Communication Career Spotlight

Aaron Hanlin

Graduation year(s):

2010, B.A., Communication Studies, Applied Communication Concentration

2012, M.Ed., Higher Education Administration & Student Personnel

Current job title: Honors Coordinator II, Coordinator of Admissions & Scholarships

Current place of employment: Kent State University

Positions held since graduation?

Academic Advisor II, Honors College, Kent State University, August 2011 - June 2013

Honors Coordinator I, Honors College, Kent State University, July 20l3 - December 2014

Honors Coordinator II, Honors College, Kent State University, January 2015 - Present

How did communication studies prepare you for your career?

My studies prepared me to have increased skills and awareness about communication. I interact with people both internally and externally every day, and my studies helped prepare me to effectively communicate with a diverse range of individuals.

What's an average day like at your job?

Every day is different. On most days, I spend time interacting with students and families or making presentations about the Honors College here at Kent State University. I’m always communicating though, whether it be verbal or written. Overall, it’s a great atmosphere to work on a college campus, and I get to do a variety of things in my position.

What's been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

This past year, I was tasked with launching a study abroad program for first-semester freshmen in collaboration with the Office of Global Education. I’m excited that this fall, we will be sending 16 Honors College freshmen to spend their first semester as Kent State students at the Kent State Florence Center.

What was your favorite communication studies class?

COMM 26000 Criticism of Public Discourse. I took this course as an honors course with Dr. David Trebing. I really enjoyed learning techniques to evaluate public messages, and he really challenged me in this class with the additional requirements to earn honors credit.

What advice would you give current or prospective communication studies students?

Get experience. Complete as many internships as you can and ask to volunteer your time. The more experience you have, the better chance you have of building your skills. Make sure to network, and leave a good impression on everyone one you meet. Always ask for more work at your internship. It will show your dedication toward learning and building your resume.

 

Shannon French

Graduation year(s): 2015

Current job title: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Marketing Specialist

Current place of employment: InterDesign, Inc.

Positions held since graduation:

I have two jobs right now— I am the SEO Marketing Specialist at InterDesign and I also do freelance work as a Social Media Content Specialist at Lauren Loft Social.

How did communication studies prepare you for your career?

Two of the biggest takeaways from my time in the School of Communication Studies are public speaking and teamwork. There have been multiple opportunities at work for me to present my ideas to large groups. Having a comfort level with public speaking has made that part of my job much easier. All of the public speaking classes do pay off! Teamwork is also instrumental in the workplace, but knowing the different ways to facilitate effective teamwork and leadership takes practice.  All people are different and the ways to effectively communicate vary from person to person. The practice I had with teamwork helps me daily while working and communicating with different types of people.

What's an average day like at your job?

Although I was hired to work on my company’s SEO, my responsibilities have evolved and expanded. About half of my day is focused on optimizing the keywords for our products on Amazon. I use tools and my research to develop spreadsheets of recommended key terms and phrases to make our products more searchable. The other half of my day is focused on social media. Before I was hired, my company did not use social media. Although they had been thinking about it for a while, I helped them make the push to create a Facebook and Pinterest. I work on daily posts, analytics, strategic plans, competitor analyses and everything else needed to run successful social media sites.

What's been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

My greatest accomplishment has been helping my company with the push to use social media and driving consumer engagement. I am proud to say that within five months with the company, we had a basic strategic plan laid out and our social media sites launched. My company has never really focused on consumer engagement and brand awareness before, so helping with the process has been rewarding.

What was your favorite communication studies class?

My favorite communication studies class would have to be Organizational Communication with Suzy D’Enbeau. I found communication within the workplace fascinating and we were encouraged to think about why we act the way we do in society and in the workplace. Understanding why people act the way they do in a workplace really changes the way you communicate and handle situations.

What advice would you give current or prospective communication studies students?

My biggest piece of advice would be to get yourself out there! Join as many activities and clubs as you can, meet lots of people and find out what you love to do. Throughout my time at Kent, I joined quite a few activities and completed three internships. Although two of the internships didn’t count as class credits, real-world experience is everything. I made many connections and friends through my activities and internships and gained a lot of experience that I was able to add to my skillset and resume.

 

Anne Dudley

Graduation year(s):

2010, B.A. Communication Studies, Interpersonal Communication Concentration

2012, M.A. Public Relations

Current job title: Communication and Outreach Specialist

Current place of employment: University of Maryland Eastern Shore in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center. 

Positions held since graduation:

Graduate Assistant for public relations and marketing communications, College of Communication and Information, Kent State University, August 2010 - May 2012

Marketing Coordinator, School of Communication Studies and the School of Visual Communication Design, Kent State University, September 2012 - January 2014

Communications Manager, Health Sciences Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, January 2014 – July 2015

I have also served as a freelance account coordinator for The Buzz Maker! Public Relations since the summer of 2013. I consider this my post-graduate-school education as I get to use my free time to contribute to a boutique public relations firm and learn from a seasoned public relations professional and friend of Kent State, Tracy Teuscher. 

How did communication studies prepare you for your career?

The School of Communication Studies has done so much to prepare me for my career, and at one time, was my career! I am so grateful that the faculty in the program not only worked hard to pique my interest in this field, but also were some of the most encouraging people I have ever known. The faculty are what makes the school great, and at the time I studied in and worked for the COMM program, I was fortunate to have their direction and guidance. The faculty encouraged me and generously supported me in my applications to internships and graduate school. Dr. Rozell Duncan, Dr. Nichole Egbert, and Dr. Mei-Chen Lin helped me learn to love the communication field and understand my options for professional work and graduate school. Also, the curriculum of the program gave me so much flexibility. I was able to take upper level classes early on in my academic career so that I could easily study abroad for a semester, graduate summa cum laude, and manage internships and work while earning my degree. Finally, I think learning about how we communicate is so important and applicable to our personal, professional, and academic lives. I loved how easy it was to see the real-world applications of each lecture, chapter or paper. 

What's an average day like at your job?

There are few 'average days' as a communications professional, which is one thing I love about working in this field. Throughout the day or week, I am talking to our students and alumni about their current research or professional work and writing stories for our website, social media, and university publications or to share with the media. I am learning about our faculty members' research in the marine sciences, sometimes following them around and taking photos of them conducting field work at the ocean or at our coastal laboratory. I am often meeting or corresponding with our six partner universities from across the country and the organization that funds our Center, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). We might be coordinating upcoming meetings and conferences, sharing the accomplishments of our students and faculty, or working on opportunities for our students to learn and grow professionally. At other times, I am building our website platforms, sharing our work on social media, creating print and digital publications, and constantly explaining what we do and why it matters. 

What's been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

I've completed a master's degree, which has opened the door to many more professional opportunities and has been integral in me earning the positions that I've had thus far. I've learned not only how to build websites using several different tools, but how to work through the website-development process with a group of collaborators on behalf of an entity. I have created many publications to represent the programs that I work for, which has required me to dive into and fully understand the fields and programs that I represent, the people in those fields, and what they are trying to say. To sum up, I am most proud of my ability to learn and grow in this field, which has filled my portfolio with a wealth of skills that I apply to my job every day. 

What was your favorite communication studies class?

I recall enjoying so many of my upper level courses because they were immediately applicable to my life. Interpersonal communication with Vanessa Heeman was an incredible course and truly affirmed my interest in communication as a field. Rozell Duncan's Senior Seminar was tremendously helpful in preparing to enter a full-time professional work environment and graduate school. Intercultural communication was interesting, fun and applicable to my everyday life. 

What advice would you give current or prospective communication studies students?

Enjoy the act of learning while it is your full-time job -- and take the time to really learn the material now. Talk to your professors early and often every semester; they are a wealth of information for your academic and professional future. Get involved on campus and through internships. These days in school may seem like your best, but your future is bright and full of even more exciting things. When you graduate from college, remember where you came from and look back to help the people coming after you. 

 

image of machelle syxMachelle Syx

Graduation year(s): 2008

Current job title: Corporate Alliance Coordinator

Current place of employment: Akron Children's Hospital

Positions held since graduation:

Guest Services Assistant Supervisor, Akron Zoo

Guest Services Assistant Manager, Akron Zoo

Food Service and Catering Supervisor, Akron Zoo

Special Events Manager, Akron Zoo

Special Projects Coordinator, Akron Children's Hospital

Corporate Alliance Coordinator, Akron Children's Hospital

How did communication studies prepare you for your career?

Communications studies, in my opinion, is so broad that it prepares you for all aspects of a professional career. I learned mostly how to work independently and efficiently yet still be able to communicate and work with committees and teams. Nonprofit events and fundraising rely on both and I have felt prepared and confident in each challenge I have been presented with.

What's an average day like at your job?

There is not an average day! I chose to utilize my education in the world of non-profit which requires me to wear different hats and manage different tasks each day. My primary focus is working with corporations to get their employees engaged with the hospital to maximize our corporate fundraising and outreach. 

What's been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

I have worked on a lot of projects that I am proud of and that I consider myself to be lucky to have been a part of. I have also been fortunate to have the majority of my career be at two outstanding organizations that truly stand behind their mission and great work. My favorite challenge that I have worked on would be my current role. The corporate focus at Akron Children's Hospital is a new one that we are striving to build. It's important for our community to be educated about the great work that Akron Children's Hospital provides and I am able to education corporations on that every day!

What was your favorite communication studies class?

That is a hard one. I truly enjoyed any class that was taught by Dr. Robyn Parker, Amber Ferris and the rest of the communication studies team. If I had to choose a favorite, I think it would be Communications in Teams, Public Speaking or Debate. 

What advice would you give current or prospective communication studies students?

Network. What I have found in my role is that networking is key to your success. I wish I had joined student organizations, young professionals groups and focus groups when I was in college and I waited. There are wonderful organizations at Kent State and in the community that will allow you to build your network. Growing your network can open doors that you did not even know existed and can help make your career successful.

 

image of leah betton langeLeah Betton Lange

Graduation year(s): 2010

Current job title: Social Media Manager

Current place of employment: American Greetings

Positions held since graduation:

Account Manager, DCI Group

Assistant Account Executive, Falls Communications

How did communication studies prepare you for your career?

What I loved most about the Communication Studies program at Kent State University was that it was broad and didn’t focus on a single career. My degree can be used for a number of different positions and I don’t feel tied down to one type of career.  

What's an average day like at your job?

Working at American Greetings, an average day depends on the season. We have large scale campaigns around Christmas and Valentine’s Day, but we also stay very busy for other holidays like Mother’s Day and Halloween. I talk with fans on our social channels, brainstorm, plan and create briefs for upcoming content, work with different departments across the company to create a concise message across marketing, keep myself knowledgeable on social platform updates and algorithm changes, and I constantly stay updated on trending topics.  

What's been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

When American Greetings’ Mother Day campaign video, World’s Toughest Job, went viral. Also being a 2014 speaker at Social Media Today’s Social Shake-Up event.

What was your favorite communication studies class?

My favorite class was definitely Communication Theory.

What advice would you give current or prospective communication studies students?

I think it’s really important to intern before graduating. It not only helps you put your course work to action, but the on-the-job knowledge you’ll learn can also be helpful for your next semester’s classes.

 

image of kimberly field springerKimberly Field-Springer

Graduation year(s): 2003

Current job title: Assistant Professor

Current place of employment: Berry College

Positions held since graduation:

Teaching Assistant, The University of Akron (2003-2005) where I obtained my MA in 2005

Marketing Assistant, Wooster Community Hospital (2005-2007)

Executive Director, Rittman Area Chamber of Commerce (2007-2009)

Teaching/Research Assistant, Ohio University (2009-2013) where I obtained my Ph.D. in 2013

Assistant Professor, Ashland University (2013-2015)

Assistant Professor, Berry College (2015-present) 

How did communication studies prepare you for your career?

It sparked my passion for health communication. Dr. Egbert's enthusiasm helped me to realize that I could use my skills and what I had learned to inform others about making important health decisions. 

What's an average day like at your job?

In industry, I worked on writing health stories disseminated in quarterly newsletters and annual reports, coordinated health events for community and employer wellness fairs, and collaborated with various medical departments including physicians to improve patient satisfaction and increase referrals. At the chamber, I worked with a board on several fundraising and promotional events. Currently, I teach classes where I pass on my skills from industry to the next generation of professionals. 

What's been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

Currently, I am working on releasing a documentary about my dissertation work called, "Alternate Route: reimagining healthcare between doctors and their communities." The film shadows members and doctors involved in the program Walk with a Doc where community members and providers interact on a weekly basis to talk about the management and prevention of diseases and illnesses.

What was your favorite communication studies class?

Health Communication!!!!

What advice would you give current or prospective communication studies students?

I live by the quote, "we are not made or unmade by the things that happen to us but by our reaction to them." So, try to experience as much as you can and don't worry about failure. It's about what you learned during the process that counts. College, at least for me, was about figuring out who I was and finding passion in something that I wanted to continue doing. Try not to foreclose possibilities before fully exploring all your options.

Amy Hairimage of amy hair

Graduation year(s): 2010

Current job title: Admissions Counselor

Current place of employment: Kent State University

Positions held since graduation:

Collegiate Assistant Softball Coach, Recruiter, Admissions Counselor

How did communication studies prepare you for your career?

My degree in Communication Studies has allowed me to feel comfortable interacting across all mediums in each of my positions thus far. My degree prepared me for everything from the interviewing process to my day to day duties as an employee. A communication studies degree is fulfilling in a working environment because co-workers value someone that can engage on all levels and that is what a graduate from this program can do. I am expected to speak in front of large audiences and accommodate to different cultures and learning styles.

What's an average day like at your job?

My job works on a cycle. Each piece of the cycle is very different and depends on the time of year. For a few months of the year, I am traveling to a designated territory to visit and meet prospective students and their families at high schools to essentially recruit them to come to KSU. A portion of the year is dedicated to hosting admitted students on campus in the form of programs and events, which is one of the busiest times for us. We give tours, presentations and host full sit down meals for families. A lot of my additional time is spent building relationships over the phone, through email and face-to-face with students and their families. I also give presentations to visitors.

What's been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

I am thankful to maintain employment and continually move upward in my career.

What was your favorite communication studies class?

I really enjoyed non-verbal communication and interpersonal communication.

What advice would you give current or prospective communication studies students?

The best advice I could lend would be to soak up all of the information you are given and to participate in as many organizations, groups and extra-curricular activities as you can. Also, internships are vital to gain experience!