Travis Stephens, owner, Get Hopped Apparel, Class of 2011, B. A. and Class of 2015, M. A. J.

Photo of Travis StephensA 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.