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Alumnus Thanks Student Media for Helping Him Get a Job
By Matthew Perry
Every semester there is a new graduating class that enters the work world, in December 2013, Dane Ferguson joined it. Ferguson went from being a student to becoming an alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies with a concentration in advertising. He will never forget the time he spent at Radford University.
“I milked the time I had while I was there,” said Ferguson. “It was really valuable to gain experience and the skills that I gained I use on a daily basis now that I’m in the working corporate environment.”
It took Ferguson six months to find a job that he felt comfortable with. He felt that competition between him and other recent college graduates when applying for jobs, however he didn’t let it change his plan.
“It’s very competitive and each year a new set of college students come out, making it even harder,” said Ferguson. “If you stay pretty level set with where you want to go, and zoom out then you can see the bigger picture.”
On June 2, 2014, Ferguson started his first day at an advertising agency in Arlington, Virginia. He spent about a year there and then changed jobs to work with Advanced Auto Parts in Roanoke.
“I’m on the field communications team, we are an internal communications team that pushes out communication to all the team members,” said Ferguson. “If there is a product recall, something happens like the flood or like at WDBJ7, when corporate emails come out our team is the one pulling the information to put the emails together.”
When Ferguson looks back on his time at Radford, one of the biggest things that he believes helped him the most was student media. It was an opportunity to have extracurricular activities on his resume to help boost it.
“Absolutely, without a doubt it helped me,” said Ferguson.
He was the section editor of sports for The Tartan and had an internship with The Roanoker as well.
“They are looking for candidates that have some sort of managerial experience, whether it be managing a group of six or seven writers for a sports section or a group of people selling advertisements for the publications,” said Ferguson.
“Not only do you build connections for after college but you build relationships with people doing the same thing as you,” said Ferguson. “It’s beneficial to be able to compare yourself to your peers and the rate of work that you can do,” he added.
One of Ferguson’s biggest mentors is Roland Lazenby, a former Radford University professor and a sports journalism expert. Lazenby has authored an acclaimed biography on Michael Jordan.
“A couple times I would hangout after class with Roland and talk NBA with him and just sort of strike that relationship with him,” said Ferguson. “He was one of the most impactful relationships that I have made to date. I still stay in contact with him, and he is happy to give me any sort of reference that I need for a job.”
The class that brought everything full circle for Ferguson was Advertising Production (COMS 473).
“It was kind of like a production class on yourself,” said Ferguson. “You basically produce your resume, cover letter, and you bring it all together. Then at the end you are graded on it, but the real grade is you can use it after college.”
Ferguson loved his time while at Radford and will never forget his time spent here. Once a highlander, always a highlander.