Passion for music helps shape communications student's career path

Along with a summer internship with one record label in New York City, Brittany Hicks builds experience as a campus marketing representative for another label at Penn State. Credit: Photo SubmittedAll Rights Reserved.

Editor's Note: This is the 14th and final in a series of stories about College of Communications students completing summer internships.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Music provides the soundtrack for our lives, and one Penn State student who completed a summer internship in New York City hopes music also eventually provides her livelihood.

She’s doing more than hoping about it, though.

Brittany Hicks has been persistently pursuing a career in the music industry for almost as long as she can remember. Her latest step toward that goal was a summer-long internship with Columbia Records.

The record label’s Big Red Program pairs interns with each other as they focus on different aspects of the industry. Hicks, who appreciates the company’s collaborative approach and inclusive nature for interns, worked in the digital marketing department.

“It was a really fun and hands-on environment,” Hicks said. “We were asked to research various marketing strategies, analyze those strategies, and develop strategies that we thought could be applicable to future campaigns. We focused on case studies, digital marketing, and research. At the end, we presented our findings to the company.”

Hicks, who attended Pine-Richland High School north of Pittsburgh, has known she wanted to pursue a career in music for years. During the academic year, she works as a college marketing representative for Sony Music Entertainment. In that role, she coordinates listening parties on campus, engages other students as a one-person street team, and spreads the word about artists of interest to college-aged listeners.

So, just days after the internship ended, and as the academic year was beginning, Hicks was adding to her resume. Again.

“I have always loved music, and have been a performer myself since I was young,” Hicks said. “Getting to work in New York City, though, was amazing and a dream come true. I always knew this is were I wanted to be.”

Hicks, a senior advertising/public relations major, wrote a paper about Columbia Records for her minor in recreation, parks and tourism management. She thinks her on-campus experience — along with her duties as a college marketing representative, she has sang during the Penn State Dance Marathon and volunteered as a THON captain for each of the past two years — has positioned her well to pursue her dream.

Her determination and persistence might be even more important. Plus, she credits the internship coordinators at Columbia Records for providing an atmosphere designed for interns to thrive.

“It’s an extremely encouraging environment, you can tell that everyone at Columbia Records wants us as interns to grow and succeed. They wanted to hear our ideas and questions. It was so supportive,” she said. “It’s really a great internship, and I looked forward to going into the office every day. The people were amazing, there’s such a high level of creativity and intellect, and they’re phenomenal marketing strategists.”

Because Hicks has known what she wants to do for years, she also knows that New York City is the place to do it. As she moves toward a career in a the music industry, she thinks the next steps are clear — continue to thrive in the classroom at Penn State, continue her campus marketing duties with Sony, and stay active and engaged in class and with THON.

After that? “I’ve already told my parents I’m moving back to New York City,” Hicks said. “This is where I want to be, and there are so many opportunities here.”

Brittany Hicks Credit: Photo SubmittedAll Rights Reserved.

Last Updated September 03, 2015