Alumni Spotlight

Anya Pratskevich

Why did you choose the Communication Studies M.A. program at NIU?

My professor and mentor from undergraduate school recommended the program to me. I also looked forward to taking Professor Gunkel’s classes. Professor Gunkel is internationally known for his outstanding research in technology and communication; he later became my academic advisor. The program allowed me to get hands-on teaching experience while exploring my academic passions.

How did your major help prepare you for what you are doing now?

I work in technology marketing, the field which changes very rapidly. You can’t fully prepare for the job in my industry, but you’re more likely to succeed with a set of certain fundamental skills. The program taught me how to write and speak well, critically look at data and understand the behavioral and cultural nuances of workplace communication. Marketing — and really, any intellectual work today— is very creative and increasingly cross-functional. The skills I learned in the program gave me the confidence to grow further professionally and influence decisions in any organization.

What do you feel is special about the NIU program?

The relationships you’ll build with the faculty, students and fellow graduate assistants over the two years of the program will lift you up when you feel challenged. Often, these relationships last a lifetime. As a graduate teaching assistant, you’re given a lot of responsibility from day one. You’ll get to touch people’s lives in a very meaningful way — from helping a freshman student from a disadvantaged background overcome the fear of public speaking, to coaching a budding filmmaker to build confidence in her skills. 

Why would you recommend your major program to other students?

If you’re passionate about rhetoric, film, journalism, or interpersonal communication, this program will help you build an expertise in your area of focus. You’ll get to work with amazing professors who truly care about you and will give you their all to help you succeed. Whether you choose the academic route and continue to get a PhD in Communication, or decide to move into the industry with a Master’s degree, like I did, this program will help you become an expert in your field and a better communicator. 

M.A. Communication Studies, 2014

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Mixpanel