Patrick Sullivan ’16 loves interacting with people and relishes being in the spotlight. These extroverted tendencies are what first drew Sullivan to a major in public relations. A news and social media junkie, he was delighted to find a major that turned his interests into a viable career prospect.
“I like the focus on communication and how people receive messages,” Sullivan says. This attention to how to effectively communicate to the public is already paying off, landing Sullivan two internships on campus and a job as an orientation leader. The latter offers Sullivan the chance to “sell” the university to incoming students while simultaneously setting nervous parents’ minds at ease.
Part of what puts Sullivan in such a comfortable position is the intimate learning atmosphere provided by Appalachian. With relatively small class sizes, Sullivan finds himself surrounded by a similar group of students in each of his PR classes, offering a chance to build important friendships and grow professionally as a group, a valuable perk for an extrovert like Sullivan.
“Appalachian is very freeing and open,” Sullivan says. “You’re making friends with people in your classes; everyone’s connected.” In addition to connecting with his fellow peers, Sullivan notes that the professors make a concerted effort to get to know the students in their program.
“I know that I’m not just another number,” Sullivan comments. This is an impressive feat considering, according to Sullivan, his professors are typically engaged in professional work on top of teaching classes. This direct link to the outside world of PR makes these classes valuable, giving students a first person example of the work they hope to be doing post-graduation, he said.
In Sullivan’s case, a social media internship with University Communications has piqued his interest in doing communication and PR work in an academic setting. A job in higher education sounds perfect for Sullivan, giving him a place to nourish his interest in communication and his passion for people.