Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication


Lights, Camera, Summer!

By Destiny Woods

SOC is the communication and media hub that never sleeps! This summer, we followed the adventures of Loyola students who spent the season answering their call to care, share, and create. From creating programs published on major media outlets like ABC-7 Chicago to contributing to a multimedia film production right here in the heart of the Windy City, our students have done it all. Delve deep into their projects and learn more about their work, most memorable moments, and greatest take-a-ways.

Corporate Communications with Gabriel Paredes Reyes

B.A. in Multimedia Journalism Major, Spanish Literature & Language Minor
Anticipated Graduation Date: Spring 2023
U.S. System Communications Intern at the McDonald's Corporation;
Tech Assistant in the SOC's OWL Lab and Firm Director at Inigo Communications (student-run communications agency at Loyola)

What project did you complete this summer?

This summer, I spent most of my time energizing the U.S. System for our Internal Drive-Thru Competition to improve drive-thru speed for the McDonald’s Corporation. I accomplished this through a creative and engaging recap show (reminiscent to what you might see on ESPN programs) where hosts would announce the results from the previous week and interview high performing individuals for tips on how the rest of the competition can step up their game.

Additionally, I created visual communications showcasing innovations to a key menu item ahead of the launch date. Most notably, I drafted the National Intern Day LinkedIn post for the president of their USA region, Joe Erlinger, and conceptualized an upcoming series for his social media channels.

Along with my work at McDonald's, I spent time after work planning for Inigo Communication's upcoming semester. Meetings were held for a host of clients, including but not limited to United Airlines, Avionos, and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. I invested a portion of the summer season drafting our upcoming calendar, scheduling guest speakers, and innovating our agency workflow.

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the McDonald's opportunity through LinkedIn.

What interested you most about this project? What did you hope to gain from it?

At McDonald's, my biggest goal and takeaway was applying my creative skills to a corporate setting. In the last year, I've realized that communication is everywhere. It doesn't have to be a groundbreaking news article or a Marvel movie. It can be as simple as producing videos to excite and educate teams internally or making graphics for promotions and advertisements. Everything we see from a company is communication that has become increasingly more valuable in this day and age. I wanted to see how this realization applied at McDonald's and how I could apply my creative skills to a big, resourceful corporation like McDonald's.

How has engaging in this project enhanced your educational career?

It's definitely taught me how to prioritize and be more efficient with my workflow, meeting etiquette and networking. Most of all, I've learned how to lead a team by building my people up, instead of putting them down. The leadership style at McDonald's is remarkable and I hope to model it in my leadership positions this semester

Most memorable moment?

My most memorable moments were when I got to meet the McDonald’s Corporation's USA President, Joe Erlinger one on one, meeting with Chief Restaurant Officer Mason Smoot and US VP of Operations Tim Andersen.


Coordinating PR with Coco Sharp

B.A. in Journalism, Minor in French
Graduation Date: August 2022
Special Projects Media Coordinator for Raila & Associates

What project did you complete this summer?

I found an internship in the downtown Chicago area at Raila & Associates PC. Raila & Associates is a law and tax firm specializing in residential property taxes. I initially began my employment by filing tax appeals and familiarized myself with current team projects that are external to clerical work. My boss found that my background in journalism and PR would aid the company with publicity and forming external relationships.

Since the beginning of summer, I have written Freedom of Information Acts (FOIAs), media pitches, creative briefs, and more. Part of my work included supporting my supervisor, Andrea Raila, who supervises TRAEN Inc (Training, Research, Advocacy, & Education Network.) This network informs the public of current issues and determines how they should be solved based on Chicago’s political climate. Additionally, I have managed media outreach efforts for the firm as their Data Analyst and PR Specialist. In these roles, I have developed two projects that have been released to public media platforms, including ABC-7, Crain’s Chicago Business, and WGN TV.

How did you learn about this opportunity?

When I first began looking for an internship, I was uncertain of where to look. During the fall semester of senior year, I drafted a small dissertation as my final project that sparked my interest in PR and data analytics. From there, I applied for jobs and internships.

What have you learned from this project? What did you gain from it?

I am learning how to improve my communication skills and maintain long-lasting relationships with journalists.

When I was a senior in high school, I took a tour of Loyola and felt an immediate connection to not only the campus but the people. I was amazed by how many people said “Hi” to me throughout the tour and stopped to ask if I needed directions. I recall being reminded of the Jesuit values of “care for self, others, and care for the community” during my freshmen orientation and it really stuck with me.

Since then, I have upheld these beliefs throughout my internship experience. I have been able to build a community within the office that formerly did not exist. I have also been able to cultivate a relationship with my boss who includes me in interviews and public speaking opportunities. Without a doubt, I am excited to continue working with potential peers in the field of journalism.

How has engaging in this project enhanced your educational career?

What I thought would be a linear internship became a multidimensional experience that has allowed me to participate in a variety of roles and opportunities while earning professional awards.

What final thoughts would you like to share about your summer experience and journey as an SOC Rambler?

I have been working with Professor Patricia Lamberti to publish the dissertation that blazed the trail connecting me to Raila & Associates. I have been fortunate to have a professor who is hands-on even outside of the classroom and wishes for the success of her students. Perhaps if I had not done my dissertation, I would not have been able to explore the professional avenues at Raila & Associates PC. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities it has offered me. I will continue to implement the Jesuit values of caring for myself, others, and the community, “setting the world on fire” as I answer my calling in future professional endeavors.


On Set with Kayla Podgurski

B.A. in Film & Digital Media
Anticipated Graduation Date: Spring 2023
Student Videographer for Loyola Athletics

What project did you complete this summer?

This summer, I was a crew member on the set of This Doesn’t Last Forever — a UCLA thesis film directed by Gabriella Wiltz. The film is about a young woman who returns home and faces the highlights and challenges of reconnecting with a place that has changed so much in her absence. I was the Second Assistant Camera (2nd AC). In this role, I operated the clapperboard at the beginning of each take, maintained camera reports, and helped change lenses on the camera.

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I received an email from my professor, Dr. Elizabeth Coffman, about the opportunity in June. I then sent my resumé to the director, and after speaking with her on the phone, I was officially on board!

What interested you most about this project? What did you hope to gain from it?

What interested me most about this project was the opportunity to collaborate with filmmakers from LA and Chicago. It was a really unique experience bringing people from two different cities together to make this film. It formed this dynamic, creative environment that was constantly full of energy. I can happily say that I made many lasting connections and friendships through this experience.

How has engaging in this project enhanced your educational career?

This experience taught me about the importance of teamwork. Making a film takes a village, and it’s important that every person does their job. Everyone plays an equally important role, and without even one person, this film (or any film) wouldn’t be possible.

Most memorable moment?

The most memorable moment for me was when we wrapped on our last day of filming. It was around 3:00 a.m., and we were standing outside on what seemed like the most perfect night. After we got the last shot, there was a moment of stillness, and then everyone erupted into a cheer. We all hugged and cried because we couldn’t believe it was already over! Everything came full circle as we realized this moment was the perfect reference to the title of the film, that This Doesn’t Last Forever.

Photos from the set of This Doesn't Last Forever

Curtesy of Kayla Podgurski