Danielle WaldronSeptember 11, 2018
Hey, I’m Danielle! I’m a social media analyst at American Girl. I live in Madison, WI, with my fiance, Jordan, and our two cats. When I’m not working or busy planning our wedding (October 2019!), you can find me at the gym doing a cycling or Barre class, reading, re-watching “Mad Men” or hosting friends in our 1929 house. Home was O’Fallon, MO and since graduating, I’ve lived in north-central Indiana and northern Wisconsin (Go Pack go!) before landing in Madison, just a stone’s throw from the University of Wisconsin campus.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
I dabbled in a few different things, and I regret not doing so before my junior year. I was a member of Sigma Tau Delta for English, and was involved with The Index, KTRM and Student Research Conference. I was a staff reporter at The Index before joining on as an assistant news editor and loved every moment…even the late nights and a few tears while learning InDesign. I also had the pleasure of spending part of a summer with Joseph Baldwin Academy as a preceptor for Professor Krause’s reporting and design class, which was an absolute blast.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
I didn’t go to grad school, but don’t think the thought hasn’t crossed my mind a few times.
What was your first job after graduation?
I am very grateful that I had my first job lined up about two months before graduation, so my transition from college to work was pretty immediate. I joined The Elkhart Truth, a newspaper that at the time was family-owned, as a copy editor and layout designer. That quickly evolved to a digital producer/copy-editor/breaking news reporter/all the things.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I’m a social media analyst on the marketing team at American Girl…you know, the dolls! Anything you see on AG’s social media has crossed my desk at a point. I work with such a talented team who develops and shoots our content, and I am responsible for creating an editorial calendar, scheduling posts and of course monitoring/measuring our performance and growth. Every day is always a little different, which keeps things really interesting.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
Oh, wow. How hasn’t it helped, really?
Having a liberal arts background has made me so empowered to try a little bit of everything or think a little differently when solving any number of problems. It’s made me really confident in larger groups and collaborating with others, as well as understanding perspectives. That to me is more valuable than being an expert about a subject. If you can’t work well with others or share your idea in a meaningful way, what’s really the point?
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
Am I a total cliche if I say it was a math class?
I’m not really what you would call a math person (ironically, since a good portion of my job includes stats) and I put off taking Statistics until my senior year. I have never worked harder to really understand the material and prep for class and exams, and that’s entirely to Dr. Guffey’s credit. I quickly got the “Ugh, when am I ever going to need this info?” line out of my vocabulary with his class, because the principles of statistics were so fascinating and he gave such real world applications of them. I truly would not feel empowered in my role as an analyst without this class. If you are able to get a seat in his class, do it and don’t think twice.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
I’m going to be a Total Truman Student (TTS) and say my greatest accomplishment was getting a 4.0 the one semester I was able to.
I remember having a really tough English class that semester and putting in many late nights in the library writing papers and studying with a classmate. I worked so hard for that specific class and getting a 4.0 during a semester with a full course load was just the cherry on top of the many late nights and long hours.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
Truman is a great place to grow in whatever you’re interested in and grow as a person. Kirksville itself is free of a lot of the distractions of a larger college town, and the campus is such a tight-knit community. I never felt like a number or a head in the classroom. Professors were vested in students’ success and pursuits and as a student, you’re really able to carve out your own niche there.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Definitely get involved with an extracurriculars! It’s so important to learn outside of the classroom setting and that’s what really pushed me the most and taught me a lot about balance, time management and what I truly love to do (and just as important…maybe what I don’t love to do and what’s not for me. And that’s OK).
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
GET AN INTERNSHIP.
Seriously. I had one internship the summer before my senior year and that opened so many doors for me. Like I said above, you’ll learn a lot about what you’re good at and like to do…and maybe things you don’t love so much. If you put in the work and the universe is aligned, it might just turn into a job.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
Being so close to all of my friends in one spot! I live in a big college town now (Madison, WI) and I always feel so nostalgic when I see students around. I miss feeling so carefree and having that built in social circle. My friends and I are kind of scattered across the Midwest now, and I so miss the days when we could meet up between class or have a good weekend venting session over some junk food. You’re all in it together.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“Truman COMM: Communication, NOT Communications.”
(Editor’s note: This is an inside joke in the department. Feel free to visit campus and we’ll be happy to explain.)
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?
Critically reading or interpreting a book, film, etc., was my favorite — I actually looked forward to writing long papers about it.
If I could come back and teach a class, it’d be a COMM class about female portrayals in the media through history. It’s more important than ever that female voices and minority voices are heard and, in a time that the media is under constant attack and scrutiny, I’d be fascinated to look at it closer from a feminist lens.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
What you give in COMM or at Truman is what you’ll get. You’re there to get an education, but you’re also there to grow during a formative time in your life…find time and balance for both. Is Kirksville small? Of course, yes. Can Truman be a little quirky at times? Yes. Remember why you started and put in the work…that’s what you’ll take away when you graduate.