The term “portfolio” describes a collection of samples or works, as in the portfolio of an artist. But portfolio can also refer to one’s financial investments or holdings. This digital portfolio reflects both aspects as they relate to the experience during my graduate studies: a collection of various work products that together render the investment of hundreds of hours of study, as well as the intellectual holdings that they produced (I hope).
Back at the end of the first course (COM 601 Communications Fluency), I used a car as the metaphor for my communications skills and expertise. My entire professional career as a public relations practitioner, I had driven this car wherever I needed to go, with only a smidgeon of understanding about the theoretical mechanics of what actually makes it run. In many respects, the master’s coursework was analogous to sticking my head under the hood, taking apart the engine and then rebuilding it, to gain that understanding.
As an undergraduate major in journalism, I was trained to be a newspaper or broadcast reporter. Writing, editing, working under deadlines, and the ability to absorb and convey information in ways that were compelling to the receiver, were transferable skill-sets between journalism and public relations. Missing from this training was an academic foundation in theory, history, and cultural context and insight that the graduate level studies delivered. Additionally, the coursework enabled me to broaden my professional understanding and expertise, as well as to learn about digital forms of communication that are so prevalent in modern society.
The master’s studies were intellectually rigorous and always challenging. Over the past two years, there were innumerable instances where I was able to apply something gleaned from my studies to my work and vice versa. The experience has made me a more diversified, skilled and knowledgeable communications practitioner. Moreover, it has been the culmination of my academic and professional development to date, and the precursor (by design) for the next phase of my career and life.