Our alumni have agreed to share their career paths post graduation, and to relate how they have applied their experiences from the school of journalism and mass communications. “My Degree in JMC” will be a monthly column written by alumni who will trace for us their careers and identify the influences they have carried from college.
A degree puts you on the track to where you want to go; experiences gained while earning the degree actually get you there. Marshall’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SOJMC) empower you to have these experiences.
I am not somebody who sits comfortably into the category of either “right” or “left” brained. I have an intrinsic need to be challenged both creatively and intellectually. I started my education at Marshall University majoring in computer science. It didn’t scratch my itch. I then went to art. It still did not fulfill me. I landed in advertising. To quote the story of Goldilocks, it was “just right.”
The coursework was perfect for me. It encouraged me to leave my introverted comfort zone and challenge myself beyond the classroom. We helped local non-profits while learning. We developed and implemented fundraisers. Internship was tremendous in my personal and professional growth. Most important was the advertising capstone course – campaigns. It is structured around researching and developing a campaign for a real company with a real problem to solve. Students then compete with other schools in the National Student Advertising Competition. Our class won our local district and moved on to compete nationally. This was the moment I knew the years of training and practice provided by the SOJMC would lead me to a bright future.
I then went on to complete a Master’s of Journalism degree from Marshall. I wanted to further my undergraduate experience in a more academic environment, while obtaining skills that were outside of my undergraduate curriculum, namely in the realm of public relations.
My rounded education gave me the tools needed to become my own boss. I work with clients to strategize campaigns, to develop creative and to implement testing. I am also a freelance web designer, which in itself is immensely rewarding.
As of 2016 I own a few e-commerce ventures including Get Hopped Apparel. Experiences gained through Marshall’s SOJMC provided me a leg up, whether I’m writing a press release, gaining consumer insight or testing conversion on products. Knowledge of consumer behavior, law, digital imaging and more are absolutely invaluable for me, from both perspectives of product development and strategic application.
The degree itself didn’t get me here; the experiences Marshall offered while getting the degree did. The skilled instructors want you to succeed and will encourage you to push your own boundaries. The decision to enroll in the SOJMC will be one of your most important. Prepare for growth. Prepare for experiences. Prepare for life.
Additional Featured Alumni
- Rebeccah Lutz, Owner Rebeccah Lutz Content Strategy, LLC – Class of 2000
- Jessi Starkey, Reporter, WCHS TV—Class of 2015
- Nawar Shora, Senior Policy Advisor, Department of Homeland Security – Class of 1997
- Jerod Smalley, Sports Director, WCMH-TV/NBC4, Columbus, OH, Class of 2001
- Molly Grove, Yoga Therapist, Grove Tree Yoga, B.A, 2011, M.A.J., Doctoral student – Class of 2010
- Lacie Pierson, Reporter, Huntington Herald-Dispatch, Class of 2008
- Griffin McElroy, Senior Editorial Producer, Polygon, Vox Media, Inc.— Class of 2009
- Justin Minsker, Public Information Specialist, Texas Workforce Commission – Class of 2008
- Jen Sangid, Director of US Account Management, Teads – Class of 2011
- Pete Ruest, VP Global Group Account director, BBDO Worldwide – Class of 1997
- Kari Shumaker, Independent Executive Director, Thirty-One Gifts – Class of 1999
- Taylor Kuykendall, Journalist, SNL Energy — Class of 2009
- Drew Smith, Steptoe & Johnson– Class of 2006
- Chris Dickerson, The West Virginia Record– Class of 1992
- Bill Bissett, President, Kentucky Coal Association – M.A.J. Class of 1997
- Matt Lockhart, Attorney, Dinsmore & Shohl – Class of 2004
- Susan Lavenski, Managing Partner/Owner, Charles Ryan Associates
- Janet Dooley, class of 1973