Communication Department’s Career Forum

Mason’s Communication department hosts 9th annual networking event

Photo Courtesy of Salma Hamze

BY ALEXA TIRONI STAFF WRITER

The 9th Annual Communication Career Forum offered students an opportunity to network with career professionals within the communication field.  The forum was hosted on Tuesday, Oct. 22 by Mason’s Communication department.

The event featured roundtables with over 20 professionals spanning across multiple disciplines, including corporate communication, media production, journalism, marketing and public relations.

Students were given the chance to speak in small groups from each concentration through mentoring round table sessions led by professionals representing organizations such as CBS Channel 9, NBC News, Washington Nationals, Mars Candy and Booz Allen Hamilton. Spaces at each table were limited and filled by students on a first-come first-serve basis.

Students spent a few minutes at each table, getting the chance to ask questions and learn about possible career paths before moving onto another mentor’s table.

Dr. Megan Tucker, the BA program director of the Communication department spoke on the importance of events like these.

“A lot of the time students don’t know where to go to find information about future careers or internships, or what it looks like to have a [communication] degree afterwards. They know what they’re studying and what their concentrations are but not necessarily how that translates into a career or a job,” said Tucker.

When asked about the benefits of small group mentoring, Tucker affirmed that,“You can get one on one personalization from the individual you are talking to, because they have stories and if they just have a planned list — a speech of things they are going to say — you can’t really ask questions.”

Tucker also added that this event is good experience for interviews. She suggested that students bring business cards to promote themselves for future events similar to this one.

“This is all about self-marketing and self-branding and getting your name out there for networking,” Tucker said.

Sophomore communication major Isabelle Barrett decided to attend the career forum after hearing about it from her professors. “Since I am eventually going to become a professional in the field of communication, hopefully I will get some connections from this and at least meet other [communication] students,” said Barrett.

Abigail Howard, a communication major with a concentration in journalism, expressed her excitement for the mentoring sessions. “I’m excited to be able to talk to professionals and see where they come from, and how they got to where they are, and build from that, and lean on that with my schoolwork.”

The keynote address was given by Rana Novak, a Global Policy Center affiliate at UVA and Syrian American advocate for refugees and civilians, as well as an employee of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

At the forum, Novak spoke about her work within IBM as well as her strong advocacy for the Syrian refugee crisis. Overall, Novak advocated for the use of communication as a voice for those without one to students.

Describing what students might do with their own platform in the communication field, Novak said,“You’re going to be defined by the kind of person you are.”