The next Academic Excellence Award winner was not afraid to get her feet wet, jump into the field of Communication, and grab some perspective. After her semester at DIS, Karla feels comfortable thinking about plans for after graduation, and her career goals looking forward.
Name: Karla Cook
Home University: Bates College
Academic Program: Communication
DIS: What influenced your decision to choose your particular DIS academic program and why did you choose it?
Karla: Most of what I do as a rhetoric major is based primarily in theory, rather than real-world application, so I saw the Communication program at DIS as a chance to experience my field from a different angle. I got the opportunity to step outside of the theoretical and learn from real-world professionals about how I can build a career in rhetoric and communications – which as a senior, was really relevant and exciting for me. It was a chance to step outside of my normal academic studies while still remaining in my field.
DIS: What do you want to do in your future and after graduation? How have you been affected by your academic program in a way that changed your career path or perspective?
Karla: My plan after graduating is to get some real-world experience before heading to graduate school for communications. After this semester at DIS, I feel a lot more comfortable about my future, especially in terms of knowing my options. The program took a lot of time exploring different areas of the field, speaking with professionals around Denmark and Europe about what they do and how they got there.
I’ve definitely always had an interest in political communications, but this program really opened me up to new possibilities. I think the biggest strength of this program was the breadth of it – communications is a huge field with a ton of options, and we were able to touch on multiple aspects this semester – I did everything from crisis communications scenarios to interviewing Danes on the street for a mock newscast. For me, this served as a crash course in what a career in communications can be like.
DIS: What would you recommend future students in your program do to maximize their experience?
Karla: My advice to future Strategic Communications students would be to stay open to all aspects of the field instead of getting in a communications rut. Personally, I thought political communications would be my biggest focus, but this program let me sample other areas – for instance, I thought I wouldn’t enjoy journalism, but I ended up getting the opportunity to at the Copenhagen Post after interviewing one of the editors for a class assignment. I also got the chance to interview the owner of a prominent graphic design firm in London, and talk with corporate communication reps from all over Denmark.
Also, though it may sound like tired advice, asking a ton of questions was hugely beneficial for me. Particularly, asking professionals about their advice for success yielded a ton of tips I will be employing as I move forward from DIS and college. A lot of the people we spoke with were career-confused college students not to long ago, so their advice was especially relevant to us.