Ryan Jackson, Master's in Professional Communication '18

An Outstanding Location

Ryan Jackson MA '18 aspires to work on a public relations team for a cutting-edge tech company, making the Bay Area an optimal location to pursue a Master's in Professional Communication.

Ideally, he’d work with video game developers like Blizzard, Epic Games, or Ubisoft Entertainment (located right here in San Francisco), spearheading their public relations strategy.

“When I found out there was a brand new program in the heart of San Francisco, I was very excited and I knew I had to look into it,” Ryan said. “USF provides an outstanding location that puts you right in the middle of the tech scene.”

Barely a semester into the Professional Communication program, Ryan said the Bay Area quickly proved itself to be an incredible location for networking with leaders in the tech industry.

“Already, I've been introduced to companies like Sony, Twitter, and Salesforce. With Silicon Valley right next door to the downtown campus, we’ve had guest speakers from these companies come in and give us some great insight as to what it takes to get a job in this field.”

Most recently, Ryan and his cohort had the opportunity to hear Allison Tom of GoPro speak. Allison provided great advice on shooting and directing videos, from how best to use the camera to choosing the right background and actors. She even helped Ryan and his fellow students work on their own video projects for class.

Real World Skills

Although Ryan studied public relations and mass communications as an undergrad, he hoped a master’s program would expand his knowledge and improve his skillset to make him a more competitive candidate when he enters the job field. Already, the program has delivered.

“The professors are teaching us applicable knowledge that will give each and every one of us the edge over other applicants when it comes to applying for jobs,” he said.

In particular, he’s gained a lot through his Strategic Communication course with Professor David Ryan. The class has given him the opportunity to write a wide range of press releases and columns, given him greater insight into how to craft messages for the public, and helped him develop as an all around better PR-oriented writer. He also appreciates the opportunity to learn about theories on why we communicate the way we do and how it influences our daily lives in Professor Michelle LaVigne’s course Foundations in Communication.

The Master’s in Professional Communication offers three concentrations — Health, Technical, and Strategic — so students can focus on the specific skillset or industry they want to devote their career to. Ryan chose the Strategic Communication concentration, which focuses on the way organizations communicate internally as well as the way they communicate with the public, industry insiders, and the media. The track is helping Ryan hone the practical communication skills he’ll need to become a leading communication professional for a cutting-edge tech company.