Student intern bridges community and communications with storytelling

Photo: Grace Kennedy, left, and Kayla Stenstrom, right

With Commencement 2024, the Marketing & Communications staff at MSUM said goodbye to a student who worked with them for three years.

Grace Kennedy joined the Marketing & Communications team in the spring of her freshman year, majoring in communication studies with a minor in advertising and public relations. She later added additional minors in mass communications and media analysis.

Right after starting her communication courses, Grace realized that her degree was immediately applicable to a real-life setting.

BA in Communication Studies

“Communication is relevant to your personal life and career,” she says. “You are always communicating. Your first impression to your last impression of somebody is affected by how they connect with others.”

Fargo-Moorhead is home to her, as she is the last of three Dragons in her family to attend MSUM.

“My sister came for graphic design and my brother for film. I had no hesitations about MSUM, with its focus on the arts, because I’d seen its impact on my siblings.”

With a background in theatre, Grace honed her love for talking with people and with an audience. She thought, “I love giving public speeches, being a leader in a group and getting to know people. How can I convert that into a career?”

Grace flexed her communication skills in three internships. In the Dragon Media Group, she interviewed reporters at Forum Communications in Fargo, N.D., helping the community become more aware about how to get accurate news through a media literacy campaign. She also wrote product announcements, email campaigns and created product demo videos for CoSchedule, an AI marketing software tool for content and social media. However, she especially finessed her writing, editing and interviewing skills as a marketing content specialist for the university. Grace regularly interviews students, alumni and faculty about their studies or careers, writing feature stories on Dragon experiences. This has allowed her to interact with Dragons in all areas of the college – classrooms, student services, athletics and even building maintenance.

“I met all sorts of people, including non-traditional students,” she says, “and it gave me the confidence to talk to not just students and faculty but high-performing alumni I’d previously been nervous to talk to. I discovered that most people are approachable, and every person you meet has a unique backstory.”

Through the internship with MSUM Marketing, Grace participated in every step of storytelling – brainstorming what to write about, connecting with people, creating the story, publishing it online and on social media, and analyzing what worked well and what could be done differently.

“I had a media writing class in which I had to write a news feature,” Grace says. “And I thought, ‘I do this at work every day!’ My marketing role made me fearless of writing a paper.”

Beyond writing papers, Grace has been challenged in her courses to verbally demonstrate what she’s learning about communication.

“You learn about team communication and then you work on a group project,” she says. “You learn how to interact with groups and then you speak in your next class. I’m learning how to connect with people in every situation and am getting better at communicating every day.”

Grace says that her professors and mentors guide this self-improvement, “giving the attention and help I need in every situation, genuinely wanting me to succeed. I can talk to faculty about what I’m going to do with my life – what is the path for me and how can I get there?”

Both faculty and staff have shown Grace that she “can be a voice in the room, even as a student.” They also nominated her (and she won!) as Student Employee of the Year.

Her professors, classmates and colleagues on the Marketing team cheer her on as she figures out what’s next.

Communication Studies Degree

Today’s world demands professionals who can communicate clearly and work effectively with others. MSUM's communication studies major will help you perfect your skills in interpersonal, group and team communication.

Learn more about Communication Studies

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