Erin M. O’Connor

CLASS OF 2015 | SOCIOLOGY MAJOR

Erin O’Connor is a senior at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. She is majoring in Sociology and is currently participating in the New York Semester on Communications and Media. Erin is Vice President of HopeNow Anti Bullying/Anti Judgment Club, a Tour Guide at Drew University, a Student Secretary at the Center for Career Development, part of the Orientation Committee at Drew, and the Publicity Manager at WMNJ The Forest.

How has your major shaped your perspective?

Initially Erin tried to create her own major, Communications to be specific, but that unfortunately was not able to work out, so instead she chose Sociology. Overall, she thinks being a Sociology major has helped her to be able to “interact with all different types of people from all different walks of life.”

What experiences lead you into wanting to partake in this Communications/Media Semester?

The main reason why she wanted to apply to this unique semester in New York City was because her special major that she tried to create did not work out, so this program seemed like the next best opportunity to learn and gain insight into the field she was originally so interested in. Another contributing factor that lead her to this program is that she currently has a radio show on campus at Drew called Drew Code. Erin is also the Publicity Manager for the radio station, so she is clearly interested in the realm of communications and media.

What internships have you had in communications and media, or in general, that have prepared you to work in the field?

Erin has had two internships thus far in her college career. First she interned with a small jewelry company in Brooklyn called K/LLER COLLECTION as a PR intern and then over the past summer she interned at a fashion PR firm called Krupp Group (she even had the opportunity to work at Fashion Week in the city!). These internships were strictly in the communications field so they provided her with a lot of the background knowledge that is needed to get your foot in the door in this industry. She learned about different PR techniques, including media lists, which are essential to be knowledgeable on when working in communications and media.

Which class or classes have had the greatest impact on your thoughts, opinions, and experience as a student at Drew?

Erin immediately said one class that really helped her gain a more comprehensive understanding about communications and media was a class she took in her junior year called Blogs, Tweets, and Social Media: Writing with Clarity and Style in the New Millennium. Another class that really helped to open her mind was actually her freshman seminar class, which was all about Disney. They looked at the cooperation as a whole and listened to different people’s perspectives. Erin ended up hearing opinions and thoughts on Disney that she never even considered herself, which made her realize that “not everyone thinks the same just because something is popular and seen as tradition”.

What would you like to do when you graduate, ideally?

When asked this question Erin was half joking and half serious about wanting to be a famous fashion model, but would gladly take any opportunity to have a successful fashion PR career.

Do you think that by Drew not having a Communications major impacts your future?  What is it about your non-communications major that gives you an advantage?

Erin acknowledged that because Drew does not have a Communications major she is loosing a lot of the foundation and fundamental skills that a student gains who is following a typical Communications or PR track in college, but on the other hand she feels that she has “acquired a multidimensional learning capability” and she is able to “see problems and situations from different backgrounds, not just one”. Erin provided the example of when a fellow intern or colleague is given a crisis at a PR firm, they think of it from a PR mindset because that is the education they received, but she will think of it “with a little bit of every mindset” when she goes to solve the problem. A benefit of attending Drew is that graduates make excellent PR people because of the holistic communication, writing, and analytical skills cultivated at a small liberal arts college.

Written by: Sabine Reedy

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