Choosing Corporate Communication and Public Affairs establishes the direction and provides the footing for a student’s professional career. For December CCPA graduates, the pathway now leads to opportunity.

December CCPA graduates are pursuing illustrious plans. They include graduate school, internships and solid starting blocks in organizations that are real resume-builders – like Olivia McGeehan, an intern for The Richards Group. Or Shannon Hale, a junior coordinator at Shelter Public Relations in Los Angeles.

What the Graduates Say

Just like every college student, the first solid step December CCPA graduates took was to choose their major. What led them to communications?

Olivia McGeehan, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and strategic communication, said she was always interested in working with brands and the media. She knew SMU’s CCPA program would give her many opportunities after college.

John Camp graduated with a double major in public relations and corporate communication, on the organizational communication track. He chose CCPA because he knew the value of communication to industries. He wanted to develop communication skills and have a degree that would be useful.

As with all first steps, the choice of a major is guided by steady mentoring hands. The December CCPA graduates learned to lean on the SMU faculty.

Liz Farrar, a public relations and strategic communication major, said she was especially fond of Dr. Maria Dixon Hall. Farrar loved being able to walk into her office and have candid conversations on just about anything.

“Do the reading. Take risks outside your comfort zone,” Farrar said. “And don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Shannon Hale said Free Speech and First Amendment with Dr. Stephanie Martin was her favorite class because it gave her an informed perspective on free speech and the role of communication in politics. Her next steps became more solid – connections, then internships. And she says now she’d have never made it to her current opportunity in Los Angeles without them.

“I believe it is extremely important to get involved in the industry that you want to work in to show your dedication and gain truly valuable hands-on experience,” Hale said.

Camp described the whole CCPA staff as outstanding. McGeehan established a strong relationship with Meredith McKee, an adjunct professor who gave Olivia an internship at her firm, Minerva Consulting.

The CCPA division pledges to prepare majors to be leaders in business, government and civil society. By providing internship, consulting, and applied research opportunities with world-class corporate, nonprofit, and political organizations in Dallas, Washington, D.C., London and points beyond, the department produces a well-educated group of students every semester.