When thinking about college coming to an end, many students panic at the thought of deciding a career after graduation. Since Communication Studies is such a broad degree, many of us wonder what career will be "ideal." However, our degree opens up several possibilities for employment. UNT Communication Studies alumna Shari Bracy is an example of this, working in many different industries since she graduated. From non-profit to private sector, Bracy has demonstrated how her knowledge of communication can work in a variety of careers. Currently, Bracy works in sales for a midsize consulting firm focused in the healthcare industry and lives in Georgia with her 17-year old daughter.
Bracy is originally from Missouri, but while searching for a university to start her undergraduate career, she researched communication programs around the country. She recalled falling in love with the Communication Studies program at UNT because it was small and intimate. She noticed that the professors here were engaged in research and connected to students, which was extremely important to her. She also emphasized the importance of finding a program where professors took more time to educate and develop students in a collaborative learning environment. While attending UNT, she helped found the North Texas Leadership Training Group, as well as being a part of the Student Government Association. She graduated from UNT in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and focused in Interpersonal/Organizational Communication.
Bracy attended graduate school at Texas State University in San Marcos and graduated with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies with a concentration in Organizational Communication. She decided to get her Masters degree at a university without a PhD program because it allowed for undergraduate and graduate students to have more leadership roles and create closer connections with professors.
After graduation, Bracy worked in a variety of unique jobs including global sales, consulting, non-profit work, leadership development and executive coaching, and marketing. She stated, "One thing about this degree is that there are so many doors you can go through." What has been beneficial to her is the variety of career paths she has been able to explore with her Communication Studies degree. In fact, she jokes that her career went full circle, where she started and will end her career is working in sales. Currently, Bracy works to increase sales, operations, and marketing effectiveness and focuses on organizational development where she looks at current processes in their practice and helps with improvement. She switched between non-profit and for profit work because of the differences in pay, company culture, and company structure. When someone is looking for a career, Bracy says to, "Find an environment that speaks to your heart. The only way you'll find it out is by trying it." She has certainly found a variety of careers that spoke to her heart, but sales and working with people stood out the most for her.
Bracy states that her degree impacted her future career opportunities. She believes, "If you stay in this line of work, you'll think back one day and say, 'I can't believe that I was studying this at my age!' Don't underestimate the impact of what you're studying." All of the information she learned during her undergraduate and graduate careers prepared her for life outside of school and in a variety of different career paths. Bracy stated, "Not a week goes by when I don't think about my undergraduate or graduate program. People in the current workplace are struggling with things that we learned in Speech and COMM 1010, and the soft skills that Communication Studies majors focus in have a huge impact on your career."
When asked to share some advice for current Communication Studies majors she states, "Learn everything that you can. We learn so much about theory, but we need to take the time to reflect and apply it and think about how your learning applies to the real world. When listening to debates, think about why one individual is more persuasive than the other. Try to find nuggets in life experiences and utilize what you have learned. Also, pay attention to empirical studies and information, it is becoming increasingly important in the non-profit and for-profit sectors."
Thank you so much Shari for taking the time to speak with us. We hope that you stop by soon and speak to our students!
-By Taylor Bell