Communication and new media majors Sarah Burke, Hedgesville, and Ellen Buchanan, Myersville, Maryland, and Dr. Matthew J. Kushin, associate professor of mass communications, participated in a National Millennial Community spring break trip to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., March 11-14.
During the trip, Kushin and the students visited with executives from companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, including Comcast NBCUniversal, Lockheed Martin, Nestlé, PBS, Burson-Marsteller, and the White House.
Bill Imada, chair and chief connectivity officer of IW Group, Inc., founded the National Millennial Community in January 2016 with a mission of changing the conversation about millennials. Shepherd is one of 37 member colleges. The organization has sponsored at least 18 trips to visit with corporate, foundation, and nonprofit executives. The trip Kushin, Buchanan, and Burke participated in included 31 representatives from 27 colleges and universities. The Shepherd University chapter began during the spring 2017 semester and is made up of a small group of communication and new media majors.
“This trip was incredibly eye opening to me,” Burke said. “I joined this organization to help the generation of millennials change the stereotypes and negative connotations surrounding us. Little did I know, organizations wanted to listen to us. It was incredible to talk to so many companies and to see them taking notes on what we were saying, engaging with our group, and treating us like the young adults we are. I learned what those companies are expecting of us, and we taught them how to reach us better.”
“I found the experience of visiting so many companies and discussing topics with executives and other students to be enlightening and unlike anything I am able to experience in class on a regular basis,” Buchanan said. “It was wonderful to hear so many other perspectives from across the nation and be a part of a group that stands for one goal—changing the conversation about the millennial generation. Experiences like this are not things that can be taught in a classroom, but I have found them to be invaluable and life changing as I finish my undergraduate career at Shepherd.”
Kushin said the trip provided incredible exposure and a learning opportunity for Buchanan, Burke, and himself. They met with representatives from eight major brands or public relations agencies, the Republican National Committee, the executive staff of the White House, an advocacy nonprofit, and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
“The trip was an incredible learning experience for me and an intensive professional development experience that occurred through interaction with over a dozen of the top national and international brands and communication agencies,” Kushin said. “The opportunity to be exposed to the work these organizations and corporations are doing in the communication space helped in several key respects.”
Among the benefits Kushin mentioned were showing students potential career pathways, giving them networking opportunities, demonstrating to the companies and organizations that Shepherd students offer quality talent, and identifying opportunities to enhance Shepherd’s Department of Mass Communications.