Get a Jump on Your Career Quest
Why Study Communication at Juniata?
In a world where effective communication within, between, and from organizations (from pharma to financial services) moves at lightning speed, top communication graduates may choose from a variety of career options. The study of communication at Juniata prepares students to grab these future success opportunities.
One of the most important things to know about studying Communication at Juniata is that your faculty will be with you every step of the way.Sarah Worley, Associate Professor of Communication and the Director of Community-Engaged Teaching and Learning at Juniata
"After studying communication at Juniata, the opportunities for what you can do are limitless. Many of our students go on to be very successful in both achieving Master's and Ph.D. 's, and we have many students who go straight to work in various industries. Some pursue marketing or public relations positions, engaged in media writing and digital storytelling. Others may go into human communication to engage in (crisis) management or advocacy work for causes or non-profit organizations. Across industries, communication skills are one of the most sought-after skills employers are looking for," says Sarah Worley, associate professor of communication and the Director of Community-Engaged Teaching and Learning at Juniata.
Students may focus on communication exclusively or combine communication with other fields of study for a customized Program of Emphasis (POE). Your POE can be tailored to your unique interests and career goals, with the ability to combine communication with any other program across campus. Juniata's communication program provides an experiential approach to education. Students have abundant real-world opportunities to put communication skills into practice with the theories and concepts they are learning in the classroom to develop the types of skills and knowledge they need to be ready for jobs in the future.
"One of the most important things to know about studying communication at Juniata is that your faculty will be with you every step of the way. Forming deep relationships with our students is an important component of what we offer," says Professor Worley.
In addition to endless POE options that combine communication, Juniata offers an accelerated dual degree program: Communication/MBA. Read more about Juniata's communication program at the following links and our alumni and student success stories below.
Kimberly (Lechien) Wells '07
POE: political communications & public administration
CEO of Pinewood Springs Hospital, Columbia, Tenn.
Kimberly (Lechien) Wells, with close support from Juniata professors and advisers, shaped her path with an individualized POE. She started with a Politics and Public Administration POE. She spent a semester at The Washington Center in Washington, D.C., through a partnership with Juniata. There, she incorporated the study of communication with plans to shift into a Political Communications & Public Administration POE.
At the same time, Kimberly found a new career calling in healthcare after spending a summer working as a front-line healthcare tech in a residential treatment facility for teenage girls with mental and behavioral health disorders. "As I came back from my semester in D.C. and was entering my senior year, I immediately met with Dr. Worley to make a new game plan, and the Communication Department helped me design a whole new direction that included individual courses that professors agreed to complete with me and a newly-created internship for the remainder of my credits," Kimberly said. Professors Worley, Fala, and Rosenberger were critical in creating Kimberly's individualized POE and required courses to get into her chosen graduate program.
She graduated from Juniata with a combined bachelor's degree in political science, communication, and business administration. She transitioned from undergraduate school immediately to graduate school at Penn State University, where she obtained a Master's in Health Policy and Health Care Administration. "While at Juniata, I did not feel like I belonged in any one department because of my mixed interests and goals, but I always felt at home with the communication team," Kimberly said.
Kimberly's career pathway was jump-started by her individualized POE that helped create a diverse background of over 15 years of experience—ranging from time in a congressional office in Washington, D.C., to a Senior Operations Leader in a tertiary academic medical center to serving in one of the largest non-profit health systems. She has been in various hospital executive roles for the last 12 years, with oversight for 17 hospital operations departments, 210 FTEs, and three campuses.
Kimberly is now CEO of Pinewood Springs Hospital in Columbia, TN. The hospital is owned by HCA Healthcare and is one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services. HCA Healthcare comprises 183 hospitals and 2,000+ sites of care in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Kimberly runs one of HCA's three only free-standing behavioral health hospitals.
Kimberly said, "My education at Juniata more than prepared for my direct transition into graduate school. My course requirements were more stringent and tougher than my graduate program in some ways. In addition, Juniata's support of my unique career pathway helped me individualize my journey and design a vision for my immediate and long-term success as a professional who has remained grounded as a healthcare executive to ensure we never lose sight of my calling –to serve those at their most vulnerable times," Kimberly said.
Kimberly's advice to current students is to "take advantage of the professors there who pour their hearts into the students. I came back with the objective of completely changing my career trajectory my senior year and getting into graduate school. They helped map out what it would take to get there and supported my hard work to make it happen."
Taylor Hallabuk '20
POE: strategic communication
Solomon McCown & Cence, a Strategic Communication agency in Boston, Mass.
Taylor Hallabuk chose Juniata's Communication program because it allowed them to mix their academic interests with their passions. Taylor says, "Originally I was studying communication and marketing, however after receiving advice from my professors, I decided to individualize my POE to Strategic Communication to better align with my true career goals. This allowed me to blend my passions for rhetoric, storytelling, creativity, and writing to follow a path that I love."
During their academic career, Taylor was deeply involved in the campus community. They co-organized and co-led the This Week @ Juniata weekly video series that gave updates on timely campus events and then shifted to a monthly series focused on longer pieces that encompassed student life and campus culture. Taylor also participated in the Bailey Oratorical contest where, in 2019, they were awarded first place and the People's Choice Award. Taylor says, "Having the opportunity to deliver a personal message to the Juniata and Huntingdon community was a life-changing experience. This solidified my desire to be in a career where I work to elevate meaningful messages that shift public opinion and leverage a cause to directly impact and improve our communities."
Taylor also competed in the Oratorical finals in 2020 and was actively engaged across campus as an Orientation Leader, Writing Center Tutor, and Campus Tour Guide. Taylor completed their honors thesis, which studied the gendered constraints of women in comedy. Having graduated during the 2020 Covid-19 shut-downs, Taylor also produced vlogs that aimed to unite the Juniata community through humor. In Episode 2, Taylor recreated a day at Juniata from their home during the pandemic. The Communication Department always encouraged and supported Taylor's creative side.
Because of the critical thinking and creative solutions skills that Juniata taught, Taylor was able to take a new approach to the job application process. They decided to be bold and contact opportunities directly. They cold-called and emailed various agencies of interest in Boston, MA, until they found one that perfectly aligned with their passions and goals.
Taylor is now working at Solomon McCown & Cence, a Strategic Communication agency in Boston, MA, where they use their degree every day in strategic writing, meaningful storytelling, and continuous creativity. "Juniata positioned me for success in this role first and foremost through teaching me that authenticity always has a place in the workforce. This has allowed me to thrive both personally and professionally in a role where I feel 100% myself every single day," Taylor said.
Working at an agency is a fast-moving environment where no two days look the same. Juniata taught Taylor deep critical thinking skills alongside creative problem solving and effective time management that allows them to keep up with the demanding nature of the position without ever sacrificing quality and confidence in their work. Taylor said, "Juniata also taught me foundational skills that allow me to be a continuous life learner – giving me the confidence to know that no matter where my career takes me, I will be able to thrive in any environment. My advice for current Juniata students is never to let go of what you are passionate about throughout your career. There is always a way to blend your academic pursuits with what you love."
Talia Bertrando '23
POE: business communication
Currently pursuing an MBA at Juniata College
Talia Bertrando chose Juniata for its flexible POE design. "I originally chose to study in the Communication Department due to my individualized Business Communication POE. I knew that understanding communication in both theory and practice would prepare me for my future in business leadership positions. As I began my studies at Juniata, I realized the care and attention each communication professor takes with their students. I was known, challenged, and supported by both faculty and peers in the department, which in turn helped me grow my knowledge and feel more comfortable pushing myself academically," Talia explains.
She is currently part of the MBA program at Juniata. Noting that "The Communication and Business departments blend nicely to give me the type of coursework I felt I needed to place myself on the 'human side' of the business world. I am at an advantage in many MBA courses with my communication background. A lot of communication coursework teaches how to better communicate with others in real-world, multicultural, business-related, or leadership situations, which has been immensely helpful to my MBA coursework. I am positive it will aid in my future career as well. I know that pursuing this degree will make me a more well-rounded person personally and professionally. In the future, I hope to use my business and communication knowledge to gain a leadership position in the business world."
The Group Communication course was the most impactful course Talia has taken. The course was a Community Engaged Learning (CEL) course which involved class groups completing a project for a local community partner. "My group of 10 was paired with a local elementary school to help them spread the word and fundraise for their Backpack Program, which gives food to students with food insecurity. The two groups in the course were tasked with communicating and working with their group and their community partners. This course was academically useful as it gave direct, real-world applications to the concepts being taught in the classroom. Personally, the course gave me great insights into how communication and business concepts can work together," Talia said.
"The Juniata Communication Department allows students to blend coursework to become effective communicators in all fields. The department encourages critical thinking, real-world applications, and audience centering – important in all academic and career fields. Perhaps most importantly, the faculty and students within the department are caring and supportive to encourage comfort with challenges and an appreciation for engagement."