In just 15 months after graduating from Mason, Nathalie Nguyen landed a position that she says combines her passions, talents and experience. She is now a digital strategy associate for the respected Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew is a global research and public policy organization, operated as a non-partisan, non-governmental organization dedicated to serving the public. Nathalie will be working on all things digital in their D.C. office.
“No matter where I work, I make sure it’s something I believe in, that it aligns with my morals and gives me a sense of purpose.” It’s clear that she practices what she preaches. She previously worked as a communication coordinator for Second Story, a non-profit safe haven for youths and adolescents. She handled their social media accounts, email marketing, and website.
Immediately after she completed her communication studies at Mason, she won a coveted fellowship at the global PR agency, Hill + Knowlton Strategies as a business development fellow. A fellowship is considered a short – term opportunity to develop one’s skills in a specific area. Because of this job, she realized that she is very interested in the marketing side of things.
How did she beat the competition for the fellowship? Nathalie attributes her success to her hands-on preparation at Mason. Nathalie Nguyen graduated from George Mason University in December of 2019 with a degree in communication, concentrating in media production.
Between different campus jobs, school organizations and different courses at George Mason, Nathalie said she was able to build a good network, connecting with many people. One of her key advice for students is to “diversify your course load, you never know what you could find interesting and who you will meet.”
Nathalie said that two of the most useful classes she has taken during her time at George Mason is Professor Mims’ Writing for Public Relations and Social Media class. She said, “These two classes have really helped me learn how to strategically position messages, especially now in a mostly digital world. She was a big advocate of show, don’t tell.” Along with this useful skill, she was able to experience lots of real-world work that helped prepare her for the workforce.
Not many people can say they held an internship all four years of college like Nathalie. She expressed that it was not easy trying to balance school, jobs, a normal social life, sleep, and internships but knew the experience would be too rewarding to pass up. When asked if she had any advice for current students looking into internships and jobs, Nathalie said, “Be open and proactive rather than reactive.” There are so many opportunities out there and you have to take the first step and go after it. They are not just going to fall in your lap. She also emphasized the importance of being open minded when it comes to these opportunities, do not think with a “this is how my career path should be” mindset as you will never know where you might end up.
Networking is an important aspect of many jobs and especially in the world of communication. Nathalie says to “Just go for it, apply to that job and network with people.” Through networking, one can build authentic relationships that can be useful in the future. However, Nathalie made it a point to mention that this must be done strategically. Be strategic about who you reach out to and do not expect anything, just build a normal relationship that can be mutually relied on in the future.
Reflecting on her time at George Mason University she says that she would “100% recommend the Mason Communication department for more reasons than I can count. I came to George Mason for a degree and left with much more. I left with lots of experience, lots of connections, and a sense of purpose.” She believes that college is truly what you make of it, but at George Mason, it’s a little easier. The department provides lots of resources for anything one needs, has caring professors that truly want their students to succeed, and provides a sense of friendship and community.
George Mason’s department of communication was recently named to the PRNews Education A-List, a roster of the top 35 educational institutions advancing the careers of PR and communication professionals in the U.S. Mason communication majors can choose to concentrate in public relations, journalism, media production and criticism, political communication, organizational or interpersonal communication as well as minor in other cross-department subjects. The department provides students with a blend of theory, research, and hands-on experiential learning to prepare them for the wide variety of careers in professional communication.
May 01, 2021