Army Strong Experience – US Army – Michael Molinaro

We finally held our big event of the year, the 2014 Army Strong Experience (ASE), on Thursday March 13 at Fort Benning. We had around 950 students, future soldiers and teachers come out to learn more about the Army then what they see on TV and in commercials, and get a real sense of the jobs that the Army has to offer.


My main focus the day of the event was handling media relations. I went and picked up reporters from a number of TV stations, such as WTVM and WLTZ, and also two reporters from the Ledger-Enquirer. The Army also sent down a broadcast crew from Washington DC, so it was a big deal. After I picked them up we went to one of the ranges where I handed them a press kit I made and briefed them on how the day would unfold. Then I was asked to do a few on-camera interviews, so I obliged. The week leading up to the event I prepared myself for this opportunity and went over the key messages and themes we wanted to get out to the public about the event.

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The students started showing up and we got the day going. It started with a demonstration by Army Rangers, and then members of the Marksmanship Unit did a shotgun demonstration, where they shot all kinds of traditional and non-traditional targets out of the sky. They made a salad by shooting parts of fruit and veggies, like lettuce and watermelons. It was awesome.

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Then the media did some more interviews that I facilitated. After that part was over we went to the Airborne school where some of the students got to jump out of 34-foot training towers, just like Soldiers in training do. They were scared for the most part but after they got the guts to jump and went down once, they wanted to go again and again.

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On Friday we had what is called an after-action review and discussed what went right and what went wrong, along with suggestions to make next year’s event even better. This whole week was a great experience and I learned a lot about effective PR. Treating the media well leading up to the event really paid off as we got great press from the event.


Endings and Begginnings



Now that my time as the intern at the Rankin Gardens and Atrium is coming to an end, I am excited for what the future holds. I have recently been hired as the Student Assistant at the Rankin and begin next semester. I am extremely excited to have this opportunity to further my experience here. Throughout my internship I have watched and learned from both of my supervisors and will now be able to execute the knowledge I have gained. 

I was also able to contribute my knowledge of web design, campaigning, and event planning to the Rankin from my Communication classes. I will continue to learn from my successors and use this experience for the future. Reading everyone’s blogs about their experience has been encouraging. 

The wedding package is ready to be presented and I cannot wait to have the finished product. I have learned from my mistakes and hope that one day I will be able to train the future intern at the Rankin Gardens and Atrium and have the positive impact that my boss has had on me. 

Dana Coburn – Completing the Wedding Brochure

The Wedding Brochure is something that I have talked about before, but with all the fuss of multiple weddings this semester it has been hard to focus mainly on that. However, I have been making progress with it and I plan to have it completed and ready to present to my supervisor on Thursday November 15th.

The main things that I have been doing today are finishing the template; which I plan to have completed tomorrow, and the laminated floor plans. The template will be for the vendors that The Rankin uses to the clients are able to easily have access to all the contact information needed to start planning and ordering things from these vendors. The floor plans are also meant to help them easily visualize where they want things, and I am laminating them so they are able to erase or change it completely whenever they need to.


I hope that this will help with the organization of all weddings, as well as the marketing plans we have been discussing since August. The Rankin is such a great space, however the Public Relations experience needed is crucial. There are so many ideas that just need to be put into action. Once the wedding brochure is completed, we will start marketing how easy things will move along if a wedding is booked at The Rankin Gardens & Atrium.

Dana Coburn – Ready, Set, Tour Time!

Today I gave my first solo tour to new clients at The Rankin Gardens and Atrium. When I saw how eager the future bride and groom were to see their potential venue, I became even more excited to show it off.  Along with my eagerness, I was exceptionally nervous because their opinion and first impression of the venue lies in my hands. There are certain procedures you have to go through in each room  that I had been trained on, and it is crucial to be able to give the tour correctly as well as show all available options to meet their needs.  

This young couple was extremely nice and were encouraging the whole time. I was able to explain every option for the venue set up and package for their wedding day, as well as answer all questions that came up. The tour went exceptionally smooth and I am one hundred percent confident in the role I play here. These particular clients did book a date, and are set to have their ceremony and reception here in the beginning of next fall.

My mentors in this internship have given me the knowledge I need to fulfill my goals during my time here. They are now allowing me to experience the real world with the knowledge I have gained with my time here so far. I enjoy the independence given to me here, but I am also thankful for the supportive system that has been put in place to help me succeed. I am now ready to give as many tours as possible! Everyone, come tour the Rankin Gardens and Atrium for any event!


Dana Coburn – Saturday Sauna and Wedding Bell Drama

This past Saturday I worked at my first wedding as an intern at the Rankin Gardens and Atrium. This was a great first experience minus the obvious hot and humid weather that everyone is  familiar with in south Georgia in August. Rebecca Holman, a graduate assistant and Robbie Monfort, the executive event coordinator were both present and extremely helpful with guiding me through the steps of this event.

Weddings and all other events are an all day process. I was not aware of the time and effort that is put in to make the weddings as spectacular as they always are. We arrived at the venue at 12 p.m.  to begin the set-up process, which includes having all chairs and tables exactly how the bride requests her set up. After this is complete, the wedding planner arrives to help with all other set-up that needs to be done prior to the ceremony.

Like all events, there is always that one person that is hard to please. In this case, it was the wedding planner herself. The wedding planner is not associated with The Rankin, so we never know who we are going to have to deal with. This one in particular brought some “wedding bell drama” only because she wanted everything perfect but did not lift a finger.

I was happy that this was the first wedding I was able to experience simply because Robbie is such an expert at handling sticky situations. She calmly fixed everything in a timely manner and I believe that it was a great learning opportunity for me to know how to deal with the public.

The whole process of working a wedding is a 13 hour day. Saturday in particular,  was a long dreary day that turned into a successful wedding. The Rankin Gardens and Atrium is such a great place for me to learn and grow in this business I would like to be a part of after graduation.