JaRel Clay, '11

JaRel Clay | Communication Studies | Class of 2011

Since graduating from Kent State less than 10 years ago, JaRel Clay has traveled the United States while working for Edelman, one of the country’s largest public relations firms; created a digital media platform for a national security think tank; and managed coalitions for a progressive nonprofit focused on making the world a better place.

And in almost every scenario, he’s been able to resolve challenges — involving mediation, problem-solving and collaboration — using skills that he can trace back to his time as a Communication Studies major at Kent State.

Now, he’s Associate Senior Director of Digital and Production for Hip Hop Caucus, a national, non-profit and non-partisan organization that connects the Hip Hop community to the civic process to build power and create positive change. Previously, he worked for Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest, based in Washington, D.C. He also runs his own creative agency, creating digital brands for small business, entrepreneurs and nonprofits.

JaRel’s concentration in applied communication studies was uniquely suited to this career path.

“Fundamentals of Media Messages and High-Impact Professional Speaking courses helped me understand the complexity and nuance of communicating to different audiences, while my coursework in visual design and business equipped me with the tools to be a visionary and practitioner in my career.”

He’s found that there are no limits to success with a degree in communication studies.

“As I've progressed in my career, I've learned that what worked just a year ago may be outdated today,” JaRel says. “I have witnessed the most success from practitioners who continue exploring new trends and fully embrace new approaches to community and online engagement. Communication Studies instills a culture of continuous learning that not only propels you ahead of the competition – it keeps you there.”