Catching Up With:
Alexis Lucente – Graduate Student, Middlebury College (Italy)
Communications Graduate, Class of 2014
Alexis graduated from Molloy College with a degree in Communications specializing in the professional concentration. When originally transferring from Hofstra University, Alexis chose Fine Arts as her major, but after taking a professional communications course with Dr. Kelly, it changed her mind and career goals! She also had two minors in other areas of study, Studio Art and Italian Studies. “I did not want to completely abandon my creative roots and the importance of learning a second language was highlighted in many of my communications classes. Also, as a very-merry Italian-American it only seemed right that I pursue the language as my second minor!
When Alexis came to Molloy, she had a close friend in the Fine Arts program who suggested that she would be a good fit because she has always been really creative, and had always taken formal art classes in and outside of high school; however, after the first few semesters as a Fine Arts student, it made her realize that maybe her creativity was better suited for a different environment. “I had never heard of the major “communications” before; but I took my first COM course with Dr. Kelly called Intercultural Communication and loved it so much I decided to change majors. Throughout my COM career, many of the classes helped me express my creativity in a way that I enjoyed and benefitted from the most.” Several of those courses included Advertising, PR Writing, and Advanced Public Relations.
Beginning her journey in the program, Alexis’ goals was to get familiarized with the major and decide which specialization she wanted to pursue. She felt it was important to choose the right path, whether it was professional or media (new media had not been installed yet at the time). The professional track outlined potential careers that she thought her skills would lend themselves best to, so she ultimately decided to take that track. “Along the way, my goals developed into seeing where my creativity flourished best and accordingly to what kind of communications job I would be most successful at afterwards.” Alexis added, “I loved all of my public relations courses with Professor D’Aloisio! They were some of the most professionally useful courses and enjoyable courses I took throughout my academic career.”
In looking back at her time in the communications program, one of her favorite memories was taking Public Speaking with Lynn Kennedy. Alexis found the course to be wonderful and it helped her develop valuable speaking skills for various occasions that continue to help her today in her education and career. “Spending time with the students in my particular class, as one of my first COM courses, and with Professor Kennedy was truly enlightening. We also had a wonderfully varied group of students from all different backgrounds and ages. I loved giving, hearing, and preparing all of the speeches we did that year! ”
Alexis also remembers advice Dr. Janice Kelly gave to her, which coincides with another memory. While taking the course, Interpersonal Communications, Dr. Kelly went on one of her famous “tirades” about what it takes to stand out as a young professional in today’s job market. Janice stated, “Seriously, what professional organizations do you belong to? The Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts doesn’t count!” Those comments really stuck with Alexis and she immediately started researching professional organizations geared towards her interests. “I am very fond of my cultural roots as a second generation Italian-American. In my research, I came upon a group specifically called The National Organization of Italian American Women (NOIAW), and membership was free for undergraduate students! Joining NOIAW was literally one of the most profound, life-changing decisions I ever made, all thanks to Dr. Kelly.”
Upon joining the organization and scouring their website, Alexis found out that they offered an all-inclusive trip to Italy for undergraduate female students to engage in a special tour of Rome administered by the organization itself and Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nine applicants would be selected that May, and she actually was one of them. Alexis was able to go to Rome for free and meet inspirational women who forged their own career in often-male dominated job forces. Alexis added, “I even had coffee and pastries on the roof of the Fendi building with founder Carla Fendi herself.” In 2012, NOIAW hired Alexis to be the Programs & Events Assistant. She worked for them for one year creating invitations for their various cultural events, coordinating the events themselves, maintaining their website and email accounts, in addition to many other administrative responsibilities. “It was a perfect job for me and I definitely would not have had that opportunity if I had not already been an active, networking member of the organization prior to that year.
Currently, she is in Florence, Italy finishing her masters degree in Italian Language & Culture through Middlebury College, an American university known specifically for their intense language programs. “My heritage is a huge part of my life and I pursued this masters degree because I wanted to pair my passion for my culture to my skills in the realm of communications in order to eventually work for a major Italian brand or any sort of Italian company!” This year her major entailed surviving in a culture foreign to your own and immersing yourself fully in Italian language. All of the courses, assignments, tests, and papers Alexis wrote were in Italian. She studied everything from the European Union to Religious Iconography and Iconology. “Although my coursework was not entirely relevant to my communications studies before; I did absolutely benefit from my senior thesis this year because I actually continued my research and went on to continue my topic and was able to earn two credits towards my masters degree because of the thesis I wrote with Dr. Pribram (Thank you again- this time I didn’t make up any words!)”
There are many skills Alexis learned at Molloy College that continue to benefit her in graduate school as she continues her studies. The most useful skills she mentioned she learned in class that have helped her with graduate coursework is probably writing skills gained throughout many of the COM courses and also her seemingly innate sociability in class! Alexis stated, “The communications program at Molloy really encouraged students to participate in class and had such an open environment within the classes with all the teachers that talking in class and participating was very easy. Even though my participation this year is in a language I’m not entirely comfortable with yet, the confidence I gained during the COM program definitely helped me shake my fears and participate actively as well as give some of the best presentations I’ve ever given- including one for my final thesis!”
For everyone who takes their first communications course, Alexis advises students to not entice Dr. Kelly until she’s had her coffee! In all seriousness, she wants students to participate and be open to the idea that even though you may not understand some of the concepts completely at the beginning, that if you continue, they will become second-nature and in turn a great set of skills for life, personally and professionally. For students graduating, Alexis wants new alumni to never be afraid to explore outside your comfort zone and to network! “Networking is so important. I can’t begin to stress the importance of networking and being part of professional communities. It leads to such amazing opportunities. I encourage everyone to do a Google search of non-profit organizations, which pertain to their interest and JOIN one! NOW! Don’t wait! You could be missing out on a free trip to Italy, or to Ireland, Africa, and Costa Rica- anywhere! But you won’t know until you seek out these opportunities!”
Looking into the future, her goals for the future is to continue traveling! She wants to see as much of Italy and Europe as she can before its time to rejoin society in the United States. “I ultimately hope to have a career that incorporates my passion for Italian language & culture with a flair of communications.”