The following letter was written by Daniela Santos, a recent graduate of the University of Denver who interned with CURA for the spring semester of 2020. She shared her experiences interning with us through a pandemic, seeing the ins and outs of health care PR and learning about the industry through her projects. She also offered her advice for fellow graduates facing the current job market.
Being a part of the CURA team during the 2020 spring semester has been a whirlwind, yet I’m so glad I got to see firsthand how this agency handles any challenge thrown at them. Whether it’s switching gears to plan for a last-minute virtual conference, helping clients properly reach their audiences regarding new COVID-19 policies and protocols, or checking in on each others’ mental and physical health, I’m grateful to have experienced CURA’s leadership and flexibility.
In the beginning, moving across the country for a new job and meeting new people was a lot to take in. That nervous feeling faded quickly when CURA welcomed me with open arms and trusted me to tackle my new responsibilities. Working for an agency taught me that, in a fast-paced environment, you need a reliable team where everyone pulls their weight. This encouraged me to keep an up-to-date planner and understand that my tasks were valuable puzzle pieces necessary to complete an entire project. I had the honor of working with Mental Health for US, Psych Hub, Treatment Advocacy Center and the American College of Cardiology, each of which has a unique and valuable mission that was important for me to understand in order to best serve them.
Agency life at CURA means there is always something to do, and always a chance to learn something new.
An internship at CURA provides the experience necessary to start your career in PR on a good foot, which is extremely valuable. Through working for CURA, I found myself feeling more confident in my strengths and more motivated to improve as a PR professional. I appreciated being included in account conversations and meetings, which helped me see the full scope of our projects. Since most of my accounts focused on mental health and addiction, being a part of these discussions and working closely with the full team helped me gain a deeper appreciation for everyone involved in bringing to light the changes needed to better the lives of those living with these conditions.
During this challenging time, it can feel disheartening to try and find new opportunities. However, what is keeping my chin up is thinking about last summer when I also felt hopeless as I searched for the next step in my career. When I graduated last spring, I would not have imagined that in the beginning of 2020 I’d have the chance to live in Washington D.C. and work for this great health care PR agency. Life is unpredictable, so I would recommend being open to new opportunities and not getting discouraged if these opportunities do not come right away. Now is a great time to prepare for when job openings do return—update your LinkedIn, polish your resume, keep in touch with past connections, etc. Most importantly, we all need to remember to not be too hard on ourselves.
CURA has been very supportive and great about acknowledging everyone’s hard work! The company has a great support system, and it’s this encouragement that helped me feel capable of trying new things and allowed me to build a grounded work ethic. I hope to keep in touch with the connections I’ve made at CURA because of how the interpersonal dynamics of the team stood out. The experience truly felt like a job where I was independent. I developed a new admiration for the world of health care PR, and it honestly feels like our work truly matters as we help make change for the better. I am so humbled and grateful for the opportunity to work with CURA—even though it comes to an end exclusively connecting via Zoom calls and Slack messages. If you have the chance to come to D.C., I highly recommend beginning your PR career with CURA Strategies. CURA has shown me what CURAgeous work looks like. I’ll carry with me all the lessons I’ve learned from this experience, and for that I can only say, thank you CURA!
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