By Megan Franz of Cowbucker
Our seniors have incredibly contributed to the growth and success of our firm. Because we will not have the opportunity to properly thank them for their contributions, we wanted to highlight just a few of our seniors over the course of the term to showcase all they have accomplished while in the SOJC.
This week for the senior spotlight is Sam Gilbey. She is currently the account supervisor for the Center of Divorce Education account, but come this June, she will be graduating from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a minor in Business.
Read along as Gilbey reflects about her time at the UO, the experiences she’s had and the relationships she’s made:
What have you learned about yourself through college?
Sam: I’ve learned that I am capable of more than I thought. I used to think the idea of leading a team, getting a job or anything along those lines would be scary. Now, tackling different positions through PRSSA and being an account supervisor in Allen Hall Public Relations, I realized I am capable of more than I give myself credit for. It’s always worth taking the risk because you end up learning a lot, especially while you’re in school because you have room to make mistakes and have the support of your teachers and peers to guide you.
What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Sam: To not be afraid to take a class that sounds interesting. I remember thinking that I needed to take these certain classes to fulfill a requirement on my degree guide. When in reality, I started in a major that I didn’t want to be in, and it took me trying that one class that sounded interesting to find what I wanted to do. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
Looking back, what do you wish you did differently?
Sam: I wish I had a better understanding of all the majors offered at U of O. I didn’t initially start in public relations, and I didn’t know what it was until I was about a sophomore.
What do you love about majoring in public relations?
Sam: I love the writing we do in public relations, but one of the main reasons is that I always told myself I wanted a job that meant I got to communicate with people. It’s in the name “relations” and that’s what we are creating. I never wanted a job that meant I sat at a computer all day and calculated numbers. I wanted to do something that had an impact on another person, and knowing I could potentially work with brands that are working to make social changes and are cruelty-free is an amazing opportunity. Being able to use my work to reflect things I believe in is a strong reason I chose public relations as my major.
What advice would you give someone in the SOJC?
Sam: That all the people around you are some of the best connections you’ll make ever in your line of work. While we haven’t necessarily started the workforce, I believe the people around us are going to be incredibly impactful.
What is something you accomplished that you’re most proud of?
Sam: I don’t know if this is considered an accomplishment by standards, but it has become a personal accomplishment of mine. Like I said earlier, I didn’t know about PR until I was a sophomore, but once I realized how much I loved it, I put my best foot forward and made the most of what the journalism school had to offer. I joined different clubs, got to know the faculty well, and created genuine relationships with my peers. I think understanding what the SOJC offered and diving in rather than just dipping my toes has become something I feel accomplished of. This has led me to be proud of the work I’ve created and confident in the various roles I have taken on.
What faculty member was your rock through college?
Sam: I have two, Courtney Munther and Dean Mundy. I don’t know if I would’ve made it without them so show out to both of them.
What’s the best advice you received?
Sam: It was from Derek Brandow. He told me to always work on building genuine relationships rather than just treating people like connections because they’ll always remember how you made them feel but maybe not what you said.
Where do you see yourself after graduation?
Sam: Hopefully, I will be in New York City working at an agency or at an in-house, and continuing to learn and apply everything I was taught in the SOJC. I hope I find myself still exploring the world while working and using communications as my guide through traveling and other adventures.
Where do you see your career going? What’s the end goal?
Sam: My end goal is to be head of communications at an in-house agency preferably in either a streaming service or a cosmetics brand that is working to fight not testing on animals. Although I know those are two very different fields of work, I would want to do either because I like the idea of having one client you get to know well, while within that client, there are many different aspects that you get to work towards.
And lastly, what are you going to miss most?
Sam: I’m going to miss the community within the SOJC the most. It was crazy to think that I walked onto a campus of 25,000+ people not knowing a single person, and now, I can walk into Allen and see 100 friendly faces that I would’ve never gotten to know if it wasn’t for the SOJC. That building, in general, I’m going to miss because that community of people was so special to me.