Fall Intern Spotlight – Camille Vargas

Classrooms are an effective way to learn the basics of the communications industry, but companies are always looking for applicants with practical, demonstrated industry experience. This is part of why RLF likes to engage students in our immersion-style internship program. Students can apply their skills on real client accounts, work with both mid-level and senior communications professionals and bring new strengths to the RLF team.
This fall, we welcomed two new interns to our team: Taylor Lord and Camille Vargas. Our second intern spotlight is on Camille Vargas.
“I am majoring in political science and media and journalism, while pursuing minors in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies and medieval and early modern studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I grew up in an extremely tight-knit Italian family in Edison, New Jersey. I love national parks, horses, autobiographies, the ocean and just about anything that involves the word cheese.”

What has been your favorite part about working at RLF?
It is difficult to pick just one favorite part! During my interview, it was heavily emphasized that the company culture at RLF Communications is centered around working as a team, and I did not realize how much I would appreciate that type of environment until I started working here. All of the company leadership and employees are open, approachable and extremely helpful. Every day I am challenged with a new project or task, and with the support of the RLF team, I have learned so much in just a short time. I also feel very empowered as an intern, because I am entrusted with a lot of responsibility and independence. In just a few weeks, I have already worked directly with clients, contributed to the strategy of a new campaign, developed messaging for social media and curated various PR materials for multiple clients. Not to mention, there are always really cute dogs running around in the office.
What is your dream job?
I would really like to venture into the public relations industry after graduation, and perhaps move more broadly into a marketing position down the line. After starting this internship with RLF, I have come to realize that my dream first job would be in a PR agency. I love the continuous gear shifting, constant creative demand and daily opportunities to learn and try new things. I also really enjoy the diverse functions and responsibilities of an agency, and feel that working with a series of clients is the best way to grow in this career. Maybe one day my dream job will revert back to my earlier aspirations of working in the government sector as a lobbyist, but for now I am focused on building my skills in marketing and public relations.
Are you a morning or a night person?
Both! Although I usually lean towards one or the other, I can easily be whatever the day, week or month requires. I appreciate the quiet dark of night just as much as the peaceful light of dawn, and it is rarely difficult for me to want to experience either. I think there are a lot of benefits in this characteristic, but it definitely comes with downsides as well.
What made you want to work for RLF? How did you find out about us?
I found out about RLF Communications through one of my public relations professors at UNC. Although I initially knew the program had an awesome reputation, and it was highly recommended by my professor, I became truly interested in this opportunity after doing research on the company, and reading about the experiences of past interns on the RLF blog. My prior internship positions taught me many things, but when I was applying for internships this fall semester I was intentional about gaining real, challenging and hands on experience in the industry. RLF has been exactly the kind of internship I was looking for, and I am so grateful for this opportunity.
What is your worst travel experience?
When I was teaching English as a second language in Costa Rica, I was living with a host family in a small house in San Jose. I was advised upon arrival to take the Ciudad Cortes bus to get back from the city, and simply step off when I see the house. But on my second day in Costa Rica, I was traveling back from the city at night by myself, and because there were no street lights in the neighborhood, I could not tell when the bus passed my stop. I sat on the bus for over an hour as it drove further and further away from my home. Completely lost, I decided to stay on the bus hoping it would loop back to the city, because I was too afraid to step out onto the dark and mostly deserted street alone.
When the bus finally came to a stop at a graveyard (I kid you not), every single passenger got off except for me. As the bus driver turned off the ignition and began to walk off himself, I called out from the dark back seat of the bus in a frightened shaky voice, “Señor!” (one of the four Spanish words in my vocabulary at the time). The bus driver was startled, and said a series of things I did not understand as he walked towards me.
It was late at night, the bus was completely dark inside because it was turned off, I couldn’t speak or understand any Spanish, I had no cell phone, no map or address, and I knew I was making myself more and more vulnerable by the second. The only thing I had in my backpack besides pretzel m&m’s was the take-out menu for a restaurant across the street from my host family’s house, that I had felt compelled to grab earlier that day because I love tacos. I earnestly showed him the restaurant menu, pointing vigorously to the frog in a sombrero eating tacos on the  cover, and told the bus driver over and over again, “Mi casa!” (This was basically the remainder of my Spanish vocabulary.) He blankly stared back at me before walking to the front of the dark bus, where he sat in the driver’s seat silently for what felt like a very long time. Suddenly he turned the bus on, started driving and the next thing I knew I was standing next to a giant frog painted on the door of the taco restaurant, never happier to see my little host family’s apartment right across the street.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Hands down, Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley. I love the beautiful landscapes, gowns and obviously the epic romance of it all. I have watched this movie too many times to count.
What is the best advice you’ve heard?
Seek first to understand, and then to be understood. I try to live by this small wisdom.
If you, or someone you know would be a good fit with our team, consider applying for our Spring 2018 internship program. Send a cover letter, resume and writing sample to interns@rlfcommunications.com.