Shannon O'Connor - 2014 B.A. Communications (Professional)

When Shannon, decided to become a communications student at Molloy College, she was not sure which specialization to select. Upon further research she decided to choose the Professional track. She decided to choose professional communications because she felt that it gave her the opportunity to further develop writing skills, which has always been on of her primary interests. However, communications was not the only area she studied during her time at Molloy. Shannon also minored in psychology. She was originally an education major with a concentration in psychology. Then, she switched to only psychology before deciding on Communications. “I had already completed so many of the required psych classes so completing the minor wasn’t too difficult, but when I look back on it I wish I had done something extra with communications!”

Why did Shannon decide to become a Communications major? All throughout high school she told everyone that she was going to major in communications in college, but when she first had to choose a major, she didn’t pick communications because she didn’t want to take public speaking! However, in her sophomore year she was roommates with communications student Jess Falcone and loved hearing about all of the classes she was taking and seeing the projects she was working on. “At that point I realized I had to get over my fear of public speaking and pursue the major that I had always been interested in. One thing that particularly drew me to the professional track was the writing aspect of it, but something else I really loved about the field in general is that there are so many paths you can take career wise with a communications background.”

When first starting the COM courses, Shannon’s primary goal was really just to do well and learn more about the field. As she continued her course work, her new goals were to really develop the skills she would need to excel in a career after graduation. The first communications course Shannon took was Public Relations Writing with Professor Anna D’Aloisio. She absolutely loved the major from the moment she started the course and considers it to be one of her favorite classes in the entire program. “After taking the course I realized I had definitely made my way to the major that I needed to be in. Not only were the topics things I was interested in, but I could already tell how helpful all of the professors were and immediately knew that COM students were a great bunch to be around!” While Shannon has many fond memories during her time as a communications student, her favorite memory would be senior seminar. While this is one of the more stressful experiences from her college career, she really valued and enjoyed being able to form such close relationships with the other students completing their thesis and the night of presentations is something she will never soon forget! “It is such a great feeling to know what we accomplished through a year of hard work and dedication to the class.”

Shannon received plenty of advice from all of her professors before graduating that help her today in her career. She believes that all of her professors were extremely helpful during her time at Molloy and she is so grateful for all of guidance and advice they gave to her throughout her time in the COM department. “One of the greatest things I learned from all of them was the importance of pushing yourself and continuing to strive for what it is you hope to achieve – even when it seems tough at first. I also learned the importance of networking, which has proven to be one of the most importance pieces of advice I was given. As I began the intern search and later the job search, I realized just how important networking is!” Shannon took this advice and all of the skills she learned in the classroom with her to her current job as Senior Social Media Account Analyst at Driven Local, which is a digital marketing firm.

Shannon has many job duties and tasks she has to complete daily. One thing she loves most about her job is that every day is different! In general her tasks stay the same week by week/month by month, but each day is different in the sense that she is writing different content, researching different topics and learning more about different platforms, management tools and more. Overall, Shannon manages several social media campaigns for clients in various verticals – health and fitness, home improvement and sports to name a few. “Each day I work to create content for social media platforms including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and I also work to develop and post blog posts specific to client goals and their industry.” Additionally, she also works to build a community for each of her clients and perform account maintenance regularly to ensure that their brand is consistent across the board. There were particular communications courses that greatly help her complete these daily tasks from the skills learned. In her current job, Online Content Production and Introduction to New Media helped the most. Shannon believes without those courses, she would be lacking experiences with Word Press, blog writing, online technologies and digital trends. “Additionally, PR and PR Writing taught me how to craft press releases, which has also been helpful being that I write press releases for some of my current clients (writing press releases was also the basis of my internship!).” Shannon also credits Organizational Communications coming in handy with every day business communications. When she puts it all together, she considers every class she took and every project or paper completed really helping her develop the skills needed to succeed in her current job.

In giving advice to students beginning their journey as a communications student at Molloy, Shannon states to give at least one class a try from each specialization if you are unsure of which one to choose. “When I first chose professional I thought that was the obvious choice since I wasn’t really looking for a career that would require video production skills, but when I had the chance to shoot and edit a video for Online Content Production and Online Journalism I realized how much I liked it.” By this point Shannon was already deep in her college career, but if she had the chance to do it again, she would have taken more classes like those and maybe even minored in media. “Definitely take every opportunity to experiment with different types of classes – not only will you develop a background that can apply across a variety of career choices, but you might find that what wasn’t your first choice is what you want to pursue.” Shannon also advises students who have just graduated to intern as much as possible because the more internships and professional experiences you can get, the better. Additionally, she wants all students to enjoy every minute they have left in the department. “Even though I officially came into the major about a year into school, I truly wish I was involved from the start and encourage every COM student to participate in any communications events and take advantage of every opportunity you can to speak with professors and connect with classmates. My experience in the COM department at Molloy is something I will truly remember and cherish forever, and I hope that all future graduates realize how great of a program it is and make every moment count!”

When asking Shannon what her goals for the future are, right now she wants to continue to learn more about the digital marketing industry and continue to move up in her career. In the future though, Shannon would love to step back on campus to continue her education and for potential career opportunities. “I would love to get involved in a Master’s program so that I can obtain the education needed to teach communications – I would love to be able to teach at a college!”