Erica NolanMay 11, 2021
Erica Nolan is a Truman alumni that left St. Louis, MO in 2018 to take on the big city of Chicago. She currently resides in the Northside neighborhood of Edgewater with her roommate and fellow Truman alumni, Paige Yungermann, and works in the Investor Relations department of a private equity firm as a Marketing Coordinator. In her free time she can be found reading, cross-stitching, binge watching Netflix, or searching for the best Chi-rish bar with her fiancé, Dave.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
I was pretty busy. I was a member of Tau Lambda Sigma (social service sorority); a journalist with the Truman Media Network; a writing coach at the Truman State University Writing Center; a contributor to and editor with Windfall Literary Magazine; and a writer for The Odyssey Online.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
Not yet, but I’ve been looking into online certification programs in digital marketing.
What was your first job after graduation?
I was working three jobs right after graduation— I had a lot more energy five years ago. In the mornings I was a part-time proofreader at Guide Book Publishing, a publisher in St. Louis that produces directories for religious congregations around the United States. In the afternoons and evenings I was a bookseller at Barnes and Noble in St. Peters. Lastly, when I had a moment to breathe, I was an editorial intern at Amphorae Publishing an indie press also in St. Louis.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I currently work in the Investor Relations department of a Private Equity firm in Chicago as the Marketing Coordinator.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
My Liberal Arts education taught me the importance of self-awareness. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses before entering the workforce is a must— and you’ll be able to learn that at Truman. Take my current position as an example. I’m surrounded by financial professionals that speak the language of buyouts, EBITDAs, and valuation summaries. I speak the language of sentence structure, word choice, and Oxford commas. Over the last two years, I’ve become the go-to person for reading through mass emails and quarterly investor letters before they’re released. Remember, every company needs a variety of skill sets to function.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
I’d have to say Dr. Smith’s Communication Law was a course I didn’t find that interesting while I was in it— but it has become an essential part of my job. I recently created a photo release form for employees at my firm because the company didn’t have one and constantly work with my company’s compliance team when writing copy for our LinkedIn pages and website. Pay attention in this class, it’ll serve you well in the long run.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
My greatest accomplishment at Truman was having one of my Odyssey Online articles go viral on Truman’s Campus. It reached 3.1K shares in a week which, for Kirksville in 2016, was something to brag about.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
Truman gives you the chance to let your nerd flag fly. I jokingly tell people that someone saw Kirksville and thought to themselves, “This is the perfect place to send all of the nerds near and around Northeast Missouri.” Truman teaches you that it’s okay to be passionate— passionate about anything and everything. Truman’s where I really learned how to be myself.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Get involved with the Truman Media Network as soon as you can. It’s a way to get some real life experience before you need the real life experience.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Always look for a piece of your job that you’re passionate about. Not every element of your day-to-day is going to be enjoyable, but if you have at least one project you’re working on that brings you fulfillment, it’ll be worth it.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“When in doubt, bring Dr. Self a Diet Coke.” (Editor’s note: I like the way you think!).
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?
Contemporary Irish Literature. We would look at works by contemporary Irish authors like Sally Rooney (Normal People), Emma Donoghue (Room), Colm Toibin (Brooklyn), etc. through different literary lenses and also discuss society in contemporary Ireland— the course could count as an English or International Studies credit.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
I think it’s important for people—especially Truman students—to realize that life isn’t the straight line many of us are taught it is when we enter college. Most of us are just ticking off metaphorical boxes when we get to Truman—graduate high school, go to college, get a job, etc. Truman is a place filled with people that like to follow the rules and do what society deems correct. The rest of the world doesn’t work that way. Don’t try to over plan your life before it’s even started (and believe me, your life hasn’t started yet). It’s important to work hard for what you want, but it’s just as important to embrace the unexpected. I wouldn’t be in Chicago if I hadn’t done that.
If you would like to learn more of Erica’s story, you can follow her on Instagram or check out her blog, The Book Nook Chronicles.