Kayla Tigges

Kayla Tigges

July 9, 2019

Kayla Tigges (2019)

Kayla Tigges is a data junkie. She currently works for DST Systems as a Solutions Consultant where she spends her days trying to figure out “how in the world will I ever graph that?” Kayla is an avid traveler and is currently planning a trip to Sonoma CA. In her free time she coaches for Girls on the Run, finds lots of free outdoor yoga classes, and constantly listens to podcasts.

What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?

I graduated spring of 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an emphasis on Public Communication. In addition to my Communication major, I studied as a Communication Disorders major in the School of Health Sciences and Education.

What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?

Kayla at a sorority function at a Thousand Hills State Park (2012).

I held multiple leadership positions within the social sorority Sigma Kappa. I was involved with the the Ad & PR Club, American Marketing Association, and the Communication Disorders Club “Top Secret Research Project.”

I also worked as a lifeguard at the Truman State Natatorium and as a front desk associate at the Truman State Speech and Hearing Clinic.

Did you go to grad school? If so, where?  Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait?  Why?

I went to grad school, but not immediately.  I graduated with my Masters of Business Administration from Rockhurst University in December of 2017.

I waited to start business school until I had at least a year of professional experience. I decided to get my Master’s Degree because I realized I was lacking core business competencies like finance, accounting, etc. I knew these are skills that I could learn on the job but ultimately I could learn them faster by going back to school.

What was your first job after graduation?

I worked as a Client Relations Specialist at DST Systems in Kansas City, MO. I gained experience working as a project manager and business analyst for our clients in the Financial Services/Technology industry.

What work do you do/What are you doing now?

Currently, I am a Solutions Consultant at DST Systems in Minneapolis, MN. I use my publication design capabilities to synthesize and create data visualizations to help support our Senior Leadership teams.

Kayla and a coworker attending a Microsoft Power BI conference in Atlanta, GA (2019).

How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?

The Liberal Arts degree helped hone my critical thinking skills. Knowing HOW to get to an answer is more important than knowing EVERY right answer.

I’ve created project and technical documentation in every role. My COMM degree gave me the confidence to create well written documents that have been used by my peers for years. Writing clearly and simply is an in-demand skill.

Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?

I did not realize how important Communication Theory would be to my everyday life. My word choice invokes emotions and I need to know how to select the right words to create the right message.

What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?

Kayla hiking in Sedona, AZ (2019).

I was able to graduate with a double major within 4 years of school.

Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?

Truman is a small enough to where you are never just a number in a classroom, but big enough to offer a variety of classes and programs.

What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?

Take advantage of being able to take classes Credit/No Credit. Explore a topic of study just because you can. When you leave college you won’t have the free time to explore topics with your peers “just because.”

What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?

Get varied experiences. The best analysts know how to ask a lot of questions the right way.

What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?

I miss having all my friends within a 1-mile radius of each other.

What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?

How about one of these?

“COMM Majors do more than Social Media”

“The major you will need everyday”

“COMM Major, Best Major”

If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?

Kayla relaxing with her Girls on the Run students after completing their first 5k race (2019)!

I would teach a class on emotional intelligence. Learning how to recognize and manage my own emotions has helped me manage my own stress. Learning about emotional intelligence has helped me navigate crucial conversations in my personal and work life. I have become a more empathic person once I learned more about my own emotional stressors.

What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?

When you leave Truman so many students think they have to have the perfect job straight out of college. It’s normal to not know what you want to do. Every time you try a new job you will find something you like and something you dislike, and each experience will bring you closer to the “perfect” job.

Your GPA does not matter in the real world. Take classes that challenge you to be smarter and don’t worry about the B or C on your transcript.

Get your headshot taken at the Career Fair. You don’t have lots of opportunities to get a free headshots for your LinkedIn profile.

Kayla (middle) attending Graduation Day with fellow COMM majors (2014).

If you would like to learn more of Kayla’s story or you want to learn more about the Department of Communication, contact us!