Category Archives: Alumni News

Alumni News: Rebecca Dotson and Kerr Health

Rebecca Dotson

Rebecca Dotson ’10 was on campus last Thursday to speak with students about her marketing profession and how her PWR experience helped her transition into the workforce. While at Elon, she took Publishing and worked closely with Kerr Health with their marketing and communications department. It was from this service learning class that she was able to get a job with Kerr where she does research for their campaigns and creates newsletters, deal with social media, and creative design.

Currently Dotson is working with Kerr as a bridge between applicants and the company. She reads applications along with her other duties. When asked what the most important part of an application was, Dotson responded with, “the coverletter.”  It is the first thing that the employer will read. She said to, “think of ourselves as a brand.” Throughout her PWR experience, she learned the importance of marketing herself towards the application. By highlighting and tailoring her resume to the specific descriptions on the application, she found that it was easier to break into the industry. She also said it was important to create a “them-me” chart where you could compare your talents and skills to what the job/ internship is asking for. And most importantly, she said if you do get rejected or denied a position, follow up with the employer and asked what you need to improve on so that next time you will be better prepared.


It was great to hear from a PWR alumna and how well she is doing out of college. Dotson pointed out how versatile and dynamic PWR students are because we are trained to do any type of communication, whether it be business, written, verbal, sales, marketing, etc. the major opens the door for almost everything. We are taught that everything is an argument and how to be effective communicators and Dotson  highlighted that throughout her coffee talk with myself and a few other students.

What do you think is the most important part of an application? Is PWR truly as versatile as Dotson says it is? I certainly think so, but do you?


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PWR Speaker Series: Rebecca Dotson

Wondering how the study of Professional Writing and Rhetoric can be useful in the workforce? Rebecca Dotson ’10 will be on campus Thursday, February 28 to talk about the marketing profession and how her PWR background helps inform her work as the Communications Specialist with Kerr Health.

Dotson will be speaking in Belk Library 102 from 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. She will also be available to chat with students and faculty over coffee  from 9:45 – 10:15 a.m. in Alamance 305. Don’t miss this chance to hear how an English and PWR alumna uses her Elon experiences to pursue a career in digital and print marketing!






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NASA and PWR Part II






To give you a concrete example, I wrote a blog on behalf of the NASA Administrator (the head of NASA) on the 50th Anniversary of the John Kennedy “Moon Speech” at Rice University. This is an important anniversary for NASA and my piece was going to be published on both the website, and also the whitehouse.gove website. I was very nervous that what I would submit wouldn’t be good enough and that my supervisor (the head speechwriter at NASA and blogger) would just end up writing his own version. In my PWR courses at Elon, I learned not to feel embarrassed by my submissions and not to take revisions personally. I couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed by my blog submission because it included grandiose language about the purpose of space exploration, coming from a 23-year old intern, speaking on behalf of the head of NASA, who is also a four-time space shuttle commander!

But I had a routine with my draft submissions. I would write much more than the assignment called for, often times unable to make significant cuts myself, allowing my editor to do the cuts for me. So I submitted a piece that was purposefully long. I submitted it to my supervisor, who cut it down in half (which is exactly what I wanted)  and made some minor revisions of his own. He told me to let him know what he thought. This was when I felt most comfortable with the process and felt that collaboration actually occurred. The head speechwriter at NASA and blogger at NASA asked me what I thought about his revisions. I made some comments and adjustments and submitted those back to him. He in turn submitted that draft to the head of the Office of Communications, who looked it over and submitted it to the NASA Administrator himself. The NASA Administrator made some minor revisions and said it was good enough for him. It went through a few other sets of eyes along the process, probably going through about eight people before it was uploaded as the main feature on the site, and then hours later on the home page of the site. And the final result was more or less a slimmed down version of my original draft. But it was a good example of people from different backgrounds working together, with no sense of ego or sense of “my opinion matters more than yours,” to draft a document representative of NASA’s past and future.

While we weren’t all sitting in a computer lab working on the document at once from one computer, there were times when I thought back to those collaboration experiences in the blog revision process, and several other times throughout my NASA experience. I can say for sure that without my PWR education there would have been times when I was confused why the process worked this way or that way, why meetings at 9:30 every morning would take so long sometimes, times when I would have been too embarrassed to say, “Yes, I can write this for you; I’ll have it back to you soon,” and times when certain deadlines would just have been too overwhelming. I came to conquer these fears and assumptions in the PWR program at Elon and take confidence in my abilities as a writer.

Click here to see Thomas’ blog featured on the site!

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NASA and PWR Part I

Guest blogger Thomas Duncan recounts his internship with NASA!

I worked as an intern in the Office of Communications at the NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. in the summer and early fall of 2012. The Office of Communications has two departments: Public Outreach and News/Multimedia. I worked under the Division Director for News/Multimedia.

To begin, my PWR education proved integral in my work at NASA, not just in what I learned at Elon, but how I learned it. While at elon, I didn’t have the best impression of Scrum ( meetings at the beginning of the advanced level courses taught by Dr. Pope-Ruark. However, I came to view them as necessary in the more collaboration-heavy courses, because they ensured everybody that all tasks were up to date, or if there were any hiccups in our assignments. They lasted at most probably 20 minutes, and I often wanted to get through them as fast as possible because we were at times on a tight deadline.

At NASA though, we had these meetings daily with the entire office of communications. This was probably the most important event of the day! At times it was almost 30 people crammed into one room and would last on average about 45 minutes to an hour on Monday – Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and Friday at 11:00 a.m. (Friday meetings were with the different NASA center heads across the country via teleconference). This was the only chance everyone had to get together and coordinate our day-to-day work. It allowed the Division Director and the head of the Office of Communications to make sure not only that everyone was on top of their work, but to allow different team-members who worked on different floors of the buildings to talk face to face and iron out any discrepancies. It also allowed the news scheduler to make sure all press releases and other documents would be released on time. This meeting was where collaboration was scheduled between team members.

Further, collaboration, instilled in me by PWR at Elon, became my best friend. At Elon, I submitted countless papers, which were not looked over by others before submission, thinking I was a good enough writer to get away with that. Usually I would write them the night before the  due date and only give the paper a glance-over before submission. In my advanced PWR classes though, we wrote several drafts of a document looked over by sometimes an entire class’s sets of eyes before we submitted anything. This is how it worked at NASA.

If you want to read more, come back on Wednesday, October 17th for Part 2!

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PWR Alum Signs with Literary Agent

PWR alum Caitlin Rantala, former CUPID Associate and early leader of the BA|BS publication, was recently signed to a literary agent for her YA fiction efforts. Currently Caitlin works for Music Row magazine and lives in Nashville. Congrats, Caitlin!

Read about her signing here.

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