PWR Student Spotlight: Hayden McConnell

This week’s student spotlight features PWR senior Hayden McConnell! Hayden is from Mobile, Alabama and is minoring in Digital Art and Multimedia Authoring in addition to her PWR major. She was eager to share her many experiences with internships and research in PWR as she looked back on everything the program has taught her over the past four years.

How/why did you decide to major in PWR?

I didn’t start off in PWR–I actually started as a psych major. When I figured out that psychology wasn’t for me, I decided to pick up PWR because I’ve always loved writing and communication and knew the major would help me strengthen those existing skills and interests.

Which PWR class that you’ve taken has been your favorite and why?

Feminism in Rhetoric [PWR 313]. This class has only been offered once (and I hope they reinstate it!), but it was one of my favorite classes because we analyzed a topic that is not typically associated with rhetoric through a rhetorical lens. It made me think a lot about how versatile rhetoric is and how important strong rhetorical skills are when you are discussing topics that are so heavily prevalent in politics. 

Have you had a writing-related internship? If so, where was it, and what was your work there like?

I’ve actually had two previous internships and am currently working at my third. All of them incorporated writing in some aspect, but the one I’m doing now is one of the more exciting and challenging ones. I am working as a PR assistant at a large company (Market America) and am responsible for writing a variety of things such as press releases, product articles, interview articles and more. I’m so glad I have the experience and adaptability PWR gave me to be able to learn how to write in various styles because this internship requires a lot of that. 

Have you done writing-related research? If so, what was it about, and did you present it anywhere?

I’ve completed a semester of research with Dr. Paula Rosinski regarding the WEI Initiatives and their effectiveness, and I’m currently doing another semester of research with Paula again in which I am putting together guidelines and branding material for a PWR Online Journal. While my first semester of research was enlightening and helpful, I am excited about my current research because I feel like it’s giving me the opportunity to leave a footprint in the major and get what hopefully becomes a helpful asset started for them.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from PWR?

Adaptability by far is the most valuable thing PWR has taught me. If you’re able to understand and execute rhetorical skills, it opens up a lot of opportunities because it provides you with the confidence that even if you don’t fully understand something…you have the skills to accomplish what you put your mind to. 

What is your favorite thing about the PWR program?

I enjoy the connection with my professors because I feel like they are all very approachable and more than willing to help you out. I think the PWR environment is great at stimulating creativity and always pushing you to work on your goals.

What do you think you want to do after you graduate from Elon?

I really don’t know where I’ll be right after Elon, but I’m not too worried about it at the same time because I know the past four years I’ve spent here shaped me into someone who is capable of challenging myself and going after what I want.

 

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