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Liberal Arts Graduates

Kirsten Michelle Howard

What I do now:
I am currently the Director of Development and Community Outreach for Robinson's Rescue Low Cost Spay/Neuter in Shreveport, Louisiana. In the near future, I will add a role as Graduate Assistant for the LSUS Debate Team and will embark on the Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration at LSUS!

My work/job consists of:
My job at Robinson's Rescue consists primarily of raising funds for our organization, which includes grant writing, event planning, capital campaigns, and major gifts planning; however, I also manage the media relations, public relations, marketing, social media, and volunteer programs.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
When I was in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to be "when I grow up". Many people told me that I should become a teacher because I love working with kids. So when I started my journey at LSU Shreveport, I began as an early childhood education major. I quickly learned (within my first semester in college) that I did not want to be a teacher and changed my major to public relations, which was supposed to be my in-between major until I found out what I really wanted to do. After taking several classes in the mass communication department, I fell in love with public relations and communications. I began an internship with the LSUS Alumni Association, which led to an internship with the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse of NWLA and eventually a career in non-profit public relations and fundraising. I love what I do and the opportunity to help the amazing non-profit organizations in our community.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
I did not begin thinking about college until very late in my high school career, and once I did begin thinking about what I wanted to major in and where I wanted to move to, LSU Shreveport seemed like the logical choice. This school would give me the opportunity to be close to my family and provide me with a great education in whatever field I decided to go into.

Fond memories of LSUS:
While attending LSUS, I had the pleasure of being a part of the Debate Team and all of my favorite memories of college involve spending time with my debate friends and competing at tournaments; as nerdy as that sounds. We spent almost every weekend together visiting local colleges in Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, etc. to compete in tournaments and we won! Some of the friends I made from the Debate Team in college are still my best friends to this day, even though we all live in different cities/states.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
Trey Gibson, the Director of Debate at LSUS, is not only the best coach a person could ask for, but also an amazing Speech and Communications Professor. I also very much enjoyed taking Spanish courses from Dr. Lynn Walford, who helped me to take a study-abroad course in Madrid, Spain during my junior year of college.

How LSUS helped me succeed:
LSUS gave me the tools and resources to succeed in my career field. Because of my involvement in both my college and community through the Debate Team, Student Government Association, Alumni Association, public relations clubs, and honor societies I was a part of, I was able to meet business professionals working and living in Shreveport-Bossier. This led to an internship with the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse of NWLA and eventually a full-time job with the same organization. If it weren't for those opportunities, I would not be where I am today.

Advice to college-bound students:
Don't be afraid to change your major. Hardly anyone knows what career field they want to go into when they begin college. I had no idea what I wanted to do! After getting involved in organizations that interested me, like the Student Government Association and Debate Team, I learned that I liked speaking in front of people, making presentations, and communications. This led me to my career in public relations. So do not be afraid to take classes in several different fields and learn more about yourself before committing to a major.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
You need to take part in an internship! I cannot stress this enough. The internships that I was a part of with the LSUS Alumni Association and the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse of NWLA not only taught me invaluable information about my career field, but also led to a full-time, salary position before I had even graduated from college.

Tips on choosing a major or career:
Learn more about yourself and your interests. You can do this by joining different clubs on campus, getting involved in your community, and taking several different classes in different departments. This is what helped me to find my major and career, which I love.

My toughest professional challenge:
Each year, Robinson's Rescue puts on our Best In Sheaux live runway dog show fundraiser and it is a ton of work! This event is a live runway dog show with 16+ dogs walking the runway, a silent auction, a raffle, a buffet dinner, a cash bar with complimentary beer and wine, and so, so much more. Planning this event has been such a learning experience for me, but has really helped me to grow.

I've learned this from life:
"You can please some of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time." - Abraham Lincoln

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
I think that if I had all the time in the world, I would use it to travel. One of my favorite memories from college was being able to study abroad in Madrid, Spain and it was such a wonderful opportunity! I would love to be able to visit more places in the United States, Europe, and all over the world.

 
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