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August 6, 2013

ULM student excels in New York internship

University of Louisiana at Monroe mass communications student and Calhoun native Kylie Stracener, will spend a total of 10 weeks in Oneonta, N.Y., for an internship with Hartwick College's campus activities.

She obtained the internship through the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA).

"I have never lived anywhere else besides the Monroe area," said Stracener.

"Taking this step in my life has been a test to see if I can make it on my own and be successful at my job and at life away from home. Wrapping up my internship, I know I have accomplished what I set out to do this summer."

Stracener attended an NACA conference as an officer of ULM's Campus Activities Board, becoming interested in NACA internships as a result.

"I applied for as many as I could as far away as I could find," she said. "Hartwick College is the lucky institution that got me!"

Hartwick College is a small liberal arts private institution with about 1,500 students.

Stracener described her role at Hartwick College, saying, "Every day I go into work and start working on a project that is going to benefit Hartwick's student body or clubs and organizations. I have made a campaign for a new website they are launching for Hartwick students and faculty to easily connect with all their clubs and organizations."

Within the campaign, I have developed marketing materials like flyers, radio ads, logos, time lines, narrated presentations, and more. I have also worked with contracts, finances, developed events, and produced different policies and agreements for certain organizations."

Stracener said she has thrived in her new environment.

"I have completed every project asked of me and am praised by my employers daily for the caliber of the work I produce and my work ethic. I now know I can conquer any and all of my dreams because of this experience."

Though she misses home, her friends and family members have worked hard to keep in touch with her.

"There is no better feeling than having my friends texting me daily, weekly phone calls with the people who mean the most, or random letters in the mail from home," she said.

"My parents drove 23 hours to New York with me to make sure I was settled in, and I have two amazing friends who have offered to fly up and drive back to Louisiana with me! I can truly say they have made Oneonta a home away from home this summer."

But Stracener has done more than talk to her loved ones in Monroe to enjoy her time in the Northeast.

She has visited New York City several times, staying with her cousin, a New York University French professor.

She said, "I have gotten the chance to visit with ULM alumni and my good friend Jarred Keller, who now works and lives in New York City. I have been able to travel to Connecticut and Massachusetts with the girl I am interning with. I also got to go see Tim McGraw – who went to ULM – in concert at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts venue in Bethel, N.Y., where the Woodstock Festival in 1969 was held."

Several differences between New York and Louisiana have sent Stracener whirling.

"I am about to go crazy because I have not had sweet tea all summer long!" she said.

"With Hartwick basically being on the side of the mountain," she said, "I am going to come back in the best shape of my life from all the hills I walk daily."

In five years, Stracener would love to see herself working in public relations, event planning, or marketing in a major city like New York City, Los Angeles, or Dallas.

"In 10 years," she said, "I think I still want the same thing, but with a husband and child added to the picture. My life plan is ever evolving!"

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