Every year, students from the Department of Communication graduate with big dreams and high hopes of landing that first, real-life job. In the spirit of continued departmental connection and unity after graduation, I checked in with Diana Vela and Olivia Sharp, both former Department of Communication students and authors featured in previous Communiqué newsletters, to see how their new post-collegiate life is shaping out to be.
Diana Vela currently works at Sullivan University, located in Louisville, Kentucky, in their Human Resources department as a Human Resources Assistant. Ms. Vela works closely with other Human Resources professionals in the office and assists in the posting of new positions and data management of potential Sullivan employees. She credits her success in finding a job so quickly after graduation to the excellent mentoring she received from Department of Communication professors, especially Ms. Charlotte Elder. According to Ms. Vela, the most influential class she took while at WKU was her Honors Business Public Speaking class, or Honors COMM 161, with Dr. Angie Jerome. “This class was the class I took while I was discovering what major I wanted to declare…it sparked my interest in the major,” said Ms. Vela. She suggests for the graduating senior, “Get involved and take internships, even if they are unpaid! These internships most definitely pay off when you are hired a few months out of college versus someone who graduated at the same time without any internships.”
Olivia Sharp also resides in Louisville, Kentucky working as the WE Day Program Education Coordinator at the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association. Her responsibilities include working on statewide YMCA events including Kentucky United Nations Association (KUNA) and the Kentucky Youth Assembly (KYA) as well as supervising service trips across the state. Ms. Sharp most enjoys as a YMCA employee watching today’s youth grow and develop into strong, civically engaged citizens. As for using her Corporate and Organizational Communication degree, Ms. Sharp says she often applies the strategies and theories taught in Persuasion with Dr.Jerome as one of her biggest responsibilities is to persuade schools that they need both Kentucky YMCA and WE Day programming for their students. Her biggest piece of advice for graduating seniors is to “Enjoy your senior year and use your professors as professional and personal resources.” She emphasized the high quality of professors in the department, and recommends, “taking in every moment surrounded by the best mentors and influences on campus!”
These recent graduates are prime examples of what hard work and perseverance can achieve as students enter into post-collegiate life. Though they are beyond their days of writing for this newsletter, both Ms. Vela and Ms. Sharp explained that the Department of Communication, the relationships forged, and their memories here will always hold a special place in their hearts.