Gabrielle Vanadia, a dual-degree student within the College of Communication and the Arts, originally decided to attend Seton Hall because the University possesses all the key factors she was looking for in a school. "I wanted to attend a small-to medium-sized university that was a decent distance from home, and had plenty of student clubs and activities, especially Greek life," she shared. The offerings at Seton Hall checked all the boxes she was hoping for as an aspiring College student. However, the high-quality, excelled education offered via the communication program was just a plus, per Vanadia.
While investigating the multitude of educational opportunities offered by the College in meetings with her advisor, Vanadia discovered the dual-degree program. "My parents encouraged me to find out more information about both the dual-degree and graduate programs. When I learned about all the benefits of getting my master's degree this way, I was hooked," she noted. In addition, Vanadia expressed excitement upon learning that she could focus her graduate studies in public relations, an advanced content area offered in the M.A. Communication program. "I have enjoyed diving deeper into PR. My professors and advisors were so helpful with all my courses and completing my thesis. Their teachings and guidance allowed me to become a better writer and gain knowledge I will use in my professional life," she shared.
Along with the immersive coursework in both her undergraduate and graduate studies, Vanadia gained real-world experiences. Over the course of her College career, Vanadia held four internship/professional positions, an extraordinary achievement. "As an undergraduate student, I interned for Light of Gold PR, the Seton Hall Admissions Office and Floyd's Spiked Beverages. These internship experiences exposed me to new things in the communication field — plus I learned more about myself," she shared. Vanadia has put her innovative skillset to work, serving as a graduate assistant for Seton Hall's Department of Alumni Engagement and Philanthropy. "This Graduate Assistantship has given me so many opportunities to learn hands-on about communication and public relations plans. It has also been a great way to connect and network with alumni through events, too," she said.
It was Vanadia's well-versed background in communication and public relations which influenced the topic of her final Master's Project. "My topic examined how public relations departments can utilize social media within crisis communication plans, specifically looking at racially biased crises within retail companies," she shared. In writing her thesis, titled, "Tweeting During a Crisis: Best Practices for Public Relations (PR) Professionals for Reputation Management during Racial Bias Cases" Vanadia investigated the ways public relations professionals rely on social media as integral components of crisis communication plans. Following this exhaustive research, Vanadia formulated strategies and best practices for application in the PR world. Crisis communication and public relations go hand-in-hand and I feel confident that I may one day serve in a position where I can apply my expertise with both," she said. Vanadia's thesis is published in Seton Hall library's online repository.
Since graduating in the Spring of 2020, Vanadia reflected on her journey and her biggest take-aways from the program. "You need to make your best effort and put in the work for your program of choice. Courses, projects and papers can be intense and if you are not putting in 110 percent, you'll fall short," she advised. The rigor involved in the program did not scare Vanadia, but made her realize the value of an advanced degree. "The program pushed and challenged me to see things differently and develop a better work ethic," she shared. Vanadia is thankful for all she learned in the program. Courses like Global Perspectives highlighted the importance of mindfulness in the public relations industry. Her Master's project allowed her to discover the many ways social media should be integrated into crisis communication plans, and how to best utilize social platforms to reach all populations in meaningful ways. Outside of her studies, Vanadia expressed gratitude for the skills and drive she acquired as a graduate student – skills that prepare her for career success.
The College currently offers graduate-level programs in Museum Professions and Communication, including the opportunity to pursue a unique area of study, including options in Public Relations, Digital Communication/Communication Technologies, and Communication in Organizations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated master's/B.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered.