As a student communicator, I was enthralled by the benefits IWPA/NFPW offers its student members. When I applied to IWPA for a possible summer internship, the nurturing member community struck me as wonderful. Student memberships offer tangible benefits such as networking events and workshops, but also an extended hand of friendship and support. As a budding communicator, I found that to be a really important and attractive aspect of the Association, and definitely one of the big factors that drew me.

As a college student, there are a few things for which I am always on the lookout: job opportunities, networking forums, and professional mentorship and guidance in making my portfolio and resume stand out to potential employers. These influences aren’t always easy to find. Luckily, when I stumbled upon IWPA’s website, right there on the benefits of membership page it stated all the amazing things the Association can do for professionals as well as students like me. Getting those all-important bylines and samples is critical to a graduate just starting their career, and IWPA understands that. So it allows student members to write feature stories for the IWPA’s quarterly newsletter PenPoints, and for this blog, that can be entered for consideration in the annual Mate E. Palmer Communications Contest. The Association gives us the opportunity to enter the job market as award-winning writers!

The experiences and opportunities afforded to student members are really helpful resume builders when beginning a communications career, as well as for applying to graduate programs. Higher education admissions officers want to see applicants who are passionate about the fields they are pursuing. Demonstrating experience in those fields is a great way to stay in front of the competition. The aforementioned opportunities to write feature stories build your portfolio, allowing you to produce ready samples. It is impressive to have work published in any sort of publication as a student. IWPA extends the offer to its student members to give them that experience and competitive edge.

Once I reviewed the comprehensive benefits (and the relatively low dues) of a combined IWPA/NFPW student membership, I was impressed beyond what I expected. IWPA is devoted to its student members, the communicators of tomorrow, and wants to help them get off on the right foot. I recently had the opportunity to speak to some of the board members in person at the 2015 Chicago Tribune Printer’s Row Lit Fest. The heartfelt dedication of the group was evident. I was welcomed with open arms as an intern and as a communicator who can make a real contribution to the Association’s mission. I would encourage all of my peers to take advantage of the affordability of an IWPA/NFPW student membership and start opening doors to your communications future.

Image courtesy of Flickr User Post Memes