Student Media Prepared Alumna for Teamwork, Wide-Ranging Career
Collaboration and teamwork have been the common threads that have led Kent State Media and Journalism alumna Raytevia Evans, M.A. ‘12, through teaching English abroad, graduate school, work as an education reporter and now, as a public information officer. She says that every time she’s produced work she’s proud of, it has been the result of a group project.
And one of the first places she experienced this was in Kent State Student Media.
“(Student media) gave me an opportunity to work with a lot of different writers (and) photographers that are right there on campus that you can tap into and learn about what their passions are,” Evans said. “We collaborated together to put a publication together, so that’s always a fun thing.”
Today, she’s collaborating in similar ways as a Public Information Officer for the City of Alexandria Fire Department in Virginia.
“That includes a lot of web management, social media management, a lot of writing (and) putting together various team members that are putting together a team and putting out a number of products,” Evans said.
Evans decided to pursue her Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State after earning a bachelor’s degree in English from Coastal Carolina University, where she was involved in student media.
Recognizing the many opportunities student media offered, she continued her involvement at Kent State, becoming managing editor for the Kent Stater and editor-in-chief for Fusion Magazine. Evans also earned the 2012 Robert G. McGruder Student Media Excellence in Advancing Diversity Award, which honors alumnus Robert McGruder, ‘63, a trailblazer in media diversity.
Her first jobs after graduating with her master’s degree were in journalism. But she quickly started to see how the skills she developed could translate into even more opportunities.
Evans looked into public information as a way to advocate for faculty and staff accomplishments in education. Once she started applying for jobs, she said she sparked an interest in how communication is applicable in the public information space. Her first public information job opportunity was at Northern Virginia Community College.
“I already had the sources that people want to talk to pretty regularly from my stories every day,” Evans said. “I started to talk to them about how they got into that space based on what their interests were, what their backgrounds were — and it wasn’t always journalism.”
In public information work, she has to prepare for the good and bad. Evans said her journalism background helps her with what to pitch and to who.
“By anticipating from a journalism perspective, (I can think) what media will possibly be interested in, what kind of questions (the) media will possibly ask; it puts us a little bit ahead of the game,” Evans said.
In the time between earning her undergraduate degree and starting her master’s degree, Evans taught English at an elementary school in Gyeongju, Korea, after hearing previous classmates had done the same due to the lack of jobs during the recession.
“I taught Monday through Friday, very basic English language (and) conversational English to young elementary school kids,” she said. “(I worked) with the teachers there for a three-month period for a summer session before returning to the states to apply for graduate school.”
She said the diverse range of people and projects she’s worked with over the years continue to drive her excitement about work.
“Even though I’m a public information officer, when larger projects come about, I get the opportunity to build a nice, diverse team with different skill sets, different interests in bringing together those folks to put together a really nice product,” Evans said. “I’m still doing that in the work I do today.”