PrepStart Profile: Kimberly Norton
Full Name: Kimberly Norton
Hometown: Mexico, NY
Colleges attended: Cazenovia College; Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of
Public Communications; Grand Canyon University
Degrees earned: B.S. in Communication Studies and minor in Journalism; M.S. in Public Relations; (currently working on) Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in higher education
Current job/occupation: Social Media Coordinator at Cazenovia College
Please describe your current job:
My current position involves: creating content and managing social media platforms, coordinating media monitoring services, managing digital marketing campaigns, creating and tracking social media advertisements, writing content (news stories, magazine articles, advertisement copy, blogs, video scripts, etc.), updating the news and events sections of the website, filming and editing video testimonials, managing various marketing video projects, and assisting with various communications projects to enhance the College’s mission.
In what ways did your education and internship/work experience prepare you for your current position?
My undergraduate education provided me with the basic knowledge of communications, and as I continued for my Masters, I was fortunate enough to learn more about the field of public relations. Both degrees provided me with hands-on learning experiences inside and outside of the classroom that helped me to develop the skills necessary for the workplace. Everything from writing to interviewing, public speaking and even project management have proved to be invaluable skills. Continuing for my doctorate has provided me with the knowledge of leadership in higher education institutions. This will prove to be valuable as I continue my career.
My internship experiences have also provided me with hands-on experiences before I even started my first career job. I was fortunate to intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing at my undergraduate intuition (where I am currently working,) as well as the Central New York Community Foundation. Both supervisors allowed me to work on projects that would take my knowledge gained in the classroom and apply it to meaningful projects. This was my first experience honing the skills I would need to land my first job and continue my career as a young professional.
What challenges did you face when choosing a college or career path? How did you overcome these challenges?
I originally planned on attending a SUNY institution and commuting from home. The decision was made mainly to save money and leave college debt free. It was not until a couple weeks before my first year of college that I even heard of Cazenovia College. I took a tour from the Women’s Varsity softball coach (an old family friend) and fell in love with the campus. It was during that day that I applied and changed my mind to attend a small, private institution to study Communication Studies and play softball.
I wanted to commute to save money (since the SUNY institution was a lot cheaper and close to where my parents lived), but I was always afraid of missing out on the “college experience” while not living on campus. I do not regret my decision to attend Cazenovia College for a moment, because I was so involved in every student life activity and club I possibly could that my experience would have been very different if I had commuted. So my advice would be to not let the cost of college sway your decision to much. There are a lot of other factors they come into play when choosing a college.
I also believed that as a high school senior that I wanted to be a journalist at a big newspaper. After taking a variety of courses in communications, I learned that I had a lot of other passions, and could use my love of writing and research in many other career paths. Communications is such a broad area and you can go down so many different paths (this is the same for many programs and fields), so my suggestion would be to be open about your future goals and the courses you take. You may stumble upon something that you really love during your undergraduate program.
What advice would you give to students in the beginning stages of preparing for their futures?
I have a lot of advice that I would offer students in the process of choosing a college or starting their first career job. I’ll try to sum up some of the key points that I have learned through my experience though.
Do not let the price of a college discourage you from attending. (Since the Excelsior Program has been announced this is a very important one.) Choosing a college is all about the fit. Does it have the program you are looking for? What is the student life like? What kind of scholarships and grants are available for you? How are the internship programs? Do you see yourself succeeding and learning?
Keep your options open. You may be 100% set on your future career, or you may have no idea what you want to be when you grow up. Neither one is a bad sign. Choose a college that has a variety of experiences to offer. Take different courses outside of your program. Find internships that will help you build skills for the future. And be open to new opportunities. You will eventually find yourself on the right path to your future career in something that you are very passionate about.
You never stop learning. Become a lifelong-learner and never lose that love for learning. There are always advancements in technology and professional development opportunities. These will only help you become a well-rounded professional. This is something employers will look for, especially in young professionals. Keep that drive for learning throughout college and even afterwards.