Not many college students can claim they planned a fundraiser that attracted more than 4,000 people, and raised $20,000 for community service agencies.
Kambren Stanley can put that kind of experience on her résumé, because of an internship while earning her degree at Indiana University Kokomo.
Stanley, 22, coordinated one of the United Way of Howard County’s largest fundraisers, the Taste of Kokomo, during her internship with the organization. She organized more than 20 area food vendors, obtained all necessary licenses and permits, scheduled volunteers, handled advertising and publicity, and all other aspects of the event.
“My dream job is working for a winery in California, planning events and publicity,” she said. “This internship, along with another in media and marketing, shows that I can do the job successfully. I have hands-on experience I can talk about, in addition to what I learned in class.”
Stanley, from Peru, learned the behind-the-scenes aspects of event planning and marketing with her internships, including all the logistics and paperwork involved.
“I learned more about trash and sewage than I ever wanted to know,” she said of the Taste of Kokomo experience. “It was all worth it when I could walk through while it was going on, and see people having a good time, because of my work.”
She also successfully completed an internship, and then became a student writer, with IU Kokomo’s Office of Media and Marketing. She gained real world experience writing press releases and leading social media campaigns.
“I learned how public relations and marketing professionals work, about knowing your message and reflecting your message,” she said. “I learned a lot about writing and editing as well, from people with experience.”
Stanley enrolled at IU Kokomo planning to just stay a year or two, long enough to earn her prerequisites for a degree in business marketing, before transferring to a residential college.
Within a few weeks of her first semester, however, she knew she had the right campus, but the wrong major.
“It felt like home, so I knew IU Kokomo was where I wanted to be,” she said. “I’ve always loved to write, and my first communications class convinced me that’s where I fit in.”
She changed her major to communication arts, and started finding places to be involved on campus. Stanley has been a student government senator, editor of the student newspaper, an orientation leader, a peer advisor, and attended the leadership conference at Camp Tecumseh.
She appreciates many people who have helped her succeed as a student, including Erin Doss, assistant professor of communication arts, who became “a mentor and friend to me,” and Kelli Keener, director of advising, who “made me feel I could do anything I wanted.
“My experience at IU Kokomo changed my life,” she said. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the people here who have loved and supported me.”
After graduating in May, Stanley is working as an intern at FCA US LLC, and has started applying for jobs in California.
“I’m nervous, but I know if I don’t do it now, I may not do it at all,” she said. “I’m looking forward to my next adventure.”