Class of 2015: Real-world experience gives Brooke Williams an edge
BLACKSBURG — For Brooke Williams of Christiansburg, Virginia, it’s a little different to be the subject of a news article rather than the writer.
Williams, a senior graduating with degrees in English and communication from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has spent the past two years gaining experience as an intern with the Division of Student Affairs, researching and writing articles for VT News and the Hokie Family E-news.
Williams has always been ambitious. A Southwest Virginia native, she grew up surrounded by Hokies, attended numerous football games, and made it her goal to become a Virginia Tech student. She applied early decision, began classes in Fall 2012 and balanced her academics with experiential learning for the next three and a half years.
Throughout her life, Williams has been an avid reader and knew she would be an English major in college. She added communication and public relations into the mix when she realized that many of the skills and classwork of the two majors would intersect. Her favorite classes were those that involved real-world client work where she could develop advertisements, marketing campaigns, and digital designs for local businesses or non-profits.
Williams took the initiative to seek out internships to further her skills and knowledge of the marketing and communication industries. She held positions at Virginia Tech’s Newman Library, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, and Cumulus Media Inc. She credits Virginia Tech, especially Career Services, for helping make these opportunities possible.
In January 2014, Williams realized that she wanted to give back to the school that had shaped who she had become. She reached out to the internship coordinators in the English department, found an opening related to her field, and began working with the Communications and Innovative Technologies department of Virginia Tech’s Division of Student Affairs.
Williams learned all the steps that go into producing press releases, researching news stories, conducting interviews, and proof-reading reports. She covered President Timothy D. Sands’installation, told students and their families what to expect during move-in, and spread the word about Dining Services’ switch to compostable to-go containers. While honing her writing and public relations skills, Williams gained knowledge about the Division of Student Affairs, and how its programs, resources, and services complement academic learning.
When a survey of Hokie Family E-Newsletter readers indicated they wanted to hear more from current students, Williams began writing a student perspective column each month to share her experiences with Hokie families across the globe.
It was another hands-on internship at Volvo Group Trucks that landed her a job after graduation. Williams will officially join Volvo Group Truck’s New River Valley plant’s communications department in early January.
Though she has spent a lot of time working and studying these past three and a half years, Williams managed to have the whole Hokie experience as well. She attended as many Virginia Tech football games as possible, volunteered with Special Olympics, and joined several honor societies, including the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Lambda Pi Eta, Sigma Tau Delta, and Gamma Beta Phi.
Despite her excitement for graduation, Williams realizes how much she will miss the Virginia Tech campus and community. Her advice to undergraduate students is, “Take advantage of every opportunity given to you. Although you feel pressure to receive great grades, take time to experience as much as possible in and out of the classroom. This may include, but is not limited to, going to chocolate nights at D2, painting your face for a VT home football game, attending a concert during Homecoming, or convincing a friend to persevere through one of the fitness classes at McComas with you.”
Written by Erica Palladino of Glen Head, New York, a graduating senior majoring in professional writing with a minor in medicine and society in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.