Ball State Graduate School Blog

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Meet Anh, an international student in Public Relations

Anh Kieu, originally from Vietnam, came to Ball State to study Public Relations. During her time here, she’s had the opportunity to hold a number of positions with an exciting variety of organizations, including Afghanistan Journalism Education Enhancement Program, Ball State’s Study Abroad Programs, and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra. She shared a little with us about her experience as an international student at Ball State’s Graduate School.


Photo courtesy of Anh Kieu

On how she found Ball State University: 

“I learned about Ball State by accident–I call it my serendipity. I was preparing for my application to graduate school when my friend told me about a commencement speech on YouTube that she loved. The speaker was Angela Ahrendts, former CEO of Burberry and now an executive at Apple. Her speech was so inspiring and completely resonated with me. Out of curiosity, I did some research about Ahrendts’ school and found the Ball State University website. I was looking for a Public Relations program, and Ball State offers the most distinguished PR program in the nation. Seven months later, I landed in Indianapolis Airport and started my journey as a graduate student at Ball State University.”

My team at Cardinal Communications

Cardinal Communications team. Photo courtesy of Anh Kieu.

On how Ball State has transformed her life:

“The people I’ve meet, the friends I’ve made, and the projects I’ve worked on have changed my life forever, and for the better. Over the past two years, I have learned so much about myself and the world around me. I have realized my strengths and weaknesses. I have learned how to adapt to a completely new environment and culture. Every day is a new experience for me and I treasure each and every moment.”

On the real-world experiences she gained as a student: 

“Before arriving at Ball State, I had my bachelors degree in English with an emphasis on translation and interpretation from Vietnam– so I didn’t have any real life experience in Public Relations. Luckily, the Journalism Department faculty members always try their best to provide students with real world experiences. I was able to work at Cardinal Communications, a student-run PR agency that works with real clients in Indiana. It was a great place to learn and practice the things I was studying in class.”

On her internship with Muncie Symphony Orchestra: 

“I wanted more Public Relations experience outside of the classroom, so I decided to look for an internship. A friend introduced me to Muncie Symphony Orchestra, which is located right on campus. I contacted the director and asked for an internship opportunity. I was so happy when she offered me the job! I got to help the orchestra with event planning and writing press releases. One of my press releases was picked up by the Star Press, a local newspaper of Muncie.  Later on, the organization also became the main subject of my thesis for graduation.”


Photo courtesy of Anh Kieu.

On her search for a Graduate Assistantship position:

“I didn’t have a graduate assistantship during my first semester at Ball State, which led me to pay out of state tuition fees. It was a difficult time for me. I worked at the Atrium Food Court on campus during the day and went to classes at night. I knew in advance that if I could not find a GA position, I might not be able to continue my education. In December, 2013, my advisor informed me about an available position, which I applied for. When I got the job, it was one of the best days of my life! I worked on the Afghanistan Journalism Education Enhancement Program (AJEEP) project. I walked out of that assistantship with amazing experiences and a great mentor.

That assistantship only lasted for the Spring and Summer semesters, so I had to find new one for the second year of my program. The experience I gained from my first position helped pave the way for my second position, Event Coordinator at the Study Abroad Programs. My main responsibility there was to coordinate the Study Abroad Fair and a Photo Contest, two of our biggest annual events. I also presented about the possibilities of studying abroad at Ball State University for incoming freshmen during orientation.  The job is perfect for a Public Relations major like me. I get to learn so much everyday, and I am also very thankful to have the opportunity to work with my amazing colleagues.”


Photo courtesy of Anh Kieu

Her advice for incoming students: 

“One of the many things I have learned is that Ball State has a lot to offer, but it is entirely up to you to choose whether or not to explore these hidden gems. Be prepared to go out of your comfort zone and ask a lot of questions. People are always willing to help you, but you have to let them know you need help. Another thing I have learned is to stay open minded–or as Steve Jobs better puts it, ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish.’ School is a great the time for learning and  experimentation, and I would advise incoming to students to make the most out of it.”

Thank you for sharing with us, Anh! 

If you’d like to learn more about Ball State University’s PRSA-accredited Masters program in Public Relations, visit the department’s website or contact the graduate program director, Deborah Davis.


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Guest Post: Meet Jules, a stained glass expert and recent Historic Preservation graduate

Today’s guest post was written by Ryan Hamlett, a graduate student earning his Masters degree in Historic Preservation. He recently wrote a profile of Jules Mominee, a 2014 Historic Preservation graduate who owns and operates a stained glass restoration and fabrication studio with his wife and son. Read on to learn more about Jules: 


Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

For some, graduate school is the logical next step taken immediately after finishing their undergraduate degree, a continuation of an educational process that will further prepare them for the career path of their choosing. Some are there to pursue a lifelong passion. However, for others, a master’s degree augments the skills of an already established and respected professional, helping to open doors and to expand opportunities.

It is the latter that applies to 2014 MSHP graduate Jules Mominee of Evansville, IN. Though he is only one year out of the program, his name is frequently mentioned around CAP as a prime example of a non-traditional graduate student. Mominee owns and operates Mominee Studios, a stained glass fabrication and restoration studio, with his wife Terry and son Nicolas. Jules and Terry are no strangers to Muncie. Both received Masters of Arts degrees from Ball State’s Art Department in 1979, having previously earned their bachelor’s degrees from the University of Evansville.


While completing his second master’s degree at Ball State, Mominee still needed to continue running the business. Mominee possess a commercial pilot’s license, so he reduced his commute time (4-5 hours one-way by car) to little more than one hour by flying back and forth from Muncie to Evansville in a 1968-vintage airplane he and a partner had restored.

Though his original thesis covered “Contemporary Production Pottery,” Mominee’s post-master’s focus returned to stained glass, a craft to which he was introduced as a teen via an informal apprenticeship with a retired stained glass craftsman. After graduating from Ball State in 1979, he and Terry returned to the Ohio River Valley and founded Mominee Studios in his native Evansville.

For more than three decades the Mominees, now joined by their son, have repaired hundreds of historic stained glass windows, and created hundreds more custom pieces of art glass for religious, commercial, and residential clients – in total, thousands of panels.


Photo Credit: Ryan Hamlett

Enter Jules Mominee, Ball State Graduate Student: Round Two.The greatest difference between Jules and his fellow MSHP students (beyond differences in age, and air vs. ground commutes) was his motivation to join the program. While his classmates were beginning their career tracks, Mominee was already a leader in his chosen field. Instead, Mominee was looking to increase the ways in which he could be of benefit to his clients. By using his MSHP degree to meet Secretary of Interior professional qualifications (required for participation in federal preservation projects), Jules could eliminate his existing clients’ need to hire a 3rd party preservation consultant. Additionally, preservation credentials would also enhance his already substantial qualifications, allowing Mominee to take on new clients and projects previously unavilable to his firm.

What Mominee is perhaps most well-known for within the program, much to his amusement, was his innovative development of an imaging system using Unmanned Aerial Systems, or UAS’s, for building evaluation. The small, remotely operated drones enabled him to conduct visual inspection of stained glass windows and other historical features that would otherwise require the use of expensive and time-consuming scaffolding or lift systems to accomplish. He made this practical application of UAS’s for preservation his professional project, which he presented at the 2014 CAP Symposium with virtual 3D designer Chris Harrison. This was Mominee’s second presentation to CAP, the first presentation having been about the use of Photogrammetry to create rectified drawings, i.e. flat scalable architectural images, for various architectural purposes.

Commercial use of drones is still a topic being hotly debated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the entity controlling all manner of aircraft, including small drones – even prior to the recent landing of one on the White House lawn. The FAA instituted a moratorium on drone usage until a broad spectrum of legal implications can be resolved. His drone may be temporarily grounded, but Jules continues to participate in the FAA’s discussion on the use of small drones for commercial and private applications.

I asked Mominee what advice he had for other HP students, and he had this to say: “Find something you’re passionate about and pursue that. Never stop learning. Your legacy is not the things you receive, such as salary or awards – rather, it is what you leave for others that adds to their quality of life.”


Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

Thanks for sharing Jules’ story with us, Ryan! If you’re interested in contributing as a guest writer for the Graduate School blog, contact us with your story idea. You can learn more about Mominee Studios at their website.

If you’d like to learn more about earning a Master of Science in Historic Preservation degree, check out their website or contact Dr. Mary Ann Heidemann, Director of the Graduate Program. 

This piece was originally published in the April 2014 Historic Preservation newsletter, Preservation + Innovation.

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Meet Maggie, whose GA position helped her change career paths and find her passion in graduate recruiting


Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

We’re excited to introduce you to Margaret (Maggie) Cude, a recent graduate from Ball State’s Master of Arts program in Public Relations. Originally from Smithland, KY, Maggie attended Murray State as an undergraduate, where she earned a degree in Liberal Arts with a focus in English, Religious Studies, and History. Maggie recently started working as the Graduate Recruitment Coordinator for the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering & Applied Science at Binghamton University.

On how Ball State prepared her to be successful after graduation:

“Ball State prepared me for my first professional position at Binghamton University in New York. I know how to conduct myself as a professional. I know the hierarchy of universities and the importance of someone’s standing in the institution. I understand the budgetary constraints departments face, and I know the importance of continually integrating innovations into our practices in order to cut costs and reach students where they are: online. I know how to articulate my ideas and how to back them up. I’ve only been in this position since June 1, but it’s such a natural extension of what I was doing at Ball State that I feels like I’ve been doing this job for years!”

On how a trip to Greece brought her to Ball State University:

“I first heard of Ball State while studying abroad in Greece. My program directors were professors there and hearing about their research and professional opportunities really sparked my interest. I spent the next several months researching various graduate programs, but I kept coming back to Ball State – the reputation, the beauty of the campus, the opportunity to develop and present original research all captivated me!”

On how she made the decision to transition from pursuing a History degree to earning a degree in Public Relations:

“I came to Ball State to study History. However, in my first year at Ball State, my assistantship was to oversee Graduate Student Orientation for the Ball State Graduate School. I loved it! I loved planning it and speaking to students and hearing their stories! The problem was I didn’t need a MA in History to organize orientations. So, with the support of my GA supervisor, I began to explore other departments on campus that might be a good fit for this long-term goal. I finally decided on Public Relations.

To be honest, the course and research were significantly more difficult than I’d expected. I had spent the last 5 years researching history and humanities databases. I had no idea how to do research in this new field. So I decided to make the Master’s a three-year experience so that I could actually take the time to learn the material rather that just keeping my head above water. To maximize my time here, I also added a Graduate Certificate in Institutional Research to assist in my capstone research and to make myself more knowledgeable about university systems as a whole. At the end of it, I had developed a capstone project looking at Graduate Student Orientation as a means of acclimating students to the university.”


Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

On the support she received from faculty members:

“Ball State is a great place to earn your graduate degree because your faculty want to see you succeed. Even when they were busy traveling for their own research or at home over the holiday breaks, my faculty mentors were always a resource for me. I felt so much support and encouragement from them, especially my capstone advisor.”

On how her graduate assistantships helped her develop as a professional:

“I held four assistantships in four years, giving me a unique opportunity to experience the breadth and depth of the Ball State campus. Most recently, I was the Recruiting Campaign Manager for the Ball State University Graduate School. My assistantship taught me the importance of professionalism. How you dress, speak, carry yourself, and treat everyone in the room says a lot about you to those you work with, and will, in turn, affect how they interact with you in professional and personal settings. I also learned to lean in and speak up. I was intentionally engaged in every meeting I attended as a graduate assistant, and I never let that fact that I was *just* a GA prevent me from offering my opinions and ideas. I’m very proud to say that some of those initial conversations had in meetings about strategies for improving Graduate Recruitment and Education at Ball State led to tangible events and practices the Graduate School still has today.”


Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

Her advice for incoming students:

“Expect to be treated as a professional adult. Your work, research, and ideas are all your own. Take ownership of them, and run with those especially bright ideas! You can expect that there will be people on campus who will support and foster your growth, who will serve as mentors during your time here, and they may not be in your academic department–mine, for example, was my GA supervisor.”


Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

Thank you for sharing with us, Margaret! 

If you’re considering transitioning to Public Relations from a different discipline and want to learn more about how PR can widen your career opportunities, you can register for an on-campus information session on Thursday, June 25. You’ll be able to meet with faculty and current students, and dinner will be provided. Attending a session on campus also gives you the opportunity to receive a 50% waiver off the graduate application fee. Register now to learn more! 

If you’d like to learn more about Ball State University’s PRSA-accredited Masters program in Public Relations, visit the department’s website or contact the graduate program director, Deborah Davis.

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Meet Natalie, a Public Relations student pioneering social media policy for athletes

Natalie DeMarko Grad school

Photo Credit: Ball State Photo Services

Today, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Natalie Demarko. Prior to attending Ball State for her Masters degree in Public Relations, Natalie earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a double minor in public relations and multimedia education from Georgia Southern University. Her keen interest in sports journalism led Natalie to study the use of social media by athletes as an undergraduate, and she also interned with the Atlanta Hawks as an event marketing and promotions intern. During her time at Ball State, Natalie developed a social media policy for the Ball State Athletic Department and formulated a crisis communication plan. Keep reading to learn more about her experience as a graduate student at Ball State University.

On how Ball State has transformed her life:

“Ball State definitely has changed my life for the better. I am an all-around advocate for graduate school, and I was lucky enough to have Ball State pay for my education. I’m so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had the last two years. The people I’ve met and the experiences I have changed my life. They made a better person and me stronger. I came to Ball State to work on Natalie, and I can honestly say I have. I found myself, and I’m ready to take on any new challenge that comes my way.”

On how she knew Ball State was the right place to be:

“The minute that I stepped on Ball State’s campus I knew it was where I wanted to go. Originally from Georgia, I decided to come up here to visit the campus. Out of the all the other schools I applied to, Ball State felt most like home to me. Despite the freezing cold weather in February for a south Georgia girl, I still found something about the atmosphere so inviting.”

Natalie DeMarko Grad school

Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

What she thinks incoming students should know: 

“I would tell incoming students a few things. The first is that the high level of professor-student interaction is one of the main reasons why I came here. Professor Dick Shoemaker showed me around Ball State when I came on my visit and definitely convinced me that this was the right place for me. The second is that the journalism department’s facilities are absolutely amazing. The new Holden Strategic Communication Center and the Unified Media Lab are big part of why I chose to attend Ball State. And third, I would tell them the curriculum and opportunities that Ball State presents to students are unique to any other university. I have yet to come across another university that has a student-run creative brand agency like Cardinal Communications here at Ball State.  All of these things made my experience at Ball State, and I would definitely relay all of these things to new students.”

On what she’s learned about herself during graduate school: 

I moved up here from South Georgia, and it really was the first time that I was on my own. I didn’t know the city or the school, and I didn’t know anyone. And now, I can honestly say I’ve grown more in these 2 years than I did all 4 years of my undergraduate degree. I’ve learned what I want and don’t want in life, and I’ve learned what I’m willing to fight for. I’ve really discovered what’s important to me in life. I came up here to really find myself, and I definitely think I’ve accomplished that.”

Natalie DeMarko Grad school

Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Natalie! Keep up with Natalie’s work by visiting her website.

If you’d like to learn more about how Ball State University’s PRSA-accredited Masters program in Public Relations can expand your knowledge and open opportunities, visit the department’s website or contact the graduate program director, Deborah Davis.

You can also register for an on-campus information session on Thursday, June 25, where you’ll be able to meet with faculty and current students. Dinner will be provided and attending a session on campus gives you the opportunity to receive a 50% waiver off the graduate application fee. Register now to learn more!