As I walked into the famous Daily News Building for my three-day Princeternship at LLNS, I could hardly contain my excitement. I first heard about healthcare advertising about a year ago. Ever since then, I had been eager to learn more about copywriting in the industry because it seemed to be my ideal career of writing creatively about science. At this Princeternship, I gained a firsthand look at the career I had previously only read about at one of the best healthcare communications firms around.
When the elevator door opened onto the LLNS floor, I was surprised by its calmness. However, the emptiness was not at all reflective of the warm hospitality shown to my fellow intern, Emmy, and me. We were informed that many of the employees had been up late working on a pitch proposal. We had arrived at LLNS during a busy time of late nights and weekend hours, making it less surprising that the office was empty early in the morning. Once the office filled up, I was struck by how friendly everyone was. Although LLNS was in the middle of preparing a pitch, none of the employees showed any signs of stress. In fact, everyone was extremely accommodating, making time to speak with Emmy and me despite his or her busy schedule.
The day officially began when Emmy and I met our host, Jessica Wey ’07. When she was studying molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton, Jessica never heard of healthcare advertising. She fell into the industry by chance when she found a copywriting job at a firm post-graduation. Just five years later, she is VP, Associate Creative Director at LLNS. Jessica shared with us some items in her portfolio. Many of these took the form of materials used by representatives of a pharmaceutical company to advertise to physicians. These representatives often only have a few minutes with the doctor. Therefore, the advertising materials must display comprehensive information in a new and engaging way. Healthcare advertising can also target consumers or insurance companies. After talking to Jessica for just one hour, I had already learned so much about the industry.
Over the next three days, Emmy and I gained an even better understanding of the industry through speaking with people from different departments. In addition to learning more about the industry, I also learned about the skills valued in healthcare advertising, such as forward-thinking and broad interests. The Chief Creative Officer told Emmy and me that the industry is perfect for the “eclectic.” Sure enough, we met businessmen, editors, technology gurus, print-publication experts, visual artists, presenters, and more. In addition, these professionals were multi-talented individuals passionate about things beyond advertising, from soccer to poetry.
During our spare time, Emmy and I worked on individual projects Jessica assigned. Since I was interested in copywriting, my assignment gave me a better sense of the content that copywriters work with. I found this hands-on experience a great introduction to the type of work I might do post-graduation.
Day three came too quickly. I wished I could have stayed at LLNS to continue exploring this fascinating industry. The Princeternship far surpassed my expectations, as I gained not only a better understanding of my own career goals but also a role model in Jessica Wey. Thank you Jessica, Robin Rostron, everyone at LLNS, and Princeton Career Services for this educational and fun experience. I am so grateful to have participated in this fantastic opportunity.