Communications grad enjoys early career success

Communications graduate Katie Merrick was recently promoted to vice president of Business Operations for the Fargo Force. Katie credits her early success to MSUM’s communications degree, strong work ethic, internship experience, and university support.

In 2019, after obtaining her associate degree from Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, Katie felt unsure of her next career steps.

“I was lost and didn’t have any direction. Truthfully, I fell into MSUM. I heard friends talk about the school, so I looked it up online, and without ever touring it, I took a leap."

Communication studies and the addition of a sports communication minor piqued her interest, and as she dived into the classes, she felt her career path click. 

“All the information I was learning connected to real life. The professors and students taught me how to communicate effectively while being open to what each individual says,” she said.

Communication classes helped her develop strong written and verbal skills, which she was eager to apply. The summer after her junior year, she was a promotions intern with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, learning the behind-the-scenes of game-day operations. Katie gained hands-on experience and countless skills, but “truthfully, it wasn’t the path I wanted to go down. However, the best advice I have for any student searching for an internship is to be open to anything and realize everything is a learning opportunity.”

Katie joined the Fargo Force a few months later as a social media intern.

“I had seen maybe three hockey games in my life, but I started watching, paying attention, learning what to do and how to do it. I refused to give up simply because I didn't know the sport well.”

Her dedication led to a full-time position and her recent promotion to  VP of Business Operations.

Denise Gorsline, assistant professor at MSUM and Katie’s advisor, says, “Katie’s story is one of commitment. Her feisty personality, work ethic, and perseverance undoubtedly led her to success.”

Overall, the learning opportunities provided at MSUM and in the community prepared her well, but it was also her passion for communications and willingness to work hard that led her to succeed in her field.

“I love communications. I can write about what will happen and tell people what will happen, but then it happens. Your work is standing before you, and it is the best feeling.”

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