Tell us about yourself. Hometown? Family and pets? Year in school?
I am a senior, so I will graduate in May with a public relations major and a psychology minor. I am a “townie,” meaning I am from Bloomington-Normal, and all of my immediate family lives here. One thing all of my friends know about me is how obsessed with animals I am. It’s nice to live in town because I get to see my pets whenever I want. My parents are divorced and both remarried, and they both have houses full of pets, so I have always grown up around animals. Currently, we have three cats and two small dogs at my mom’s house, and three big dogs at my dad’s. At one point, we had six at my mom’s and four at my dad’s, so I had a total of ten pets for a while.
Why Illinois State University? Why public relations?
I ended up at Illinois State University completely by accident. When I was a junior in high school, I found out that I only needed three credits my senior year to graduate, so I started thinking about graduating in December of my senior year. After talking to my advisor and researching options, I found out that I could complete my last three credits online over the summer and start college in the fall, so I ended up doing that instead. I was at Heartland Community College for a semester, and then I transferred to ISU second semester. I was accepted into the public relations major before coming to ISU, after my mom suggested it to me. I was good at writing and talking to people, so she thought it might be a good fit. I was originally looking at transferring to another university after ISU, but I joined ISU’s PRSSA, made a lot of friends, and liked it so much that I decided to stay.
How do you define public relations?
I get a lot of questions from people who hear that I am a public relations major and have no idea what it is or what it is about. The way that I usually describe it is: it is creating a relationship between a company and the public, and then helping both manage and maintain that relationship.
What has been your proudest moment at ISU?
I would say that, by far, my proudest moments are related to PRSSA. When I got the call from last year’s executive board that they wanted me to be president this year, that was probably my proudest moment yet. I had been a member since my freshman year, and I remember as a freshman thinking, “I really want to be president someday.” I was also very proud when I got to accept the Certification for Education in Public Relations accreditation on behalf of ISU’s PR program at PRSSA National Conference with our Faculty Adviser Dr. Smudde.
What is something interesting about you that people may not know?
I feel like there are a few things! First, people are always surprised to find out how young I am. I have a late birthday to begin with (August), and I graduated a year early on top of that, so I’m only 20. Second, although I was born and raised in Illinois, 10 years ago my mom and stepfather adopted my brother from Russia. He is now 18, and people are shocked to see how much we look alike since we are not at all blood related. Finally, people also seem surprised to find out that I have two tattoos. Neither of them are visible if I’m not in a swimsuit (have to keep it professional!) but I think tattoos are a great form of creative self-expression.
If you could make a living doing anything, what would it be?
Traveling! It is my favorite thing to do. I am always thinking of where I want to go, and planning my next trip.
When you’re not busy with school work and PRSSA, what are you most likely doing?
I love being creative, so I like to paint or do Pinterest-style crafts in my free time. I also like to hang out with all of the amazing friends I’ve made through PRSSA.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pasta! But only if it comes with Olive Garden breadsticks.
What are three things on your bucket list?
1. Go skydiving 2. Go on an African Safari 3. Adopt a pet from a shelter