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MSJ student lands job promoting West Virginia

Lily Hicks sitting outside

Managing multiple responsibilities is often the nature of being a student. Reed College of Media Journalism graduate student Lily Hicks has embraced this philosophy more than most by accepting a full-time job as the marketing manager for the West Virginia Department of Commerce while pursuing her degree.  

“It’s always neat at the end of a week to be able to look back on all the tasks I’ve completed in just a few short days,” said Hicks. “The agency within the Department of Commerce that I work for went fully remote during the pandemic and decided to stay that way, so that was a huge factor why I decided to apply. I am able to stay in Morgantown and continue my education as well as work.”

Throughout her time at the Reed College of Media, Hicks has worked multiple jobs and rarely turns down an opportunity for educational enrichment or career advancement. She completed her undergraduate degree in public relations under the guidance of Geah Pressgrove, associate professor and chair of the College’s advertising and public relations program, who recognized this quality in her. 

“Lily is not just a star student, she’s also excellent at managing multiple responsibilities,” Pressgrove said. “I didn’t want her to miss this opportunity since it fit her skill set so perfectly, so I encouraged her to apply. I’m confident she’ll be successful.”

As the WV Department of Commerce marketing manager, Hicks works with specific agencies within state government on media releases, social media posts, feature stories and website content. She performs most of this work remotely but makes monthly trips to Charleston, West Virginia, to meet with her team.

“It’s something new every day, and it’s so exciting to be able to help the state I grew up in be seen by others who may not know how special it is,” said Hicks. “I love what I’m doing so much.”

Hicks is also finding that many components of her thesis research can be applied to this new job. During her undergraduate studies, Hicks discovered a passion for communication ethics and decided to pursue a master’s degree to hone knowledge and skills in that area.

The core values of ethical communication – telling the truth and being a fair and moral communicator – have informed how and what she communicates to her fellow West Virginians.

“With the current political climate, a lot of people don't trust the media or the government,” Hicks said. “I think it's my job to make people aware of the good things going on, like businesses coming to the state and state parks being open.”

Hicks expects to graduate with her master’s degree in May 2021 and continue to live in Morgantown while working remotely.

“The most important part of the Reed College is its faculty. I would not be where I am today without their support,” said Hicks.