Miami Helped Me To Think Critically: Video Transcript

Laurie Moline (Mass Communication major, Miami, 1985) [Strategic Specialist, Aultman Center for Advanced Medicine at Aultman Hospital]: I chose Miami University because I grew up in Cleveland Ohio and Miami had a great reputation. I went to Lakewood High School and there were a lot of alumni from Lakewood High School that had gone to Miami. I was sold after I made my first visit down to Miami University; the campus was exactly what I thought a college campus should be and what a college experience would be. So I applied and got in, and really Miami was my first choice. And as soon as I got the acceptance that's why I came here.

My father was a creative director in the advertising business; so I kind of grew up being exposed to advertising and marketing. I had gone with him to produce some radio spots and things like that; so I knew that that was a career interest. So, immediately Mass COM [Mass Communication] was the major that I picked and I never veered off into any other direction, and I've been happy with my career choice.

One of the first courses we had to take as Mass COM majors was 'Intro to Mass COM' with Dr. Bob Vogel. And that was just an incredible course to me; he did such a wonderful job of really explaining the power of the media and the power you could have as a communicator in the world. And so to me that was kind of one of the courses that really cemented my reasoning for wanting to go into this field.

One of the professors that had a great impact on me while I was here was Dr. Howard Kleiman. He taught all of the production classes that we had at Miami and his energy and enthusiasm really made me excited about the career choice that I had made and understanding how you could use production to actually get the messages across that you wanted to get across. So, he's really been very influential; we've kept in touch over the 28 years that I've been out of Miami.

I'm in corporate communications right now, and so I've always worked for businesses — or when I had my own business — and had a lot of clients that were corporations. And I think, probably the best thing I've brought to my clients is my critical thinking skills. And I credit Miami a lot for the critical thinking skills that I've developed. I think the fact that you get such a good broad based education at Miami University — all the different courses you are exposed to…I took western civilization, western philosophy, botany…you know, having to have that type of very broad base of education, helps you just as a thinker; business courses, I took that.

And I think, aside from just my communication skills, my ability to really strategically think through problems and try and help businesses through communication, reach their mission and their goals and things like that have all come out of what I've learned at Miami, from the different professors I've worked with. But I don't think I really realized it at the time when I was taking those courses, that I was gaining those skills. It was not until I was out for 5-10 years when I really started reflecting back and saying why do I, sometimes I feel like I have stronger critical thinking skills than maybe other people that are, you know, in my industry and I think it was my Miami education that actually helped with that.

As a communication person, I love projects. I've been in a lot of different roles in my career. I've been in management; I've been communications specialist; I've had my own business. What I have learned about myself is that I really don't like the management. I love project coordination; I love being involved in the creative process; I love pulling in people that are experts, graphic designers, and, you know, thinkers, production people, and all that…and pulling that all together. So, that's probably the most rewarding thing is just being part of a collaborative effort to actually take something from an idea to a finished product.

I'm almost 50 years old. I'm actually going to be turning 50 this year. So I am in an interesting phase of my career and — I think just in my personal and professional development. I am kind of becoming more aware of things going on in the world — social issues — so that's become a real interest for me. So I've actually kind of scaled back in my career. I'm working two days a week, but I'm very involved — I live in Canton — I'm very involved with Stark County United Way and will be getting more involved this year. I think a future path for me may be non-profit leadership. I have a real interest in maybe getting involved in a small social service agency and leading that down the road. So that may be where you see me in 10 years…or I have business plans that I am also looking at for new businesses so there are a lot of things that. I think the future is wide open and it is an interesting phase of my life going from a 50- to a 60-year-old and I'm starting to really focus on the things that really interest me and where I think I can actually make an impact on the world.

Internships are a really valuable experience when you're in college. I was really fortunate to be able to get an internship while I was here with a company called Video Works, a video production facility in Cincinnati. It was led by another Miami alum, Jeff Gardner, and I think I learned a lot of great things during that internship — in terms of work ethic, in terms of being the first one there and the last one to leave. If there was a job that needed to be done that I could handle, I would try to stay over and get it done, so that on days I wasn't there that job was already taken care of. It was something they didn't have to worry about. And even though there were things that I would do as an intern that didn't really feel like it took that much skill — to go get coffee for somebody or carry equipment — I was gaining a lot just from being in that business environment and seeing the interaction that went on between the different people that were part of a production team…or the interaction that went on with the client. So I think that that's probably one of the most valuable things that you can do while you're a Miami student is to get an internship.

When you're at Miami, one of the most important things you can do is just get involved. There are so many organizations that can give you the skills that you need, especially in PR or communications, that will give you some of that outside experience that you are not going to get in the classroom.

The other thing that I think is really important is for students to learn to kind of define the network that they already have in their lives of people who are either working for corporations that have public relations, people that they can tap into, do some information interviews with them. I believe information interviews are probably one of the best kept secrets in terms of getting your foot in the door in terms of learning what you want to do and what you don't want to do.

When you're a college student, people want to help you, and you can call people who work at different organizations that are in PR or in fund development, doing these kinds of jobs you think you might be interested in and a lot of times if you say, "Could I just come in and talk to you for 15 or 20 minutes? I'd like to learn more about what you do. I'm trying to figure out my own career path." They're usually very willing to let you come in and spend a little bit of time with you. It's a very non-threatening way for people to be open to you because nobody really likes to tell a student, "No, I can't hire you for an internship" or "No, I can't give you a job." But they're happy to just share their experience. So if you're coming in just to learn from them, they're usually pretty willing to open the door. And especially when you are at a student age. It gets a little harder when you are older, but when you're a college student, people want to help you and so that's probably one of the things I really recommend for students to do.

[April 2013]