By Dylan Pichnarcik
What is your personal and professional background?
I went to UMass Amherst for college, and I studied journalism. Then, I began my career as a journalist. First, I worked in Manchester, New Hampshire for a little daily newspaper called the Manchester Daily Express, which sadly no longer exists. But it was an amazing experience because I got a chance to cover first-in-the-nation primaries and a lot of political coverage up there. From there, I went to The Sentinel and Enterprise in the Fitchburg/Leominster Area and I worked a couple years there. Then, I decided I wanted to transition to PR and saw this opportunity at Framingham State for the external relations coordinator. I always thought that journalism and PR were interconnected and I always thought that I would be good at it. … So I started here and I’ve loved it ever since. I’ve been here 13 years now.
What goals do you have for yourself at FSU?
I just want to keep evolving in the position. I've been here for a while. I started as an external relations coordinator and then became the associate director of communications. Now, I'm the director of communications. So I want to continue to evolve in the position and make sure that I’m a valuable asset for the University in terms of generating interesting content, helping with our enrollment, and assisting the President. … I’m just looking forward to continuing working with the students, the faculty, and staff. I really love it here.
How do students and faculty interact with your office daily?
I interview a lot of students for stories that appear in our alumni magazine and appear on our website and promotional materials. So I'm always looking for good student stories, and we have a ton of them. I also have a student intern this semester who works for The Gatepost, my wonderful publications intern Sophia [Harris]. She does a lot of writing for me for Campus Currents, which is very helpful. I interact with students a lot and really enjoy it. It is definitely one of the benefits of the job because we have great students on campus.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a big sports fan. … Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots, you name it. I really enjoy following all the teams. I also have a young daughter who's in kindergarten. I enjoy being with her as much as possible. … But sports is my biggest hobby. I play a little golf, but I'm not too good at it.
What advice would you give to a student looking into a career in communications?
For students in the communications/journalism world, I would say, read a lot of newspapers, especially if you can get your hands on some of the bigger ones like The New York Times and The Boston Globe. The more you can read the newspaper, the better. Not only the better informed you'll be, but you'll learn how good journalists do their writing, and how they are successful. Then I would say diversify your skill set. Make sure you know how to take photos and do video because journalism is becoming digital very quickly, and you’ll be asked to multitask.
How has your career evolved since starting your work at FSU?
When I first started here, we were just trying to build a Facebook page for the University. Now, Facebook isn't really where we reach students any more. We still have a nice active page for the parents and alumni. So social media has grown by leaps and bounds since I started here. Our advertising has shifted a lot from billboards and newspapers now to mostly digital because that's where everybody is, and that’s the best way to reach audiences. Media relations have also changed because sadly, a lot of the local newspapers have shrunk, which means I get fewer inquiries.
Who is a personal role model of yours?
I would say my mom! She has been a personal role model. She worked and raised three kids. … She paid completely for my undergraduate degree. I’m extremely fortunate for that. I know that’s not the case for a lot of students we have here at Framingham State and the older I get, the more I appreciate that when I see all the issues with students struggling to finance their education.