WHAT ARE MEDIA STUDIES ALUMNI DOING?
Samantha Mehrotra ’09
Major: Political Science
Concentration: Media Studies
Current Position: B2B Account Executive at Kohnstamm Communications in St. Paul
What is your current position? What are your responsibilities?
I currently work as a B2B Account Executive for Kohnstamm Communications in St. Paul, Minn. As an Account Executive, I work with a variety of agency accounts and assist our team with communications projects. No day is quite like the other. One day I may be drafting press releases for a client. Another day, I might be doing media relations and outreach. Prior to this job, I was a TV anchor and reporter for 3 years – first working in Williston, ND and then in Duluth, MN. Those experiences provided me with a solid communications background and taught me how to write clearly and articulately, which is essential to any job in the public relations field.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in this field?
As I mentioned, I was in TV but decided to make the switch for personal reasons. Transitioning into PR felt like a natural change. Now with my current job, I have a better schedule and a generally better lifestyle. Broadcasting is an exciting field, but it’s also very grueling. But who knows? I might go back to it someday!
How did you gain the experience necessary for this position?
I think internships are key. While I was at St. Olaf, I pursued 5 internships (4 in TV and one with a local non-profit organization) and they served me well. Not only did I learn more about the field that I was getting into, but I also learned about the professional world. I think it’s important for students to understand – and early on – that a classroom isn’t like the real world. Students need to get out there and network, build lasting relationships and connections, and constantly seek out new opportunities where they can develop and enhance their skills.
How did your Media Studies coursework or experiences help you get where you are today?
First and foremost, taking courses in Media Studies taught me how to become a better writer. I learned how to articulate my thoughts and write clearly. I learned how to research and develop an argument. Those skills will serve you well, no matter which field you decide to go into. I think Media Studies courses also provide students with a grasp of what’s happening in the world, and having that kind of knowledge will always serve you well.
Any advice you would give a Media Studies student knowing what you know now?
Even if you’re a freshman, start thinking about what you want to do and pursue opportunities to discover more about your field. Reach out to alumni. Ask questions. Go to events. Visit the Piper Center and start working on your resume and cover letter. In college, I learned that it’s never too early to start exploring. I would urge all of you to do the same! Good luck!