Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
Meghan Swope understands the importance of a quality education. As an account assistant in the education division of strategic communications firm GMMB, Meghan works with a number of nonprofits to help kids get a great education, regardless of their background or zip code.
“The issues facing education today have a ripple effect on some of society’s other issues,” Meghan says. “The foundations we work for are trying to ensure that everyone graduates from high school with the skills that they need for college or a career.”
Meghan’s education led her to the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, where she majored in communication management and design. As a Park scholar, Meghan got not only a full scholarship but also an open door to a world of opportunity in communications and community service. She chatted one-on-one with Christiane Amanpour when the CNN anchor visited IC as part of the Park Distinguished Visitor Series. She studied abroad in Australia. She used IC’s industry connections to land multiple internships—as part of IC’s Los Angeles program she interned in the publicity department of Fox Broadcasting and the production department of the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and during her senior year she interned at PR firm Fleishman-Hillard. All this gave Meghan a powerful edge over the competition when she moved to D.C. after graduation.
“In a city like D.C., there are so many young people vying for one job. I had almost a full year of internship experience at graduation. I think that put me ahead of the game for sure,” Meghan recalls. “At GMMB, I’ve been told that my skills are beyond what they’re used to. When you [are hired at] a public relations agency, there’s an expectation that they’ll have to teach you how to write a press release and use industry tools. Because of IC, I came in already prepared for that.”
The IC experience also ignited Meghan’s passion for supporting important issues and causes. She participated in Relay for Life, Colleges Against Cancer, and Students Taking Action Now: Darfur (STAND). At GMMB, she combines her drive to help others with her communication skills by planning events and developing messaging to grow public awareness of her clients’ missions.
“I want to keep making a difference for my clients and in my own life. I think that’s how the world changes—with optimistic people who are passionate about the work they do, who are motivated and feel like they have the support they need to achieve change.”
>> More on this story: Park Scholar Program
“My quest to change the culture on campus started when I visited Ithaca as a high school student and was dazzled by the inspiring views of Cayuga Lake,” says Leonard Slutsky ’14.
Ithaca’s connection to the impressive body of water made Leonard think about students’ relationships with water on the IC campus. “Everyone was using disposable water bottles,” Leonard says. “There was a lot of waste.”
When he got to campus, the leadership scholar founded IC Take Back the Tap and led a successful mission to take the wastefulness out of the water cycle at IC. The group created awareness programs, set up water taste tests, and helped change policies on campus to decrease the use of disposable water bottles. They even worked with IC staff to get water bottle filling stations installed all over campus and change the way water is provided at campus events.
As Leonard’s leadership abilities grew, he became a student leadership consultant to help other students create change. The integrated marketing communications student used what he was learning in classes to help shift attitudes and behaviors on campus. “Even though things have been going a certain way for a long time, it’s okay to step up and change it.”
In Ad Lab—a course that gives students the chance to form their own mini ad agency to compete in the National Student Advertising Competition—Leonard learned how to harness the power of marketing beyond the IC campus. “We worked as an advertising agency to produce work and a presentation. It was a lot of sleepless nights and hard work, but I got a really true ad agency experience.”
Leonard’s experience continued on the West Coast as part of the Ithaca College Los Angeles (ICLA) program. ICLA students take classes at a satellite campus in LA, work at internships in business and media, and meet people who can open doors all over the city. “I got a lot of exposure to Los Angeles through the network of people there. The people who run the ICLA program brought us to film screenings and events at the Academy [of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences]. IC alumni in the area came in to talk to us about what it’s like breaking in, how to find jobs, and other things we’d need to know.”
Leonard was determined to work at an LA ad agency after graduating, so he began reaching out to contacts he’d made through IC. One of the people he met at an IC Career Services career and internship connection event was able to get his resume into the right hands at RPA, a full-service ad agency in Santa Monica, California.
As a strategic planning assistant at RPA, Leonard puts his leadership and marketing skills to use every day, working on new business pitches and uncovering the many ways and reasons consumers make decisions. “I’m doing research and uncovering the human truths and insights that help drive the creative—giving people the inspiration and knowledge that they need to create something really cool.”
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