Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Student Blog: Networking Trips to New York City and Washington, D.C.

Washington DC - Lincoln Memorial

This January, students from the School of Advertising and Public Relations and School and Journalism and Electronic Media traveled to New York City to get an insider’s view of the industry. In February, the Communications Studies club ventured to D.C. to learn more about professional opportunities with a Communication Studies degree.

They were hosted by CCI alums and given the opportunity to further their knowledge outside the classroom. Three students, Laken Wright, Savannah Smith, and Hannah Dimon, gave a first-hand account of the trips.

Laken Wright (Advertising)

CCI - Laken WrightThis January, I took part in a once in a lifetime opportunity to fly to New York City to explore the advertising capital of the world! This venture gave me the chance to explore all of the opportunities within the industry, network, and study further in the field of advertising outside of the classroom. I got a firsthand look at the lifestyle, environment, and opportunities the New York advertising world has to offer.

While in New York, I got to hear from agencies and companies like VMLY&R, Ogilvy, J&L, W&K, FCB Health and Verizon. At many of these agencies, UTK alumni gave the presentation and were a part of the panel helping to answer any questions the students had about specific jobs, agencies, or working in advertising.  I found it very reassuring that these former students had been in my same position. Many had even been on this trip just a few years ago! The alums had different journeys, routes, and stepping stones that landed them where they are now – working within their major! This type of comfort helped me take a step back and realize that no matter how we get there, we can reach our dream job – even with a few bumps along the way.

I utilized every second of free time to explore New York. I had never been to the city before and it was life-changing standing in the middle of Times Square, looking up at the Empire State Building, and being so close to the Statue of Liberty you felt like you could high-five her!

My biggest take away on this trip was a sense of pride and reassurance that I was part of a program that has produced so many top-notch advertising professionals. The College of Communication and Information and the Ad Club provide the resources, like this trip, that help assist students like me with the connections and information to begin their post-grad careers.


Savannah Smith (Journalism & Electronic Media)

CCI - Savannah SmithIn the fall of my freshman year, I walked into CCI knowing one thing: I was destined to be in New York City. After hearing that the Society of Professional Journalists was planning a trip to New York, I knew this was my chance to start my professional career.

Stepping off the plane as a freshman, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in journalism. I started out wanting to do print, but then I fell in love with The Volunteer Channel, which blossomed into my love for broadcasting. The start of the trip seemed like a big question mark to me because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career. Little did I know how going on that trip would really open my eyes to my future. After touring NBC and CNN and being part of the audience for live shows, I knew this was where I was meant to be.

Two years later, I was back in the city I loved so much as a freshman, but this visit was even more special. As a junior, I now know exactly what I want to do in my career – producing. I met great alums and connected with people in the industry that do exactly what I want to do. This helped me focus on how I am going to spend the remaining time I have left at UT to be as successful as I can be.

Being a part of the Society of Professional Journalists has definitely given me the opportunity to meet great people and learn what I need to do to be successful while being in the city of my dreams. I am eternally grateful to the School of Journalism and Electronic Media for giving me the opportunity to travel to New York City not only once, but twice. I definitely cherish these moments while in school and will use the skills and relationships I have made in my future career.


Hannah Dimon (Communication Studies)

CCI - Hannah DimonI went with the Communication Studies club to Washington, D.C., to network, explore, and visit various corporations and alumni. This yearly event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to learn real life skills outside of the classroom. We were able to see firsthand how a Communication Studies degree can be applied to jobs in all different fields throughout D.C. and the world.

While in D.C., I got to check out VOX Global, PhRMA and the Ingram group. I was able to talk with various employees within each company, ultimately gaining a better understanding of the workplace culture, any job and internship openings, as well as tips on how to succeed in the fast-paced world of D.C. We also met with Congressman Phil Roe and Congressman Joe Cooper, who offered excellent advice and stories about their time serving in Washington.

My favorite part of the trip was the networking opportunities with UTK alumni. The alumni chapter of D.C. is a very prominent and active one. It was amazing to see just how close and connected they are, even so far away from Rocky Top.

Overall, this trip opened up my eyes to a whole new world that could not have been presented in the classroom. It gives me great hope knowing that I am a part of the amazing Communication Studies program here at UTK. I am excited to continue to involve myself in everything the school has to offer. My goal is to land a career that I love and cherish every day. After going on this trip, I believe I’m one step closer to making this dream a reality.