Grambling State University students Jasmine Franklin and Lindsay Johnson were selected for the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. UNITED’s “Pay It Forward” program.
The program is an internship program aimed to provide students at historically black colleges with opportunities to celebrate achievement and further their success.
Franklin and Johnson were chosen after filling out their applications in March.
“I applied for the internship on March 20,” Johnson said. “I remember the date exactly because the application required a photo of me with my favorite Coca-Cola product.”
Johnson said she took the picture of herself at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport by a city skyline billboard.
“Airports always have beautiful artworks and scenery,” Johnson said.
Normally a week-long, in-person internship, selected students participated in a two-day zoom session due the pandemic.
“I was appreciative that we were able to do it virtually,” Franklin, who previously interned at the Chicago Sun-Times, said. “They did a good job to still be able to give us a lot of the information about the brand in two days.”
During the two-day zoom seminar, the students gained experience in various capacities of the Coca-Cola brand including sales, production, marketing, pricing, packaging and community relations.
“I gained skills in media relations such as building media lists, contacting newsrooms, and writing press releases,” Johnson, a senior mass communication major/marketing minor from Washington, D.C., said.
Franklin said she learned a lot, specifically being a mass communication major.
“Since I’m more focused on media, I learned how they made their commercials,” Franklin said.
Franklin said the company intersected social media with the branding of their popular Sprite brand.
“Their Sprite commercial is geared towards a younger generation,” Franklin said.
The two-day zoom session also featured appearances from the company’s product designers, as well as the company’s CEO John Sherman.
“The internship specifically peaked my interest in possibly obtaining a job position in Diversity and Inclusion in the future,” Johnson said.
Both students will receive a $1,000 stipend at the end of the program, as well as a lifetime Coca-Cola Brand Ambassadorship.
“My internship is separate
from what I will be doing next semester,” Franklin said. “I will be doing different things on campus, give out new drinks, have a display table and promote the brand anyway I can.”
Johnson said she benefited tremendously from her internship.
“A few takeaways were job confidence, media relations skills, and networking,” said Johnson. “I gained a lot of self-confidence within my field of work and I can credit that to my wonderful professors at Grambling for preparing me with the necessary knowledge.”