Meet the Office! Transcript
Hi, welcome to our first episode of the Interns' Chair! I am your Ascension Public Schools Public Information Office high school intern and host Reace.
On the discussion table today is just an introduction to our Public Information Office. With us we have some special guests tell us about their jobs and what it's like working together. This is just a heads up you may be able to hear some static during our interview. We would like to apologize for any trouble that may cause, but without any further ado let's jump right into it!
So here at our Public Information Office we've got a pretty small tight-knit little group. Leading the charge of course is Ms. Jackie Tisdell, Ascension's Public Information Officer and our newest member is Miss Danielle Evans.
Hi to both of you in here with us today.
Jackie and Danielle:
Hi, how are you!
Okay great, all right so we're gonna get right off to start.
My first question is for Ms. Jackie Tisdell. Can you give us a quick little insight into your background including your careers before you came to Ascension and also college experience and how that led you to where you are today?
Okay I will try to be brief, thank you for the question.
So I was a student-athlete at St. Mary College in Shreveport and during my days of playing softball and volleyball and running cross country also worked for the Sports Information Office. So that was really my first intro into any type of communications. I helped do statistics, I helped write, do some, media guides and some press releases for the athletic department in college.
I also served as the editor, sports editor, for the newspaper and the student newspaper and the student yearbook. I had an undergraduate bachelor's degree in English and then I went to LSU for mass communication, my masters. While I was doing my master's at LSU I was a graduate intern at the University of Louisiana System which is the Board of Supervisors for the regional universities and it's housed in Baton Rouge. After I completed my master's there, they actually created a job for me. I was Assistant Director of Communications for the University Louisiana System. I worked under some fantastic mentors there and I actually worked for the University of Louisiana System for about 15 years before I came here.
I worked in higher education. I did multiple things. I did some Student Affairs. I worked with some of the SGA presidents of the universities and then I did primarily communications so I got to work with the nine university communications directors for several years and I absolutely loved it.
Then when this opportunity came open, we live in Ascension, my kids go to schools here in Ascension and we had such a fantastic experience with the public school system, I really wanted to be a part of Ascension Public Schools. So I really jumped on the chance to be able to work for the school district. It's been immensely rewarding.
That's great to hear and a lot of times you don't hear about backgrounds from public information. People just show up for public information it seems like. What kind of degree do you follow, what path do you follow to get where you are today? So it's a great story to hear from someone who is aspiring in the same direction.
Danielle you are Ascension's Digital Media Coordinator. So can you give us a little insight into what that job is?
Well day-to-day I do all the digital media stuff, so for example, I help with keeping our social media up-to-date and current. I'm the webmaster for the district so I help keep the website up to date as well as provide myself as a resource for our school webmasters who need help. I also create graphic designs for the district, so for example some of our releases, we need images explaining what's happening sometimes in those releases, like some of our data for example. I will create designs for that. I've also created some logos for the district. I also help out with a lot of editings of photo, photography, for example. I help edit videos and shoot video and I also help, newly, with creating these podcasts.
Exactly yes and it's been very fun. Can you tell us where you were before you came to Ascension because I understand you've got a pretty extensive background?
So I'm actually originally from Houma, Louisiana. I graduated from college in 2014 at Nicholls State University. My degree is in Fine Arts concentration's graphic design. I actually worked at a design firm for about a year but after that I ended up working at my local Chamber of Commerce and I was a Communication Specialist where I did, still a lot of graphics work, but I did do additional communications work like putting out newsletters, creating publications, for example and then this opportunity popped up. I was just so excited about it that I had to try, I had to come out and apply and I'm here today.
I know and I think this workload is a lot more than I think it your previous job is that correct?
Kind of the same. I'm very used to a busy workload and it's just the nature of communications. I mean things are always happening and you just try to keep on top, not only keep on top of it, but highlight everything the best you can, because so much is happening. You want to say all the great things but there's only so many hours of the day.
Can you tell me what you find, out of all the projects you've completed so far, in short time here what has been favorite?
I really have to say the work that we've been doing with the core values and the core value medallions. For example we've just updated some of the graphics around the core values, because
we're really pushing these awesome medallions, something that are given out to employees who have done an exceptional job. We just recently had a luncheon honoring them and it was just such a fantastic experience to be able to honor these employees.
Another thing that I love that kind of falls in the same veins is I help with creating Friday Faces. I do the graphics for the Friday Faces and it's just so nice to see the comments kind of flood in on social media and how happy people are to share this and special these people feel when they get to be featured and it's just it's such a wonderful part of my job
So I can I interject a little bit because Danielle is absolutely right and those are some of those amazing things, but one of the things, one of her biggest projects. that is not sexy and it's not exciting, but it is so very important that Danielle has really worked to make our website ADA compliant. That's Americans with Disabilities Act and that is a federal mandate and it is in huge undertaking school systems all across the country are now being forced to to make their websites ADA compliant. That sounds like the simple thing and it is not. It's a massive undertaking and she has really done such a beautiful job with it and so I'm blessed to have her a part of the team.
And I will say with the journey with making the website ADA compliant. I feel like I've become a huge advocate for people with disabilities and enhancing, their ability to navigate the web. I've pushed so hard to make sure things are compliant because it affects people, not just people with disabilities, but people day-to-day. I mean how many of us totally listen to Facebook videos captions on, no sound. That's ADA, but it also helps us in our day-to-day lives.
I agree and once again a perfect example of Danielle herding the sheep is her working with me on ADA compliance and I think also Caitlyn Little our college intern who is not here with us today. Every day making it accessible to all of the people in our community and I think that is just some amazing work that she's doing, because it is certainly not easy especially coming from me who has zero background in website management, PDF documents and working with stuff like that. I am so fortunate to be able to work with Jackie and Danielle and see both sides of public relations and public information and learning that it's not just, sending out press releases. It's not just posting on Facebook regularly or gathering information, it's about working with your community and making sure that everyone in this school system is receiving information equally and that they are feeling communicated with.
I am so glad that I get to be a part of this office it's been an amazing experience
I just have one more question for the both of you and this one is a little bit for me mostly, but can you think what you find most valuable in an intern in our office in relation to your specific job?
Oh gosh you've been such a fantastic intern and really I've been blessed to have several really fantastic interns. I'm so thrilled with the products that we are generating in our schools because I see it firsthand.
I think that the willingness to learn something new is really huge because we're the whole
purpose of the internship isn't for you to come in and file and to answer phones. It's really to give you an opportunity to learn skills that you didn't have before and skills that you can take with you to your future career and maybe even give you a little insight on what type of career you might want to do. So to hear you talk about doing the website and learning a ADA compliance issues and how to work with Adobe Acrobat Suite. I mean those are all huge job skills that you'll be able to take with you. So I'm just thrilled to hear that from you and to hear that this is valuable to you because that is really our role.
As far as characteristics of of interns is truly the willingness to come in and and want to learn different things and not be afraid to learn different things and then also the ability to work independently because quite honestly our days are never predictable and there are some times that we need to be able to give you an assignment and let you be able to run with it.
So those would be my top two.
You killed me, because you totally stole but willingness to learn.
I saw it in your notes over there, no, I'm just kidding!
But definitely I have to reiterate willingness to learn because we have so much you can learn and you can do. I mean, you can do press releases if you're really interested in learning how to write those, we can do web or web management, we can do graphic design, photography, videography. I mean if you were interested in any of those things, then please go ahead and apply to become an intern because we have the tools, we are happy to teach you we just need you to be willing to sit down and learn. Just absorb the information like a sponge. Your job right now is to be a student so that's what we just need is you to be a student.
And so this is the second year of the internship. This year because we had a unique situation that you're actually my only High School Intern. The year before it I had one from each high school and it's in that's my goal every year to have a senior from each of the four high schools that could come in and do this internship and learn to work together, work collaboratively. So my goal for each and I think I shared this with you when you started and I do with all the interns it's not only for you to learn different skill sets, but I want you to leave this internship with something that's uniquely yours and something that would be interest you. For you I mean you're sending this tone this is very first podcast we've ever done. You've also written a script for a video that we're going to be debuting in all the schools. Some of our past interns, one was interested in photography and so when I had an opportunity to submit some photos for a magazine in, a national magazine, we took him out there and had him take those photos and he's been nationally published for his photography. Another student who really wanted to write and so we worked really hard and she did a feature story on a student who beat cancer and and her story was published by the paper. Those are the types of things I really want our interns to get out of this. This is an unpaid internship you know and so y'all are giving a lot of your time and I hope that it's valuable I hope you get a lot out of it that you can't quantify.
And especially I came from a newspaper background I did journalism and so coming in I expected to just do some more journalism I expected to write some press releases and call it a day but it has not been that at all in the best way possible. I have learned things that I didn't even know I could learn, that I was supposed to learn, that I will walk away with this knowing so much that I will be able to put on my resume going into college and I think a lot of things that I have gotten from here are things that other people my age will never find, because this is such an exclusive experience There are opportunities here at such a young age that aren't anywhere
I mean this is something that you have to take advantage of I found out about this job from my career counselor. I was very persistent about it and I knew that this was something that I needed to do. This was something that was going to take me places that was going to get me where I needed to go and that's also what it's taught me is just initiative.
It is amazing that I was able to be given this experience. So thank you so much for that.
This has been Reace your Ascension Public Schools High School Intern, Jackie Tisdell your Public Information Officer and Danielle Evans your Digital Media Coordinator for Ascension Public Schools.
Thank you so much for listening!