The Moat Common JMC Graduate Career
The Abilene Christian JMC program has a history of excellence, with retention and graduation rates continually on the rise. But where are those that have graduated and are they still working in the industry? I’ve done some research online and within the department staff to find out which career path has been taken most often by JMC alums. What I found is unsurprising considering the demographics and goals of ACU.
The majority of those that have graduated from the ACU JMC department and still work in the JMC field are involved with Ad/PR for non-profit organizations around the world. Though their job titles, locations, and descriptions vary, this line of work has the highest Wildcat population. There are many successful corporate employees and journalists with ACU backgrounds as well, but ultimately the non-profit sphere is larger.
There are several reasons why so many ACU JMC graduates decide to work for non-profits, including, but not limited to:
- A desire to help others
- Experience in non-profit work
- More opportunities and connections
- Higher ethical standards
Students who elected to attend a Christian school have a higher likelihood of choosing work that also reflects their personal values. Not only are JMC graduates drawn to non-profit promotion work naturally. They are more exposed to non-profits than most people in the workforce. ACU partners with tons of non-profit groups for trips, chapel speakers, and job fairs. Students are surrounded with chances at internships, mission trips, and donation requests everyday. ACU JMC graduates know many non-profit workers and are more aware of career opportunities within that sector.
Audrey Gonzalez explains her reasoning for wanting to pursue a career in non-profit work in this short video.
As a student, engaging in opportunities can help strengthen experience and efficiency. Being involved in your department is important. Taking initiative when opportunities present themselves can be valuable.
There are many Journalism and Mass Communication students that have taken leadership roles because of their involvement in the department.
Senior Ad/PR major, Bailey Werderich, is a considerable example of someone who has dedicated herself as a student within the JMC Department.
Werderich is the current Group Account Director of Morris + Mitchell. Morris+ Mitchell is a student-run advertising and public relations agency.
As Group Account Director, Werderich, manages the agency as a whole. This includes managing the leadership team, running staff meetings, and making sure the agency is operating efficiently.
“There is so much to learn outside the classroom that you can learn by just getting involved in your department,” Werderich says.
Werderich has learned to look at a situation, see the problem and know the strategic steps to overcome the problem.
After declaring her major spring of freshmen year and studying abroad spring of sophomore year, Werderich encourages students to, “Get involved as soon as you can.” She also suggests, “Get to know your professors on a personal level. They have so much to offer.”
It is apparent how far a student can go if they get involved in their department. Learn as much as you can while you have the time to. It doesn’t take much for professors to realize your dedication and interest as a student.
Savanah Silva is a morning announcer for KACU radio. As a broadcast and journalism major, Savanah shared with me that this on-campus job has allowed her to gain experience as an announcer, and provided the opportunity for her to grow in her skill set.
Practice Makes Perfect
Performing live is a nerve-racking experience. As soon as the “On Air” button turns red, all listening citizens are focused on what this announcer is going to share, and it is Savanah’s job to deliver a great radio show. Savanah has been announcing for a year now and has learned techniques that helped her improve her “on air” appearance such as:
- Speaking with confidence
- Relating to the community
- Covering a variety of issues
Timing is Key
Radio shows take place during the break between songs. This break lasts about two to four minutes. Savanah’s job is to provide weather updates, local news and traffic reports. She has to speak for minutes without hesitation. She shared with me when she first started it was hard for her to deliver her updates in the proper amount of time. She would sometimes finish with thirty seconds left. Thirty seconds of talking does not seem like a big deal, however thirty seconds of silence is very awkward. As she has gained more experience talking behind the microphone she has successfully managed to fix her timing issues and deliver quality news reports.
If you are interested in hearing Savanah Silva radio show tune to KACU 89.5 FM on Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 6-9am.
With most schools that you attend now you are required to have at least one or more internships before you walk across the stage and enter the business world. An internship provides a real world experience that bridges the gap between college and the professional world. Here in the JMC department there are many opportunities to find an internship that fits each individual perfectly. Meghan Eager is a junior ad-pr major from North Richland Hills, Texas. She is a member of Ko Jo Kai, works for Morris + Mitchell and is currently interning for Business services at the ACU World Famous Bean.
What are some of your duties as an intern?:
Meghan: As an intern for ACU Dining services, my main job was to promote ACU dining through on campus tasting events. We did numerous events through Starbucks in the Library, but we also featured some of the snacks that the campus store had to offer in the campus center. I also had the opportunity to help with event management for themed meals in the Bean.
What is your favorite part about working in business services?:
Meghan: I think my favorite part about working with ACU Dining services was the smile on peoples faces when they realized the food was free. Just the joy I was able to bring to people really made me feel good about what I was doing.
How is this internship helping you with skills you can use in public relations?:
Meghan: I think that as a public relations professional you have to have outstanding communication skills. This internship gave me the opportunity to go outside of my comfort zone and talk to complete strangers while trying to get them interested in the items I was promoting.
When I took Joey Roberts course, creating media messages, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought we would make a few power points, do some word art and maybe do something with voice recording. I was wrong; we learned how to be effective on social media and on any media in general. We learned that when a company makes a post or they send out something on the Internet, that it takes a good amount of thought and an even greater amount of effort. You cannot treat social media like something that nobody will see and something that will not affect you personally or your company as a whole. You also have to think about some specific factors that will affect your attempt to reach people via social media.
You have to think about certain things like the demographics in the area you are either in or that you are trying to reach. You have to post accordingly to those demographics. A lot of things can vary and a lot of things can go wrong in this kind of marketing. You can easily offend someone by not fully paying attention to what you are typing or are writing down to type in the future. When you are putting something on the Internet may it be an ad or something of that nature you have to think long and hard about things that can offend people. Creating media messages teaches you how to make effective posts on the internet to attract people to what you are posting. Joey Roberts did a wonderful job at teaching us how to do so and I feel like I can successfully do things right.
College is a period of time where one balances personal, social and educational responsibilities. Time management is key, as
well as careful planning and excellent executions. If you perform each task with diligence and excellence, success is attainable; however, if one comes into college with one dream and leaves with another, like myself, things change. The plans you have shift and are sculpted differently.
I did not begin as a JMC student. Two years ago, I had dreams of becoming a nutritionist that helped young girls fight eating disorders. I quickly realized that this was not the career path I wanted, and advertising just struck me as the “real dream”. I switched quickly and replanned, rescheduled and reorganized my brain matter to end college as a successful Ad/PR major.
I did not realize how difficult going through the JMC program would be. Though I love this major and the material I am learning, the prerequisites and limited classroom space makes it challenging to “get ahead” in the program. Certain classes only available in the fall or the spring, as well as having a computer lab only able to hold fifteen or so students makes registering for classes competitive and stressful. Graduation dates get pushed back an extra semester all because of that one colloquia you forgot about your sophomore year or the fact that the one class you needed was only available in the fall post-graduation.
As a JMC student, I know the curriculum is constantly shifting so that it is more applicable and relative to what the real word expects from myself, but it makes going through the degree plan difficult. I will still graduate a semester early as planned… I just hope there are no last minute hoops I have to jump through to get to that diploma.
According to the ACU course descriptions, Convergence Reporting I is a “study of the nature of news; the reporter’s three-fold role of reporting, researching, and writing; and the basic news forms for print and broadcast media.” Although that makes the class sound boring and uneventful—and maybe even torture if you take it as an 8am—there’s more to the course than you might think.
Personally, I love this class—and yes, I’m taking it as an 8am with several other poor, unfortunate souls—and while the class itself is nothing extraordinary, the assignments are where the excitement begins.
Essentially, we’re student reporters for the Optimist, which means we’re included in the weekly email dishing out story assignments. We’re also held to the same standards as the staff writers—2+ sources and 350+ words for each article every single week.
This class isn’t for the faint of heart and it’s certainly not for those who don’t like writing—literally, all we do is write—but for those aspiring to be reporters and writers for any kind of media organization, you’ll find this class interesting, like I do. It’s also a great way to connect to everything happening on campus because there’s a strong chance you might report and learn about things you’ve never even heard of before. But if nothing else, this class is a great way to gain experience and insight into the life of a reporter.