Alumni Profile: Alyssa Gardina '08
Park scholar Emily Miles (a class of 2013 journalism major from Prospect, Kentucky) checks in with Park scholar alumna Alyssa Gardina ’08.
In her sophomore year as an integrated marketing communications (IMC) major, Alyssa Gardina created a blog. Audience Research and Quantitative Research Methods may have been a required course for the IMC major, but this first-hand experience with new technology and research led her on a direct path to a career in social media.
“I think what’s most important is that in the IMC major, I wasn’t simply given tools in social media and marketing,” Gardina said. “I learned how to utilize the tools.”
Alyssa Gardina graduated from Ithaca College in 2008 with a degree in integrated marketing communications (IMC). While at Ithaca, Gardina was a newscaster on WICB and worked with ICTV. She was also a history minor, which led her to more research and an internship.
“You have time to minor in a completely different subject that may be unrelated but will still make you a better person and employee in the long run,” Gardina said.
With a passion for combining communications and history, Gardina worked as an archival assistant at the History Center in Tompkins County for three and a half years, helping to organize a benefit auction during that time. In addition to having worked as an intern at the London museum Somerset House, she also served as an officer in the Ithaca College History Club and worked on graphic design projects for faculty and academic departments. Finally, she interned with the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that monitors government contractors.
After interning at the History Center in Tompkins County during her time at Ithaca, Gardina’s first job after college was at the Women’s Museum in Dallas, Texas. There, she worked as a marketing assistant, specifically dealing with social media.
Gardina appreciated IMC for the multifaceted education the major gave her, specifically the emphasis that was placed on new technologies.
“The IMC major includes every aspect of the media all rolled into one,” Alyssa said, “and that really stands out on a résumé.”
The comprehensive nature of the IMC major translated directly to her current job, as Gardina now works as the social media specialist at Razor Advertising Agency in Dallas. The position, which involves social media strategies and tactics for national clients like Dave and Busters and the Cheesecake Factory, was created specifically for her.
“What’s great about being an IMC major is that even if you end up in an agency or large business format, you will know what the accountants, researchers, and managers are all saying because you will know the theory and the background,” Gardina said.
Among other things, Gardina’s job consists of reading blogs and keeping up with trends.
“This is one of those medias that is changing every day,” Gardina said.
After working in nonprofit in her first job, Gardina realized that social media is a “very fast-paced” world.
“I have to interact with a lot of different people and be able to hold my own in conversations with research, creative, etc., and make sure that everyone is working together on the strategy.”
Gardina believes that the education and experience that she received as part of the Park Scholar Program are direct factors in her career and life choices.
“I’m the person who loved every minute of my college experience,” Gardina said. “And I know that is entirely due to my participation with the Park Scholar Program and the IMC major.”
“The Park Scholar Program made sure that I was exposed to lots of different areas of communication. The things that I did at Ithaca because of the Park Scholar Program are things that I’ll never forget.”
“You never stop learning,” Gardina said.