Monday, October 25, 2021

Deja Williams (BA journalism and mass communication ’20) reflects on the importance of her global internship in London—an experience that expanded her worldview and opened new doors to professional opportunities, including her current role as public relations coordinator at Cashmere Agency. Learn more below.


Deja Williams

Deja Williams

During your undergraduate experience at the University of Iowa, you did a global internship in London. Can you tell us about your experience?

I was fortunate enough to study abroad in London, U.K., in the summer of 2019. During my six-week stay I interned at ATC Management – a live entertainment management agency specializing in music. I shadowed three managers as they assisted musicians with their day-to-day schedules. Beyond my internship, I also participated in an academic course sponsored by IES. This course aided me and my peers as we navigated culture and history in the United Kingdom. Students were highly encouraged to participate in immersive field trips and activities to help us better understand our new home!

What did you gain as a result of your global internship experience?

Despite this opportunity being nearly two and a half years out now – I have yet to stop gloating about it. On an occupational level, this internship opened many doors, including the one I walked through to find my current position at the Cashmere Agency. I was given the chance to expand on my interests in entertainment and actively discover my passion for public relations. Personally, and potentially above all, this was one of the last trips I would take overseas before the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to reflect on that feeling has only made the conceptions of my time in London weigh heavier. Now, more than ever, I value the growth of my social and cultural awareness that could only be gained studying abroad.

What are some of your favorite memories from global internship experience in London?

The memories I cherish the most abroad are the ones that followed me home. The relationships I fostered both at my internship and within the IES program continue to impact my life today. I make it a point to continue to meet up with those who I met through the program – even if it’s 2,000+ miles across the country! My co-workers at my internship also maintain communication and have gone so far as to help me during my job search post-graduation! Some of my fondest memories while in London, though, include celebrating my 21st birthday abroad, traveling to neighboring cities (Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Barcelona, Ireland, etc.), and of course trying new food!


Deja Williams

Deja Williams

Can you tell us about what you do as a public relations coordinator at Cashmere Agency?

The Cashmere Agency is an all-encompassing (marketing, media, public relations, etc.) agency. Although I live in New York City, the office is in Los Angeles and I am working remote until further notice. I work as a public relations coordinator handling entertainment (TV/film) accounts. I assist a team of national publicists as they develop and foster relationships with multicultural outlets for our TV and film clients. I do anything from administrative work to pitching to handling events and more. The work is fast-paced, and no day ever looks the same – but that is what excites me most about the role!

It should be noted that this opportunity would not have been possible without the University of Iowa. Through connections in the alumni network, I was able to establish relationships with the president and vice president of public relations, both of whom went to Iowa!

Are there ways in which your global internship experience contributed to your professional success/path?

I think the most obvious reflection of my global internship lies within the core values of my new position! Cashmere Agency focuses on multicultural representation and inclusion. The importance of diversity sits at the forefront of all of our campaigns and reflects in the outcome of our work. The opportunity to think and learn globally was just the beginning of this conversation. While in London I was able to absorb and adopt various cultures, practices, and beliefs. It transformed my outlook on the human race and opened my mind up to alternative ways to navigate life. Much of the success I have found in public relations can be attributed to my ability to think largely and beyond myself.

Why do you feel international education and exchange is important?

If I had the opportunity to go back and relive my global internship, I would do it 10 times over. Although studying abroad in 2019 looks very different than studying abroad in 2021/2022, the opportunity is still yours to be taken. The University of Iowa has an abundance of resources to set students up for global success. Taking a chance to explore something/somewhere outside of your comfort zone will always result in growth. And with growth comes many changes, but I have found, more often than not, those changes lead you to success!

Is there any advice you would like to give to current UI students?

Through the growing pains of graduating at the heart of a pandemic, entering an upside-down job market fresh out of college, and (eventually) evolving into a (semi) adult, I have plenty of advice for current UI students. I think the most valuable advice would have to be that there is no timeline. There will be an abundance of pressure after graduation to figure out what you want to do the minute your respective college hands you your diploma. I urge students to go against the grain, dig deep, and take the time they need to decide how they want to spend the start of their occupational career. You quite literally have all the time in the world following graduation to discover and explore the many avenues of your degree, so take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way!