»Travis Culver, B.A. Public Relations & Advertising ‘11

Current Profession: Junior Account Executive at Echo Media Group

What was your most memorable moment while at Dodge College?

The most memorable moment I have in Dodge was the Cecil Awards 2010 after party. A close group of my PR/Dodge friends were all on the committee that year; I served as the Director of Public Relations. After several months of hard work and intense planning, the show was over and we are able to enjoy the after party, dance, and let loose.

Were you involved with any other organizations on campus?

I was involved in Delta Tau Delta, Associated Students (now Student Government Association), the PRSSA Bateman Case Study Competition, the PR/Ad Student Advisory Board, Student & Campus Life, and the Cecil Awards. Each organization taught me something different and allowed me to have experiences I wouldn't have gained from the classroom, including leadership skills, time management and hands-on career experience... and I had an extremely fun four years being involved. 

Were there any faculty members that served as a mentor to you?

I had Veston Rowe for several courses, and he was the best mentor a student could have in college. He has decades of industry experience and continues to learn and grow with his students and the ever-changing industry. But more importantly, he truly cares about all of his students and will always lend a listening ear if we're struggling with an important life decision… or we just want to vent about something seemingly important to a college student. I've visited him at his house a few blocks from campus a few times since I graduated, and I know we'll keep in touch.  

Reflecting on your years at Dodge College, what one thing you would do again, and what one thing would you change?

I would definitely do the Bateman Public Relations Case Study National Competition again. The four other PR students on my team and I became a family over the hundreds of hours and blood, sweat and tears that we put into our PR campaign-- and we received national recognition for Chapman's PR/Ad department. It's the best hands-on experience in public relations you can get on campus. The only thing I would change about my four years at Dodge in particular: taking more graphic design courses. I don't do any design work now, but people in the industry that are multi-talented in PR, graphic design, advertising, and marketing are very valuable. 

What advice would you give to current students?

You don’t pay Chapman tuition just to go to class and go home. Take advantage of all that Dodge and Chapman have to offer. Some people may think Greek life or other extra-curricular activities are a waste of time when it comes to your career. Not only will experiences like Greek life make your four years the most memorable, fun years of your life, some of the internships, jobs and career networking opportunities I've had are because I was in Greek life. I also run the internship program at my agency, and trust me, I'm much more likely to hire someone that participated in things like Bateman, NSAC, Greek Life, Cecil Awards team, etc. than someone who simply went to class and got a degree.

What is a typical day like for you at your job?

I manage our non-profit division, social media division, the internship program and I'm the client lead on a few accounts. No two days are the same, and my time is divided between media strategy brainstorming, media relations, social media planning, client relations, managing the interns and researching client competitors and new business opportunities.  

What has been the highlight of your career thus far?

My first highlight would be the important national and international coverage we've been able to secure for clients in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The New York Times, etc. The second is significant positive impact I've been able to make on the pro bono non-profit clients I lead. Helping a company because they're paying you to feels nice, but assisting a non-profit organization that needs the help and makes an incredible impact in our community and the world is a truly great feeling. 

Now that you've graduated, what have you taken from the classroom and applied to your career?

While I was at Chapman I think I took for granted how strong the Dodge PR/Ad program is. I've taken many concepts and skills from each class and applied them to my position and my clients. Many schools only offer a few PR/Ad classes in a bigger "communications" program, but Chapman students are lucky to gain knowledge from many different PR/Ad courses and professors. 

Have your career aspirations changed since you graduated?

My career aspirations haven't changed but they've widened a bit. I'm open to altering exactly what I'm doing in the PR/Marketing world later in life, but I like my career and want to stay in this field.

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