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Explain your career path
While at Southeast Missouri State University I joined the Student Activities Council. Our job was to bring free and entertaining events to the student body on campus. As a Mass Communications major, my specific role was to coordinate the advertising of these events. I fell in love with entertainment and events. So much that I moved to Las Vegas after graduation and was in charge of bring entertainment to the Sam's Town casino. I loved the acts that came through, such as wrestling, orchestras, variety shows, Latin concerts and bands. However, I was home sick and St. Louis was calling me back. I saw an Event Coordinator position open at a nonprofit that provides services for adults with developmental disabilities. Growing up, my mom was a paraprofessional, so I always had a heart for this kind of work. I interviewed for the Events position, but was offered something entirely different! I've been with this nonprofit, Emmaus, for 4 years now. Through print, radio, television, social media and more I get to share the stories of the men and women we support and the Direct Support Professionals that are pouring their heart and soul into the lives of others. I've found my calling.
What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?
My major at Southeast was in Mass Communications with a minor in Integrated Marketing. My focus was on on Advertising and I was part of the first advertising club on campus. I took a lot of classes in Film Production which has greatly impacted my work at Emmaus. Instead of using a third party to create videos, I was able to take my interviewing and camera knowledge to produce videos in-house and really save our donation dollars for more important person focused needs.
Why did you choose to attend Southeast?
I chose to attend Southeast because of the Mass Media program. In high school I told myself I always wanted to work at an advertising agency. I researched colleges and found that SEMO was ACEJMC accredited. That really made it stick out to me. I also found that a lot of schools were offering Marketing programs, but I wanted Advertising, not the business side as my Major.
Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?
During my time at Southeast, I had a lot of courses with Dr. Kari Hollerbach. She had a lot of insights and knowledge about the mass communication world. She also had real-life projects to work on, instead of everything being an example from a textbook. I remember working on an actual campaign for the Southeast Bookstore and competing with other classmates during a client pitch. I still keep in touch with Dr. Hollerbach today, and she's helped me in my current career by allowing her students to work on a project for Emmaus.
Share your best college memory.
My favorite college memory was filming a short-film for my major. I had my fraternity help with the project. It was a short film about Bigfoot stealing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from someone at lunch. Imagine this. Walking around campus, turning the corner to see a fraternity of guys acting as film crew and a man in a bigfoot costume running around. We even did the Scooby Doo where he went in and out of rooms with people following him only to all crash into each other at the end. It was a hysterically fun day.
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?
The most important thing I learned at Southeast is to go for it. There were so many opportunities to get involved on and off campus. Take the chance and you might find something you really enjoy, or something that you're really good at. I was hesitant to join Student Activities Council because I didn't know if I had what it took to live up to the standard. But I jumped in and did it, and I couldn't be more thankful for it because of where I'm at today.
Describe Southeast in three words.
Rewarding. Experience. Motivating.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Outside of college, my greatest professional accomplishment is the awards I've been able to secure for my nonprofit organization. The work we do makes it easy, but my team was effectively tell others why we are deserving. We have been able to win many things in the past few years including, a Better Business Bureau Charity Seal and Torch Award, Missouri Association of Developmental Disability Service Providers Cutting Edge Innovation Award, Ladue News Charity Award Finalist, and many others.
How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?
The best preparation I received while at Southeast was the real projects that went into my portfolio. I was told by many that my resume stood out because I had actual examples of work. I think the professors and counselors knew that's what potential employers would be interested in. Along with my portfolio, my degree required an internship. This gave me first-hand experience what working would be like and I enjoyed going to Old Town Cape a few days a week to get involved with projects that were impacting the city surrounding Southeast.
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
I highly recommend pursuing a degree in Mass Communications. It gives you the excitement to work on different projects throughout the year and it can be valuable with any business. Try a variety of things. Talk to the professors. They all have a huge network and years of experience in the field.
What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?
Before entering the "real world" I wish I would have known how much I'd miss being a college student. Today, I miss the days of getting up and having a few classes to go to. Or not having any classes and just hanging out in the lobby or on a porch. I have a long exciting and hopefully prosperous career ahead of me, but I'll never have what I had at school again.