Kimberly Bigelow '16
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Kimberly Bigelow '16

Internship Opens New Doors

Kimberly Bigelow outside the School of Communication.

Kimberly Bigelow (communication major) vividly recalls the moment when she knew the University of Hartford was her first-choice school. As a high school senior, Bigelow scheduled a campus tour and as she walked over the footbridge to Alumni Plaza she leaned over to her parents and said, “This place feels right.” Soon she turned down acceptances from other universities and landed on the University of Hartford campus in the fall of 2012. She’s never regretted that decision.

Bigelow spent the first five years of her life on Fisher’s Island. She fondly remembers the two-lane bowling alley and the freedom to explore nature at its finest. When she was ready for kindergarten, the family moved to Oakdale, Conn. Later Bigelow attended Montville High School, where she was a varsity athlete in volleyball, basketball, and softball. As an athlete who had a strong math and science background, Bigelow initially planned to major in physical therapy. Then, one day late in her senior year of high school, while she accompanied her grandmother to a physical therapy appointment for a broken hand, Bigelow had a sudden change of heart. Looking at her grandmother’s wound and the pins used to repair the damage, she knew she needed to reconsider her career plans. 

At summer orientation Bigelow switched her major to communication with the goal of pursuing a career in television. In her first semester in the College of Arts and Sciences, Bigelow signed up for the student-run television network, STN2, where she has remained and risen through the leadership ranks. This experience opened the door to an internship in fall of 2014 in the NBC CT newsroom, where Bigelow “got a feel for what working in network television is all about.” When an internship the next semester at a different television network fell through, Bigelow sought out communication Professor Roger Desmond, PhD, hoping to get more hands-on experience in the field.

Desmond recalls, “I spotted Kim fairly early in her sophomore year as a serious student who was sure she wanted a career in TV news, so I was happy to sign her up for an internship doing that. I noticed that she brought that same dedication to her extracurricular activity at STN, the student-run television network. She showed leadership and enthusiasm there. When she told me she was searching for a different internship, I was delighted to recommend her to Watkinson School as a public relations Jill-of-all-trades. Her supervisor’s judgment was the same as mine.”

Indeed, Bigelow did apply for the position at Watkinson, was hired, and immediately fell in love with the work. “The students, faculty and the staff at Watkinson were so kind,” Bigelow says. “They made me feel immediately at home. I thoroughly enjoyed the work environment and felt like I could have more of an impact than I could in a television studio.”

After her internship ended, Bigelow was offered a part-time position at Watkinson, where she continues to develop her proficiency at “writing for the web,” and hopes to use these skills in her first job when she graduates in December.  Desmond adds, “Kim will make us proud in any career she chooses!”

Bigelow says, “The faculty in the School of Communication have been nothing but kind and incredibly helpful. I never felt like a number here. Faculty office doors are always open for students to just say ‘hi’ or to get help.” In particular, she is grateful for the support that Desmond, Lynne Kelly, PhD and Robert Duran, PhD, School of Communication faculty members, have given her, noting that “the personal attention and emphasis on hands-on experience has been invaluable—really transformative—in helping me get a better sense of what I want to do with my career.”

What is Bigelow’s advice to first-year students? “Wring this place out like a sponge. Take advantage of all the opportunities that Hartford provides.” Bigelow has lived up to this advice, working at STN2, participating in the student ambassador program for the College of Arts and Sciences, playing intramural sports, and serving as a Red Cap orientation leader, all the while completing internships and maintaining an overall GPA of 3.98. Upon graduation in December, Bigelow will begin working full-time as an assistant director of Admission at the University of Hartford.

Bigelow attributes her work ethic and success to the support she has received from her parents whom she calls her “best friends.” In the little free time Bigelow has, she enjoys hanging out with roommates, snowboarding, working out at the gym, reading, and visiting her toy poodle, Barley.