Comm Alumni: Where Are They Now? Featuring James Kelley

James Kelley graduated from the department in spring of 2016. For the last 2 years, he’s been working full time at WVDM, a TV station in Hagerstown, Maryland.

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True Life: I Got an MBA After Earning an Undergraduate Degree

Hello again! If you have not already done so, please check out my first and second blog, as this is a three part series about my life after graduating from the Shepherd University Department of Communication. In my final blog, I will be discussing my journey through the MBA program at Shepherd University.

To be completely honest, as graduation was approaching, I felt unsure about my future. Before starting college, I anticipated going to graduate school. But I was confused as to the school or even the program. After mulling over this for several months during my senior year at Shepherd, I decided to apply to the MBA program at Shepherd. Not only did I expect this degree to assist in my career, I felt I would personally gain a lot from this degree, which was equally important to me.

Because I did not have a clear career path in front of me, I was intrigued to learn more about business and management, in the hopes that maybe I could even open up my own business one day. During the MBA program, I learned about finances including accounting and economics, but also enjoyed classes about marketing, international business, and leadership. These classes were not easy. I had to push myself and spend hours at a time working to complete assignments. Fortunately, the communication department gave me a solid foundation, so I felt prepared while working through the program.

For example, I was required to complete a research project in the MBA program. But this wasn’t my first time doing such a project. During my senior year in the Department of Communication, I completed a COMM 461 Senior Capstone where I applied what I had learned throughout my time as a communication student to complete a semester-long individual project. My MBA research project required me to work with less guidance than I got as an undergraduate. But, I was confident and ready to complete this project because of my capstone experience during my time in the communication department.

I jumped into the MBA program full force in 2013, and I am preparing to graduate this May!

I am not just walking away from this experience with a degree. I am walking away with knowledge, experience, and pride. I was recently promoted at my job, and truly believe I had an edge over other applicants because of my ongoing work towards my MBA. Also, I feel confident in my career and comfortable speaking about the company with our financial experts. Overall, applying for the MBA program was one of the best decisions I made.

At times, motivation can be hard to find, but the work is well worth it.

So, this is my journey from student to career to earning my MBA. I wish everyone the best that is graduating this year and will be happy to see you at the graduation ceremony!

True Life: How I Got Promoted Within a Year on the Job

Hello again! Here’s the second installment in my 3-part series on my transitioning from a #ShepComm student to career person. Here’s part 1 on the job hunt if you missed it. Okay, on to part 2:

Once I landed my first “real” job out of college, I was excited to begin my career. While I was by no means starting at the bottom, one of the most intriguing aspects of my job was the ability to move up within my team and the company.

I asked about promotions and advancements in my original interview, and I was informed that many opportunities were available and even more were being developed. So, as I began my new position, I worked hard. And, I worked hard to gain the respect of my co-workers and management. While I truly believe this paid off, I also tried to show initiate by volunteering to help with special projects and develop better ideas to help our processes.

Before I knew it, a senior position opened up on my team. Although I had not even been working for the company an entire year, I decided that I needed to interview.

I was confident in the work I produced and confident in my ability to be promoted and succeed. I also realized, though, that even if I was not offered the promotion, this round of interviews would better prepare me for the next time, and it would show my management that I was interested and serious about moving up. In the end, I was not selected for that opportunity. But, I stayed positive and knew I was even more prepared for the next opportunity.

A few months later, another senior position opened on my team. At this point, I was at the company for about a year and truly felt this was my opportunity. Before I interviewed, though, I took time to think about my current position and develop ideas for team improvements and personal improvements and goals. I wanted to let my management know that I sincerely cared about our team and would be the best choice for the position. I left my interview feeling like I accomplished many things! Ultimately, I knew the decision may come down to more than just a single interview; however, I felt I represented myself the best way I could and gave the management some insightful ideas to consider.

After what seemed like a decade (although it was really just a little over a week), the management finally made a decision. It was me!

I was thrilled. But I knew my work was just beginning. I accepted the position and have been a senior on my team for about 6 months now!

This experience has been very rewarding for me, and I hope to be able to advance further in the future. For now, I am focusing on continuing my hard work and dedication to my job. Overall, I attribute many of these critical skills that have helped me to succeed to my college experience. College taught me many things. I learned how to work hard, take initiative, and dedicate myself to something worthwhile. I cannot predict what the future will hold, but I will be obtaining an MBA form Shepherd University this May, which will be more discussed in my next blog post!

True Life: How I Got a Job After Graduation

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Hello! I am Ashley Laspina, and I recently graduated from the Department of Communication at Shepherd University.   As graduation approaches for many seniors, I know first hand the excitement and stress felt as the job searches begin.

To help demystify the process, I’m writing a 3-part series of posts on my transition from graduation to my career. Here’s part 1 (part 2 can be found here)! Continue reading

Hi Folks!

I’m Joyce Orlando and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Mass Communication* with a minor in Print Journalism in August of 2012. For the past two years I have worked as a reporter in Indiana, and now in North Carolina. My time at Shepherd University’s Communication Department was littered with experiences that have helped in my field and also in my personal hobbies. Continue reading

Juice Boxes & Barbies: My degree in Communications



Communications alum, Alexandra Lemley ’10, kayaking the Potomac River in front of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Most of my friends at Shepherd changed their major at least once, took the five to six year route when graduating. Me? I never once listed myself as undecided or changed programs. My four years flew by faster than any other period in my life. And why is that? Three reasons- the people, the culture, and the communications department.

I remember scrappy 17- year- old me shuffling into White Hall, that back classroom by the first floor ladies room? Ya, I remember the day that well. Rocking my American Eagle best- so high school- and watching as my freshman orientation peers thought aloud and openly discussed what major they should declare and weighed the pros and cons of the different curriculums.

I sat in the back room and scrawled out Mass Communications- Print Journalism faster than as if I was writing out my first name. (P.S.- that may date me. Print journalism was still a minor my freshman year.)

I knew what I wanted and my love for the communications and media world had only just begun.

There were the classes with Kevin where we discussed how Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz were the same plot (mind blown!) and the mock ad campaigns with Monica where, as a born and raised West Virginian, I actually learned for the first time the horrors of mountaintop removal.

Sure, I learned how to build a website, I got to create some awesome artwork when developing my own graphic novel, and I was able to work with an entire staff as managing editor of The Picket but what I took away from the communications department went deeper than that. I learned to never pigeon hole myself. I thought of writing as my forte and I’d never get into the design or technology side of media but the blessing and a curse of small liberal arts school- sometimes the only classes available that semester are ones that make you uncomfortable.

And how uncomfortable I was. I didn’t have any intention of learning single cam film editing, I didn’t need to know about demographics for advertising pitches, but thank God the communication department knew what I needed to be a well-rounded media professional.

Now I sit as Chief Operating Officer of a start-up media platform, Sweet Lemon Magazine, since 2011, and I am nearing the three year anniversary of me working at POLITICO, the #1 read newspaper on Capitol Hill, as an advertising professional.

I will say though, the best thing about being a Shepherd “Comm Kid” is running down to the Knutti basement during finals week to collaborate with your classmates, who I found, in my case, were always far more brilliant than I. And while the accounting students and business departments were taking cumulative multiple choice exams, we were creating real life, applicable projects that not only entertained us but expanded our thought process.

Let’s not forget the professors though. The personal  lengths the communications professors took to teach us: Monica- bringing us juice boxes and snacks when trying to reach an looming deadline or another professor offering up his own home as a movie set for single cam production.

The department was a community where everyone was on a first name basis and if your radio show started at two, you went to the studio at noon to hang out and catch up with everyone beforehand.

Living and working in Washington, DC, at a major news outlet, there are a lot of zombies around. People who think that their cause and their job is the most important because, I mean really, we all came to Washington to “do good”. But these people with the stuffy demeanor and all too serious mentality, I feel bad for them. They see the world in black and white and that everyone has a specific place. Because of Shepherd and my communications background, I learned the world is mine to soak up and learn every ounce of whatever I want; be it creating a graphic novel with Barbie dolls or writing the next great American classic.

Maybe the Barbies can BE in the next great American classic.

By Alexandra Lemley class of 2010