When the Clinique Fresh Faces Tour stopped at the University of Colorado last November, senior Maggie Schoonmaker admitted she wasn’t aware of the opportunity.
The journalism major just wanted to talk with CeCe Coffin, a senior vice president at Clinique, who spoke to a journalism class last November during a tour stop. After the class they spent some time talking, and Coffin encouraged her to apply for the Fresh Faces internship program.
“When I applied, I knew this could be the opportunity of a lifetime for me,” Schoonmaker said. “I’ve always wanted to move to New York, and then I realized this could really be it, this could be my stepping stone.”
Over 1,400 young women applied for the position, during 13 tour stops across the country last year, and a panel of Clinique, Teen Vogue and people in the fashion industry narrowed the pool down to 25.
Online voters selected five finalists, and in February, the same panel chose Schoonmaker.
“I think it speaks to the message she promotes — particularly the importance of a healthy body image and the service she’s done at the YWCA,” said Andrea Spinella, Clinique’s director of North America marketing. “Everything she stands for is in line with the message we want to convey for Clinique users of her age bracket.”
Spinella also said Schoonmaker’s GPA and impressive resume — which includes three magazine internships, a three-year position with the university’s communications department, volunteer work and part-time jobs, as well as an internship at the Camera — helped set her apart from the rest.
Women’s empowerment has interested Schoonmaker throughout college. The graduating senior spent a year as a volunteer at the YWCA of Boulder County and has worked to promote the importance of a positive body image for young girls.
“Clinique has always created inspiring messages for women,” she said. “I’m honored to be a part of this company.”
The 10-week internship with Clinique begins in June, and Schoonmaker will become a part of the rotational internship program, with a focus on global communications. She will also complete a one-week behind-the-scenes internship at Teen Vogue.
“I’m not exactly sure what my role is going to be,” Schoonmaker said. “But I want to learn as much as humanly possible about public relations and Clinique.
“I want to be a sponge, soaking up every piece of information I can.”
For many CU students, internships often help bridge the gap between college and a career, said Lisa Severy, of CU’s Career Services, and these experiences can offer more than a part-time job.
“It’s great for the student to learn about the company, a certain industry, and of course, about their peers,” Severy said. “But, the most valuable component would be the expanding of your personal network.
“A formal internship can be a very marketable experience.”
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at CU has a strong record of placing students at highly sought-after internships. Six journalism students were recently offered summer internships with CBS News in New York City, and in the past, students have completed internships at the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.
As for Schoonmaker, the excitement for this summer and New York City are helping her count down the days.
“It feels good to be able say I’m going to New York for the summer,” she said. “I have this incredible internship with Clinique and Teen Vogue, and I’m following my dreams.”