BY: CHRIS MCGEE
Eastern student Nicolette Coontz was one of many who watched President Obama’s second inauguration, but she was one of few who got to assist behind the scenes in coordinating different inaugural media events.
Coontz is a senior, broadcasting and electronic media major with a double minor in public relations and American sign language.
She worked with former Fla. Governor Jeb Bush as an inaugural communication event intern at the Wardman Park Media Station in Washington.
The inauguration internship was not Coontz’s first foray into high-profile internships. She also interned for Outside Organizations, a public relations agency, during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“I worked with Channel 5 and the BBC from June to August,” Coontz said. “ I would cover an event, write a story and put together a broadcast package.”
She also said each story had an online and print version because British television is so different from American.
Coontz said past internships and some networking were responsible for her being afforded the opportunity.
“I am a member of the National Society of College Scholars,” Coontz said. “As a result, I was able to get in touch with Megan Stevens, the regional event coordinator for our campus, who told me about the internship and encouraged me to apply.”
“I applied two years ago and was informed in March 2012 that I had received the internship,” she said.
Coontz said she had the chance to work with the FBI, CIA and Secret Service during the internship.
“I got the opportunity to see how the different protective details coordinate their plans and learn some of the jargon they use to communicate with each other,” Coontz said.
She also worked with some prominent political figures.
“I worked with James Carville and Mary Matlin and Rev. Jesse Jackson,” she said.
Additionally, Coontz did some cable work for CNBC and CSPAN.
“I helped prepare organizations for when they would speak during the inauguration activities and where they would be in the inauguration parade,” Coontz said.
She also had the opportunity to work with some key press contacts.
Coontz said London was the top internship in her mind because it was abroad and she got to do so many different things.
“I have three internships this semester,” she said. “ By the time I graduate, I will have five under my belt.”
“During my time in school, I’ve had great opportunities to get good internships,” Coontz said.