Chuka Akpom doesn’t consider himself much of a sports person. Working at a sports organization wasn’t at the top of his list of criteria when looking for internships.
He was looking for the right place to learn more about brand management.
It just happened to be with the PGA Tour.
“I wasn’t chasing sports,” the rising Carolina junior said. “I was chasing the right job. I felt comfortable here.”
Akpom, a public relations major from the UNC School of Media and Journalism, is gaining hands-on experience this summer as a communications intern with the PGA Tour, working on advertising campaigns. In addition to learning the skills of his future profession, the Wake Forest native is tackling the challenges of living far from home in Jacksonville, Florida.
“Being here has really allowed me to explore myself, to challenge myself and to grow,” said Akpom, who has minors in Hispanic studies and business administration.
It’s been an opportunity made possible by the School of Media and Journalism’s Lookout Fellows Program, which provides funding to remove the financial pressures that can limit students’ access to their ideal experiences.
During his internship, Akpom has participated in several PGA Tour projects, including analyzing how the tour’s new “Live Under Par” advertising campaign is reaching its core audiences. He’s also developed different ways to reach the target audiences.
In each project he’s undertaken so far, Akpom has applied the skills he’s learned in the classroom.
“It’s crafting a message that’s concise yet effective, which I feel like is a principle that’s taught in every discipline at Carolina,” he said. “It’s very reassuring to know that Carolina is teaching its students something that will be applicable in the real world. I feel like I was prepared for this.”
The hands-on experience has also provided insight he couldn’t gain by sitting at a desk.
“There’s no experience like real-world experience,” Akpom said.
Sharing a unique perspective
When he returns to Chapel Hill in a few weeks to begin his junior year, Akpom looks to share his fresh and unique perspective with peers.
“Being able to relate my experience to somebody who’s interested in pursuing a similar path, I think that will be my biggest contribution,” he said.
He’ll also be bringing back with him a fresh perspective on what he’s capable of in a professional setting thanks to his experiences as an intern with the PGA Tour.
“It’s exposed me to a lot. It’s shown me a lot about myself and the world in general,” Akpom said. “I’m really grateful for it.”