Name: Michol Claxton
Degree Earned and Year Graduated: Mass Communications – Global Strategic Communications (GSC), 2017
Were you a first-generation college student? If so, what does it mean to you to be a first-gen student?
Yes I am. Being a first-generation college student is a very proud accomplishment. There was always value placed on higher education in my family. My 3 sisters and I, all have up to our Masters degree, which is something my parents are very proud of.
How has FIU Helped you get to where you are today in your career?
While at FIU, I learned a lot. The GSC program had such a practical approach, that I could have instantly used what I learned on the job. Currently, I work as the Digital Communications Lead for a Community College in Trinidad and Tobago. FIU prepared me for far more than what I can accomplish at my present job, and I’m still looking for that global position. Its real world situation analysis and global-to-local approach to addressing communications issues definitely has me ready to take on a leadership role at a larger company.
What path did you take to attain your current career?
As an undergrad, I took up summer internships at NGOs and at an energy company. After I graduated with my BA in Media and Communications in 2009, my first job was in advertising. I quickly realized this wasn’t for me and began job hunting again. Four months later, I was recruited as a communications assistant at one of the largest national banks in Trinidad and Tobago. It was while there that I made the decision to follow a career in corporate communications. I was then hired by a community college to develop their social media presence and, at that same time, I started freelancing as a Social Media Manager for small businesses. When I first started working at the college, I assisted the then editor of the college’s newsletter with interviewing and proofreading articles, migrating content from the old website to the current one and booking ads. I also worked my way towards taking on special editorial and digital projects to really carve a niche for myself in the organization. Eventually, I re-focused solely to developing and expanding the colleges’ digital presence.
What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far?
There are several cool things I have been able to do at my job. Recently, I have been consumed with the creation of content and UI (user experience) mapping of the college’s new website. Another rewarding aspect of my job is hosting Journalism and PR interns. For me, this is an opportunity to give the student an “on-the-job experience”, learn new skills, put into practice what they’ve learned in the classroom, and prepare them for the working environment. It’s both challenging and rewarding because I do feel like I can help them become better practitioners in the field of mass communications.
What does a typical day for you look like?
A typical day starts with checking my emails. Then, I move on to checking scheduled and published content, comments, and messages on our social media profiles. The rest of my day is spent meeting with the website developer, the marketing and recruitment teams, and working on strategy, content creation, digital ads, and social media engagement.
How does your job connect back to your coursework?
Global Reputation Management, Ethics and Social Responsibility, Global Strategic Communications Management, and Crisis and Issues Management have been useful to me. Social Media Metrics and Evaluation and Digital Media Management refined my skills in digital strategy and showed me new ways to track and analyze data. This audience-focused and data-driven approach to communicating with your publics has played a major part for me in creating the UI for the website i’m currently working on.
Were there any classes or professors that influenced where you are today?
The GSC program has definitely influenced where I am today. The dual focus in communication management and digital communications focused my interest in developing a career that fuses both. I see the evolving global marketplace needing persons who have specific expertise in navigating communication issues in digital spaces. The professors were engaging throughout my program. Professors Aileen Izuierdo, Dr. Whalen, Dr. Elif Ozkaya, Dr. Weirui Wang, and Jessica Matias all played a part in reigniting my passion for communications, while encouraging me to reach my full potential.
What advice do you have for students interested in a career in communications?
What I would tell students interested in a career in communications is that it is one of the most dynamic and diverse fields. Stay up-to-date with what’s happening globally and technology wise, never stop learning, be meticulous, and take up summer internships. These will lay the foundation for your career path.