1.Name (First and Last)
Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois
Media Communications Specialist
6.Graduation Year (list as "Month Year")
8.Minor and/or Certificates
Crop and Soil Management
Traveling, reading, kayaking, DIYing stuff for my new home, and watching apocalyptic movies with my husband and cat
11.What are your job responsibilities/duties?
It's my job to publicize the Institute for Genomic Biology, including published research, grants and awards, and events. I write press releases for the media and generate content for our own outlets, including a website, magazine, annual report, and monthly newsletters. I also maintain our Twitter feed and LinkedIn company page.
12.What does a typical day look like?
When I get into the office, I "buffer" tweets for the day. Then I get to work on current project/projects, whether it is interviewing sources who received a big grant, writing up a press release about a recent discovery, updating my "media contacts" list, etc. My specific projects vary week to week, but each day I spend a majority of my time transcribing and writing.
13.What do you most enjoy about your job?
The best part of my job is that I am fascinated by my subject. It doesn't feel like work because I genuinely enjoy learning something new every day about science and the people who conduct transformative research.
14.What is the most difficult aspect of the job?
Writer's block can be frustrating. I find that taking a break helps and then reading something by a great science writer, like Amy Harmon, Ed Yong or Virginia Hughes.
15.What on-campus activities were you involved with? Where did you gain relevant experience?
Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) was by far the most beneficial RSO that I joined. Join ACT - they are a close-knit group that helps each other succeed. Still, my campus internship with the College of ACES Communications and Marketing was the most relevant experience of my collegiate career. It helped me gain the skills I needed to not only land my dream job but to be instantly proficient at it.
16.How did your experience at ILLINOIS and in the College of Media prepare you for your professional life? For this specific position?
The College of Media is a great school. I found my professors to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They got to know me on a personal level - so much so that two of my professors served as references for my current role.
17.What advice do you have for students interested in this field?
Get involved and write as much as you can. College is a time to learn from your mistakes before you enter the "real world."
18.What is one thing that you know now that you wish you had known when you started in the field? When you graduated from the College?
I really just entered the field myself so I may not have the hindsight that comes with time, yet. But one thing I am trying to work on is learning how to network as a young professional. Right now, I'm looking into joining professional organizations since I've outgrown the collegiate organizations that I was involved with as a student.