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What is your current job title and some of your responsibilities?

I currently work as National Communications Director at the American Heart Association in Dallas, Texas. I support the business units that bring in funding through corporate sponsorships, grants and major gifts from individuals. A lot of my work is strategic communications and planning. I also write executive communications and collaborate with the editorial team on syndicated story ideas.

How did the classes you took during your time in the program prepare you to work in the industry?

Publishing as an industry has evolved beyond the traditional entities of book publishers and magazine houses. Every company in every industry has a publishing division whether it is defined as such or not. Having an overall understanding of content creation, production, marketing, and business processes offers the flexibility to work in the range of industries while bringing the technical expertise that the degree offers.

What were some of the highlights during your graduate experience? 

I received a fellowship to attend graduate school and was challenged to take a heavy load and complete the program at an expedited rate. I was able to successfully complete the program mainly due to the quality of the professors who taught in the program. Learning from those who were practicing what they were teaching made the coursework relevant and immediately applicable. Having those same instructors as colleagues, friends and advisors after finishing the program has been rewarding.

Did you have an internship? If so, what was it and how did it prepare you for your current position?

Prior to starting the program, I had worked for several years in publishing, so I didn’t do an internship.

What advice do you have for current students in the program?

It is important that you evolve your understanding of what publishing is today if you want to stay relevant and to have a career. There is both a creative and a business side to publishing that anyone going into the industry must understand. Coming out of the M.S. in Publishing program means that you are positioning yourself to be a leader not just a contributor.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5-10 years?

I always want to be evolving in a way that brings value wherever I am.

What are your favorite aspects of the publishing industry?

What I like most about publishing now is that we have so many platforms to share ideas and stories that can connect people and affect change. It is thrilling to see how the craft is able to evolve with the times.

What are you reading right now? Either for work or for pleasure. 

I’m always reading several books at once. It’s always a pleasure. Crucial Conversations, The Hero and the Outlaw, Disciplined Entrepreneurship, It’s Not All Downhill From Here, Searching for Zion and Becoming are all on my nightstand now.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

The industry is evolving, and if you are passionate about this work, you are being equipped by your education to shape it. Embrace it fully.