Success Stories
Content queens

In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King.” Fast forward to 2015: Gates’s vision is still remarkably on target, and not just for mega-corporations like Microsoft.

For nonprofits without huge budgets, creating high-impact digital content with cost-effective technology is essential. So nonprofit PR pros need broad skills–from writing and editing to photography, graphic design, web management, social media management, data mining, and more.

These UIndy graduates recruit, engage, and retain members of not-for-profit organizations. They build brands, understand audiences, and improve profitability.

What else do they have in common? They work for Indianapolis-based Raybourn Group International, an association management company with representatives in Chicago, Charleston, and Miami and serving nonprofit clients with members
in 107 countries.

Experience matters

Beginning as freshmen, Michelle Wells ’08 (not pictured) and Ashley Roy ’12 (left) were part of Top Dog Communication, UIndy’s national-award-winning and student-run public relations agency.

“I gained incredible experience with Top Dog. It set me apart from other new grads because I had experience that went beyond textbook learning. I developed a portfolio of real work before graduating. And I learned the skills I continue to hone on a daily basis,” Michelle says.

Ashley agrees. “Getting experience through Top Dog helped me be confident that I wanted to work with not-for-profit groups as a career. I had six client projects and a pool of references to show potential employers.”

Serving on the student newspaper team gave Shelly Pfenninger ’07 (right) insight into the media industry. “As a Reflector editor, I wrote articles, managed a team of reporters, and learned to design a newspaper. I learned how to think like a journalist, which led to a great PR internship with the Indiana State Fair,” she adds.

A graphic designer, Katie Kirkton ’08 (center) learned the foundations of art and the principles of good design at UIndy. “As a student, I gained the technical skills to design websites, create digital marketing campaigns, and manage social media. My internship at the Children’s Museum was amazing—it expanded my views on collaboration across departments in the workplace.”

“Our students get professionalization training that includes everything from client relations to etiquette.”

Leslie Murphy, president of RGI, has enjoyed success with UIndy grads. “The ability to strategize, strong writing skills, and professionalism they bring to the table has been pivotal in our hiring decisions,” she notes, adding UIndy is a go-to source for RGI interns.

Most UIndy communication grads, in fact, are employed within weeks of their graduation.

“Our students get training in professionalization that includes everything from client relations to etiquette,” says Dr. Rebecca Deemer, associate professor of communication.

“The applied experience is a huge plus. And our networking opportunities make a tremendous impact.”

Susan Sullivan