Entrepreneurship to Disney, crisis to teaching, human resources to media production in film, television and radio, among other topics brought industry veterans and alumni to campus for the 2019 Communication Symposium.
The event hosted live panels for careers in the communication field and culminated in the awards ceremony honoring students and faculty.
Each speaker was given around 30 minutes at the panels to impart their stories of how a communication degree has impacted their career paths, and leave some words of advice for students who are transitioning to life in the communications field post-graduation.
Brandon Aguila, a representative from the Walt Disney Company, imparted how vital communications is to his field of study.
The central theme around his session was: don’t be afraid to start at rock bottom, because from there you can only move up.
“That medial, low rung work is just what I had to do for a while. When I got that done they would give me another menial task and I got that done, and so on and so forth. As time progressed, I realized the tasks I was given stopped being so menial and my position looked like it wasn’t so temporary,” said Aguilar, “It was evolving. I was showing them what I was interested in and it wasn’t glamorous, but I was there doing the work, climbing the ladder.”
At the end of the session, Aguilar left these parting words: “I didn’t have a path, I had to make it. I challenge you all to do the same. You can’t follow a path, you have to make it and search out the opportunities; then that is what is going to differentiate you from the competition.”
Manny Sandoval and Kelly Imbriani were the key speakers for the crisis communication session. Sandoval currently works as the Public Relations Associate for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Imbriani currently works for Westbound Communications. Both of their careers are featured around public relations tactics. They explained the steps that are taken for crisis communication which are: planning, managing and solutions, and recovering.
One of the main points they made was that during times of crisis you must remember that you and your team are human and that it is always important to take care of your team. This involves telling a team member to drink water or take a break when you realize they haven’t in a few hours. They also expressed the importance of undergraduate students developing relevant experience while in college such as internships and classes relating to their career plans.
The words of wisdom imparted by the speakers struck a chord with the hundreds of communication studies majors that attended the event.
“I loved it. I feel way more prepared for post-graduation job hunting because they gave us specific directions to go based on what we wanted,” said Madeline Goodman, a senior in the communication program who is graduating Fall 2019. “Meeting them really helped eliminate the intimidating aspect of jumping into the world of media.”
Students were invested in their sessions so much, that they felt they were too short and would have looked forward to a longer, more in-depth session.
“I really enjoyed the speakers. I went to the Radio/film, Disney, and Video/TV talks and a lot of them offered the same advice. It was very informative,” said Kayla Bibb, a mass media communication major. “What I took away from it was: to make it in the business, you have to be willing to take a chance on the low- paying, sucky jobs to reach your goal.”
Although the sessions adhered to a tight schedule, the speakers took advantage of every moment and packed their speeches full of useful information for students looking to get insight into their preferred fields of communication.
Hector Ramos, a senior in the communications program at CSUSB attended the Human Resources session. Ramos hoped to gain valuable advice to help him understand what he needs to do to get a job in his field.
“I gained a lot of information about what to do in HR and how to get there,” Ramos said.
Once he graduates, Ramos hopes to end up working within a Human Resources department helping immigrants in the workforce.
The speakers seemed to be connecting positively with their crowds in each session. The session was filled with laughter, inspiration, and examples of reality.
“I thought this symposium was really interesting. The speakers were very informational and gave real-life examples of what they went through to get to where they are. It was definitely something that I wanted and needed to hear as I am about to graduate” said Ramos.
In addition to giving solace to seniors, the speakers also encourage students to continue on their journey. Many students left with a fresh perspective on the paths they could take as communication studies students and felt encouraged to finish up their degree so they could work alongside these esteemed speakers.
Blair Hernandez, a senior studying strategic communications ended her symposium day by listening to the Public Information Session.
“I wanted to gain career opportunities by attending this symposium,” Hernandez said. “I am currently graduating in about 6 months and I want someday to work for some sort of military personnel since I do come from a military background.”
“What I am most passionate about is writing and getting to the core truth about real-life situations,” said Hernandez.
As informative as the sessions were, the symposium opened up many doors for communication majors to network with other students in the field as well as professionals who could potentially one day become colleagues.
It let students know that there is a team of supporters that are rooting for our success post-graduation because they were once in our shoes too.
Francisco Rodriguez, a second-year graduate student at CSUSB summed up the spirit of the Communication Symposium: “It is a nice and collective way for the department to come together. It highlights the different type of work that communication majors can do. You get to hear what other people are researching and have done with their career. This symposium was sort of a wave into reality.”