From Blacksburg to the Big Apple: Hokie intern finds spotlight with Paramount+
Beneath the towering skyscrapers, Elizabeth Britt found herself immersed in the bustling crowd of commuters this past summer. Times Square, an iconic tourist destination, took on a new meaning for her.
It was in New York City where Britt spent the summer as a marketing intern for Paramount+.
“New York City is definitely very different from Blacksburg,” Britt said with a laugh. “It’s really fun. It is the city that never sleeps. I’m really happy that I took this chance and did this internship.”
The journey that led to this chance was nothing short of well-deserved. A senior in the School of Communication, Britt was one of 100 streaming summer interns chosen by Paramount out of more than 38,000 applications.
Britt’s passion for the entertainment industry drove her to apply for various internships at studios and talent agencies last fall. After going through the interview process, Britt received the Paramount news when she was overseas in Switzerland last spring as part of the Lugano Linking Lives study abroad program, which is offered by the Department of Marketing in the Pamplin College of Business.
“When I got the email it was the middle of the night, but I just happened to be awake,” said Britt, who is majoring in communication and minors in digital marketing strategy. “I think it was 2 a.m. It was from someone in recruiting at Paramount congratulating me. I was so excited, but everyone was asleep.”
Once the semester ended, she was on her way to the Big Apple.
Upon arriving at Paramount, she jumped into action to help contribute to the marketing efforts for Paramount’s new show “Special Ops: Lioness.”
“What our team does is we basically design how all the campaigns are going to be launched,” Britt said. “We worked with public relations and graphic designers and social media, and we tell them what to do and what things are going to look like.”
Over the last couple years, Paramount+ expanded its reach to include sports content. Britt’s work involved raising awareness for consumers that Paramount+ now is a viable streaming option for sports fans.
“Elizabeth was a fantastic addition to our marketing team over the summer,” said Sam Polifka, senior director, programs and originals marketing at Paramount+. “Her hard work, intelligence, and initiative have provided a boost to both immediate and long term projects. In particular, she completed a project that will have a direct impact on our marketing campaign for the NFL football season which culminates with this year’s Super Bowl.”
Now, Britt is back in Blacksburg, but her mind still is buzzing with memories of her summer internship. In an era dominated by the rise of streaming platforms, Britt was right there in the center of it all. There were moments that Britt worked with Nickelodeon, reliving her childhood memories of SpongeBob along the way.
She shared those experiences in real-time while taking an online summer class with Buddy Howell, advanced instructor in the School of Communication.
"Elizabeth is a great example of a student who is willing to explore new, even if unlikely, opportunities, and the great reward that can come from it,” Howell said. “Her experience and the connections she's made this summer should be an inspiration to other Hokies to cast a wide net when seeking an internship. You never know what great opportunity you might catch."
Perhaps the most important lesson for Britt was seeing firsthand the diverse ways that her colleagues at Paramount navigated the industry and arrived at their current positions.
“I’ve always been a very type A, certain path person, but one thing about working here is that I’ve seen that everyone’s path is very different,” Britt said. “In a way, it’s been reassuring to see that everything works out the way it’s supposed to.”
Britt’s next steps are undetermined at this time, but perhaps they’ll include a return to New York at Paramount or a similar company.
“After being here, I would love to move back to New York and continue working in the entertainment industry,” Britt said. “I would love to come back and continue doing what I’m doing.”
Written by Cory Van Dyke