Graduates Past and Present
Below you'll find the stories of students currently in the Masters of Organizational Communication program. We call them "Present." You'll also find the stories of those that have graduated from the program. We call them "Past." Each is in the student's own words.
Chad Pierce (Past) As I look back on the last two and a half years that I've been in the Org. Comm. program, I am so glad that I made this decision. I've built friendships that will never be broken and have definitely bettered myself. The main reason I went into this program was to provide a better life for myself and my family. I've always been a firm believer in doing something that you enjoy if it is going to be something that you rely on for a living. The things that I have learned in this program will enable me to do just that.
I never thought that I would be able to provide consulting and evaluation services for a non-profit organization and then create a portfolio that reflects the recommendations that I provided. I didn't see myself as someone who could create a website from scratch implementing the newest technology. I would not have expected to be asked to help evaluate and create new forms of training for the Louisiana Board of Ethics. But I've done every single one of those things as a result of being in this program.
My original plan was to obtain a Master's Degree and then begin teaching. After a trial run with that, I discovered that I liked it but didn't love it. Then I caught a lucky break and found a training coordinator position with the Shaw Group, Louisiana's only Fortune 500 Company. Prior to enrolling in this program, I would have never applied for such a job. But the Org. Comm. program provided me with the knowledge and experience that will enable me to do this job and do it well.
No one ever said it was going to be easy. The days are long and the material is challenging. At times, you will probably have thoughts of just throwing in the towel. But I guarantee that if you stick with it (and you can I promise!), you will be leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else.
Meghan Gereaue (Present) Deciding to enroll in the Masters in Organizational Communication program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. One thing I love about the program is that I have not only been able to build a strong theoretical background but have learned hands-on practical application to everything I have been taught. We have been given the opportunity to work with different organizations in the community to really apply what we learn in the class, which has shown me how the field of communication can be used to help others and better organizations. I have also learned the value of teamwork and have been able to form great connections with other students in the program through many group settings. The professors in the program are also great. They really love teaching and love what they do and you can see it come out in the classroom. They bring not only knowledge but real world experience to their classes. Once you graduate from the program, you are able to enter a new workplace with a solid knowledge in leadership, research, employment law, training and new technology, making any graduate an asset to any organization. I am so happy that I decided to come back to school and can't wait to see use my knowledge in the workplace.
Todd Delaney (Past) As the general manager of a public radio station, I use the skills and techniques I learned through the master's program as an integral part of my management style. From cultivating a culture of unity to avoiding the pitfalls of communication breakdowns, I often find myself reflecting back on my classroom experience to help solve day-to-day problems effectively and efficiently.
From choosing which programs to air to deciding which employees to hire, I've come to rely on the information I learned in the master's program to make informed decisions and find the right solution for each situation.
The master's program has also helped me to value a variety of perspectives and understand the importance of working collaboratively, especially considering the wide range of people that listen to our station each day. With everyone's input (staff, audience, etc.) the station functions much better than it would if I were calling all of the shots. The masters program taught me that as a leader one should guide, but not dictate. I think being aware of that balance has been one of the keys to the success of KSLU.
I would recommend the master's of organizational communication program to any administrator or manager. The strategies and methods one learns in class can often be implemented the next day in the workplace to improve employee morale, develop a strong work culture and boost a company's bottom line.
Christopher Brannon (Present) Being in the Master of Organizational Communication program has been an amazing experience, to say the least. I am gaining valuable skills and knowledge that are enhancing my undergraduate degree in addition to preparing me for the professional world after graduation. I have also learned the value of teamwork, deadlines, and time management. Along with these important skills, I have made some amazing friendships that will last nothing short of a lifetime in addition to cherished connections with my professors that not only challenge me to go above and beyond my potential, but also support the path toward a successful future. This program is truly an asset for anyone looking to pursue an advance career where communication skills are the leading factor in job performance. Most courses not only provide theory behind the concept of what is being taught, but allow the application of theories to real world situations, giving students the opportunity understand why they are learning the material and how the concepts actually work. By the time I graduate, I am confident that I will have everything I need in order to gain employment as a public speaking instructor in a university setting or possibly a training coordinator for a major corporation. Both career paths would offer personal satisfaction that could not be achieved if it were not for being accepted into this program.
Aaron Gutekunst (Past) After jumping into a professional field straight out of college I can honestly say that the Organizational Communication Master's program did more than prepare me for getting a job; provided me with the experience required to be flexible in my position and to excel at the tasks I am given.
The program doesn't just focus on what is traditionally stereotyped as "communication," but trains you in running campaigns, teaches you the strategies of a well-run organization, and gives you an appreciation for skills you never think you will need, like designing websites and consulting. It also prepares you for entering a global economy where diversity and teamwork are necessities.
I loved the program because my professors didn't expect me to simply know, but also do. We took what we learned and putting it into projects such as consulting a nonprofit organization, creating a website for a client and coordinating events with community partners. In the real world your boss will not be satisfied with you parroting back information; you have to be able to apply it, think for yourself and expand on it.
I know it was the right choice for me to enter the Organizational Communication program. Collaborating with my classmates, building relationships with my professors and making connections with professionals through projects have given me the skills and confidence to know I can be successful in today's economy.
David Brinkley said that, "A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." I would add that those bricks are held in place by the mortar that others have provided to him. The Organizational Communication Master's program at Southeastern provides you with the mortar to hold the bricks of your professional foundation together.
Tracy Norwood (Present) Transferring into the Masters in Organizational Communication was truly a life changing experience for me in a myriad of ways. I come from both an acting and English background, so learning communication provided an exciting challenge. The results have been very rewarding. I have gained not just a theoretical understanding of how people communicate in a variety of manners and settings, but practical real-world applications as well. I had a wonderful adventure while studying in London which gave me the inspiration to actually pursue a career abroad. This program has given me the foundation to wander along virtually any career avenue I choose, and more specifically with a documentarian focus. I created a collaborative video ad campaign for a local nonprofit organization. I was also involved in creating both radio and video ad campaigns and created an original documentary about a local non-profit radio station. I was involved at all levels of production in these projects from producing, writing, editing and performing.
It is not just the classes themselves that have provided a life-altering experience, but the people that make the program special and unique. Classes are structured in such a way that we are able to cultivate friendships through shared experiences. As a graduate research assistant, I was able to interact with the professors and faculty on a personal and professional level. The memories and moments from the past two years are experiences I will treasure forever. The education and knowledge gained has literally been priceless.
Megan Faunce (Past) After graduating with my undergraduate degree in the spring of 2010, I decided to pursue my dreams and obtain a Master's degree. I made the decision to apply to the Organizational Communications Master's program at Southeastern Louisiana University. I started the program in the fall of 2010. Not having an undergraduate communication background, I was nervous how well I would adjust to the program and curriculum. The faculty, staff, and students were so welcoming made me feel right at home. The program challenged me in several ways, but most importantly allowed me to make decisions about my education. I immediately fell in love with the way the instructors gave guidance and knowledge without eliminating the autonomy of the students.
One of the great things about this program is the ability to choose a concentration. I chose the Public Relations concentration and little did I know the opportunities that I would encounter by doing this. After taking a few Public Relations courses, Dr. Madere suggested that I try to obtain an internship to use as course credit. The instructors encourage field experience because they feel it is important in obtaining employment after graduation. Dr. Madere and Dr. McCalman were proactive in helping me find the perfect internship that allowed me to receive field experience. I got an internship with The Shaw Group, a fortune 500 company, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I started as a Special Events intern with the Corporate Marketing and Communications Department. I was able to keep my internship even after the semester ended. I learned more through this opportunity than I ever could have in a course.
Upon graduation, The Shaw Group offered me a full-time position as a Marketing and Recruiting Specialist at the corporate office. I assist with events, recruiting, communication writing pieces, website design, promotional items, career fairs and site evaluations. I utilize my degree in every aspect of my job.
The program has helped me in so many ways. I have grown as an individual, professional and scholar. I obtained the necessary knowledge to not only help me have a successful career but I also obtained interpersonal skills to help me build relationships in the work force. I achieved goals that I never imagined possible and I am a more confident and positive individual as a result.
I would not change my experience in any way. I have a great love for Southeastern and the Lion Community. I am so grateful for my education and relationships I have built along the way. The Organizational Communications Graduate program is a valuable asset to the University. Choosing this degree program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. In the beginning I thought it was only about the destination, looking back I realize it was all about the journey.
Naomi Narcisse (Past) I chose to get my Masters in Organizational Communication because I wanted to have a 360 view of the business world. I received my bachelor's degree in Marketing and I wanted something that would allow me to understand the internal communication of organizations. My professors taught me not only the application of different ideas but the theories supported by them. The best advice that I would give anyone considering this graduate program is to: 1) Find a group to be with in every class. This is important because it is impossible to catch every single detail. Getting involved with a group will maximize your level of information gathering and contribute to your ultimate success. 2) Stay organized. Be sure to save everything from the beginning of your graduate career to the very end. This program contains a large array of techniques that many employers are looking for but few people actually have. For example, the techniques that I learned in Research Methods have been instrumental in starting my post graduate career. I was offered a Research Analyst Position with the University of New Orleans because of what I learned in that class. It is unique to find a place where you are comfortable enough to visit after you graduate. The Organizational Communication program is one of these places.
Andreia Monteiro Scotto (Past) I was a communications major at Southeastern and upon completion of my undergraduate degree I decided to go to graduate school. I researched a few masters programs and I was very interested in the Organizational Communication Masters program at Southeastern. The professors presented the program as both theoretical and "hands on," which was exactly what I was looking for.
The faculty members at the Communication Department approach the study of organizations from a wide range of perspectives and from different disciplinary backgrounds. Additionally, the professors were open-minded, supportive, and offered a great deal of personal attention to each student in the program.
I had the opportunity to enhance my research skills and to learn essential concepts that are highly valued by the job market, such as website analysis, public relations campaigns, professional writing, among others.
After graduating from the program in the summer of 2010, I was hired to work at a global company as an international account representative/communications analyst. I currently represent one of the largest bakery brands in the world, which allows me to interact with people from a variety of cultures on a daily basis. The program prepared me to be culturally sensitive and work effectively with global teams.
The knowledge I gained from the Organizational Communication Masters program at Southeastern has been invaluable in developing my career. I would recommend this program to anyone who is interested in working in the Corporate/Organizational Communication field.
Mariza Alvarez (Past) The Organizational Communications Masters Program helped me to get my professional life started in the US.
Today, after graduating in 2004 and working for almost 6 years at Subsea Solutions a Well Control and Rig Equipment Consulting company in Texas, I can assure you I would not have made it this far without attending Southeastern Louisiana University.
Since the beginning of my tenure at this company, I have been constantly challenged on evaluating the strategies of the Oil and Gas industry, and facilitating the flow of information within and between the headquarters and our Brazil Agency, just like the course program had promised. Besides, one of my fortes has always been assisting the customers and employees, advising on the legal and ethical boundaries learned from my dear classes about Employment Laws, Public Campaigns, Interpersonal Communications, Small Groups. Furthermore, one of my proudest achievements has been selecting a good implementation approach and design for our first website using knowledge gained from my masters' Technology course.
I am a proud Alumni who is grateful for the experience of an eclectic masters program which allows so many different career areas to be reached within one single title - MA, Organizational Communications.
Kimberly Lowry (Past) After earning a BA in psychology and working in the "real world" for over a year, I decided something more practical was necessary to give me an advantage in this competitive job market. I started researching master programs that had two essential elements: real world practicality and a foundation in human behavior as it relates to organizations. The Organizational Communication Masters Program at Southeastern exceeded my expectations. I instantly found like-minded individuals in both my peers and the professors who guided my studies. Every class, project, and assignment was an opportunity to learn and grow as a communication professional. From designing my own webpage to working closely with community leaders on business development, I always felt I was provided with practical, real world challenges.
My absolute favorite part of this program is the versatility. Shortly after earning my degree in 2010 I moved to Washington, DC and immediately got a job with a non-profit that promotes the sustainability movement. I used the skills learned at Southeastern to organize a noteworthy awards program on Capitol Hill, facilitate meetings with high level industry executives, and create and maintain the website and social media outlets. In order to stay organized and communicate effectively, I relied on the critical thinking skills and communication tools this degree helped develop.
Although I enjoyed the business administration and marketing experiences, I recently decided to change careers to an area I loved studying, Human Resources/Staffing and Recruiting. Not a day goes by that I do not mentally refer to lessons learned on employment law and organizational culture, among others.
This program has given me the advantage of being choosy in a tough economy and enabled me to be desirable to different employers across several fields.
Rachel Bourgeois (Present) I chose to pursue my post-graduate degree in Organizational Communication at Southeastern Louisiana University for its uniqueness and relevance. The Organizational Communication program is unique to the area. No other Master's program is quite like it in the state. I enjoy the program's relevance, as well. The material covered in the curriculum is applicable to my workplace and personal life.
Elizabeth Hornsby (Past) The Master's in Organizational Communication program not only provided me with the theoretical foundations to continue my education by pursuing a doctoral degree, but also provided me with practical experience that has helped in the advancement of my career as an educator. The program balances scholarly development through research and writing with hands on experience in the form of consulting and campaign projects with local organizations. The broad scope of the program coupled with the vast experience of the faculty prepared me to work in a number of positions within the field of communication including: teaching, grant writing, consulting and event planning. I highly recommend the program to anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in communication.
Erin Moore Cowser (Present) In third grade I wanted to be a paleontologist. A whale watching field trip in fourth grade changed that to marine biologist. And then, in fifth grade I fell in love with writing. I set my sights on becoming a journalist, and that plan stuck. I earned my undergraduate degree in mass communication with an emphasis in print journalism. I planned to work in a newsroom for the rest of my life. I was wrong. I started out there, but not for long.
Instead, my career led me to Dyson Hall on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University. And, I wouldn't have it any other way. As executive director of public and governmental affairs, I not only get to write, but I also get to delve into public policy and legislative advocacy on behalf of the university. It truly is my dream job.
I have the privilege of working with the smartest people around. With such academicians and administrators as colleagues and co-workers, I felt it would be appropriate and beneficial to return to the classroom and earn a master's degree. Way back when I earned my bachelor's degree I was told that newspaper reporters are hired because of their ability to write, not because of their pedigrees. Attending graduate school then seemed to be a waste. Besides I was ready to tackle the real world.
Although it may have been an easier transition had I gone directly from undergraduate to graduate level studies, I'm so thankful it didn't happen that way. Is attending classes with a toddler at home easy? No - of course not. Is it worthwhile when my real-world experiences come to life in the various readings assigned and discussions held in class? Yes – most definitely.
And, that's why I'm a current organizational communication graduate student at Southeastern.
Life just doesn't happen- we make it happen! As a graduate student, Southeastern Louisiana University's program in Organizational Communication allowed me to combine extensive life experiences with academic enhancement. The department's diverse team of faculty provided up-to-date training on key concepts in the field of organizational communication.
I was able to develop a specialized but essential niche utilizing a broad range of communication theories and practices weekly taught in the classroom. Additionally, interactive group projects provided me the opportunity for hands-on training by organizing and presenting campus-wide public relations events, human resource assertiveness training programs, and developing a State Ethics Board training website for the State of Louisiana. As an individual, my professors allowed me to personally expand research specific to my area – military and combat communication. My research, analyzing theories of uncertainty avoidance, led to a fellowship with the United States Marine Corps University- History Division and an academic journal publication on the subject.
While studying in the United Kingdom, on a departmental study aboard, I was asked by Lord Desai to speak before the Upper House of Parliament on Middle East affairs, presented a paper in Ireland, and researched British media's reaction to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This added tremendously to my personal growth, not to mention my resume'.
Today, I am a faculty member with Ivy Tech Community College – Indianapolis teaching public speaking, small group communication, and interpersonal communication. My "student opinion of teaching" reviews have placed me in the upper five percent of teaching success state-wide. And, in the fall of 2012, I will join Butler University's Department of Communication as a faculty member. I feel my success comes directly from the education I received at Southeastern.
Though my professional achievements are remarkable, this success would have never occurred without the direct support and training provided by the outstanding faculty at Southeastern Louisiana University.