Loyola School of Communication alumni discuss social change

Mark Pollock leads social justice panel.
Photo by Matt Gillis.

By Matt Gillis

A panel of Loyola University Chicago School of Communication alumni assembled Tuesday evening to discuss their use of communication degrees in advocacy and social justice.

Dr. Mark Pollock, associate professor and program director of Communication Studies at Loyola, hosted Communication Careers for Social Change, which was held in Simpson Multipurpose Room at Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus for a crowd of 40.

The panelists included Alexandra Miller, development and communications coordinator for Free Sprint Media; Ellina Kushnir, program coordinator for Rotary International; Alma Tello, U.S. Senate aide to Sen. Richard Durbin; and Whitney Woodward, policy associate for the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

Miller, who works to give underprivileged youth access to media, said that she was able to use the communication knowledge she gained at Loyola to make a difference in the real world.

“I’m empowering youth to tell their own stories. It’s an inspiring way to see the perspective of youth through media,” Miller said. “I’ve taken the skills I’ve learned at Loyola and invested them back into the communities that invested in me.”

Kushnir was also able to combine her interest in social change with her communication studies degree.

“I was able to use my experience at Loyola and incorporate it into my passion and what I really care about.”  Kushnir said. “We [Rotary International] help connect resources all over the world. I am able to contribute to not only advocacy work, but also educate the public at large and the people who are invested in the community.”

Woodward gave advice on how to apply the skills learned in the classroom to work in careers dealing with social advocacy.

“Through my communication background, one of the things that I’ve discovered is that if you’re an effective communicator and you can write directly and clearly, you’ll have a leg up on a lot of people,”  Woodward said. “Being able to communicate in a way that resonates with the public is very essential.”

The event ended with a question and answer portion from the audience.

“I’m really pleased with the how the event went, and the turn out was good,” Pollock said after the event. “I thought the panelists did a good job of showing how to combine their communication skills with something they’re passionate about.”

One student, Brittany Abraham, 19, a sophomore and advertising/public relations and sociology double major, was enlightened by the panelist’s personal stories of where their degrees led them.

“It was very informative and inspiring to know that people can combine their communication degrees with their passion for social change to find their dream job,” she said.


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