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Students Lend Digital Marketing Expertise to Local Businesses

Each summer the Digital Spark program, run by the U-Imagine Center, pairs students with local businesses for an eight-week immersive experience. This year, 10 interns gained experience working in industries such as food service, real estate, and eye care, giving them a different perspective from their work in the classroom.

Digital Spark is designed specifically for innovative students interested in assisting local businesses with a focused digital marketing project that will help both the businesses and interns grow. “It’s a gateway to starting your business journey,” said Meredith Zimmer ’23, a media and communications major who worked with SO Productive, a productivity coaching service based in Philadelphia.

The program is free for local businesses and funded by the U-Imagine Center, which believes that undergraduates with a liberal arts education can have an invaluable impact on small local, startup/early-stage, or mature businesses that have identified a project-based targeted need.

“Digital Spark has been a great opportunity not only to expand my skills, but to also see how a small business operates firsthand,” said Erin Corcoran ’24, a media and communication studies major who has podcast and nonprofit advertising experience. Corcoran worked with Central Park Farm, an alumni-owned business in Cape May, N.J.

“Erin has helped our business tremendously by increasing our social media presence, reaching out to new groups on Facebook, enhancing our visibility via Google searches, and contacting bloggers and government agencies about us,” said Peggy Loughran Cicchitti ’85, owner of Central Park Farm. “As a small-business owner, it is difficult to work many hours plus manage social media applications.”

This year’s cohort assisted by managing and creating content for social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn; creating and editing company website designs and content; conducting research regarding best practices for audience engagement online; and collecting data and analytics for the digital platforms each business used for advertising. Students gained valuable real-world experience while also helping their clients create an intricate advertising strategy that can continue to be utilized after the internship program is complete.

“Digital Spark has allowed me a sneak peek into the administration and organization side of a healthcare business—something I do not typically experience in my everyday classes and labs at Ursinus,” said Erin Drebushenko ’23, a health and exercise physiology major who worked with Body Rebuilders, a physical therapy clinic located in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Computer science major Marcos Maciel ’22 worked with Spinal Care, a provider of chiropractic and rehabilitation services in Collegeville. “It’s a very unique experience to have to learn all about a business and their ways, and then apply all the knowledge you’ve gained to their online presence,” he said. “It’s certainly a huge responsibility.”

All of this year’s student presentations are available on the Digital Commons. For more information on the program and to learn how to support the students of the U-Imagine Center, visit https://www.ursinus.edu/academics/u-imagine.

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