Call it a case of virtual reality.
Kaycee Gnatowski takes all her classes, writes for the school paper and is completing an internship, all from her home in Connecticut.
As social media editor for The Penmen Press, SNHU’s student paper, she reports articles by phone and edits by email. She is the first online intern for Millyard Creative, the marketing division of SNHU’s College of Online and Continuing Education.
“The internship is completely virtual,” Gnatowski says. “Everything is through email and through Skype.”
Gnatowski, who hopes to become a magazine writer after earning bachelor’s degrees in English and communications, will write a few short articles a week for two SNHU blogs: The Penmen Review, an online literary magazine, and Be A Social Entrepreneur, which profiles socially conscious businesses and nonprofits. She will work 20 hours a week for 16 weeks.
Gnatowski, 23, lives in Oneco, Conn., a tiny town on the Rhode Island border a two-hour drive from Manchester, N.H. In June 2012 she began studying full time at SNHU while holding down a full-time job at a credit union. She also got married and bought a house.
Gnatowski says she chose SNHU because she could complete her degree in communications without setting foot on campus. But from the get-go, she’s pushed the boundaries of her online program, in part by making strategic visits to Manchester.
She went in person to interview for her position at The Penmen Press and persuaded the paper’s advisor and student editors she could do the job online. Last April, she gave a speech about endometriosis at Undergraduate Research Day. Last fall she shadowed an editor for a day at Business N.H. Magazine, which has a partnership with the school paper. That won her an assignment to write an article for the magazine’s October issue about SNHU’s “See Yourself Succeed” cross-country bus tour.
She interviewed Pamme Boutselis, content director for Millyard Creative, for the article while Boutselis was riding the bus. So when Gnatowski applied for the virtual internship Boutselis created, Boutselis was already impressed by her tenacity.
“I was really impressed by the work ethic she’d shown,” Boutselis says. “I knew she was ambitious, I knew her interviewing style, I’d seen her writing, and she was such a proactive individual. She seemed very goal oriented. In writing, you have to be willing to reach out and interact with lots of different kinds of people, and she was comfortable doing that.”
Gnatowski hopes her virtual experience will lead to a real job somewhere in New Hampshire. From her first visit, she fell in love with the rural scenery.
“I particularly enjoy how Manchester is a city, but still has that country, picturesque setting,” she says.