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Liberal Arts Graduates

Karen Wissing

What I do now:
I work in the communications department for an investor-owned, regulated electric utility that serves 532,000 customers across Northwest Louisiana, Northwest and Southwest Arkansas, East Texas, and the Texas Panhandle. Our team handles internal and external communications.

My work/job consists of:
My work includes communicating internal messages to 1,700+ employees, media relations, and customer care via social media.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
My required internship during my final semester at LSUS landed me a full-time position with Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center in the Public Relations and Marketing Department. After nearly five years in the nonprofit sector, I moved to agency work, and to SWEPCO in July 2015. The skills I learned while at LSUS have helped me tremendously, especially my work with The Almagest and in Trey Gibson's public speaking course.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
I transferred to LSUS from LSU Baton Rouge in spring 2008. The classes at LSU were simply too large for me. I had one instructor with five teaching assistants for the 1,000 students. In order to succeed, I needed a smaller classroom and the opportunity to speak directly with faculty. I'm grateful I made the decision to transfer to LSUS. I brought a 2.6 GPA up to a 3.2.

Fond memories of LSUS:
I had so much fun with the staff of The Almagest. I had only dreamed of writing for a university newspaper while at LSU, and LSUS made it possible! Ms. Jarzabek gave me the confidence to tackle layout after taking her Desktop Publishing course, and that was only the beginning. I also fondly remember student activities in the University Center.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
Where do I start? Trey Gibson, Mary Jarzabek, Rose-Marie Lillian, and Dr. Linda Webster. Oh, and Jack Nolan! "Find a way to care," he'd tell us. He taught me what I know today about copyediting.

How LSUS helped me succeed:
The faculty cares about their students and wants them to succeed.

Advice to college-bound students:
It's okay not to know what you want to do with your life on Day 1. Take classes that interest you, and you'll find your path. Don't be afraid to ask for help from students or teachers; there's no such thing as a dumb question. There is always an opportunity to learn.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
Find and take advantage of networking opportunities, develop a relationship with a mentor, and join Toastmasters International.

Tips on choosing a major or career:
Take the time to learn what you like. Ask professionals across all sectors about their jobs. Make sure you're passionate about the major you choose to pursue.

My toughest professional challenge:
Knowing the right time to voice my opinion and the right time to go with the majority

My toughest personal challenge:
I find it hard to not sweat the small stuff, and I'm learning to think before I speak.

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
• Northwest Louisiana Young Professionals Initiative 40 Under 40 Class of 2018
• PRAL Northwest's 2012 Member of the Year
• 2011 Outstanding PR Professional of the Year

I've learned this from life:
There's always room for improvement and growth; keep learning!

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
Taking photos of my dog, Coco


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