Name: Austin Coke

Degree: Strategic Communications

Expected Graduation Date: May 2019 


College can be serendipitous, the way students fall into their undiscovered passions.

After spending time in the school of business, Austin Coke knew he needed a change. He felt disengaged from his classes and sought a more hands-on degree. In an attempt to find a field to study, Coke enrolled in Intro to Strategic Communications with Dr. Danny Shipka. Coke credits Shipka's course with his commitment to the field of communications.

“Not only did I learn a lot, but the class genuinely felt worth going to,” Coke said. “I found myself looking forward to his class, and his classes always seemed to go by so quickly.”

Shipka’s course, being Coke’s initial exposure to the School of Media & Strategic Communications, may have been the catalyst for his decision to join the school. Many students choose a strategic communications degree to explore the fields of advertising or public relations, but Coke has always known he wanted to be a salesman. He is a true extrovert who finds a great deal of satisfaction working with people one-on-one. Ultimately, Coke wants to work on a sales team for a software company or some other aspect of the tech industry.

As a junior, Coke believes he still has quite a bit to learn. However, he has learned so much in a short time being in the department. He believes SMSC helped instill in him a greater appreciation for technology. The tech-heavy courses both fueled his passion for the industry and lended him a better understanding of the many platforms to which SMSC students are exposed. Coke encourages other SMSC students to take advantage of the opportunity to get a solid technical foundation in lower-level classes.

“A lot of classes build off the previous ones, and that’s why you have to take those younger years seriously,” Coke said. “For example, if you don’t fully understand the basics they teach you in electronic communications, it makes things that should be easy in upper-division courses harder than they have to be.”

Coke believes SMSC has so much to offer its students and that they can take advantage of it by practicing diligence from the beginning.

Finally, Coke likes to remind students that strategic communications does not confine students to a path of advertising or public relations. Strategic communications teaches you to become a better writer, communicate effectively and efficiently, develop technological skills, teaches you to work with others and often simulates a real-world experience.