Meet the Interns: Maria Rifioti

Being born and raised by a Greek family in Brazil always caused an inherent identity crisis while growing up. My family comes from a small village close to the town of Sparta, Greece. Little did I know that I would soon grow up to become a Spartan myself at Michigan State University.

Embracing my international roots and curiosity, I decided to pursue a degree in international relations. Soon after I added a minor in public relations, by which I had a stronger connection and interest to. I still felt some part of me not being explored, therefore, I added a minor in graphic design to enhance and express my creative side. Those three components to my academic experience are undoubtedly representative of me and the holistic set of skills I will take with me on my career path. After graduation in May 2021, I plan on working in the United States in a variety of fields, including addressable marketing, brand strategy and public relations. I am open to a position within those areas and am sure that this internship experience at LEAP will improve my ability and competency to perform well in the real world.

What attracted me to LEAP was that it was different than the conventional agency internship experience most students in my field opt for. I wanted something that would teach me beyond my internship responsibilities, and working with an organization devoted to economic development sounded ideal. Much of my work as an international relations student is spent on research, and to see an organization that values and understands the importance of it resonated with me. Surprisingly enough my interview with Victoria Meadows and Katlyn Lindstrom are what made me sure of my eagerness to want this position. The interview itself made me reflect on my own knowledge and my career goals, it pushed me in a way that made me want to be part of their team. I am thrilled and looking forward to all I am yet to learn at LEAP.

To maximize how much I could bring to the table at LEAP, we decided to align my internship responsibilities with my International Public Law class. For that reason, I will be researching international marketing regulations and their effects on foreign business attraction to the Lansing Area. From that, I will create a policy/guideline document to inform LEAP’s economic development plan and communication practices on the research done. In terms of the marketing side, I will create a comprehensive marketing content calendar for the Marketing and Communications department on a variety of channels including social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram), editorial/press content, blogs and videos series, and podcasts. I am most excited about learning more about compiling best communications practices that encompass international marketing regulations.