What Great Minds Can Do: Rita Damiron Tallaj
Rita Damiron Tallaj, M.A. '19
"You can choose which (electives) you want to take. I really like that I can play around with the classes that I want to take and have the liberty to build my master's degree as I want it to be."
Throughout her career as a freelance producer, Rita Damiron Tallaj had always enjoyed working on commercials for the likes of Fox Sports and CBS. But it was after meeting Adidas representatives and learning about the creativity that went into crafting their Superstar campaign that she felt inspired to actually pursue a career in advertising. Before doing so, however, she knew she should advance her education.
So Damiron Tallaj explored several different graduate programs before eventually deciding on the M.A. in Strategic Communication program within the College of Communication and the Arts. The reason why partly stemmed from the fact that the University is 14 miles from her home in New York City, making for a nice commute while never straying far from internship opportunities. More than that, she appreciated the flexibility of the program, which offers her evening class times and numerous elective options.
"You can choose which (electives) you want to take," Damiron Tallaj said. "I really like that I can play around with the classes that I want to take and have the liberty to build my master's degree as I want it to be."
Damiron Tallaj is taking courses she feels are preparing her for a future in advertising. Specifically, Intro to Digital Communication and New Media and Organizational Communication are teaching her about how companies use technology to communicate with audiences. Such knowledge will be useful, she believes, because in advertising she will have to figure out how to best reach target publics through different platforms.
Aside from the classes themselves being interesting, Damiron Tallaj has also been impressed by the quality of teaching she has received. Dr. Ruth Tsuria, who teaches the two aforementioned electives, has particularly made an impact on her in the way she challenges her students to think outside the box. She has also found Tsuria to be both extremely knowledgeable about the communication field and up-to-date with the latest media trends, which certainly enhances her discussion of course material.
And this teaching is not done in front of a lecture hall's worth of students. As Damiron Tallaj pointed out, the Strategic Communication program offers small class sizes, which brings about a more personal learning experience among professors and close-knit classmates.
"Everyone kind of becomes one group of friends," Damiron Tallaj said, adding that in larger universities one might not "get to know a lot of people. And you won't have as much interaction with your professors. At Seton Hall, your professors are available all the time via email or if you come in. They're always willing to help."
Damiron Tallaj is not just a student at the University, though. The Pirate also works as a graduate assistant within the Department of Alumni Relations, where she handles everything from writing articles for Seton Hall Magazine to sending out invitations for events. It is a lot of work, but she appreciates the opportunity. Though she already has extensive experience within the general communication field, even working as a producer for the upstart business and technology channel Cheddar, her graduate assistantship has taught her a lot about organizational communication specifically. And that knowledge will help a lot once she moves into advertising, she said.
Of course, before that time comes Damiron Tallaj will have to finish graduate school. That will require much effort, but the Strategic Communication student is confident she get through it — especially with the help of campus resources like library services. She also knows that others can do it as well, though she emphasized that graduate studies are challenging.
"If you choose to go to graduate school, you're only going to learn for as much time as you'll put into it," Damiron Tallaj said. "So, you need to be ready to do the work."
This profile was written by Sean Quinn, a Graduate Assistant for Graduate Studies within the College of Communication and the Arts and an M.A. in Public Relations student.