PRSA East Central District is proud to have Butler University as our educational sponsor of this year’s Leadership Development programs.

It was fall 2020, in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, when Kyle Johannsen’s work travel was postponed. At the same time, Butler University launched a fully online Master’s of Strategic Communication program. Having always wanted to further her education by pursuing a master’s degree, Johannsen jumped on the opportunity to fill the time she would have spent traveling with the master’s classes she had always wanted to take.

“I wanted to spread my wings and see what else I could learn, what’s going on in the industry and how strategic communication is evolving in our environment— especially during COVID,” Johannsen said. “When I saw this program, it seemed like a perfect fit. It was manageable, and from a school I knew was reputable.”

With only a few courses under her belt, Johannsen has already been able to apply what she’s learned to her current role as Senior Account Executive on the McDonalds accounts for Seyferth PR in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

For instance, in the Research Methods: Design and Analysis course where students walk through the entire research process, Johannsen said it was a good learning experience to understand how critical it is to take your time to do research—especially when you’re in a communication role. 

“It was a really informative class every step of the way because, particularly in a PR agency setting, we usually don’t allot for budget and/or time to thoroughly research,” Johannsen said. 

At the public relations agencies she’s worked for, they’ve typically relied on social media or media as the main indicator of whether or not a campaign worked. Johannsen said the research methods class gave her some really good insight into how one can generate additional analytics from various types of surveys and interviews. 

In her Visual Design for Strategic Communications class, she’s been able to dive into creative design software programs like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign which has helped her communicate more effectively with her creative team counterparts.

“I’m constantly giving the creative team members direction and asking them to do projects to further support my campaigns, but I never knew how to do any of it,” Johannsen said. “I can talk to people now with more awareness of what’s actually possible versus just telling them what I want and hoping they can make it happen.”

Expected to graduate in May 2022, Johannsen still has plenty more courses to take and a lot left to learn. She is excited to continue applying what she’s learning in the virtual classroom to her own, real-world career.

“Everything I have learned from this program so far has impacted my thinking as a communication professional,” Johannsen said. “Each lesson has something that I can apply to my current profession which makes it so worth it and valuable. I can take these lessons anywhere I go in my career.”

Applications are currently being accepted for the August 2021 cohort of both our master’s and certificate program. If you’re not ready to apply, consider joining our mailing list so we can keep you updates on important information and dates.