EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of stories and videos highlighting outstanding graduates from the Fall 2018 commencement ceremonies that will take place on Saturday, Dec. 15.
The opportunity was easily within view, as Drew Myers contemplated what she might do in acquiring an education and starting a career. The Stanwood native now comes to her final days as a Ferris State University student, rich with experiences, both social and educational, as she considers where to make use of her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations.
“I had always kind of considered Ferris as my destination, academically, and found that it was best to begin studies while living at home, with my parents,” said Myers, who will graduate on Saturday, Dec. 15. “I was happy to follow in the family tradition, as my mother, Gina, earned her degree in Social Work from Ferris.”
Drew began her connection with Ferris in Fall 2013, through dual-enrollment classes while at Morley Stanwood High School. After graduating, Myers started her full-time Ferris studies in 2015. She has blended a most satisfying array of experiences, from academic, to professional and social, as she prepares for commencement on Saturday, Dec. 15, and the prospects of a career in promotions and communication.
“I have worked throughout my college experience, with various duties in the university’s Student Financial Services office, over the last three-and-a-half years,” Myers said. “It has been great preparation for my career, with its focus on customer service, and learning how to properly interact with students who have questions about their account. It is serious business. You have to be professional when you talk with the students on the phone all day, or when they walk up to my workstation. I love it.”
Myers returned for her final semester of classes and her job in the Timme Center for Student Success, after spending the summer on an internship with the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids.
“This gave me great perspective on how to manage myself in the post-college world,” Myers said. “I was working a wide range of hours when I was at the market, serving as a summer events intern. My duties included planning, promoting and coordinating a variety of events that were intended to increase awareness of the wonderful restaurants, event spaces and merchant areas that make up the Downtown Market.”
Myers said her efforts, on behalf of their Kids Market events, were particularly eye-opening.
“I was very impressed that the Market’s leadership was so intentional about offering free events, to bring in and support the community,” Myers said. “I did not realize the number of decisions, and the range of considerations that go into promoting an event. That included the teamwork needed to execute our plan, along with the social media to spread the word about what was happening. Promotions are an important aspect of niche marketing for children and parents, so they were aware of and interested in taking part in such an event.”
Myers gained other real-world experiences as she commuted to her Downtown Market internship.
“It was enjoyable, but hard work, with many long hours spent on accomplishing our goals,” she said. “Also, I learned how to manage the commute from Big Rapids to downtown Grand Rapids, while road construction was at its peak.”
Myers credits Ferris’ Public Relations faculty with providing students realistic portrayals of the requirements they would face professionally, and how to present themselves as capable prospects for career opportunities following their education.
“In my capstone class, which was taught by Thomas Hanley, we had to complete a four-step public relations plan, which was designed for a Big Rapids-area business,” Myers said. “We were on our own in going through the necessary efforts to develop these plans, which is a very good example of putting to use all that we had learned in the PR curriculum.”
Myers was also thankful for the instruction offered by Patrick Bishop, coordinator of the Public Relations program.
“I had him for a number of my classes, where he really stressed that we approach classwork in a professional manner, so we were ready for the workplace,” Myers said. “We had to be punctual, carry ourselves appropriately, be accountable for the quality of our work and give a consistent, professional effort. It was tough at times, but I also gained confidence in my abilities, thanks to these requirements.”
Bishop said he observed Myers’ development as a student and Public Relations professional as she made her way through the program, and gave her credit for approaching this work with an upbeat attitude.
“Drew is a like a breath of fresh air. She makes everyone around her a little happier,” Bishop said. “She is also very driven. She does great work and makes things happen. For example, during her Downtown Market internship, she created order from chaos, by coordinating several weekly events, which were always crazy-busy, involving lots of moving parts. We will be proud to call Drew an alumna of the PR program at Ferris. I look forward to hearing about all the great things she’ll do with her career.”
Myers will also graduate with a minor in Sports Communication, which she hopes offers her increased opportunity as she searches for a place and an opportunity to start her career.
“I would be happy to pick up and move to Grand Rapids, Detroit, even Tennessee, where my parents have relocated, and apply what I have learned in the promotions department of a sports team,” Myers said. My dream job would be working for the public relations office of the Detroit Lions, but I will keep an open mind about moving toward that goal.”
Myers also had a Study Abroad experience in Summer 2017, visiting the major cities of Italy.
While meeting her commitments in the classroom and as a Student Financial Services employee, Myers also found enjoyment through involvement in several campus organizations.
“I joined the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter, or PRSSA, in my first year at Ferris,” Drew said. “The next year, I joined the Delta Sigma chapter of Alpha Xi Delta, and in my third year, I joined the Figure Skating Club.”
Myers served as social media manager for PRSSA and was the new-member orientation director for Alpha Xi Delta. She said involvement in each of these organizations offered great experiences and the chance to meet many other students.
“I have been involved in figure skating, most of the time since I was five years old,” she said. “Taking part in the Ferris State collegiate figure skating team, we would participate in competitions around Michigan, and even traveled to compete in Minnesota. It was an activity that really made you set and keep priorities since our ice time came at 6 a.m. We had to coach ourselves, choreograph team routines and our individual performances. I really enjoyed the club’s performances during Ferris home hockey games. All of these activities have been great for me.”
After more than three years of fast-paced activity, steady employment and active learning experiences, Myers admits to a slight case of nerves, as she seeks that first job after graduation.
“I am thankful that I had so many positive experiences at Ferris, they have taught
me much about what I would like to do in my career,” Myers said. “Following the Public
Relations curriculum and being in close communication with the faculty has shown me
a great deal about what to expect professionally, and how to deliver work that will
allow me to succeed in the industry. Still, moving from the structure of completing
a degree to finding and securing that first career opportunity means I have to make
the key decisions, which is both exciting, and a bit frightening at the same time.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Drew Myers of Stanwood will graduate on Saturday, Dec. 15 from Ferris State University with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a minor in Sports Communication.