Student Reflects on Atlanta Spring Break Field Experience Trip

By Junior Kayleigh Garrison, Journalism Student

Throughout my time at Michigan State University, I’ve taken numerous journalism classes. From editorial reporting to graphic design to broadcast journalism classes, I’ve learned a lot of valuable skills. However, nothing has taught me more than the field experience trip to Atlanta this past spring break.

I’ve heard about Michigan State University’s amazing alumni network for years. I saw it for myself in Atlanta when we experienced the utmost kindness from all of the alumni we met. Every person we met went out of their way to make us feel welcome and help us in any way they could. They weren’t required to meet us or invite us to tour their companies; they did it because they wanted to and they did it for free. This reminded me how powerful Spartan Nation is; it’s an incredible, exclusive community and this field experience trip made me realize how lucky I am to be a Spartan.

Numerous majors were represented on this trip. The amazing thing about all of the companies we visited was that they were so diverse in the sense that each of us could find something of interest no matter how different our majors were. Every company was so different from one another and I really appreciated that because it made me realize the multitude of jobs available and all of the amazing opportunities we have.

I enjoyed every company we visited but my favorite was Fox Sports. We spent the afternoon learning about all of the departments, meeting employees and touring the facility. Visiting Fox Sports was actually the turning point in my journalism career because it gave me hope for the future and sparked my interest in a new area of journalism. I remember leaving the company at the end of our visit, wearing my new Fox Sports hat, thinking, “I’m not taking this hat off until I get a job with this company.” Our host, Jeffrey Genthner (a Michigan State University alum), was so generous and made the experience so memorable. He treated us to an Atlanta Hawks game that night and we got to meet on-air talent, tour the facility and see the truck where the game was broadcast from; it was an experience I will never forget.

I also enjoyed the alumni mixer because we got to interact with alumni who hold various jobs throughout Atlanta. This was a great opportunity to network and I met a lot of great people I keep in touch with to this day.

Before leaving Detroit Metro Airport at the beginning of the week, I didn’t know anyone on the trip. When I left Atlanta at the end of the week, I had new friends, new LinkedIn connections and a new mentor in Liz Kubias, our chaperone.

I can speak for everyone when I express my gratitude for all of the donors who made this trip possible; we couldn’t have done it without you. I am also grateful for Meredith Jagutis who scheduled all of the site visits and for Dean Prabu David for meeting us in Atlanta.

This trip truly immersed us into the industry and exposed us to the opportunities available and the level of success we can achieve if we work hard; everyone we met is a testament to that, especially the Spartan alumni. I hope every student gets an opportunity to participate in a field experience trip because it gave me and my peers opportunities that our classes could never offer.

When I look back on my years as a student at Michigan State University, I will always remember the genuine people I met, the people who believed in me and the amazing opportunities I had.