Teens in Print Summer Journalism Institute students are participating in a series of career exploration activities this summer at 10 Boston companies. We’re sending our students to ad agencies, real estate firms, biotech giants, and more to expose them to potential future jobs.

Over three weeks, each student will visit three of ten job sites. We’ll update you weekly as the visits go by.

To those of you who welcomed us into your office, thank you for your enthusiastic support!

a&g logo

Six of our students went behind-the-scenes at ad agency Allen & Gerritsen (A&G) in Boston’s seaport district. The astounding office, replete with fun brainstorming spaces, an in-house production studio, and company scooters for inter-office travel, was enough to blow us away. But the real treat was the workshops: students wrote radio commercials for the 99 Restaurants as well as headlines for a Boston Calling ad campaign A&G worked on this year.

“I enjoyed every part of the experience.”
Jesse, SJI student

We collaboratively discussed ideas, drafted radio and ad copy, and shared out our final drafts. A&G’s design team will take a headline from each student, plug the text into the design template they used (above, right), and–voila!–each student has a jump-start on their very own creative portfolio.

ctp logo

Our second group headed to Boston-based marketing agency CTP. This is CTP’s second year welcoming us to their dynamic office. (They also generously created this video for WriteBoston, which is well worth checking out.)

“What I liked about the whole thing was the amount of creativity the workplace had. Also, I really liked the stealth project, which was to advertise a startup company.”
Daniel, SJI student

We learned all about the many moving parts of a marketing company, and what goes into an ad campaign. Then we tried our hand at a tough assignment: promote a start-up.

jll logo

Global commercial real estate firm JLL hosted us at its Boston office for a briefing on the business, and a closer look at the company’s internal marketing team. Our students paired up with professionals for in-depth interviews, and began writing profiles using JLL’s tried-and-trusted marketing guide.

“My favorite part was meeting people from the marketing team who were both newer and older employees. I also liked being able to interview them.”
Rebecca, SJI student

jll student interveiws

The experience was an eye-opener for students about commercial real estate, and the one-on-one time with staffers helped kids put a face on a profession. Students really valued the chance to ask questions, get to know local professionals, and visualize the ways they might use writing at work–even at a real estate firm.

Sanofi Genzyme Logo

Our final first-round career exploration was hosted by Sanofi Genzyme, a biotech giant and long-time partner of WriteBoston. We explored Sanofi Genzyme’s incredible office space in Kendall Square, heard from the company’s extensive marketing team, and glimpsed the work they’re doing to treat and eradicate rare diseases.

“My favorite part…gosh, where to begin? I loved the brainstorming session toward the end. It was very interactive.”
Naomi, SJI student

Seeing the different facets of marketing at a major biotech company was a highlight for many of the students…not to mention the amazing views from the Sanofi Genzyme office. The experience closed with an interactive marketing brainstorm.

boston globe logo

To kick off round two, a group headed to the Boston Globe headquarters. We heard from a panel of skilled journalists, including Shirley Leung, Adrian Walker, Marcela Garcia, and Jenee Osterheldt. Each journalist was unique, with a different career path and personal story. They talked about their individual journeys, offered advice, and answered our many questions about life as a professional journalist.

“I enjoyed the tour a lot. It was really interesting to see how the office was ran and how productive the people were.”
Alissa, SJI student

globe student group shot

We’re social media experts, so after hearing from the panel, we filled out a fun social media survey that the Globe will use to inform how they disseminate information online. The panelists from earlier joined us for lunch, and we had the opportunity to get to know them in a more casual setting.

Special shoutout to the Globe for printing our quarterly student newspaper, Teens in Print. We think some of our students might join your ranks in the future!

A second group journeyed to the Castle Group in Charlestown, a PR firm and long-time partner of WriteBoston. This is Castle’s fourth career exploration day, and we couldn’t wait to see what they had planned! We weren’t disappointed. The theme of the day was “Pitch Perfect,” so we started things off with an elevator pitch icebreaker.

“My favorite part was the news pitch activity. I  didn’t know news pitches were so urgent and informative.”
Jazmary, SJI student

castle group photo

We learned that as a PR firm, Castle employees spend a lot of time on the phone pitching to news outlets. They have to make the case for their story quick and compelling–and we practiced making calls from their conference room. They were tough critics! We learned quickly to get straight to the point and highlight the most interesting information.

ovia health logo

Our last group headed to Boston Seaport to visit Ovia Health, a new WriteBoston partner and an awesome host site. We learned all about the Ovia Health app, and discovered the many different positions at a health tech company. Then we drafted snippets (about anything we wanted) to compare later to the Ovia voice.

“I really enjoyed learning about what they did. I did not know the people at Ovia had such an interesting job and how important their app really was. I marveled at the amount of different experts there, from engineers to writers to programmers to nurses.”
Malia, SJI student

students at ovia health

We learned that Ovia uses a specific voice and keywords to talk about their services. Then we tried our hand at being Ovia professionals by editing our original snippets to reflect the Ovia voice.

(Bonus points to Ovia for such a fun group photo!)

BPDA logo

For our final round of career exploration activities, several students visited the Boston Planning and Development Agency at City Hall. We learned about PR from a governmental standpoint, which includes sharing vital information with citizens during an emergency.

We met Mayor Walsh (!) and heard from his cabinet on how the City of Boston handles press conferences.

“We got to see a very detailed 3-D map of the city of Boston, which was super interesting to look at. We also got a chance to sit down with the mayor, which was a pleasant surprise.”
Jesse, SJI Student

students with Mayor Marty Walsh

Then, we held our own mock press conference. We got an internal briefing on an impending snowstorm and Boston’s safety procedures. We were responsible for informing the public by drafting a media advisory, a speech for the Mayor, a press release, and a social media toolkit.

Denterlein Logo

Another group of us headed to Denterlein, a PR firm in Downtown Boston. We heard from the founder of the company, who stressed the importance of good communication skills to share information and express ideas. The Denterlein staff were clearly passionate about the work they’re doing.

“The activity we did with Social Media was very interesting and I found their careers interesting and promising.”
Eddie, SJI Student

denterlein social media pic

Collectively, we wrote a pitch; then, after a presentation about PR and social media, we sent out our own tweets. We left with a newfound understanding about what goes into working in PR.


Our final group headed over to East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. We got a walking tour of the different buildings, and were introduced to so many aspects of what EBNHC does. From marketing, to patient records, to licensing–we didn’t realize how many different careers one could have at a community health center!

“My favorite part of the experience was having a very deep and thoughtful conversation with my colleagues and tour guide.”
Jazmary, SJI Student

students at ebnhc

We spent some time in the computer lab looking at mock patient records they use for training–we didn’t realize how detailed the records had to be! We also heard from other non-clinical professionals, including medical interpreters and folks from the marketing department.

Thank you!

We want to extend our sincere thanks to all of the local employers who partnered with us to make this possible. WriteBoston is fortunate to have such dedicated supporters in our community who believe in the power of youth voice.