Olivia Lason ‘17/M.A. ‘19
A member of the fourth graduating class of Graduate Studies within the College of Communication and the Arts, Olivia Lason called Seton Hall University her "home" for the past five years. She entered the University as an undergraduate in fall 2014 and in 2019 she graduated with a Master of Arts in Public Relations. During her time at the University, she was a member of the College community as an undergraduate and graduate student, a graduate assistant (GA), and a steward of the College's Graduate Student Association.
Lason was always interested in Public Relations and once she noticed a PR-focused graduate assistantship was available within the Office of the Dean, she applied immediately with hopes of securing the position. She shared that embarking on a journey to a master's degree was daunting and recalls checking her planner multiple times prior to beginning her classes. She describes her first week as a graduate student and a graduate assistant as exciting, nerve-racking, and thrilling all at the same time.
On her first day as a GA, she remembers the office being a warm and welcoming environment. "The administrators and other graduate assistants were eager to answer my questions and help me with anything," she explained. "That first day experience was the first of many more to come over my two years working with the College, but it made me greatly appreciate the feeling of 'family' that Dean Deirdre Yates continues to cultivate."
During her first semester, Lason was selected into a leadership role within the Communication and the Arts Graduate Student Association (CAGSA). As a steward, she helped plan graduate student-focused events and coordinated outreach with the students and faculty through email. This allowed her to meet other students across the other three graduate programs within the College.
Lason also shared that her coursework supported her roles as both a GA and in the CAGSA. She shared that one of her assignments for a Public Relations Strategy and Planning course was to create a public relations campaign. That same semester, the College launched its first ever Sports Media roundtable discussion, which brought industry professionals to campus to speak about trending topics in the sports communication field. To help promote the event and generate interest and registrants, she worked closely with the College's Executive Director of Strategy and Communications to raise awareness through a series of outreach tactics. As a result, she bridged her position as a GA and a student by applying classroom seminars directly into a multi-tactical strategic marketing campaign for the event.
Lason is currently an Assistant Account Executive at Green Room Communications where she conducts and packages traditional media, social media and creates thematic research audits to inform project strategy and approaches. She credits the research skills refined through her M.A. program with preparing her for the challenges of her current position.
Reflecting on her experience as a student and GA, Lason explains, "Once I began to draw parallels, the duality of being a student and a graduate assistant allowed me to grow and mature into a seasoned professional."
For those beginning their journey as graduate student or contemplating graduate school, she recommends taking advantage of every opportunity possible. "Being a student and maintaining a job or position on campus or off campus will require you to manage your time efficiently." In relation to securing an assistantship, she shared that, "There are always ways that your graduate assistantship can complement your degree (and vice versa). You have to keep an eye out for those intersectional opportunities."
Reflecting on her undergraduate experience, Olivia shares that she, "knew the faculty truly cared about their students. If students invested the time, commitment, and dedication to better advance themselves, the faculty responded with double the enthusiasm and eagerness to help."
Lason chose to pursue her graduate degree immediately after her undergraduate studies because she knew she was not ready to halt her learning and wanted continued growth. The knowledge that she gained from her classes, interactions with her classmates, conversations with faculty members and support from the Office of the Dean has contributed to her maturing as a Public Relations professional who is ready to take on the world and make a difference. She shares that "although I had to leave my CommArts family and my second home, my experience will never be forgotten."
The College of Communication and the Arts currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered.