Coming Full Circle - In Style
Like many Mass Communications majors focused on print media and journalism, Kristen Wagner '15 spent much time dreaming about life working for a national publication in Manhattan.
Until that is, she spent a summer at a dream-come-true internship with Seventeen magazine, traveling by bus between Phillipsburg, NJ, and New York City three times a week.
"I thought New York City was the only place I could build my career until I realized it wasn't the place for me," recalled Wagner. "Had I not had that internship, I would have jumped into that city and found out the hard way that wasn't what I wanted."
What she did want, however, was to work for a magazine, and her time interning at Men's Health strengthened her resolve. Set on a solid trajectory, Wagner found Lehigh Valley Style shortly after graduation. Several years later, now as Editor-in-Chief and a frequent alumni volunteer, Wagner still credits her internships as instrumental in her professional success.
"I was really fortunate to have internships as a student," explained Wagner, who also interned with WebFX, College Fashionista, and The Lala (Her20s) remotely from campus. "They were the keys to my success. I always stress [to students] that you can do multiple internships from campus."
Wagner also credits on campus involvement, such as her experience with BUnow and as part of the team that planned the first PASSHE Collegiate Media Summit in 2012, for playing a role in finding her fit with Lehigh Valley Style. As an alumni volunteer, Wagner encourages students in the Mass Communications program, the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, and BUnow to take advantage of these opportunities. Although she has volunteered as a speaker, panelist, and resume reviewer, her return to campus as a presenting speaker for the 2017 Media Summit felt especially poignant.
"It felt like I had come full circle," explained Wagner. "I really enjoy talking to students about the world of regional magazines that I've found myself a part of."
In her conversations with students, Wagner stresses the many opportunities students may miss in regional publications along their quest to fulfill their dreams in the "big city."
"I thought my career had to exist in New York City," recalled Wagner. "But working at Lehigh Valley Style introduced me to regional magazines all over the country. It's exciting to present [the idea] to students that you can be anywhere in the country and find a local or regional magazine. I didn't know they existed when I was a student."
Not only can Wagner now impart her wisdom to current students, but there is also a measure of personal and professional satisfaction that she finds in volunteering.
"It's nice to see how far you've come since graduating," Wagner observed. "It's also fun to reconnect with people who were your peers at school and make new connections."