Meet CCM Alumni

Learn about how our alumni are applying the major to post-grad life

Admire Brown

Marketing Representative, Mortgage Banking Association, Class of 2011

Admire Brown

Why did you decide to be a Civic Communication & Media (or Rhetoric) major?

After taking Persuasion, Propaganda, and Mass Media course with a focus on Civil Rights with Cindy Richards, I fell in love with the subject and the power of communication has and how it can shift an entire generation or create a movement. I knew then that I needed to learn more and that this was the field fo for me.

How has what you learned helped you post-grad?

Communication, communication, communication! Willamette prepped me with writing skills as well as public speaking skills that I use today not only in life but in my profession. WU was also tough and pushed me to be the best that I could be which has helped in my career by me never backing down from a challenge.

 

Sabrina Hockett

Digital Content and Marketing Assistant, Blix Bikes, Class of 2018

Sabrina Hocket

Why did you decide to be a Civic Communication & Media (or Rhetoric) major?

I decided to be a CCM Major because I have always loved delving into the role of language, persuasion, and public advocacy. This major allowed me to pursue courses in all three of these areas while learning how to apply these skills in the real world such as through social media analytics, blogging, and marketing for Blix.

How has what you learned helped you post-grad?

This major has helped me with audience analysis to build a customer base and maintain a brand community. It has also helped me think and write critically as well as figure out what rhetorical techniques are working and how I can explore other options to increase the effectiveness of my messaging.

 

Katie Kieper

Account Supervisor, Maxwell PR + Engagement, Class of 2010

Katie Kieper

Why did you decide to be a Civic Communication & Media (or Rhetoric) major?

After taking my first rhetoric class I knew I’d found my major. On a personal level, it changed how I saw the world and my place in it. I wanted to be able to study and unpack the dominant narratives shaping our culture.

How has what you learned helped you post-grad?

Public speaking, writing and analytical skills are tools that I use in my career every day. I work with mission-driven brands to develop research backed campaigns that move consumers through persuasive storytelling. Whether communicating the environmental and health benefits of plant-based eating or working to change the narrative around hiring people with criminal backgrounds, what I learned as a Rhetoric major helps me as a post-grad every day.

 

Megan Oshiro

Judicial Clerk at the Multnomah County Circuit Court, Class of 2015

Magan Oshiro

Why did you decide to be a Civic Communication & Media (or Rhetoric) major?

Attending a liberal arts college gave me the freedom to explore my different areas of interest. While I did not enter Willamette with a clear idea of what I wanted to major in, I knew that I wanted to be challenged. This is what drew me to the Rhetoric major. My Rhetoric classes challenged me to question the way that speakers and authors present information to an audience. I learned to see the means of persuasion in each situation and to critically analyze the effects of those means. In doing so, I had the opportunity to study texts from ancient Greece and works from modern media. Overall, my major expanded my world view and allowed me to become more engaged in consuming information.

How has what you learned helped you post-grad?

My major gave me excellent training in critical thinking and writing, both of which helped me immensely when I went on to get my law degree. However, studying many different styles and methods of communication as a Rhetoric major also taught me to be a better communicator myself. This skill is essential in any work environment and in life. I am grateful to the department and all of my professors for teaching me this invaluable skill.

 

Matt Pitchford

Graduate Student at the University of Illinois, Class of 2012

Matthew Pitchford

Why did you decide to be a Civic Communication & Media (or Rhetoric) major?

I decided to be a rhetoric major because I realized - not long before the deadline for declaring a major as required by the school - that in all the classes I had taken up to that point there was one consistent thread. I realized that I cared not just about the content of the claims, arguments, ideas, and readings we were studying but their presentation. This through-line meant that I was interested in communication processes as they undergird and inform culture, politics, and belief, and I was very interested in learning more of the language that we can use to describe language.

How has what you learned helped you post-grad?

What I learned has a direct bearing on my post-Willamette career. I want to be a professor of communication, and thinking about rhetoric is a primary component of my research and day to day responsibilities as a student. I also think that I learned a lot from the professors at Willamette about how to be a good teacher, including thinking about class assignments and structure, to the activities we do in class, to the concepts that are core to the learning objectives, and maybe most importantly in the open, caring, and challenging ways that they interacted with students.

 

Stephen Scott

Attorney, Class of 2010

Stephen Scott

Why did you decide to be a Civic Communication & Media (or Rhetoric) major?

I wanted to be a litigator and felt that Rhetoric would help form my understanding of persuasion and comfort with public speaking.

How has what you learned helped you post-grad?

Not a day goes by that I do not have to engage in some type of argument.

 

Olivia Stone

Director, Metropolitan Group, Class of 2011

Olivia Stone

Why did you decide to be a Civic Communication & Media (or Rhetoric) major?

I had always been interested in communication and media campaigns and the very first class I took at Willamette was Professor Dillard's "Mass Media", which I found fascinating and fun! My father was an advertising photographer so I grew up learning about visual media campaigns, but I didn't know the process for how the strategies behind those campaigns got developed. I loved dissecting pieces of communication and uncovering the framing and desired audience of a brand, organization or person. It felt like playing detective, and I love a good mystery!

How has what you learned helped you post-grad?

Looking back on the Rhetoric courses I took at Willamette, even those that didn't seem to be directly applicable to my future career actually turned out to provide me with great insight and learning that I drawn on to this day! For example, I took "The Ethics of Rhetoric" my senior year and was convinced at the beginning of the semester that this would be a boring, waste of time. I WAS WRONG! I absolutely loved analyzing pieces of communication, stripping them down to their simplest form and determining whether what they were purporting was true and if the way they were doing it was ethical.

I think the most helpful thing I learned wasn't subject-matter specific, but about the process of developing something – a report, a presentation, an analysis, etc. The Rhetoric Department taught me how to organize my work in a way that allows me to think differently and more deeply about whatever it is I'm working on. Oh, and office hours should be taken advantage of at all times! Having direct access to professors was invaluable. I might not remember everything I learned in class, but the conversations I had in my professors' offices stick with me.

 

Natalie Viescas

Recreation Coordinator Astoria Parks and Recreation, Class of 2018

Natalie Viescas

Why did you decide to be a Civic Communication & Media (or Rhetoric) major?

The professors were amazing! Also, I enjoy marketing and politics.

How has what you learned helped you post-grad?

I use what I learn every day when I am creating a program and managing operations. This department focused on inclusivity and equity which I have found valuable in my post-grad life.