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Confidence in the Classroom: Meeting the Workforce Head On

April 11, 2017

Portrait of student Laura Cantor

Portrait of student Laura Cantor
Photo by Kate Drakulic, CLAgency.

Senior Laura Cantor has explored numerous opportunities in the Department of Communication Studies throughout her undergraduate career: working with faculty, landing exciting internships, and seeking on-campus leadership positions. The department has provided an incredible open and supportive environment that invites her and her classmates to dive into the material and engage in classroom discussions.

Cantor says her public speaking professor, Christian Angelich, consistently made class engaging and helped her realize the benefits of pursuing a degree in communication studies. Last semester, Cantor completed her senior paper, 'Born in the USA': Patriotic Irony and the Boss, with professor Mark Pedelty. Cantor still talks with him about her copyright and intellectual property interests and he provides a network of resources for her to establish a foundation for when she graduates. "I often find it difficult to even imagine that this is such a large program because of the support students like myself receive from the department's faculty," Cantor says.

The Department of Communication Studies' broad offering of classes prepares students for a wide array of internships and jobs. The summer before her senior year, Cantor interned with Tesoro Corporation in San Antonio, Texas as a corporate communication intern specializing in external communication and crisis management. "The internship was a rewarding experience for me because of the opportunity I had to work across several business units at a Fortune 100 company," Cantor says. "It gave me a chance to apply communication tactics that I learned in class." In the fall of 2016, Cantor interned with Xcel Energy as a corporate giving intern, assisting in the planning of several charity events and communicating with employees and retirees.

Back on campus, Cantor has served as the secretary for the Communication Studies Association, a student group that brings together undergraduate communication studies majors. The group hosts networking events and arranges visits to sites like the Mall of America, Valleyfair, and PR agencies, where members learn about the opportunities available to communication studies students post-graduation. Cantor also serves as the marketing and communication coordinator for the U's Tau Sigma Honor Society chapter, a nation-wide honor society for transfer students. "In this position, I communicate messages to students via social media and help with spreading the message of the prestigious group of students," Cantor says. She has received two scholarships from the Department of Communication Studies, including the Donald V. Hawkins Scholar Award and the Marguerite Garden Jones Undergraduate Award.

Over the course of Cantor's studies in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), she has also taken courses in statistics, mass communication, and biology that expanded her understanding of various fields. After graduation Cantor will be working for an aerospace and built materials corporation as a communications leadership associate. "I believe to be truly successful in the workforce, and to be able to create effective solutions to real-life problems, requires having a greater perspective and understanding of the worldfor which CLA has prepared me."

This story was written by an undergraduate student account executive in CLAgency. Meet the team.