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Jill Dunne

Name: Jill E. (Schlarman) Dunne 
Degree: Bachelor of Arts, 2001. English major (professional writing focus), journalism minor (public relations focus)
Notes: Jill won the Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2005.

What are you up to now?
For the last three years, I’ve been the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Cincinnati Art Museum. I lead a team of six to manage advertising, public relations, social media, design, website, community outreach, member publications and the event Art After Dark. It’s the perfect position for me because I am passionate about art and the museum. I’m responsible for a wide range of projects but my experience at NKU and my previous jobs have led me to right where I want to be.

I’m currently planning a media trip to China in preparation for an upcoming museum exhibition, Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China (April 20-Aug. 12, 2018). It’s my first international media trip and my first trip to China, so I’m very excited.

How did NKU help you with your journey?
My first two years at NKU, I knew I wanted to be a writer but I didn’t know what that would look like after graduation. Through guidance from wonderful professors, including English professor Dr. Robert Wallace, I had experiences in the classroom and internships that demonstrated how I could apply my skills into a career. Even though my focus was English and Journalism, I felt that the arts had been integrated into my coursework. I created visual art as part of literature courses and attended symphony performances and wrote about the experiences as part of Honors program courses.

When I was a sophomore, Dr. Wallace let me know about an internship in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s public relations department. I got that position and spent two years working and learning about public relations. That hands-on experience helped me decide how I wanted to use my writing skills professionally. It was also a great immersion into Cincinnati’s amazing arts community.

In addition, I worked at NKU’s Writing Center while in college. Working with students of all types, including non-traditional undergraduates and students from across the globe, was a great way to broaden my world and helped improve my own writing. I didn’t know it at the time, but those experiences helped me become a leader and showed me how to teach others.

What is some advice you would give to prospective/current students?
I would tell current students to actively take time to think about what they want do after graduation and decide on a career path. Internships are great ways to help figure out this path. It’s common for people to get jobs after they graduate that don’t match their majors. Expect that, but find ways to use those experiences to help shape your career and align with your professional goals. Know that it will likely take many years of working at different jobs before you end up with the title you want or the company you want to work for. It’s a journey and you need to be flexible as you go. Also, remember that professors aren’t just there to help you with questions about assignments. Ask them bigger questions about your skills and follow their advice on how to get to your long-term career goals.