Holly DeJong ‘16 wasn’t sure exactly which direction to take her Strategic Communication degree. So she dove head first into networking with Calvin alumni in the Washington DC area and landed a job at PBS.
Q: What drew you to PBS?
A: I grew up watching PBS and I’ve always appreciated the quality and variety of their content, as well as their mission to educate and empower communities. For someone like me who’s always been all over the board with her interests, I naturally gravitated to PBS because of the way their media brand reflects lifelong learning and curious wonderment. I remember having a random conversation with Prof. Carl Plantinga in the CAS department about how cool it would be to work there, and that’s when he connected me with a current employee and old student of his. She was my advocate for this job, which speaks volumes about how caring The Calvin College Network • DC is.
Q: What are your responsibilities as a marketing assistant at PBS?
A: So I work on the General Audience Marketing Strategy Team. In a nutshell, our team provides and communicates promotional assets for major show campaigns, including Victoria and the upcoming Ken Burns Vietnam War documentary. As assistant, I quality check and publish multi-media content, and also act as a liaison between producers and stations through day-to-day communications and bi-weekly newsletters. We also just launched an upgraded internal website too, and it’s definitely been a thrill for us to devote creativity towards a communications plan that markets this to PBS stations. Q: In what ways did Calvin and a CAS degree prepare you for this position? A: I think the CAS major as a whole has really challenged my ability to think critically and thoughtfully. I’ve been challenged to see the power and complexity in communicating, and for that, I think it’s helped me work in an environment where audience messaging matters. Also, I think being an undecided student for 2 years somehow worked in my favor. I took so many random courses, and I also had other opportunities like being an RA, studying in Nashville TN, interning at WOOD TV8, and involving myself in music at Calvin. And although these aren’t directly related to my job, I do think the liberal arts background made me more well rounded which is so invaluable.
Q: Any words of wisdom for someone who might be feeling unsure about the future?
A: Allow yourself the space and grace to explore interests that ignite your curiosity, and challenge yourself to jump outside of your comfort zone. Also, seek out professors and mentors with insightful wisdom, and hold on to those relationships because you never know what doors will open from them