Ball State Graduate School Blog

Where will graduate school take you?

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

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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! 

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