Ben Skippen (BA ’20) is one of several graduates from Brock’s Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film (CPCF) translating theory and skills training from their degrees into growing careers.
The Media and Communication Studies alumnus returned to campus for Wednesday’s legacy Convocation ceremony, travelling from Ottawa, where he began working shortly after graduation.
Skippen landed full-time work as an army public affairs officer, first at the Royal Canadian Navy Headquarters and presently on the Military Personnel Command public affairs team at the National Defence Headquarters.
“My degree was useful and relevant to the work I do,” Skippen says. “Homework examples like creating a communications plan, social media, news articles and presentations are all skills I use on the job.”
He isn’t alone in crediting the experiential side of his education with his career success.
Media and Communication grad Kristal Lee (BA ’22) now works in Hong Kong as a Digital Content Executive managing search-engine optimization, content creation and performance assessment of different platforms to assist her marketing team.
“I think the best course and the course I have gained the most from is COMM 4F00, which gave me a chance to gain experiences before graduation,” says Lee. “This was a very precious opportunity for me to get what I wanted to learn and try to put the knowledge to work.”
Claire Terrio (BA ’21) majored in Business Communication and converted her CPCF internship at Framar in Niagara Falls into a job as a Social Media Specialist for the company, marketing to 1.1 million followers across platforms through creative content creation. She says she learned how to integrate marketing in CPCF.
“Having a marketing mindset when approaching every task I’m assigned at work has helped me immensely to think strategically with the brand’s identity, positioning and goals in mind,” says Terrio, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in Professional Communication at Toronto Metropolitan University. “This marketing background has given me an edge and made my transition from working on assignments to working on real marketing campaigns fairly seamless, which I am grateful for.”
Donnicia Ellis-Dawson (BA ’21), who majored in Business Communication and minored in Tourism, says she didn’t know how well her degree had prepared her until she was on the job.
“What I loved about the Business Communication program is that it’s so broad, you have the chance to study multiple different career paths like marketing, human resources and event planning all within your four years,” says Ellis-Dawson, who now works as an assistant in the unscripted content department at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). “Not only that, but Media Communications overlaps with the program, allowing you to learn about journalism, public relations and more.”
Adjunct Professor Kate Cassidy has helmed the CPCF internship course, COMM/FILM/PCUL 4F00, for the past six years. She says that a greater need for communication professionals has given Brock CPCF grads a chance to shine in the job market.
Indeed, this year, many were hired even before graduating.
“During the pandemic, the shift to remote work and digital channels significantly increased the need for tech-savvy employees with strong communication skills,” says Cassidy. “Graduates with expertise in business communications, media and film are in high demand.”
She also believes the networking, professional skill-building and reflective practice connected to experiential learning helps students stand out to potential employers.
“As hiring has gotten more competitive recently, I have had employers reach out to me to help them get in touch with my CPCF students,” says Cassidy. “They’re seeking out grads who have communication skills along with workplace experience.”