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Killian G. MacDonald - Message to Fellow Students

Killian G. MacDonald profile
Killian G. MacDonald

Killian G. MacDonald

Public Communication & Religious Studies (Dual Degree)

Before I was asked to write this message, I thought nothing could be more difficult than an assignment from professor Watson. However, now I've been charged with covering everything I love about SOC in just 500 words!

Professor Watson, even you weren't that tough!

Professor Chattoo once shared a favorite quote of hers from an idol of mine, Joseph Campbell. He said, "Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open."

What immediately struck me was that here at SOC we have the gift of professors and administrators who are continually opening doors that guide us to what will most enrich our lives.

Every experience, from internships to study abroad adventures, enhanced every class we shared. The SOC requirement for a second major or minor is a brilliant way to open even more doors, because as a class we gained exponential exposure to other fields of study. For example, as my peers followed their own bliss, they taught me everything from environmental policy and global finance to computer science.

Today, I'm writing about my own experience as a proxy for all of us.

The SOC community helped me see doors when I thought I was in dead-end hallways. Those doors led me to China, India, Thailand, and a semester working at APCO worldwide, a global communications firm founded by AU alumna Margery Kraus.

Professor Doshi, your own passion for public diplomacy inspired me to spend a summer running external communications for the state department's office of religion and global affairs.

And professor Kirkman, talk about the ultimate way to open doors – you taught us all to be networking ninjas. From that, I landed a dream internship on the protocol team at Homeland Security and spent time supporting global leaders such as Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Loretta lynch.

Thanks to the scheduling wizardry of my advisor Tara Flakker, I'm coming out with two degrees and a minor.

Professor Chattoo, you gave me the courage to combine those degrees and my love of fiction into one capstone. When my young adult novel is published, and helping fight Islamophobia in America, know it never would have happened without your dedication to a student with one crazy idea.

Many of us are familiar with the Buddha's quote, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." And Dean Rutenbeck's leadership fosters an organization that enables just that.

Here at SOC, we've learned there is no such thing as leadership without communication. We'll be the ones who tell stories that capture imaginations. We'll work collaboratively to help disparate groups come together. We'll craft beautiful films, and hit every detail on the next groundbreaking journalistic expose.

As we graduate, I'm excited to stand beside each of you.

Tomorrow, as we set out to shape the world, I'll be excited to see what doors we hold open for those who come behind us.

Congratulations to the class of 2017!

Learn more about the BA in Public Relations and Strategic Communication