On the first day of the NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Mike Jenkins from the University of South Florida, the school’s first number one draft pick. Everyone at USF is elated for Jenkins and the football program.
What I have noticed in my teaching career at the USF is that just like with star athletes, the School of Mass Communications produces star students/budding professionals. We routinely graduate number one draft picks!
In recent years there have been numerous “stars” that have charged out into the world, from Bryan Blaise (account executive at Fleishman-Hillard) and Mandy Cretella (writer at HSN) to Lynda Pasteur (M.A. in Strategic Communications Management at USF) and Wes Phillips (account executive at TriplePoint in San Francisco). The will be joined at the end of the week by another crop of amazing young USF Public Relations graduates.
One of our newly-graduating number one draft picks is Meg Roberts (sorry agencies, she’s been snapped up by Fleishman’s VOX Global Mandate to do public affairs communications in Washington DC). Meg really set herself apart from other students, even the best and the brightest, by fully engaging in social media. Her blog, for example, is considered by industry experts to be one of the best student blogs in the country. So, when Meg writes, students listen!
Her recent blog “Building ‘Brand You’: 10 Easy (and Free!) Ways to Market Yourself” is an example of the kind of online mentoring program Meg’s blog developed into for students pursuing a career in communications. She provides a list of tasks that students who want to get engaged in social media should examine, exactly the kind of smartly written blog that its target audience can immediately implement. Meg’s understanding of her audience and taking care to address them in a way that encourages further engagement is the kind of intuitive knowledge about the role of communicators that made her a number one draft pick.
I recently asked Meg to share her thoughts about social media with my “Principles of Public Relations” class this semester, an entry level course with students from PR, advertising, telecommunications, and journalism. The students came away with another level of appreciation for the medium and described Meg’s presentation as “inspirational,” “awesome,” and “awe-inspiring.” Within a week, more than a handful started their own blogs to begin building their online brand. Meg links to some of them on her blogroll…and, the next level of student superstars begins…
I feel fortunate to teach at USF and to have the opportunity to help these wonderful students learn more about their chosen profession (and maybe even a few life lessons along the way). Every spring, as students prepare to graduate, the air is filled with nostalgia and sentimental feelings, so forgive me for falling into that. While the NFL draft picks get the media spotlight, I relish in the notion that we have dozens of first-rounders who have graduated from our program. Now go out and tackle the world!