M.A. Alumna Sarah Skirpan is a Media Strategist at Dick Jones Communications Thursday, October 2, 2014
Meet Sarah Skirpan
Job title and employer: Media Strategist, Dick Jones Communications
Degree earned at Point Park: M.A. in journalism and mass communications, 2008
Undergraduate degree earned: B.A. in English with a concentration in journalism, California University of Pennsylvania, 2006
Hometown: Carnegie, Pa.
Now living in: Canonsburg, Pa.
High School: Chartiers Valley High School, Bridgeville, Pa.
Hobbies/interests: When I'm not at work, chances are I'm playing with my two sweet children, Keith and Emily; watching movies on the couch with my husband, Keith; biking the Montour Trail; or crafting with my best friend Jen
What led you to pursue your M.A. degree at Point Park?
I wanted to have an edge on my peers when it came time to look for a job. I felt that having a master's degree would make me a more desirable hire. And I was right - my first boss told me that she hired me out of more than 200 applicants because of my advanced degree. She said it showed initiative and ambition.
As far as choosing Point Park, after doing some research, I liked that Point Park had a strong adjunct faculty pool. I was excited to learn from professionals in the business. And the full-time faculty really grounded the program and balanced out my experience nicely. It was a great mix of hands-on learning and traditional classroom learning.
What was it like being a graduate student in Downtown Pittsburgh?
I worked full-time and took my classes at night, so I didn't get to enjoy the Downtown Pittsburgh lifestyle as much as I would have liked. But, because Point Park is located in the heart of Pittsburgh, it attracted a great group of professionals - classmates and professors - from across the industry. The experience opened up a whole new world of options for me.
What advice do you have for working adults considering a graduate degree?
It's totally doable (and worth it). I finished my program in two years. You just have to be persistent and remember that it's temporary. And in the end, you'll be better for it.
What are your current job responsibilities?
I currently work for Dick Jones Communications as a media strategist. Dick Jones is a public relations firm with more than 30 clients across the country. We specialize in higher education and provide a wide variety of experts across academia. I assist in national media placements, as well as manage the company's social media tactics.
How has your M.A. degree helped you in your career?
I really feel like my M.A. degree has given me the competitive edge I was hoping for.
What are your career goals?
I just want to remain in this wonderful industry that marries my love of writing and my desire to work with people.