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(L-R): Lauren Joseph, Maggie McCauley and Caite Miller in the Center for Media Innovation

Alumni from the Class of 2017 spoke to students about their careers in special event planning — the good, the bad and the unexpected — as part of the School of Communication's Distinguished Lectureship Series April 3 in the Center for Media Innovation. Panelists included:

"These types of events give insight on what to expect after graduation," said Marina Nolla, a senior public relations and advertising major from Woodland Hills High School in Churchill, Pa. "It was inspiring to hear from recent graduates who are successful in their fields."

The alumni covered a variety of topics with students, including how they landed their jobs, the kinds of special events they plan, what makes an event successful, among others.

"If you want to plan events, go to them to see what you like/don't like," said McCauley. "I wrote about special events for Whirl Magazine during college, and attending so many events has made me an even better event planner."

"Working in special events is a really fun job, but you never know what's going to happen," Joseph said. "It's your job to get it all done at the end of the day and make sure no one noticed if a crisis may have happened during it."

When asked what skills/personality traits are helpful when planning special events, the panelists agreed that attention to detail, organization, communication and flexibility are most important.

Another piece of advice was the value of networking during and after college. 

"Networking is key," said Miller. "Get yourself out there, know everyone you possibly can and connect with people who work for other companies. Growing your network can only help you in your career."

"Maggie, Caite and Lauren did an excellent job giving advice to students who may want to further their careers in event planning," said Courtney List, a senior public relations and advertising major from Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport, Pa. "They encouraged us to get involved after college, making me realize that networking and job searching does not stop once you land a job."

Photo Gallery

What's so Special about Special Events?

Photos by Nick Koehler, sophomore photography major

More About: Redbank Valley High School, success story, alumni, Pittsburgh CAPA, School of Communication, Chartiers Valley High School, Woodland Hills High School, public relations and advertising, Center for Media Innovation