By Carissa Brzezinski (@CJBrzezinski)
Dr. Kristine Nicolini joined the journalism department this year as an assistant professor in public relations. She primarily teaches upper-level courses within the public relations major. These courses include: Principles of Public Relations, Public Relations Techniques, Research in Strategic Communication, Case Studies in Public Relations, and Public Relations Campaigns.
- What was your professional experience before taking this position?
I have over 12 years of professional experience in public relations, strategic marketing, and corporate communication. I was fortunate to have many diverse opportunities in my career including shaping the marketing and strategic communication initiatives of Children’s Health System, Rockwell Automation, Bridgestone Firestone, Boys & Girls Club and St. Francis Xavier Educational System.
- What encouraged you to transition from a working professional to an educator?
During my career I have had two consistent passions, public relations and education. While working as a PR professional, I also taught one or two public relations courses at nearby universities. Five years ago, the chair of my department encouraged me to pursue my doctorate so I could teach at a university. I have always loved being in the classroom because of the unique ability one has to help students develop and grow. One of the best parts of my job is working with students and helping them achieve their goals. Even though I have transitioned into academia as my full-time role, I still work with organizations to help them achieve their communication goals through my consulting work.
- What is your favorite thing about the journalism department?
I love the dynamic, collaborative interaction between the faculty and students. Students are actively engaged and motivated to get the most out of their educational experience and this makes the department a vibrant, energetic and continuously evolving environment.
- What skills do you suggest students who want to go into journalism or public relations work on honing the most when they’re in school?
One of the most valuable skills students can possess as they transition into the job market is the ability to critically assess a situation and strategically formulate a plan of action. This skill takes time to develop but makes the difference between a mediocre communication professional and a cutting-edge leader in the field. I stress the importance of taking time to think through all aspects of the problem before trying to come up with a viable solution.
- What was the last book you read?
Besides academic textbooks and research methods books, the last book I read was Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline. Her books have so many plot twists they keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last sentence.
- What is your favorite family tradition?
One of my favorite family traditions is spending time at our cottage in Winneconne, WI. My grandfather built the cottage when my mom was little and we have spent many days there boating, fishing, and spending time together with my extended family. I love knowing my kids are having those same experiences and making lifelong memories.
- What is your next skill to master?
One of the aspects of public relations that I enjoy the most is the ever-changing nature of the field. I am continuously seeking new knowledge related to how technology impacts how PR professionals do their work. Additionally, I am particularly interested in how meta-data influences major public relations decisions related to crisis communication. I am learning the different ways researchers are utilizing meta-data as a tool to uncover these trends.
- What is one thing you couldn’t go a day without?
Starbucks!!! I am addicted to their Grande Iced Caramel Macchiato and their oatmeal.