Alumni Spotlight: Eliana Reed, Class of 2019
My name is Eliana Reed. I graduated from Marquette’s Diederich College of Communication in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. I am a born-and-raised Milwaukeean, who now lives in Washington, DC!
Right after graduating and interning at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, I was hired full-time, supporting the marketing department with events and promotions. I hosted pre-performance events, tabled at summer festivals, and managed our community partnerships. I also helped oversee the very same internship program I participated in during my last semester of college! Sadly, after eleven months with The Rep, my position was eliminated due to the pandemic.
Not long after losing my job in the theater industry, I made the shift into grassroots organizing and joined the communications team at Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) as the Creative & Social Media Organizer. In a complete 180, I was working on a staff with mostly Black and Brown young people organizing and getting Milwaukee high schoolers and college students engaged in local politics. I spent a little over a year learning the ins and outs of digital organizing to build our following and expand LIT’s online presence.
After a successful 2020 presidential election and 2021 school board election, I transitioned into my current role with LIT’s national network, Alliance for Youth Action, in November 2021 as Content Manager. In my current role I manage all of our email programs and website content, and support my colleagues on overseeing the communications cohort made up of communication staffers from the Alliance Network.
What I love the most about doing this work is how versatile our skills are. As a student, I never thought I’d be working in political organizing. But from my experience, I’ve learned that everyone needs strong communicators to make their work successful. I find myself using skills I learned in undergrad, and even while working in theater, every day in my current role. Those base-level communication skills are incredibly valuable and can apply almost anywhere, so it’s never too late to change direction with your career.
My Marquette Story
As a high schooler, I wanted nothing more than to leave Wisconsin for college, but the older I got the more I realized the clear choice for me was Marquette. With my dad working for Facilities Planning and Management at Marquette, I basically grew up on campus. When the time came to choose my major, I let my love for reading and writing guide me to the Diederich College of Communication. I started as a journalism major and even spent some time writing for the Marquette Wire. After two years studying journalism and hearing that my writing “sounded a lot like PR” from a mentor, I decided to make the switch to public relations. To this day, I’m still grateful for my “split” education at Marquette because having a journalist’s background in PR writing has given me a unique perspective on our work.
My favorite Marquette memory is more of a collection of memories. My time as a resident assistant (RA) in Cobeen Hall is definitely my favorite memory. I owe all of what made my college experience to that job. Working in Residence Life shaped me into the hard worker that I am today, while simultaneously teaching me about empathy and support in ways I can’t imagine I would have gotten anywhere else. I relish all of the connections I made as an RA too. Now three years post-graduation, all of my close friends are friends I met because of my position at Cobeen.
Something I’m most excited about in my current role is the upcoming midterms! Sometimes our nation’s politics can look a little scary, but nonetheless I’m still looking forward to not only casting my vote but helping and encouraging young people across the country to cast their vote as well. Keeping our democracy strong is so important to the progress we want to see, but not everyone really knows how to do that, so I’m excited and honored to be working with our team at the Alliance and with our network orgs to get young people out to vote this year.
My Advice for Students
We were so smart to choose education in communications. Like I mentioned before, every industry needs strong communicators to back them up, so don’t feel like you have to be limited to business, sports, or tech. Explore what’s out there! Start with your interests and passions outside of school. Think about what you care the most about and see how you can make a career out of it! Leave no stone unturned when it comes to job searching. The right fit will find you, and if you feel like it hasn’t, don’t forget that our options are limitless.