Internships are an important and valuable part of the college experience. The real-world experience is often not only crucial to successful degree completion, but also helping a student land that perfect first job.
Steve Blewett, a retired EWU professor and the former director of Eastern’s journalism program, knows all too well the importance of internships. His prestigious career in journalism and public relations started with a newsroom internship and finished with more than 30 years teaching at Eastern. Blewett credits much of his success on his internship at The Spokesman-Review and has championed internship programs both in his professional roles and as a professor.
“My personal experience has convinced me that rich internship opportunities are the final part of the trifecta of learning experiences available to student learners: a solid curriculum managed by talented and enthusiastic faculty, participation in community involvement and professional development while in school, and being mentored by professionals in a rich internship environment,” Blewett says. “Eastern’s graduates can compete for internship positions with those from any college or university in the country.”
As a student at Eastern Washington State College (now Eastern Washington University) in 1969, Blewett was the first Eastern journalism student to be given a full-time paid internship at The Spokesman-Review. He went on to work as a reporter and editor for the Spokesman and later a public relations coordinator for Washington Water Power (now Avista), before he moved to EWU to direct the journalism program in 1988.
Blewett is also well known for spearheading the creation of the Eastern Washington University/Associated Press Election Call Center at Eastern. The center provides paid service-learning opportunities for more than 250 students each General Election year, processing election returns for the Associated Press from as much as one half of the U.S. each year.
While working at Washington Water Power, Blewett created his own internship program by working with faculty at EWU and other higher education institutions. And once he started teaching at Eastern, Blewett became a strong advocate for the enhancements of internship opportunities for journalism and public relations students, securing positions from Spokane to New York City and beyond.
Unfortunately, giving up a paying job or moving to a new city for an internship is not financially viable for many students. Making the situation even more difficult, many journalism and public relations internships are unpaid. For this reason, Blewett has launched the Steve Blewett Student Internship Endowment to ensure more deserving students get paid while they earn real-world, professional experience.
“I hope the creation of this endowment will help continue a record of excellence and encourage many of the organizations and businesses who have benefited from the contributions of Eastern students to support the endowment and continue to provide students with internship opportunities,” Blewett adds.
The Steve Blewett Student Internship Endowment will have to reach full funding of at least $25,000 before students can apply for assistance. Blewett is hoping area businesses that have hosted EWU interns for years and Eastern PR alumni will join him in giving to this fund—which will ensure future students get the experiential learning they need to succeed after graduation.
Visit ewu.edu/blewett to support student internship opportunities.