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Skidmore College

Interns funded in alumna's memory

March 9, 2017

"It's so important to experiment and figure out the kinds of work you don't like as much as the kinds you do." That's what a funded internship made possible for Margaret Lefton '15. One of the first holders of an internship in memory of Jennifer Landers '90, Lefton adds, "Being in a position to come up with my own ideas and execute them gave me the chance to try out different things and the freedom to build on areas I loved. By the end of the summer, I was officially the photographer for internal events and had some of my photos published." She is now a professional photographer and marketing consultant in D.C.

Jennifer Landers
Jennifer Landers '90

With 20 years in public relations, publishing, marketing, and advertising-including as senior vice president and director of reputation management at the Grey New York advertising firm-Landers left behind many admiring colleagues when she died in 2014 from cancer. Her communication skills and "such a profound effect on our positive, optimistic culture" were warmly lauded by Grey's worldwide chief creative officer. Those colleagues joined her friends and family in seeking to create a legacy at Skidmore to help students develop some of the qualities that made her special: creativity, collaborative skills, a fearless work ethic, and a drive for excellence.

Starting in 2015, Grey offered a Skidmore student a paid 10-week internship, featuring a group project reviewed by top leaders, weekly seminars, and education about agency culture. Grey is committed to hiring a Landers intern every summer. In addition, in 2016, a small fundraiser was held at Grey's headquarters in New York City to help permanently endow a Skidmore fund to cover the expenses of unpaid internships in public relations and related fields at any firm. Each year the stipends will cover the living costs for one or more students who couldn't otherwise afford to spend their summer unpaid.

Skidmore's Jennifer Landers '90 Internship Fund is progressing: with more than $50,000 raised so far, it's approximately halfway to the total amount needed.

Lefton says she highly recommends such an internship for students. Two senior co-workers at Grey who helped guide her, she says, "continue to be my mentors to this day." And she says the camaraderie among the interns helped them "become very close. I still talk to a lot of them, and they have ended up both great friends and strong connections in the industry."

For more about the Landers Internship Fund, email Joe Porter in Skidmore's advancement office.

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