Andersen, Burke Intern at Branding Firm Thanks to Alum’s Support
Aug. 13, 2015
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Two Titans interned this summer at the Chicago office of VSA Partners,
a brand and marketing firm where Patrick Palmer ’87 is Discipline Lead for Strategy
Michelle Burke ’15, a business administration major with a concentration in marketing is a post-baccalaureate Strategy Intern in
Consumer Marketing. Derek Andersen ’16 (Wheaton, Ill.), an English-writing major, interned in the Writing and Creative department. Both students were introduced
to VSA through Palmer’s recruiting visits to the Illinois Wesleyan campus.
Burke said her tasks included conducting competitive analyses to help the team gain
better understanding of their clients and the environments in which they compete.
“I’m also involved in a summer-long project to create VSA’s own digital marketing
strategy,” she said. “I’m working with a small group to create a year-long content
calendar for digital marketing. The guidelines will include a number of variables
including target audiences, paid media strategy, content curation and ROI goals.”
Burke said she loves strategy because it involves problem solving and breaking down
problems into simple solutions. “This internship has given me great experience in
building my knowledge of strategy,” she said.
As a student Burke was a member of the women’s golf team, Alpha Gamma Delta sorority,
Titan Leadership Program, IWU Ambassadors and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity.
Andersen enjoyed the creative side of agency work, where he wrote executive biographies,
crafted social media hashtags and even named a jewelry product during his 10-week
internship. “My biggest project was writing stories for Cargill’s website on the company’s
recent innovations and philanthropic efforts,” said Andersen.
He found the position by interviewing with Palmer at the Hart Career Center. “I knew this opportunity at VSA Partners would allow me to use my creativity,”
said Andersen, who said he has wanted to work in advertising for a long time. “This
internship was a great opportunity to break into the industry.”
Andersen said the internship also has validated his choice of majors. “Some of my
peers have told me how impractical they think my major is, but this internship has
allowed me to apply all the skills I’ve learned,” he said. “I’ve written in different
voices, tones, and narrative styles, and I’ve crafted content that evokes emotion.
It’s been rewarding to see my coursework translate to the real world.”
At Illinois Wesleyan Andersen is a member of the men’s cross country and track and
field teams and has published his work in Tributaries, a campus literary magazine publishing student prose, poetry and artwork.
More than 200 Illinois Wesleyan students completed internships this summer at locations
across the country and around the globe. Illinois Wesleyan students increasingly participate
in internship opportunities; the most recent data shows more than 70 percent of the Class of 2014 participated in at least one internship