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Spotlight on PBS Interns: Samantha Sterling

Editor's Note: As summer nears its end, we 'd like to share a few stories about some of the talented young people who spent their summer with us here at the PBS national office. Earlier this summer, The SPI Team matched a pair of interns to have a conversation about their experience at PBS. The intention? To reveal a candid perspective of their time working in the building, what they learned and how they plan to move on in the future.

It may seem like an oxymoron, but Samantha Sterling somehow manages to be both focused in her passions as well as a flexible jack-of-all-trades. A rising senior at Northwestern University’s renowned Journalism school, Samantha is also pursuing minors in Cognitive Science and Integrated Marketing. She has worked in analytics, public relations, marketing, sports, and now, children’s media.

Our functions are similar, but compared to my position, which has a strong focus on social media, Samantha has been gaining experience in the full spectrum of marketing, publicity and communications under Maria Vera, the Director of Marketing and Communications for PBS KIDS. From writing press releases for fall season shows like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Peg + Cat to assisting in the maintenance and growth of PBS KIDS’ social media presence, Samantha hit the ground running from her first day at PBS.

Samantha gives off a strong impression of being a 'people person.' Maybe we happened to hit it off. We quickly found out that we had a lot in common: as rising college seniors we bemoaned the impending doom of the real world, and even found out we belonged to the same sorority. But I think there’s more than that; sometimes you just find that people are incredibly easy to talk to, and Samantha is definitely one of them.

Maybe it has something to do with her passion and involvement in team sports – her favorites to watch are football and basketball. At Northwestern, Samantha is the Captain of Women’s Club Soccer, and has interned for both the Washington Redskins and the Washington Mystics. It was genuinely fascinating to hear her insights on the differences between working for the two teams. Working in PR for the Redskins in 2014, she found that most publicity initiatives, such as efforts in community engagement, happened off the field. On the other hand, publicity for a WNBA team required on-the-field coverage that highlighted the Mystics’ athletic achievements – frequently overlooked or delegitimized in favor of men’s NBA teams or other high-profile sports.

Eventually, Samantha hopes to go into sports or entertainment marketing. As a NoVa native, she expressed a desire to venture out of the DC metro area, but I got the sense that she’s trying to keep an open mind in a competitive job market – though I doubt she’ll have a hard time.

Karen Shibuya | PBS Corporate Communications Intern

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