Kelsey Smith

Kelsey Smith

October 6, 2020

Kelsey Smith (2020)

Kelsey Smith grew up in St. Louis, and after graduation moved down to Columbia, MO to start working from home for Apple. After a brief stint in Denver, she has settled into Washington DC working at the historic Apple Carnegie Library. She has worked in several roles in the technical department while at Apple, and currently manages the technicians in store. She lives with her partner Aaron, also a Truman alum, a dog named Huxley, and two cats named Tinker and Mapp. When not working she loves exploring the history and culture that DC has to offer, and she can’t wait to return to Colorado for some more mountain climbing.

What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?

I graduated in 2013 with a concentration in Public Communication.

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

Kelsey doing the coastal version of “The Lion King” (2019).

I liked to stay busy, so I joined several organizations including Sigma Alpha Iota, Student Government, Phi Kappa Phi, NRHH, and Lambda Pi Eta. I also was in drum line and marching band my first two years, and was a Student Ambassador.

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

Nope! I started working and I love my job, though I’ve always kept it on the table depending on where my career takes me.

What was your first job after graduation?

Despite interviewing for dozens of corporate communication roles, I actually ended up doing technical support for Apple because I did not want to turn down the opportunity to work for that company. After quickly moving up I realized how many opportunities the company had for me and I never left.

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

At the moment I’m a Lead Genius at Apple Carnegie Library in Washington, DC – so basically I am in charge of our technicians who help fix Apple things when they break.

How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?

Not only did it give me a curiosity to continue learning everything I could, having a COMM
degree gives me skills that are applicable to an enormous range of jobs and experiences so I can continue to explore whatever jobs interest me.

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

Experimental Methods – It felt so difficult and tedious, but honestly learning that work and how we gather information has allowed me to better understand communication patterns in our current day and age.

Kelsey visiting a camel farm near Kirksville (2012).

What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?

Helping to pass the technology fee, which allowed Truman to update its online resources,
servers, and on campus hardware in addition to supporting regular upgrades to technology so that the campus can state up to date – something especially important now that it’s such a critical part of the learning process during COVID times.

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

The location, size, and the mission of the school are all incredibly supportive to a focused and high quality education. Being close enough to home but far enough away to be on your own gives students the freedom to grow into themselves. Not having big city distractions allows you to focus on your studies when you need to – and to be creative when you need a break. Having a school that allows for small class sizes and majors allows you to get to know your professors and form close bonds, but it’s also big enough that you are always meeting new people. Finally, the Liberal Arts mission teaches students to be well rounded and to enjoy learning for the sake of learning.

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

Kelsey scooting around at work (2020).

Take classes in other disciplines that you are actually interested in- this will help you narrow your passion and find what it is you really want to do with your COMM degree rather than settling for what you can find when you graduate. I learned that I am not actually all that interested in international relations even though I thought that was going to be my career path when I first started at Truman.

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

Be patient, work harder than everyone else in the room, and always be your own best advocate. Also, never be afraid to stretch yourself and look for opportunities outside of your normal comfort zone or what you think you want to be doing because you never know what someone is looking for when they are hiring.

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

“Communication:  The long walk is worth it”

What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?

The closeness to everything, and the ease of making friends. Plus AYCD and dancing after were always highlights to my weeks.

Kelsey (R) and Natalile, her best friend and Truman alumna, exploring DC (2019).

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?

“Working With People You Don’t Like And Being Successful Anyway”

Kelsey smiling and celebrating at graduation (2013).

People skills on how to appropriately delegate, take charge, move past personal feelings, AND become successful despite those feelings. This has probably been the biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome at work – there will always be people you don’t like and you will be way more successful if you can learn how to work with them and use their skills to your advantage.

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

Take advantage of every opportunity that you think sounds cool – especially traveling. Once you graduate you THINK you will have time, energy, and money but you won’t. Study abroad if it interests you, learn how to play an instrument, or attend all the events and visitors that are brought directly to campus. You will never again have again have the kind of time you do in college to pursue your passions and explore!

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

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