Lining up courses keeps mass comm students on track

Adrian Escobar

Advisers can help students decide which internship is right for them (UCO/KT King).

University of Central Oklahoma academic adviser Gary Parsons said he helps mass communication students achieve their degrees, getting them into the classes that they need and making them aware of the requirements to get them to the graduation stage so they can pursue their careers.

The Department of Mass Communications has four areas of study currently available as majors for UCO students: interpersonal communications, which aims to teach students how to analyze speech and communicate effectively and ethically; professional media, in which students learn the techniques for producing and distributing digital content; photographic arts, which teaches the technical aspects of creating images and the applications for photography in the job market; and strategic communications, in which students learn how to effectively produce marketing material.

These degrees lend themselves to helping secure certain careers: a student pursuing a degree in strategic communications can later go and pursue a job in advertising or public relations. With a degree in professional media, graduates can pursue journalism in either print or digital media, they can create podcasts, they can work on television broadcasts or all of the above. 

Because the degree curriculum can be narrowly tailored in certain programs, students should research and find internships that closely fit the degree that they are studying and that closely resemble the jobs they hope to seek after graduation. Before seeking internship opportunities, Parsons said students should verify that they have their prerequisites which vary for each major. It is a common misconception that students can go and take on an internship at any time, he said.

 “We want to make sure that we give the company that our students are going to work with the best possible students to work with,” Parsons said. 

There is a process to the internships: students must ensure they have prerequisites completed, verify that internships are available with the chosen company and then apply for the internship with that company. Mass communications students then need to have their internships approved by Assistant Chair Mark Zimmerman and then enroll into the internship course. It is important to do these steps correctly for the student to receive credit for their internships.

Parsons stresses the importance of experience on a resume for applicants going into the workforce. He urges students who have completed their degree and are looking for the next steps to contact the Career Opportunities office on campus. He also encourages students to speak with their professors about their career goals as the UCO faculty is largely composed of industry professionals who can be resources for networking.

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