When West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism alumnus Mike Fulton graduated in 1979, it was a fellow alumnus who helped him launch a successful career on Capitol Hill.

In keeping with the “Mountaineer Spirit” of giving back to his alma mater, Fulton, now executive vice president for the Washington, D.C., public affairs firm GolinHarris, helped to establish the Mountaineer in D.C. internship program with his company in 2004. Each year, he works closely with the School of Journalism’s advising staff to select students for the high-profile internship.

Two of this year’s recipients, Emma Draper of Martinsburg and Elyse Petroni of Cuba, N.Y., will spend the summer working with real-world clients alongside GolinHarris employees and other WVU alumni.

Petroni, a 2010 public relations graduate and current student in the School’s online Integrated Marketing Communications master’s degree program, knows the value of a partnership between a company like GolinHarris and her alma mater.

“I have been trying to get an internship with GolinHarris since I came to WVU,” said Petroni. “I always wanted to get agency experience. When I found out GolinHarris had a good relationship with the School of Journalism, I looked into it and saw that they were an agency that I would really want to learn from.”

Draper, a public relations senior, is also looking forward to putting her coursework to practice on a real-world project.

“I’ve learned about corporate relations in journalism all through college, but actually working in a professional environment is something completely different,” said Draper. “I think I have a lot to learn this summer, and I’m really excited to start.”

Fulton sees Petroni and Draper as examples of students who have reached out to School of Journalism alumni and networked with professionals outside the classroom. He says students like them are more likely to succeed in the job market.

“I spoke to Dr. [Diana] Martinelli’s class last year,” said Fulton. “At the end of my speech a few students came down to see me. Those are the ones I’m going to remember.”

GolinHarris, one of the world’s leading public relations and government affairs firms, selects three School of Journalism students each year to participate in the Mountaineer in D.C. internship program.
Draper and Petroni joined the GolinHarris team on June 1 and will work there through the end of August. Alex McPherson, a public relations senior from Huntington will intern with the firm during the Fall 2010 semester.

Established in 1956, GolinHarris is a leading public relations agency offering a distinctive combination of global resources and world-class expertise with tailored approaches and personal, focused attention in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. Clients include Alpharma, Dow Chemical Co., McDonalds Corp., Nintendo of America Inc., Orange, TetraPak, Texas Instruments and Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.

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CONTACT: Kimberly Brown, School of Journalism
304-293-3505 ext. 5403