major, is interning at Caterpillar, a Fortune 100 company, where he is working on branding with the Oil and Gas Division’s marketing team.

“I felt extremely honored and proud to be chosen to represent WVU,” Russell said. “Finding out that I had made it all the way through the Stickell process and had been offered the position with Caterpillar was one of the best days in my life. I played with Caterpillar toys as a little kid and have been wearing Caterpillar gear long before I was even nominated, so it is honestly surreal that I am working with CAT now.”

In May, Russell visited Caterpillar’s Edwards Demonstration & Learning Center in Peoria, Illinois, to learn about the company. He also visited the Oil and Gas office in Houston. As part of his internship, Russell is currently preparing a comprehensive analysis report of Caterpillar Oil, Gas, and Marine’s competitors, focusing on products, services, sustainability initiatives, websites, trade shows, social media and branding.

Chuck Borghese, Harrison Omnicom Visiting Professor in Advertising, nominated Russell for the Vance & Betty Lee Stickell Honors Student Internship Program, which is headquartered at the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at The University of Texas at Austin.

“The Stickell Honor Student Internship is not only prestigious, it's potentially life and career-changing,” said Borghese. “Just one student per institution can apply and the competition is really keen. We thought Max would be a great candidate because he combines excellence in the classroom, with a real acumen for the business and a passion to succeed and learn.”

Haley, a May 2022 advertising and public relations graduate, will be interning at Streamlined Media & Communications, a global integrated marketing firm that specializes in multicultural strategy, creative and media services in Brooklyn, New York.

Haley attended an orientation week in New York City in June before starting his eight-week remote internship. During that week, he visited various media companies including Fox, NBC Universal, Nielsen, Katz and Anomaly. He also attended a networking “Newsmaker” breakfast to discuss current trends in subscription-based media.

As part of the IRTS Fellowship Program, Haley has the opportunity to attend virtual sessions throughout the summer to gain industry insights from top executives and build professional skills.

“I would love to be an account manager at a mid-level independent firm one day,” Haley said. “I think IRTS would be great in helping me achieve this goal because they can build your professional network and offer real world experience that you can take with you into any career.”

Advertising and Public Relations Program Chair Geah Pressgrove introduced Haley to the program and helped him update his resume and prepare for his interview.

“Tristen is a very talented advertising and public relations student, and I felt like the IRTS Fellowship would sharpen his skills and shape him into an accomplished professional,” Pressgrove said.

Both students were in Borghese and Pressgrove’s spring 2022 Martin Hall Agency (MHA) course. MHA is a faculty-led, student-run integrated communications firm where students provide pro bono advertising and public relations work for West Virginia nonprofits and small businesses.