Advice to freshmen? “Be bold”

Ariana Gainer ’14 is a senior associate in Global Employee Communications at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. As one of Lilly’s 42,000 employees worldwide, Ariana’s main job is to write for the internal publication that is distributed to each employee. She also works on events and facilitates town hall meetings, but writing is her passion.

“I really enjoy my work and being at Lilly,” says Ariana. “I get to meet innovative people and write stories about them and showcase the best parts of the company. People are sometimes afraid of a large pharmaceutical company, but every day I interact with employees with integrity who really care about the patients we serve.”

Make college count

While studying journalism and public relations at UIndy, Ariana wrote for the student newspaper, The Reflector. Associate Professor of Communication and advisor of The Reflector Jeanne Criswell was a professor that Ariana looked up to.

“I spent hours with her working on the newspaper,” says Ariana. “I think we practically spent the night in the studio on production weekend!”

Ariana was also part of the student-run and award-winning public relations firm, Top Dog, and was a member of the Honors College.

“I’m grateful for the guidance from Dr. Rebecca Deemer, our advisor for Top Dog,” says Ariana. “She’s a friend now and she helped me to find my career path.”

The summer before her junior year, Ariana took on not one, but two internships at the same time. UIndy’s location within 10 minutes of downtown Indianapolis opens up a world of job possibilities for students.

Ariana was a public relations intern at Girl Scouts of Central Indiana as well as a marketing and recruiting intern at Express Employment Professionals. She made sure to attend professional events and network with people in the industry, which is what the Professional Edge Center on campus encourages students to do.

The Professional Edge Center helps students from all academic areas to interact with business professionals and develop professional and interpersonal skills.

“I know it sounds like a cliché, but it really is all about who you know,” she explains. “The reason I have this job is because I stayed in touch with my boss during my internship at Lilly my junior year. She thought of me for this position and encouraged me to apply.”

Ariana hopes that all incoming students will take advantage of the opportunities that lie before them.

“Be bold,” she says. “As a freshman, I was afraid of everything, but my advice is just to be bold and brave. It’s OK not to know your career path or to change your major, but try new things and get a feel for the skills that you have and things you are good at doing.”