Success Stories

Alum Highlight: Shelby Giles

This much is self-evident: If you complete Georgetown’s Public Relations & Corporate Communications master’s degree, you will learn a great deal about PR and corporate communications. That, after all, is what the name implies.

But ask recent graduate Shelby Giles about her experience in the program, and she’ll say that her education went beyond simply acquiring expertise—way beyond.

“Georgetown doesn’t look at communications as a commodity,” Giles says. “It really teaches that you are an individual contributor to a particular team or organization.”

Helping people find their strengths—as well as how best to use them in the service of others—is central to Georgetown’s Jesuit philosophy, and it is infused in the communications programs as well. One of Giles’s favorite classes was Cause Consulting, in which students work collaboratively on communications plans with social impact clients, such as nonprofits and socially responsible businesses.

“There’s this vein of cause-oriented work running throughout the program,” Giles said. “That’s one of the reasons I decided to go to Georgetown. I wanted a school that aligns with my personal values.”

In June of 2016, Giles started a job that also aligns with her values. As an Account Supervisor for Vanguard Communications in Washington, D.C., she is working with communities and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop educational materials and other resources that address underage drinking.

It’s a position that’s right in line with the philosophy of her graduate program.

At Georgetown, faculty members “really went beyond the level of instruction that I would have expected,” Giles said. “They were career and life advisors, and I really appreciate that.”

Alum Highlight: Dyanne Smith

About the only thing Dyanne Smith can’t do at her incredibly multifaceted job with Metro Media Marketing is, well, tell you in a few words just what she does.

“I try to put everything into one great sentence, and I can’t,” she says.

Smith plans the marketing strategy for the company and promotes its flagship publication, Northern Virginia Magazine, on radio, television, and social media. She arranges partnerships and organizes events that showcase the magazine and its advertisers. And she heads marketing efforts for two related ventures: Specialicious, a daily deals site for Northern Virginia; and CityFancy, a social dining app that helps diners find restaurants that match their tastes.

Look at all the people she interacts with in a typical day and you might think she’s a born extravert, but that’s not the case, says Smith, a 2012 graduate of the master’s in Public Relations & Corporate Communications. In fact, she did a lot of that work in developing those skills at Georgetown.

The PR program’s curriculum is hands-on and flexible, reflecting a profession that is constantly moving forward. Students are taught by instructors who are working in the field. And they learn to develop their strengths in ways that will help them to both advance their careers and give back to their organizations and the profession itself.

“I saw myself evolve on a personal and professional level,” Smith said. “It pushed me to come out of my shell and confidently pursue larger career opportunities, specifically my first role in management.”

Smith had many mentors at Georgetown, so it’s not surprising that she’s become a mentor herself at work. It’s one way she’s helping to spread the program’s influence beyond the classroom.

“I always tell people it was the best decision I ever made.”


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