I’m moving…to Texas


Some of you may already know, but I have decided to pursue a Ph.D. at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. They have a great mass communications program that I’m confident will prepare me for a career in academia. My ultimate goal is to teach and do research in public relations at a four-year university, and I think I’ve always known I’d be Dr. Lee someday.

I'll be a Red Raider for a few years, but you know I'm an Aztec for life :)

I’ll be a Red Raider for a few years, but you know I’m an Aztec for life ūüôā

Choosing a doctoral program was the hardest decision I’ve ever made and my huge spreadsheet of pros and cons wasn’t much help. All of the programs I looked at are great and someone else with the same options I had may have chosen differently. I went with what was best for me in terms of faculty, resources, research and teaching opportunities. However, on top of the practical considerations, the people that I will spend the next three years with really sealed the deal.

Tech had me come visit a few weeks ago and every single person that I have interacted with, student, faculty or staff, was incredibly helpful and welcoming. Plus, their facilities are amazing. I probably won’t use the eye tracking machines or physiology lab, but the high-tech focus group room and office with a view got my attention. However, Blake and I have been joking around about the crazy research projects we can do in the labs when she visits. Any suggestions on that?

College of Media and Communication building

College of Media and Communication building

While the program is a great fit, Lubbock will be harder to get used to. There is more there than I realized and university towns tend to foster creativity and forward thinking, but it still isn’t San Diego. There’s no ocean or city-wide recycling program, the shopping isn’t great, and everyone drives big trucks while talking on cell phones. I’ll be leaving my family, Blake and Whitney, and other friends, but luckily, I have an amazing partner by my side to navigate this adventure with. My boyfriend, Paul, and I, and our cocker spaniel, Tiger, will be moving in August. Trust me, we’ll only be in Texas for three years.

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Young Professional Series: Laura Peterson


Today is the third installment of our Young Professional Series (you can see the others here and here)! This interview is with Laura Peterson, a close friend (who Blake has known since pre-school) and K-12 teacher with a passion for education.

me wine tasting

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

My favorite aspect about teaching is getting students excited about school and inspiring them to be life-long learners.  I love helping students become more confident in academic areas that they previouslystruggled with and motivating them to succeed. As a teacher, I get the opportunity to positively influence students’ lives and to see the progress they have made over the school year.  The best thing about teaching is that you get paid for doing what you truly love.

How do you think you have to build a ‚Äúbrand‚ÄĚ around yourself, to show administration, the kids, the parents? How does this brand/persona change with each of these people (markets)

As a young teacher in this unfavorable education job market, it is very hard to find a stable, full-time, high paying teaching job.¬† However, I have found that I am able to ‚Äúbrand‚ÄĚ myself by showcasing my strong attributes and being assertive both in an interview and job setting. I make sure to go out of my way to get to know other faculty, especially the veteran teachers and administration, so they know I am a ‚Äúteam player‚ÄĚ and ready to help out as much as possible. I also make sure I am very fun and caring towards my students so that they will want to report back to their families with positive feedback about my teaching. As for parents, I make sure they feel welcome and know that there is open communication to meet with me and share their thoughts and concerns about their child.

What’s the hardest thing about finding a teaching job right now? How do you stay positive in your search?

Due to severe budget cuts and teacher layoffs over the last few years, I have struggled with finding a permanent teaching job, which can be very disheartening at times. Teaching is my passion, therefore, I try to stay positive and remind myself that all the applications were worth it and that I will ultimately land the perfect job I want. Even though it is not ideal, I do feel that each part-time job and tutoring position I have taken over the years was still building my resume, adding to my overall experience, and making me more valuable for when the right job comes around.

Have you seen similar difficulties out there when you’re job hunting? How do you stay positive?

Get to know Academia.edu


We all know about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Foursquare, Google+, Myspace, Instagram… you get the point. But, have you heard of academia.edu? It might not interest everyone, but if you do research, you are in grad school, or you have a client that does research, it may be worth getting to know this lesser-known social media site. As you may have guessed, Academia.edu is “a platform for academics to share research papers.”

Screen shot 2013-01-10 at 1.48.26 PMAs a grad student, I have used the site to follow what other researchers are doing and to connect with fellow academics. I’m not very active on it, so I’m sure I’m not getting all the value I can. I can also see how non-academics may simply be interested in following the research in certain areas long before it is published.

Like many platforms, you can follow people and they will be notified that you are a follower, but they don’t necessarily have to follow you back. In addition to posting your own research, you can post blogs, teaching documents, conference presentations and ask questions within a certain research topic.

As always, we want to hear what you have to say. Have you used Academia.edu? Do you find it useful?

My Summer Research on CEOs and the Media


Over the summer, I spent six weeks at PRIME Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. thanks to the Grunig PRIME Research Fellowship. Although a wonderful opportunity, splitting up the Blake and Nicole bestie duo was difficult! I was able to get over the short separation and, as part of the fellowship, I did a research project on CEOs and media relations. Below is a snippet of a column I wrote for the Institute for Public Relations about it. Click through to read more, it’s short and written for practitioners, not academics (a.k.a you’re going to understand it and it may be useful!):

Me with my award in my living room since the Nor’easter a few weeks ago cancelled my flight to NYC ūüė¶

CEOs are often the face of a company, but having a visible, or even well liked, CEO may not help a company’s reputation in all situations. This is a topic I explored over the summer with PRIME Research thanks to the Grunig PRIME Fellowship. Specifically, I looked at how the tone and visibility of CEO media coverage is related to the tone and visibility of overall organization coverage.

The first big takeaway is not all publicity is good publicity… {Read more.}

If you want to dive into the numbers and check out the full paper, you can download it here.

My 1st Work Conference


This post may be making it up a bit late today but I’m still in a New Orleans-work-conference-hangover-daze. Basically, this is the first week back from a week stay in NOLA, exciting right?

The backdrop for our conference.

To say the least, I was pretty stoked. This was the first time I was invited as part of a job to leave the state (AND BE PAID FOR IT!). So, off I went to the ASBDC 2012 Conference in New Orleans to learn about all things marketing and how to apply it to help my organization. While attending various sessions (and getting tons of free swag) I learned a few things about conference attendance:

1). Make your presentation INTERESTING!

Especially if your session is scheduled for 8 hours (*Ahem*, Google Training Day, *cough*) no matter how cool your swag is, I will fall asleep and resort to scanning my social media channels if your resonation is not interesting! If I can learn more about how to apply your product by Googling you, you’ve failed.

Free food and swag can keep me interested for a while but not forever!

However, I will give shout-outs to Eric Spellmann (@ericspellmann) for his fantastic presentation on the “12 Mistakes on Small Business Websites” and to Herb Lawrence (from @asbtdc_asu) who presented on how to utilize social media to engage both consumers and businesses.

2). Don’t bring up the main competitor.

If you are presenting to a national organization don’t use their main compeitor as an example…I would’ve thought that was common sense.

3). Network!

The entire time. I met a new co-worker that is stationed at one of my office’s¬†satellite centers who I connected with and had so much fun with – I even gave her a mini Twitter schooling (follow @katienino and get her up to speed on all things Twitter!). I met incredibly helpful people that I will be in contact with regularly.

Networking even allowed me to be mentioned on a different blog, check out my little mention here and as a plug for Jimdo and their SmallBizRocket initiative, if you need a website, these boys can help you out!

4). Get out of the “Conference Mode”

Of course I had to hit Bourbon street and go on a few tours! This is the time where I really connected with coworkers and met a few nice people along the way (some of which even invited me back to visit their home in the future).

Baby alligators are somewhat squishy. Hold one if you have the chance!

Yes, there was a baby goat on the street that I got to hold. This is the face you make when the baby goat you’re holding tries to jump from your hands.

Stop These Social Media Practices! (PLEASE)


Being young professionals in the PR and marketing worlds, we are basically FORCED to keep a constant eye on social media and the emerging trends. With our continuous scanning of various social media platforms we have developed our “social media pet peeves.” This post is to plead all of you out there in the online world to help us lead the charge to stamp out the following social media practices:

  • Om Nom Nom, #OmNomNom: I don’t care how you insert this, you don’t say it in real-life (Oh God, please don’t tell me you say it in real-life), so don’t put it online. All I can imagine when I read this is that you are currently shoveling that meal you just shot with the Toaster filter in Instagram into your face and are talking with your mouth open.
  • Linking posts to all your outlets:¬†(Thanks to LinkedIn for already doing their part to stop this!) All social media outlets are different, people! I don’t want to see your hashtag on Facebook. Write different content and stop announcing to the world that you’re social-media-lazy.
  • YOLO: Give it up people, this trend has outlived its welcome.
  • Notes to self: I am not your virtual post-it note. I will not keep your diet on track or give you kudos for your 1,590 mile run that you completed in 1.5 hours.
  • Rambling multi-part tweets: I’m following hundreds of peeps, your first segment probably got lost as I’m scrolling through my feed and now I think you are spurting out incomplete thoughts. If you must do this, PLEASE include some¬†indication¬†that the Tweet is either the first or second or third part.
  • #FF: Really, we’re not over this yet? If I can’t figure out how to follow interesting people through their interesting connections, I don’t deserve their insights.
  • Linking to your blog…that’s about a year old, with no new relevancy or reason:¬†If I didn’t read a year ago, I don’t want this old info now! Update! Make it applicable to a current trend or at least tell me why you are sharing it now!
  • Liking every picture someone posts on Facebook:¬† You have the ability to like the album. I don’t need 1,000,084 notifications on my Newsfeed that you like Stan’s last trip to Vegas.

If you do any of these, we don’t hate you. Some of the things we do on social media might be just as annoying to some people. What are some of the social media practices you think must end?

Not Writing a Thesis


So, last week in my blog post I talked about the decision to go back to get my MBA, in this post I’m going to write about how I¬†FINISHED¬†the process!

In my MBA program at SDSU we had the option of writing a thesis or partaking in a business consulting project coupled with an exam. Affectionately known as BA795, I chose to participate in the business consulting capstone project. My decision was partially based on:

  1. Unless you plan on going into academia, a thesis is seen as somewhat worthless to many in the business community.
  2. Hiring managers like to see “results,” a project was more¬†likely¬†to give me that over a theoretical research paper.
  3. I like to give my opinions (one reason a blog is a fantastic option for me) – I like it even better when people listen!
  4. I one day would love to pursue a career as a marketing consultant and this was a nice mini-start.

For BA795 all participants were given a list of participating companies and the help they needed. The companies and projects ranged from huge hotel corporations needing a diversified marketing strategy to start-ups needing to know if their idea would pan out in the marketplace.  Each member of the upcoming graduating class ranked which project they would like to participate in, we were then assigned a group and a company to consult with.

So, here lies the crux of the situation. As groups were announced we all sat around like elementary school kids getting picked for¬†dodge ball, “Will I getting picked for the ‘cool’ project?” “Will my group be a bunch of slackers?”

Typical

It’s the risk you take when you opt in for a group project rather than a solo thesis!

I ended up being assigned to a client that needed help with developing a branding/rebranding analysis along with three other MBA candidates. I knew one of the girls, Kari, personally and as much as I hate to admit this to her I knew she would make a fantastic group member ūüėČ (I have to keep up the teasing¬†relationship¬†we¬†developed¬†– Kari is actually one of the most dedicated and hardworking people I have had the pleasure of working with).¬† I had not had the pleasure of working with Adam and Melissa in my MBA career but I am SOOOOO glad they were my other group members! The four of us never had any issues with each other and everyone produced spectacular work ON TIME!

Once we jumped through some hoops and touchy issues with our two assigned¬†advisers¬†(who I still refuse to accept we needed) we were on a roll. Unlike other groups that had issues with difficult clients, our client was FANTASTIC! We met with a representative for our client’s organization who was understanding, compassionate of our time restrictions, incredibly¬†accessible¬†to any questions that arose, and warned us up front that even if our suggestions were not acted upon they were appreciated – dare I say it, they were the perfect¬†client we’ll probably never see again in our¬†consulting¬†careers.

On the client side, I believe most of the companies came out of the experience with applicable real-world direction and information they could use to enhance their business – at a great cost! I reached out to our client representative to see why they considered coming to SDSU MBA’s for help:¬†“I went with the SDSU MBA student consultant group not only because I was familiar with the program as a past participant, but also because I would get a fresh perspective and analysis based on techniques and applications the group had learned during their time in the MBA program. I’ve found the group’s final product to be a great road map and guideline to what the tribal development can be.”

Basically, our group was able to help our client with a fresh perspective and apply the education we had¬†received. Along with our 200+ page report (that cost about $100,000,000,000 to print at Kinkos) we left this experience with applied knowledge and a group bond that we still have (even if these guys blew me off for happy hour this week ūüėČ ).