I've attended Elon University for four years, but I've only studied as an English major concentrating in Professional Writing and Rhetoric for three years. After graduating from high school, my initial life plan was to be a celebrate fiction writer (the next J.K. Rowling, if you will) and I chose Elon University because of the creative writing and study abroad programs available. I've been here four years, but I've never studied abroad and it took me until the fall semester of my senior year to take a course in creative writing.
I come from a small town on the southern coast of Delaware, in a house surrounded by corn or soybean fields farmed by my grandfather and uncles. It’s a place where not much happens if you don’t play or watch high school football; home is what first encouraged me toward books located in distant and fantastic places. I submitted an application for admittance to Sussex Technical High School, the county school known to prepare kids for college and train them in specific fields of work. I chose to study Digital Publishing and Print Design even after the teacher informed me that I would not be publishing a novel in her class. I graduated with the intention of never going into print and digital project management.
It took me one semester at Elon University to miss the kind of work I did at high school: layout design, client projects, color psychology, print management, design software. I dropped my middle school dream to return to the familiar and increasingly popular subject of communications, specifically public relations. I became a communications minor after being introduced to the professional writing and rhetoric concentration of the English major. What I liked most about the English department was that it focused on the written and verbal arguments made when all visual graphics were bypassed. What I've liked best about my experience in college is the opportunity to practice solid design and written work for multiple platforms at the request of real organizations.
The projects you are about to witness, all compiled under the heading “Portfolio”, intertwine my experiences in service learning classes and extracurricular involvement at Elon University with my part-time job as social media consultant for the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Alamance County.
Due to the nature of my major’s concentration and my minor’s focus, I have been able to constantly participate with local community organizations linked to Elon University and practice rhetoric as a social action and knowledge as a verb. By this I mean that all of the projects have led me through argumentation with group members in order to learn outside perspectives and create products that best aid the organization with their prompted communication challenges being having a stronger understanding of their relation of the mass public versus their smaller audiences. In addition, I was able to develop a higher sense of what contexts/lens I create with and plan strategies to work around my biases. This was especially helpful in projects where I did not have a peer to challenge my choices.
The time invested in interacting with the community presentations and products residing within “Collaboration & Community” will result in an understanding of four different non-profit organizations aided by the collaborative writing technique used in by myself and peers. The products exhibit my experiences with Elon University’s English departments and the vast array of collaboration experience I've maintained over a broad project base (from grant proposal writing for Positive Attitude Youth Center to newsletter template creation and article writing for Family Abuse Services).
“Print & Digital Designs”, although influenced through continuous communication between clients and myself focuses on my skills with different programs used for design (such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign) rather than written deliverables. The projects presented for Intersect Diversity & Leadership Conference 2013 and the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Alamance County are a combination of suggested and assigned products; in both cases I was in constant communication with higher-up officials. Through the practice of producing products for print and online interaction I experienced a wider range of audiences to address.
“Research & Reporting” takes a turn away from the completion of products for a client to show the reporting and analysis of data collected in multiple methods. Throughout my design and written projects, I've been engaged in several types of research and the publication of my findings. The result has been journalistic articles, online identity reports and a curation compiling sources of information. The data collected was a mixture of individually and client assigned work that tested my ability to complete tasks without supervision.
In the last four years, I've been given the opportunity to expand my familiarity in several different fields and working conditions. From group to individual work with constant client communication or unsupervised submissions made for online and print production, the content within the Digital Portfolio Experience archives my college experience and the beginning of my future in the public relations field of study. The most important lesson I have learned is to adapt to the changes as they come both in my personal life decisions and for the needs of the audience. Please enjoy the narratives behind each experience as I did during the process.
Brittany E. Wheatley