July 8, 2010

Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, I headed to West Virginia University to study journalism after researching Bob Woodward for an English assignment in high school.  Impervious to the fact that Watergate had occurred in the 1970’s, at least 14 years before my birth, I was convinced the gritty life of a hard hitting reporter was my destiny.

After a year at WVU, I learned that the Woodwards of the world are few and far between, plus I really wasn’t interested in attending city council meetings to watch and report on heated stop sign debates.  Luckily, the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism had additional concentrations under the journalism umbrella and I discovered the wonderful world of public relations.

Fast forward three years, I graduated suma cum laude with a BS in journalism and headed back to Buffalo.  My first real job was working for M&T Bank as a proposal coordinator, writing business proposals for commercial clients. From M&T I moved to Ecology & Environment, Inc., an eco-consulting and engineering firm in Lancaster, NY, where I continued to write and edit proposals.  A year and a half into working at E&E my dream job appeared, a grant writer position at the University at Buffalo.  And that’s where I am now, working for two of UB2020’s strategic strengths: Integrated Nanostructured Systems and Information & Computing Technology.

In the midst of changing jobs I also started to feel the “academic itch” and decided that $60,000 in student loan debt just wasn’t enough, let’s do graduate school! In May 2011 I completed my master’s of science in communication and leadership (with a concentration in integrated marketing communications, naturally) at Canisius College.

To recap: in the past 4 years I have been a banker, a biologist, and now an engineer and computer scientist (and a student, too).  And what does any of that have to do with public relations?

PR is about communicating to your internal and external customers.  When I first began writing and editing proposals I saw the position as a stepping stone to a “real” PR job. It wasn’t until my time at E&E that I realized I already had that role! At each of my jobs I had the wonderful opportunity to work with talented people who were highly skilled in their fields. Unfortunately, geologists can’t always explain to the lay person why protecting the habitat of the desert burrowing owl is so important.  That’s where I come in. As an editor, it’s my job to “spin” the scientific data in a way that retains the technical information while allowing the customer (people we want to give us money) to read and understand the premise of the request.

During that little journey I’ve watched as new ways of communicating have emerged. As an editor/writer/red pen wielding fiend, I’ve decided it’s important to be a lifelong marcom student.

So come, join me, follow me(!) as I navigate the new world of communications and media. And don’t worry, I’ll leave the red pen in its holster.