Wray Ward Internship Journeys Come in All Shapes and FORMs

  • Categories:

    Agency Life, Inspiration

  • Date:

    June 13, 2023

Wray Ward Internship Journeys Come in All Shapes and FORMs

Agency Life Inspiration

In March 2023, as I prepared to tackle my annual student tasks for finals, I was interrupted by the all-too-familiar and dreaded notification buzz, followed by a sudden flash of blue light from my home screen. Initially, I contemplated ignoring it, assuming it was yet another email concerning finals. However, as I glanced at my phone, I realized that my journey with Wray Ward’s FORM internship had officially commenced. The Charlotte agency had selected me for a coveted spot. I was IN!

Near the end of my third year of college, the professional world was fast approaching, yet I knew nearly nothing about it until I took my first public relations course. It was love at first class: Right away, I knew that I would take on PR in my professional career.

I couldn’t wait to bust through the seams and make my own mark on the industry. A bit ambitious, I know. But a little confidence never hurt anybody.

How It Started

Let’s take a trip back in time to March 2023, when I heard about Wray Ward’s FORM Internship. After reading about the program and its commitment to creativity and culture, I instantly knew it was the place to explore my interest in PR.

Although I generally knew that I wanted to pursue a career in PR, I also recognized the path to finding my passion would be a long and winding road. Every individual’s student-to-professional journey is distinctive, so I thought, why not explore the unique paths my fellow 2023 interns traveled to get here?

FORMing Rewarding Careers

In the midst of classes, homework and student life, I learned early on that college is the time to determine my future. That can be a lot of pressure, or at least it was for me. In fact, establishing and growing personal strengths in such a transitional time can seem almost impossible.

In my own journey, I have come to recognize the subconscious pressures to create a linear path toward professional success. But, after going through my first week at Wray Ward, I am here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth.

After getting to know my fellow interns and their own journeys, I gained insight into how — and why — career success stories are undefinable and limitless. Because of this, I asked my fellow 2023 FORM interns to answer questions about their journey and what they intend to accomplish during their time at Wray Ward.

Before I get started, let me introduce you to Wray Ward’s FORM internship class of 2023:

  • Heather Portland, PR/Content Intern

  • Manisa Vongnalath, UX Design/Development Intern

  • Ella Price, Copywriting Intern

Now, for the fun part.

Q: What is your area of study, and how did you find out about the FORM internship?

Heather Portland: I am working toward a bachelor’s in public relations and humanities for public service and a minor in digital marketing strategy. I heard about Wray Ward through a former classmate who served with me on the executive board for Virginia Tech’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America. When the 2023 application period opened, I leaped at the chance to apply — and landed the position of a lifetime.

Manisa Vongnalath: I recently graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a bachelor’s in graphic design. My professors told me about Wray Ward. They would always mention our alumni who had the opportunity to work at Wray Ward and the valuable career lessons they learned. I have been eyeing this internship opportunity for a few years but never had the courage to apply until now. I’m glad I did!

Ella Price: I’m working toward a bachelor’s in advertising/public relations with a minor in philosophy, politics and economics and a certificate in graphic design. I found out about Wray Ward when a family member sent the job posting.

Q: What made you want to spend your summer at Wray Ward?

Heather: After hearing about Julia’s countless amazing experiences, I knew I had to check the program out for myself. As soon as I visited the FORM website, I could tell Wray Ward has a creative and talented team that takes pride in the work they do. I wanted to be part of a passionate team that works toward a collective goal while also honoring their own talents.

Being an intern usually means doing the busy work that no one else wants to do, but I could tell that at Wray Ward, my projects would mean something and would give me the tools for professional success.

Manisa: I applied to Wray Ward because they have a UX design/development position. I think this kind of internship is pretty rare in the Charlotte area and was stoked to find one. The interview process left a great impression on me. I immediately felt comfortable — a big reason I accepted the offer.

Ella: It’s clear Wray Ward values their interns and wants to help them grow as creatives and employees. I knew that my insights and work would be taken seriously. I wouldn’t spend my days fetching coffee and taking lunch orders. The copy on the FORM website is sharp, clever and compelling. It has a distinctly human voice that I often find difficult to convey in words, and I wanted to learn how I could capture that in my own writing. I knew that if I worked here, I’d be surrounded by extremely talented creatives, and I was right!

From the initial interview, I felt welcome. I had an open and exciting conversation with two people I now work alongside every day. (Hey Laura! Hey Greg!) I knew the people at Wray Ward were people I wanted to work with — and it seemed like they wanted to work with me, too.

Q: What made you interested in your area of focus?

Heather: If there are two talents I know I have, they are writing and relationship-building. The first day I took a public relations class, I knew it was the right fit for me and what I had to offer to the world. Not only would I get to write, but I would also be able to collaborate and connect with others in a rewarding way. So much goes into public relations and content. To me, that’s the most fascinating part of it all: Being able to express the narratives and creative spirit behind inspiring brands — in a way that benefits others — provides a sense of accomplishment.

Manisa: I had the chance to take an interactive design and UX/UI class during my junior year, and I was really interested in that. I enjoy seeing how an idea comes to life as well as how others interact with it through the finished product.

Ella: I’ve always loved to write but never considered advertising or other creative fields until my second year of college after a harrowing summer on Capitol Hill (somebody has to run this country, but it will not be me). When I imagined writing professionally, I thought that meant sitting down and cranking out a 500-page novel (which a younger me has tried, and failed, to do). I didn’t have any experience with copywriting but slowly came to realize that copy is everywhere and comes in many forms. Copywriting is an energizing form of creative work with endless possibilities.

Q: What are some of the challenges and hardships you’ve faced so far?

Heather: Well, this is my first internship. Having little experience has honestly given me intense imposter syndrome feelings. I knew what direction I wanted to take in terms of specialty, but little did I think that such an amazing opportunity would fall into my lap.

After becoming part of such a talented team, I’ve quickly learned that everyone has unique talents and characteristics they bring to the table. Although my self-doubt resurfaces here and there, it is important to remember that hard work and effort always shine through.

Manisa: Like Heather, I’m also in my first internship, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was nervous about having to meet new people and be in a professional work environment, but everyone has been friendly.

Ella: Figuring out what I love and what will fulfill me has been an interesting journey. Initially, I wrote off any creative professions out of fear that I’d never be good enough, but I’ve come to realize there’s a place for me in the creative world if I leave my self-doubt at the door.

I’m lucky to have the time in college to explore different areas of interest and discover what lights my fire academically, creatively and professionally.

Q: What do you want to accomplish through this internship?

Heather: I hope to get a better understanding of how agency life works and what it means to connect the work we do to the work of others. Here, there are so many inspiring and driven people with their own inspiring stories. I hope to learn more about and from them. I am especially excited to further my skills as a writer. Overall, I look forward to leaving here proud of the work I have accomplished and furthering my career.

Manisa: I want to get an in-depth feel for agency life, hone my skills and learn new industry software from the professionals. There are always new software products and updates, and I think staying up to date will be super important in the creative field.

Ella: I hope to gain a deep understanding of how an agency works and what the creative process looks like in a professional setting. There are so many talented people at this company, both within and outside of the copywriting team, that I’m confident I’ll leave with a lot of new skills and a portfolio of work that makes me proud.

Advice for FORM Applicants

If you’re a current student who wants to build something great — and maybe even set your sights on FORM — pay attention to application advice and what will set you up for success. To leave you off, my fellow interns and I wanted to share tips that helped us get selected for the 2023 team.

Heather: Give yourself grace, be a sponge, be curious and go outside of your comfort zone. As I mentioned before, success is never a linear path. Go out and explore anything and everything that gives you even the slightest bit of excitement and passion. That’s what developing your career is all about.

Manisa: When in doubt, try it out. I turned in my application the day before the deadline, because I wasn’t sure I’d be qualified for the internship. If you don’t try, you’ll never know, so go for it!

Ella: Send anything that even remotely shows your creative skills. I sent a hodgepodge portfolio of college essays, personal statements and schoolwork when I applied for the copywriting position. It wasn’t much, but it gave a good idea of who I was and what my writing looks like. My interviewers had something to talk to me about and got a sense for me as a person. Any work is better than no work. Be confident in your product!

Onward and Upward

Thank you to Wray Ward for providing an amazing stepping stone in my own journey. After one week, I have already made incredible progress toward a public relations career. I can’t wait to see how much I grow and develop alongside my amazing FORM team members. Follow FORM on Instagram

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