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Meet B.A. Alumna and Yelp Community Manager Rachel Carlson

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rachel Carlson received her B.A. in journalism from Point Park in 2004. Photo | Chris Rolinson



Meet Rachel Carlson

Job title: Pittsburgh Community Manager
Employer:
Yelp
Degree earned:
Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a concentration in broadcasting
Graduation year:
2004
Hobbies/interests:
Volunteering at the Animal Rescue League, going to see performances in the city's Cultural District, finding the most delicious restaurants in Pittsburgh, bargain shopping and watching Walking Dead
Hometown:
Erie, Pa.
Now living in:
Dormont, Pa.

How has your B.A. degree helped you in your career?

At Point Park, I loved that I was encouraged to get out into the field and obtain an internship. I felt like the whole program was about how you can learn through hands-on experience rather than sitting down and test taking all day or listening to a lecture. Internships were awesome because you met so many people who could potentially help you with your career. The best compliment I received was earlier this year when I ran into an old internship advisor from my very first internship at Clear Channel. He came over to say hello because he had recognized me. I did that internship almost 10 years ago. That's the best compliment I could receive because I somehow made an impression on him.

What is a typical day like at Yelp?

It sounds cliché, but no day is the same. Some days I'm working on a big event, like the upcoming non-profit fair I'm co-hosting with the Pittsburgh Public Theater called Yelp Helps, or meeting with a local business owner to plan my monthly Elite Events (events for the really active users on Yelp). Other days I'm setting up marketing sponsorships with local organizations hosting large events around the city or sitting at home or at my favorite coffee shop researching and writing the Weekly Yelp. My job is to connect the local community with all the fantastic local businesses we have in Pittsburgh.

What was one of your favorite experiences at Point Park?

Definitely WPPJ. I spent a lot of time there not only on the radio, but hanging out with friends and discovering some really good music. Going to Point Park also made me fall in love with Pittsburgh. The first time I attended the back to school Gateway Clipper cruise I remember being amazed at how beautiful the city was and excited to be living in the center of it all.

What advice do you have for prospective students considering Point Park?

Get involved with everything in high school to find out what you like and maybe don't like. Research the different areas of the concentration you're interested in. Visit the school, talk to faculty and alumni — don't be scared, most would be happy to offer advice.

Anything else you would like to add?

Don't give up on your dreams. I spent almost four years after graduation doing lots of part-time jobs. When I got my first professional full-time job, I knew all that hard work paid off. And the surprising thing, I wouldn't change any of it. Those experiences made me a better person and gave me skills I still use to this day.

Speaking as a person who knows Pittsburgh pretty well now, I'd tell current students to get out there and explore everything the city has to offer. There's so much to offer students these days. From discounts to all the Cultural District shows, to art galleries, restaurants and even an ice skating rink, it's an exciting time to be living in Pittsburgh and the time is right to take advantage of that.

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