Student Spotlight with Kelsey Butcher ’20

A world traveler with a three-legged cat named Luke Skywalker, Kelsey Butcher is anything but typical. Currently enrolled in the Department of Communication’s master’s degree program, Kelsey looks forward to closing out her academic career with graduation this semester. Kelsey first came to the College of Charleston as an undergraduate during her sophomore year, primarily for the smaller class size and the valuable connections between students and professors that she had heard about. She credits the continued support of her classmates and professors to her success today. “The personal decision to transfer here was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Kelsey says, “I have grown a huge network of friends and professors that still keep in touch with me today.” She keeps up with events going on around campus and credits the CofC community for helping her grow to the best of her ability. 

During her undergraduate studies at CofC, Kelsey majored in marketing with a minor in hospitality and tourism management. She recalled a time while completing a marketing class where she got to run her own simulation of a bicycle business through a website her teacher set up. During our conversation, Kelsey mentioned that she was a hands-on learner and that her marketing class allowed her to work firsthand with real-world experience and develop skills she continues to use today. These kinds of applicable classes sparked her interest towards continuing at CofC with a master’s degree in communication. 

Kelsey said she decided to attend graduate school when she talked with a trusted communication professor, Dr. Amanda Ruth-McSwain. Kelsey recalled Dr. Ruth’s best piece of advice was to not go to graduate school just because you want to stay in school or to simply have a master’s degree. After reflecting on this advice, Kelsey decided that she wanted to go to graduate school for more reasons than the title. She decided to expand her education and applicable skills by topping off her undergraduate marketing studies with master’s work in communication. 

She entered the MCOM program during a unique transitional period. Completing a master’s degree in communication at the College used to be a two-year classroom experience, but in 2019 the program evolved into a one-year fully online commitment. 

Kelsey said, “The program’s transition [online] has not interfered with my class requirements or future plans at all.” She noted how accommodating the graduate program, led by director Dr. Michael Lee, has been for her graduate cohort when it comes to studying abroad and job commitments throughout their graduate experiences. For example, Kelsey mentioned her interest in being a part-time adjunct lecturer in addition to her post-graduation full-time job. She was able to explore this interest through a graduate pedagogy course taken abroad with the department on a faculty-led, full semester trip to Florence, Italy. (The pedagogy course focuses on the teaching profession and includes serving as a teaching assistant.) Through this experience, she actively observed the undergraduate communication courses offered in Florence, and developed her own skills to lead a college class.  

Locally, Kelsey has continued to be involved with the Charleston community through various internships. As an undergraduate student, she worked as a front desk intern for Marriott on Johns Island, and then with the Kiawah Country Club as a management intern. She currently works for the Lou Hammond Group, a public relations firm located downtown on King Street, as a public relations marketing intern. Kelsey expressed how every day at the Lou Hammond Group is something different. While she regularly works with public relations software that helps the company compile media lists for their clients, her responsibilities can vary. Sometimes she is tasked with looking at magazine media kits and creating excel sheets of content from them. Other times she drafts pitch ideas for editorial content that the firm can then pitch to magazines for coverage for Lou Hammond Group’s clients. She emphasized how rewarding her internship tasks are when she sees the work being used successfully for the large firm. 

We asked Kelsey to share her plans for after finishing her master’s degree. She quickly responded with, “I graduate in May and am hoping to start a career in account management at an advertising/PR agency. Or, I would like to work for a fashion company inside its marketing department.” Kelsey’s specific interests in the communication field include advertising, branding strategy and communications, influencer marketing, strategic campaigns, and public relations. After reflecting on how a future job may take her to a new location, she concluded her thoughts by saying, “I hope to live and work somewhere other than Charleston, but I know that my fond memories of graduation, Charleston Affair, and all of the connections I have made will lead me back to Charleston one day.” 

We wish you the best as you close out your graduate career, Kelsey! 

Interested in our one-year, fully online master’s degree in communication (MCOM)? Check out more information on the MCOM webpages here: 

About Catherine Flanders

Catherine Flanders is the Digital Content Assistant for the Department of Communication at the College of Charleston. She is a senior communication major, psychology minor, and is a member of the Martin Scholars Program.

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