Navigating the Industry

Colleen Holmes (Mahoney) ’12 originally planned to study Equine Science. Before her freshman year at SUNY Cobleskill she changed course, entering college as an Early Childhood major. One summer later she entered the Communications in Technology Program.

“I was talking to my mom after my first year,” recounts Holmes, “and she said something like ‘you always want to be the first to know things.’ I always liked reading, and enjoyed writing and editing. Things fell into place.”

Back then communications programming at SUNY Cobleskill was in its early years; Holmes says students and faculty shared a sense of not wanting to let one another down. The passion those in the program brought to class was easy to identify – personnel was often identical from one class to the next.

Holmes geared her education towards journalism, given her penchant for knowledge-seeking, and aptitude for conveying information through writing. Many elements of communications complement a journalistic skill set – establishing and holding dialogue, identifying visual content to accompany text, and harnessing creative energy, to name a few. Each is part of a SUNY Cobleskill Communications education.

Holmes has written for three newspapers in Western New York, where she served as editor for one. She now works in entertainment marketing for Buffalo-based Pegula Sports And Entertainment. While the crossover in responsibilities and skills from journalism to marketing is widely known, the real-world environment SUNY Cobleskill mimics for students eases the transition.

“Just like you can survive without writing a paper, or going to lecture, you can survive without going to an event and covering it in person. There are ways around it. But you realize being on-site, gathering and applying what you can pick up in-person is a skill itself,” says Holmes. “There is no way I would be where I am without that education.”

She retains something else from her time on campus. “People ask things like, ‘aren’t there cows on your campus?’ It is an interesting juxtaposition – but a great environment to study communications.”

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