Carnegie Mellon University

Professional Writing Major Lands Internship at C-SPAN

Alexandra and MelanieAlexandra Kirshon, a sophomore majoring in professional writing and decision science, is honing her skills in writing as an intern at C-SPAN in Washington, D.C.

Through CMU’s Washington Semester Program, Kirshon works in C-SPAN’s Marketing Department for Media Relations. On a typical day, she’ll clip five videos using C-SPAN archives and gather screenshots to be tweeted out, write press releases, and call nationwide news branches to secure C-SPAN Bus Tour interviews and coverage.

"I realized that the best marketing foundation I could give myself should be based on plain forthright prose," said Kirshon. "That way, when I am expanding my boundaries later I can build on the skills I've learned.”

The program has shown Kirshon the difference between a work environment and the classroom – knowing that when she goes to work, her efforts become a reflection of herself and her supervisor.

“Everything is hyper time-sensitive, especially in media, so there's no room for procrastination,” said Kirshon. “I've really enjoyed that lifestyle."

The Washington Semester Program has given Kirshon important experience early on in her college career.

"This program gives you a serious glance into the real world," said Kirshon. "It helps you figure out what work you like, what work you don't, and what you want to look further into.”

In addition to interning, Kirshon takes two classes: Washington Media and American Political Journalism.

“American Political Journalism is taught on the fifth floor of The Washington Post by an associate editor,” said Kirshon. "I would be lying if I said I didn't geek out every time I walked inside.”

She also attends the program’s Internship Seminar, which brings in a CMU alumni each week to discuss their career experiences, and the Policy Forum where she listens to guest speakers including the President of the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX).

“The exposure to alumni and successful workers has clarified what next steps I want to take in my career search,” said Kirshon.

After graduation, Kirshon plans to work in marketing using data-driven outreach skills like testing marketing strategies, researching the effects, and adjusting methods accordingly to optimize public approval.

Photo: Kirshon is pictured in the middle in front of the White House.