Dons’ Doings: Caitlyn Shen and Her MarCom Trek Experience

By Meghan Rice, senior communication studies major

I had the pleasure of interviewing Caitlyn Shen, a fellow communication studies major here at the University of San Francisco. Caitlyn is also pursuing a public relations and Chinese minor. In the interview, we discussed her experience as a participant in the MarCom student trek. For those unfamiliar with student treks, they are opportunities for those who apply to visit up to three organizations within the Bay Area throughout the course of one day. This is what Caitlyn had to say about her experience.

Photo: Caitlyn Shen, a senior communication studies major and MarCOM trek participant at USF.

Q: What inspired you to become a communication studies major and a public relations minor?

A: Before I went to college everybody told me, “Wow, Caitlyn, you know how to talk and respond really quickly. You know how to be quick-witted and come up with clever comebacks. You should major in communications in college.” I didn’t want to do science or math, so I thought maybe I’ll do English or history. But then I thought, “Okay, I can be sociable so I’ll major in [communications].” And for my public relations minor, I talked to two of my friends about it and one of them said that all I needed to do was take four extra classes. I was going to graduate early anyway so I decided I’d just stay full-term and pick up the minor. I did it and I enjoyed PR Writing so I thought, “I could do this one day.”

Q: Can you briefly explain what MarCom is and what you experienced during your trek?

A: It didn’t hit me that MarCom is actually marketing plus communications combined. Basically, our school provides treks for different industries, such as tech, beauty and media. This one was marketing and communications, and USF took us to three different companies downtown. We went to Epsilon, Grayling, and H+K Strategies. They gave us a tour of the office and some free snacks, and then we had a Q&A with a recruiter and some associates. At the end we got their contact information, added them on LinkedIn, and then took a picture and went to the next place.

Q: What made MarCom attractive to you?

A: It was the whole networking aspect, especially since I’m about to graduate in May. I want to make those connections and since they were pretty big companies in San Francisco, it was ideal. Especially for someone who wants to stay in San Francisco, I can use those networks one day and apply for a job.

Q: How has majoring in communication studies helped you progress as a professional?

A: Communication is the key to everything in life. The majority of the companies emphasized how important communication is and how you have to have constant communication with your boss, your clients, and your coworkers. Most of the offices we went to had open floor space. You could literally just wheel your chair across and ask someone a question. Communication is in everything.

Q: What advice do you have for students considering a student trek or taking on a minor?

A: Well, do it. It doesn’t hurt to apply for a student trek. It’s answering two short questions, so like five Tweets worth of words! It’s just really cool to put your foot in the door and network. There’s nothing that can go wrong going on a student trek; it can only benefit you.

As for taking on a minor, I’d say it could be extra work but it’s totally worth it. As long as you’re learning and open to more opportunities, take on a minor if you’re passionate about it. It’s beneficial and adds on to the skills you have.

Q: What are your plans or goals for post-grad life?

A: I’d like to stay in San Francisco and get a PR job. It’ll probably be in tech because this is San Francisco. I’m also open to human resources, but I’d like to learn more about media relations in my future job, and maybe crisis communications, as well.

Thank you again Caitlyn for taking the time to talk about your experience. For anyone considering one of the student treks at USF, it definitely seems worth the benefits. As Caitlyn said, don’t be afraid to apply and be open to the opportunities!

More information on USF’s student treks available here.


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