WIU-QC Alumna Finds Her Place with Girl Scouts

Maura Warner

  • Communication major
  • English minor
  • Spring 2015 graduate

Where do you work and what is your current job title?

Director of Marketing and Communications, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois

What is required of you in your position?

I am responsible for the internal and external communications for 38 counties in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. Every day is different and I love it! One day I could be doing a live interview on a news station and the next I’m working with my team to create the summer camp guide. I cover all public relations, email marketing, social media, direct mail, print pieces, website, photography, and advertising. I also love helping with special events for the organization.

4 females posing together.

Warner, a 2015 graduate, poses with local Girl Scouts.

Why did you choose your major?

I always enjoyed writing and public speaking so communication was a natural fit for me. I enjoyed the broad range of skills the major offered and its flexibility helped me when searching for a career.

I think the English minor paired so well with my major. It really helped me refine my writing skills and gave me a creative outlet.

What did you like most about your major?

I loved the professors and students. I still keep in touch with many of my classmates and the faculty. Western Illinois University-Quad Cities was a good fit for me because the small class sizes made it much easier to build connections through classes and student organizations.

How did WIU-QC prepare you for your job?

Covering a broad range of communication theories was very helpful stepping into my career and in general, time-management was a valuable skill I learned in college. I think networking was really encouraged as well and it definitely helped me find a job and then build community connections to help develop program and volunteer connections for Girl Scouts. Also, as much as I dreaded them at the time, working on group projects was so useful to then transition into an office setting.

What did you like the most about your experience at WIU-QC?

I loved being a member of so many students organizations and building friendships with other students and the professors! I really miss event planning with the Communication Student Society and Liberal Arts and Sciences Organization.

Why did you pick WIU-QC for higher education?

I transferred to WIU-QC from a larger university because I wanted to move back to the Quad Cities, but also receive a high-quality education. I toured the campus and sat in on a few classes and instantly thought it was going to be a great fit.

What was your favorite class/who was your favorite professor? Why?

I loved Advanced Organizational Communication with Dr. Young (associate professor of communication). I learned that I really loved looking at communication systems in organizations to see how things can be improved. I enjoyed writing case studies and actually had an opportunity to present research at the Central States Communication Conference. Dr. Young is always so wonderful about connecting opportunities for students and that conference was a highlight!

I would say a close second was a course on science fiction literature with Dr. Hamner (associate professor of English). It was my first English course and I had never read science fiction and was honestly really nervous, but I found I loved the genre and had a lot of fun in that class.

What is a memory of WIU-QC that you often think about?

I have so many memories that just make me laugh because we had so much fun in the communication and English classes! Don’t get me wrong, we were working really hard, but the professors always made classes way more fun than just lectures.

What advice can you offer to current college students who might be interested in going into your field?

Work with your professors to network as much as possible with current professionals and find an internship. It’s a great resume boost and you will enhance your skills working directly in your field. Also, I would recommend to any students to get involved on campus.

Woman posing for photo with children.

Selfie moment on the job.

What is one thing about your job that you didn’t expect, or that might surprise a current college student?

The 8-5 schedule can be a little bit of a difficult adjustment. I always thought not having homework would be such a plus, but I really miss my college schedule.

Information on the communication major at WIU-QC available here

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