Finding Careers in Advocacy and Social Change
By Lindsay Blauvel, SOC Website Reporter
October, 2012--A panel of four School of Communication alumni returned to campus last week to talk to students about how their experience in Communication Studies lead to careers in advocacy and social justice issues.
Their presentations exemplified the goals of a track recently introduced to the in SOC focusing on Advocacy and Social Change.
Dr. Mark Pollock, an associate professor and the Communication Studies program director introduced the four panelists, saying their stories helped to inspire the new focus area.
The panelists included Alex Miller, development and communications coordinator for Free Spirit Media; Ellina Kushnir, program coordinator for Rotary International; Whitney Woodward, a policy associate for the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and an adjunct professor at Loyola; and Alma Tello a U.S. Senate aide to Sen. Richard Durbin.
All four of the young professionals said that their education at Loyola gave them the tools they needed to convey and promote the social justice issues that they encounter everyday. Tello, a veteran of the United States Air Force, said she used her education in communication and advocacy issues to advance in her career.
“I can easily say that it was my experience at Loyola and it was my social justice track in Communication Studies that pulled it all together for me,” Tello said. “I learned how to focus issues and those things that interest me.”
She cited her class with Dr. Pollock as instrumental to her ability to navigate the tricky nuances of communication in the political arena.
“Rhetoric has a lot to do with what we do,” Tello said. “The message is very important and that’s the class that has made the difference for me in my career.”
Kushnir said that her experiences at Loyola and the knowledge she gained lead her to a career that she finds fulfilling. She said, “It’s just an incredible feeling to know that it’s what you’re passionate about, it’s what you enjoy doing and you’ve been equipped with the skills to promote what their needs are, the needs of the community and to sustainably and effectively meet those needs.”
She added that her training in communication helped her to identify issues in her community and gave her the tools to translate those issues into propositions for change.
I realized that I was living in my county but I wasn’t aware of the need and that’s where communication really started to play a big role in my professional development,” Kushnir said. “I realized that I can contribute to not only advocacy work but educating the public at large.”
Miller explained how she works with Free Spirit Media to educate high school kids how to use technology and communication to tell their stories and to promote positive messages and awareness.
“I’m empowering youth to tell their own stories. It’s an inspiring way to see the perspective of youth through media,” Miller said. “I’ve taken the skills I’ve learned at Loyola and invested them back into the communities that invested in me.”
Woodward said that she would encourage School of Communication students to think outside of the box when envisioning their future careers.
“I’d encourage people to look at non-traditional homes,” Woodward said.
“Just because you’re journalism major or a broadcast major, you don’t have to end up at a newspaper. You shouldn’t feel boxed in, there are opportunities out there that are open to using that medium to advocate for something.”
Dr. Pollock said the panel discussion provided a shining example of what Communication Studies students can hope to achieve in combining Loyola’s commitment to the community with the skills in the program.
“These are people that have already done that,” Pollock said. “Students can see what opportunities are there for them if they want to work for social change.”
More Featured Stories
Health SciencesLoyola University Chicago health sciences researchers have received a $500,000 grant for a 10-year study to improve the health of low-income minority residents in communities surrounding the University’s Health Sciences Campus in Maywood.
March 19-21Loyola University Chicago’s second annual Climate Change Conference moves beyond the debate of whether global climate change exists to the theme of tending to our ever-changing planet.
Visit usWant to learn more about Loyola and see its beautiful campus? You’re in luck, thanks to this new interactive virtual tour.
In the newsRobert A. Seal, dean of university libraries at Loyola University Chicago, is the 2015 ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. The award recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant contribution to librarianship.
Arts & SciencesFor the past few years, members of Loyola’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department have taken part in Project SEED, a program that gives high school students a first-hand look at life inside a laboratory.
QuinlanQuinlan’s annual Whiteboard Competition gives students three minutes with a whiteboard and felt pen to pitch their ideas and inventions. And in April, Quinlan will launch a new challenge for budding entrepreneurs.
Giving backLate last fall, when most professors were handing back papers, one Quinlan instructor did something a little different: She gave out money. See how Jenna Drenten’s gesture in honor of her late sister inspired her students.
Arts & SciencesLoyola students studying science or math will get a chance to start their research earlier than ever—thanks to the University’s new First-Year Research Experience, which lets undergraduates work directly with faculty members.
ResearchLoyola psychology professor Grayson Holmbeck has been studying children with spina bifida for more than 20 years. In that time, he says: “We’ve learned a lot about what their problems and issues are, what we can do to help them, and more importantly, what they’re capable of.”
QuinlanSee how Quinlan students turned a tragedy into a learning opportunity—and a chance to save lives.
Professor profileQuinlan Professor Nenad Jukić was named Loyola’s Faculty Member of the Year on September 14 as part of the University’s Faculty Convocation. This latest award caps off a string of impressive accolades for Jukić, who also was named Quinlan’s Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher of the Year.
AcademicsLoyola is one of just 283 universities to have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, a claim that only about 10 percent of the nation’s colleges can make.
SustainabilityLoyola is ranked No. 4 on the Sierra Club’s 2014 list of the greenest colleges in America. The annual rankings are designed to spotlight universities that are deeply committed to environmental responsibility.
In the newsLoyola’s Information Commons joins an elite group of peers on Business Insider’s list of the “coolest” college libraries in the country.
ExploreThe Institute of Environmental Sustainability combines academics and research with agriculture and community living—all in one facility.
Damen CenterThe Damen Center was designed from top to bottom with students in mind, making it the center of social life on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus.