By day, Dave Ellis is behind the camera as a multimedia producer at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University.
By night, he’s behind the mic as the public address announcer for Lansing Ignite – Michigan’s only professional soccer team.
And in the free, in-between moments of his jobs, Ellis is in front of a screen or a book as a student in the Strategic Communication Master’s Program at MSU.
“I’m the kind of person where inertia is my worst enemy," he said. "If I’ve got down time, that’s bad… I love having a full schedule.”
Ellis is halfway through his MSU StratCom degree, and in his 21st year working at MSU.
Whether it’s filming the research behind creating a sustainable farming future for his job at MSU or being brief and on-brand during his PA job for Lansing Ignite, Ellis is finding new and different ways to communicate.
“My day job has really been benefitting from what I’ve learned already in just 15 credits,” he said. “To be able to walk into meeting now, I can be brief, I can be to the point, and I can say, ‘This is where things are moving right now, guys, and this is the way we need to attack this.’”
While the MSU StratCom is an obvious complement to Ellis' work as a multimedia coordinator, its connection to his work as a PA announcer is more subtle – but just as important.
"This might not be the most obvious way to use this degree, but I've got thousands of people hanging on every word, and I only get so many places that I can jump in," he said, about the fast-moving action that unfolds before him each home soccer game. "This organization is all about being on point with your message and getting it across quickly.
"[The fans are] in the stadium for two hours; the PA job is a big part of that because that's the voice that they're going to hear walking into the stadium... that script, and going through that – it's a big deal."
Ellis said earning his MSU StratCom degree has unexpected applications that extend beyond the classroom or workplace.
“I think that’s the big thing with this degree: the overt way you’re going about this, and what you want to use it for – that’s not the only way you can use it," he said. "You will learn things, just in everyday life, [that will] help you out when talking to people, making those interpersonal relationships – those kinds of things, those are the skills you can use, that you’re learning with this degree program.”