Hello! Let me introduce myself. I’m Jillian Kesner ’08 Shepherd grad. After various moves ( I’ve had 5 addresses in the 6 years since I’ve graduated), I most recently landed in Hagerstown, Md. and I work in the communications office at a private boarding school in Mercersburg, Pa. At Mercersburg, I write releases for the website that are also sent out to local media outlets, oversee the school’s digital archives of photos, and hire photographers to shoot events in addition to photographing a lot of things on campus myself.
Print journalism and communications were a natural fit for me, even though I didn’t realize that as an incoming freshman. Growing up, I went with my dad on assignments for the weekly paper in our hometown and would spend afternoons after school either on the floor behind his desk doing homework or in the journalism lab of my high school.
I entered the program the summer after my freshman year and still finished within four years. The 21 credit semester was worth it, as were the summers and spring semester of interning. The connections I made through the network of editors who work with the Picket gave me access to internships that ultimately helped me land my first job 2 weeks after graduating.
One of the biggest lessons the communications department taught me was to be flexible – and not just flexible time wise and while working on group projects (although we all know there is plenty of that) – but to be versatile and well rounded in your skill set. I knew I wanted to do news – so I took advantage of any opportunity I got. Whether it was writing copy to read the news on WSHC or taking any writing for the media class I could, I knew my experience then would help me later.
My time at Shepherd was invaluable. While I may be from Romney, W.Va., I feel like I really grew up when I came to Shepherd. I took a lot of first steps and I will always be thankful for what I learned there and the friendships that I made there and still try to maintain today.