Summer UTNY Student Interview

Photo of student, Megan Benz in New York

UTNY is an internship focused program based in New York City, New York where UT Austin students get to live, learn and work, all while enjoying the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. Although the program is jointly run by the Moody College of Communication, the McCombs School of Business, the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Human Ecology and the College of Fine Arts, it remains open to students of all majors.

This being said, most of the previous students’ interests lay in areas of study such as Advertising, Public Relations, Visual and Performing Arts, Entertainment, Architecture, Business and so much more. The beauty of the program is the unique diversity the cohort of students across different majors and backgrounds offer to the “urban-literacy” curriculum.

I had the opportunity to interview a previous UTNY-goer, junior and advertising major Megan Benz, from the Summer 2023 cohort. Megan’s enthusiasm towards New York actually started way prior to her experience in the UTNY program. She shared that she has always been an avid planner and factored the program into her college decision while she was still in high school. Originally from Houston, Texas, Megan knew someone who had attended UTNY back in 2016 and came to the conclusion that she also wanted to apply for her sophomore year of college.

A big drawing factor for Megan when applying was the extensive assistance finding internships offered through the program, staff, and resources. As a sophomore at the time this proved more difficult in the competitive NYC landscape, but she was successful with the help of program manager Jane Turkewitz. She ended up scoring an internship with a health advertising company, CultHealth. As a strategy intern, she worked on projects including new cancer medication, brand research and sitting in on patient interviews to get a better idea of what the consumer felt towards certain medications. “It was very impactful and I got to learn a lot about the health sector that I wasn’t previously aware of,” Megan said.

When I asked if Megan would want to live in New York after the program she exclaimed “1000% yes!” and that NYC was like a dream to her. In hindsight, the only things she really missed from Texas were her friends, country music, and TexMex. “This was sort of like a test run, to see if I could do it and actually see myself living there,” Megan explains, “This program solidified my answer.”

Frances Lee
Gracia Fuentes