Ball State Graduate School Blog

Where will graduate school take you?

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

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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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