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Professional Features: Erica Sawyer

Erica Sawyer, a sophomore studying strategic political communications and digital media production at Drake University, is an intern with Drake Professional and Career Development Services. 

In her role, Sawyer’s main focus is social media management. She said that since the start of her internship for the spring semester, she has primarily created content for the Be Limitless: 2022 Career Conference that occurred last Friday. 

“I made Instagram slides to introduce all the different speakers, and then I made PowerPoint introductions because it’s all over Zoom,” Sawyer said. “And then I made a video showing how to register.”

Leah Berte, Assistant Director of Drake Professional and Career Development Services and the liaison to the Drake School of Education and College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, is Sawyer’s professional advisor. Berte said that they are coming up on a month of Sawyer working for the Professional and Career Development Services and describes Sawyer’s role. 

“It is a lot of design, a lot of innovation in terms of being able to decide what our brand should be, what the colors should be that’s professional but fun,” Berte said. “It’s communications. She has to write quite a bit and she will be doing some research to figure out what we can do to engage.” 

Sawyer said that one of her personal goals for the Drake Professional Career and Development Service’s Instagram page is to develop a brand.

“I want to create a brand because right now their page is a little disjointed because they have employer takeovers and then they have student takeovers and then they have Drake stuff,” Sawyer said. “So, one of the things that I had in mind was creating templates to give to the employers so that it creates more of a cohesive page.”

Sawyer describes how this internship serves as an opportunity to apply what she has learned at the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communications, especially for her J59 and J55 courses.  

“I think learning basic skills on basic composition for digital media and taking Visual Communications and knowing how to put something together on InDesign is important,” Sawyer said. “And in Digital Media Strategies, learning about SEO and learning about engagement and stuff like that. For a brand, just knowing that it is something that is important and knowing how to identify it is critical.” 

Sawyer said she has taken classes on social media management, but the concepts always seemed abstract until she had the opportunity to apply them through her internship.

Berte comments on Sawyer’s professionalism. She said that starting with the interview, Sawyer came early and had clear communication. Berte said she was forthcoming on what her weaknesses were, and from there, she has been very impressive. 

“Already, within the first week of her starting, I could tell that I could count on her,” Berte said. “She’s dependable.”

Sawyer has had two additional internship experiences.

“Last spring, I did a video internship with Drake Communication and Marketing,” Sawyer said. “I really liked that one because it was another on-campus internship, so they were super flexible and then I liked getting more professional video experience. I was mostly doing video editing.”

Sawyer has a passion for video editing. She said she originally came to Drake for the strategic political communications major (SPC), but when she added digital media production, she loved it. In addition to her video internship, Sawyer did a communications internship with the Iowa Hospital Association in Fall 2021.

“That was fun because most of my professional experience had been in more digital spaces, like digital media, so this was something that was more focused on my SPC area,” Sawyer said.  

Sawyer is excited about what she will gain from her current internship with Drake Professional and Career Development Services.

When asked why she applied for this position, Sawyer said, “I know looking at jobs for the future and internships, it seems like social media management is a super important growing field or a skill that people want for incoming interns. So, I’m glad I’m getting that experience to put on my resume.”

Berte is looking forward to Sawyer’s future contribution in her time as an intern. 

“We’re excited,” Berte said. “I already have confidence that she is going to be able to give us a brand. I already trust that. I also think she’s going to give us more visibility and help us connect better with our audiences. That’s something that I’m really looking forward to. It’s going to really benefit our office and then full circle, it benefits students because they’ll know more about us, maybe not be as intimidated to use our services, and she’s really going to give us that student perspective of what students want.”


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