Bobcat Faces: Catherine Harper

PR student is prepared,
ready for the real world

By Audrey Webb

Making a decision about which major to pursue is a pivotal point in any student’s life. Did I make the right choice? Will I enjoy this career path? Will I be any good at it? These questions can be answered only with time.

Catherine Harper will graduate from Texas State University on May 11 with a degree in public relations from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which offers five undergraduate degrees. She originally joined the school as a journalism major, but later switched to public relations, thinking it would provide her with a more proactive role in shaping public opinion.

At that point, what the public relations field entailed hadn’t crystallized fully in Harper’s mind. “So, we’ll write slogans for people? Spin the truth?” she wondered. In her junior year, Harper enrolled in Public Relations Campaigns (MC 4320), a required course. The hands-on experience she gained in the class — creating public awareness campaigns on campus — confirmed for Harper that she was on the right path.

“It didn’t feel like a class. It was fine-tuned,” she says, and remembers thinking, “I know what to do. I can do this. This is great!”

Since June 2011, Harper has worked part-time in Texas State’s Office of University Marketing, writing articles for the Texas State blog and updating the university’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. During her spare time, Harper is often seated at her piano, playing Chopin or Mozart. “Studying classical music taught me to be determined,” she says. Although she no longer takes lessons, music still plays a huge role in her life. “Playing in my spare time helps me blow off steam. And my cat seems to like it,” she laughs.

With graduation just days ahead, Harper is actively seeking job opportunities. Her dream gig would be to combine her PR skills with her passion for music. Wherever she lands her first position, however, she knows she’ll continue to learn.

“I’ve learned that experience shapes and defines my work,” says Harper. “None of the experiences I’ve had so far have been directly PR or directly marketing. Now I can go literally into anything and get a valuable experience from it.”

Catherine Harper has been a frequent contributor to the Texas State blog. Read her articles here. Congratulations, Catherine! We will miss you!

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