Delightful interview with a former Setonian editor-in-chief who’s now doing SEO

As a student journalist, Jessie totally revamped the print publications and the website, unifying them with design elements from the Sisters of Charity (the religious order that founded our school) and rounded rectangles that echoed the interface of the iPads (which were at the time a brand new part of SHU’s student technology plan). The way she blended tradition and high-tech is a product of the flexibility of a liberal arts curriculum. She was also a great writer, a great mentor to younger students, and for some reason she kept coming back to take classes with me. When she was a freshman, neither of us had the slightest idea that a job called “search engine optimizer” existed, but look what the fundamentals she learned in our tiny little SLAC have set her up to achieve.

Note her advice about internships! Her office looks for applicants who have had 2 or 3 internships by the time they are college seniors.

I appreciated that SHU had a program that used modern programming to help make me more competitive in the field. By the end of my first semester when I took “Writing for the Internet,” I knew I wanted a career in web writing.

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A couple of the media labs I was enrolled in focused on web writing. My graphic design minor also came in handy because I learned some advanced HTML coding, some of which I still use today. I took an independent study with Dr. Jerz my final semester and spent time learning how to optimize and design a WordPress site. This was really helpful when we started building a blog for UPMC in 2014. I hated how tedious blogging felt in college, but it prepared me for my job today so I’m very thankful for it.

Do you have any advice for students looking to get into the digital marketing field?

Take some classes in HTML or WordPress if you can. Get as many internships as you can – the students we bring on as interns or new hires these days typically have 2-3 by the time they are seniors in college. Take time to invest in your education outside the classroom.