Q&A with Alum Emily Richardson

Name: Emilee Richardson

Current Employer: Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX Dome Theater, Des Moines

Current Position: Marketing Communications Coordinator

Graduated: 2009

Areas of Study: Public Relations, Marketing, Business Studies

After studying public relations, marketing, and business at Drake University, Emilee Richardson was able to turn a summer job as a camp counselor into a career she loves. She didn’t always have the job of her dreams, but by using some connections that she made both at Drake and as she was working at the Science Center of Iowa as a camp counselor, she was able to land a job that she is excited about every day.

A lot of the students I know chose Drake because of its journalism school. Was that the case for you? If not, why did you choose Drake?
I don’t think it was just the J-School. It was a combination of the professors and the atmosphere. I remember on one of the first information sessions that I went to where I met professor wright and some of the j-school students and that really helped make my decision.

Drake students are known for being over-involved. How involved were you at Drake and was there anything you did there that helped you land a job after graduation?
I was involved in a lot of different things. I was in a sorority for a couple of years and a lot of them I’m still friends with and have professional contacts with, and I was in the choir which is a whole different realm of people that I got to know. I’m still in contact with a lot of them and one of them is even a graphic designer at the Science Center! I was in PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America). I was the photography editor for the DrakeMag for three years. It’s really incredible how those contacts weren’t professional contacts while I was in school, but now I call someone for my job and it’s someone I already knew from school! [Laughs]

What internships did you have? How did you balance internships between school and staying involved on campus?
I worked with the Drake Marketing and Communications Department and I actually worked at the Science Center. It’s funny, I worked at a science camp, not obviously related to my job now at all, but it helped lead to it.

Tell me about your current job. How did you get it, and what is your favorite part?
Well in 2007 I was a summer camp counselor at the Science Center and after that, I worked 2 days a week there during school. Even after school, I got an internship working for a nonprofit in Ames (Iowa Resource for International Service) and I still kept doing the Science Center. Two years after I graduated, the job opened up. I already knew a lot of people there and had an email address there and had a lot of knowledge about it that it was an easy choice to apply. It’s really an awesome job, I have so much fun. I mean the serious part of my job is working with the graphic designer and doing social media, but the fun part is that I get to learn all day and get other people excited about learning.

I’m sure life is different in the professional world than it was at Drake. What advice would you give students who are just entering that new path in life?
In my experience, I think I would say just follow whatever you think is fun, even if it’s not related to your major…like being a science camp counselor [laughs]. If you can find a job you’re passionate about and have fun with, even if it’s not you’re major, it will all work out.