Meet our fall Northwestern intern, Annie Gao

3Points Communications
4 min readOct 10, 2019

With each season, we at 3Points are lucky enough to gain the insights of aspiring PR pros — our interns. As we’ve grown and worked on assessing our company and brand this year, we’ve also worked on building out the structure of our internship program. Our newest intern, Annie Gao, a junior at Northwestern, is the first of our interns to be part of our refined program. In the past few weeks, Annie has already brought great perspective to the team. Learn a little more about Annie in the Q&A below.

What do you enjoy about PR?

Being able to raise awareness for a client through a means different than advertising. I think what makes PR different is that there is an aspect of relationship-building with the reporters and editors with whom you are connecting your client, and I enjoy social interactions and working with people.

Why did you choose to do your internship at 3Points?

I heard great things about the company culture and how interns here actually get super involved in client work. I wanted an experience in which I was fully immersed rather than sitting on the sidelines watching. The company size also was a big influence in my decision to intern at 3Points because working at a smaller firm allows me the chance to do more and tackle different projects all at once.

What has been your favorite class so far at Northwestern?

Theories of Persuasion — the course name says it all. Under Professor O’Keefe, I learned all the tricks of the trade in becoming a master manipulator. (Just kidding.) But in all seriousness, this course taught me a lot about just how malleable humans are to change in attitude and behavior all through the slightest tweaks in message delivery, body language, etc. It really made me realize that no one is too stubborn or insusceptible to change.

Here’s just one lesson I learned, for example: aspects like likeability of the source (messenger) become more impactful in persuasion if the audience is not as involved with the topic being discussed. So if I were preaching about why one should switch to veganism to a crowd that does not already care about the topic, I would focus more on having a charismatic delivery of the message and presentation of myself rather than going at it with heavy data and factual support.

You spent a couple of years as a golf instructor — looking at it from the other side, what has golf taught you?

I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my time as a golfer stressing so much about the end score. In fact, my best rounds were when I was mentally relaxed and purely enjoying the game. As an instructor, I definitely wanted to let my younger students know that just like anything in life, whether it be a hobby or work, if you’re not doing it out of love or pure passion, you won’t enjoy it.

Tell us about your travels this summer.

I spent over a month of this summer in Changsha, a large metropolis in southern China, as a social media intern at Mango TV. Although I am Chinese by heritage, living in China felt like a completely different world. I loved learning and experiencing new things (especially food). It felt very satisfying being able to connect more to the culture of my parents and grandparents.

A few notable things:

  • I experienced firsthand the craze and obsession in idol culture, since I worked in the center of the filming studios of the network. Fans would line up outside the buildings hours upon hours before the celebrity arrived on set, even when temperatures soared over 100 degrees, which happened most days.
  • It was also very interesting that most locals could immediately spot that I was a foreigner. For example, I stood out for being tan on purpose and not using an umbrella to shield myself from the sun.
  • Regarding food, I tried stinky tofu, and this food really is not for the faint of heart. The delicacy is enjoyed by many in China. It has a black, crispy outer skin that reveals a greyish silky texture when bitten into. It’s a popular street food, and I could always tell where a vendor would be because I could smell the tofu from a block away.

What is your favorite thing about fall in Chicago?

Definitely the weather. It’s a brisk 65 degrees right now — not too hot and not too cold. It’s the perfect weather to go for a morning or night jog, which I plan to do often. It’s a nice transition before going into a Chicago winter, something I am never prepared for.