COM Alumni Spotlight
Allyson (5th from the left) at the 2013 Annual Navigate Retreat in Chicago, IL
|Graduation Date:||May 2010|
Senior Data Analyst
|Current Location:||Scottsdale, AZ|
What was your favorite class in the COM Department? Why?
I have to pick two: Interpersonal Communication with Tammy Bulger and the IMC sequence with Jeanne Persuit. Interpersonal was my first introduction to the communication discipline, where I fell in love with the field. I never knew interpersonal communication existed as an area of study, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the relatable texts and learning about myself through the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (go ENFJs!) as well as understanding how relationships develop and evolve with and through communication.
I also want to acknowledge the Integrated Marketing Communication sequence with Dr. Persuit, which funny enough was at the end of my journey in the COM Dept. Similar to interpersonal, IMC was foreign to me. I had not previously been exposed to words like ‘branding’ or ‘identity’ in a strategic communication sense, and it was in IMC where elements of Organizational Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Communication Theory, Research Methods, Small Group, Public Relations and Desktop Publishing all came together. The ultimate a-ha moment in college when you see coherence, underscoring the worth of each COM class.
What organizations/groups were you involved in while you were a student?
- Lambda Pi Eta: Communication Honor Society; Secretary
- CSS: Communication Studies Society; Member
- Alpha Xi Delta: PanHellenic Sorority; Public Relations VP, Programs VP
- Tau Sigma: Transfer Student Honor Society; Founding Father (mother?)
- Omicron Delta Kappa: Leadership Honor Society; Member
- Order of Omega: Greek Honor Society; Secretary
(Insert over-achiever status here)
Did you complete a departmental internship? If so, please list your internship agency.
Unfortunately, no. Per my organizational involvement, I opted out of an internship as I knew I wanted to go to graduate school and strategically sought out leadership opportunities instead. I completed two independent studies in the COM Department, and in my mind that was the perfect ‘internship’ experience for graduate school. I did complete an internship while in graduate school, which led to my full-time job. I highly recommend an internship as connections and on-the-job training can be more important than your degree.
How are you using the skills/concepts learned from your COM degree in your life?
The skills and concepts learned from my degree are used in every avenue of my life, from my job, to my personal relationships, to how I think about and critique the world. I work in sports market research, where my responsibilities involve listening to and understanding client’s objectives, implementing those objectives through an appropriate research method (think survey or focus group), communicating instructions to respondents and consolidating data in a way that tells a powerful story for the client. My work-life is a living COM 200, and every step of the research process involves communication, meta-communication and many hours of critical thinking, keeping the client, respondent and ethics in mind at all times.
What are your proudest accomplishments since graduating from UNCW?
Pursuing a goal of graduate school, obtaining a teaching assistantship and graduating from Marquette University with an M.A. in Communication with a concentration in both Communication Studies and Advertising/Public Relations. I would also include landing my first ‘real world’ job as a research analyst. Both accomplishments would not have been possible without the support and opportunities within the COM Department.
Communication is. . .
an ongoing encoding and decoding process that involves contextual sympathy, empathy, apathy, inner thought and continual listening in order to express a unique message to a given audience.
What advice would you give current COM majors?
Work hard, take every opportunity that is presented to you, get internships, get involved in organizations on campus, make connections with the department and the outside world, all while branding yourself with who you are and why someone should hire you. Think about your future before your last semester in college. If possible, take the capstone course your first semester of your senior year to help answer questions you have or answer questions you may not have thought of until your professor has asked. I took the capstone course the first semester of my senior year, and it really helped me understand what I wanted to do and how I needed to get there while leaving an entire semester before graduation.
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