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The Catalyst

PR intern with ties to MUSC grows with campus experiences

By Emily Upshur
Public Relations

Public Relations intern Emily Upshur shares an enthusiastic thumbs up regarding her summer internship experience at MUSC. photo provided

This summer, I had the privilege of interning at the MUSC Office of Public Relations as a writer for The Catalyst. I have deep roots at MUSC, having started my life there nearly 22 years ago alongside my twin sister, Christine. We were born 11weeks early and spent several weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit before going home. My grandmother, Jane Upshur, M.D., also served for many years as a pathologist and professor at the university, and my mother, Lori Upshur, works as an IT manager for the Department of Pediatrics. When the time came for me to find an internship in order to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Clemson University, MUSC seemed like the perfect option.

Thankfully, the Office of Public Relations needed writers to work on The Catalyst for the summer, and the staff was gracious enough to bring me on as an intern. It was a privilege to work with such intelligent and capable individuals. These people do their jobs well, for which I am grateful because it gave me an example of how I should conduct myself in a work setting. It also gave me the opportunity to interact and learn from people who have chosen writing as a profession. I believe this has helped me greatly in my development as a writer and has also enabled me to gain a better appreciation for journalistic writing and editing.

As an English student, my writing experience and interests leaned more toward academic papers on literature and writing original fiction. I was uncertain if I could report news as well as I could write fiction, especially in describing real people and events as opposed to characters and plot devices. But it was amazing for me to learn how many character-driven stories are being lived out in the day-to-day work at MUSC. The people I interviewed were varied, fascinating individuals. I learned so much more about them beyond their involvement in the subject matter of the interviews. This helped me clearly convey their voices and provide a sense of reality to the articles that can often be hard to achieve in fiction.

Along with the Public Relations staff, I was able to work with some remarkable interns. One was a grad student from the College of Charleston, and another, a University of South Carolina undergrad. It was an enjoyable experience to work with these ladies on The Catalyst. One time I teamed up with one of the interns on a story about the MUHA Employee of the Year event. We took photographs and were able to celebrate the hard work and efforts of several employees.    

Gathering information for stories took me all over the main campus which gave me the chance to see so much more of MUSC than I ever had previously. I interacted
with members of the Volunteer and Guest Services Department in Ashley River Tower, spoke with the staff of the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit in the Main Hospital and listened to visiting undergraduate students present their summer research in the Basic Science Building.

Part of my internship also gave me the chance to do two externships outside of the Public Relations. I was able to work with some of the staff of the South Carolina Area Health Education and Consortium, helping edit their newsletter. I also spent three days over at MUSC’s Office of Student Programs, interacting with students and helping prepare for August orientation. Both were very good opportunities for me to see the different ways communications professionals operate in various parts of MUSC.   

Ultimately, the best part of my internship was the chance to contribute to an organization that has had such an impact on my life. I was able to learn more about MUSC and communicate what I learned to a wide audience of people. I was able to write about the wonderful things that go on at the university and hospital, and felt a sense of accomplishment every time the new Catalyst came out.

This has been an awesome experience, and I am very thankful for the opportunities it has given me.

September 28, 2014



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