Laura Patriquin knew from the time she earned her bachelor’s degree that she would one day pursue a master’s, but it wasn’t until she learned of KU’s Master of Science in Journalism in Integrated Marketing Communications that Patriquin knew she’d found the right program. Now a graduate of the program, the 30-year-old Maine native plans to employ the knowledge and leadership skills she’s gleaned at KU to form a marketing consulting group that serves local small businesses.
“I feel like my education here has truly helped me grow as a person and professional,” Patriquin said. “Before, I tended to focus on simpler, one-off tasks, and now I’ve learned to focus on the bigger picture and a higher-level strategy.”
Using KU’s "Vlogging, Blogging and Podcasting" class, Patriquin also launched her own podcast, Drink KC, which discusses KC breweries, distilleries and wineries. Read more about her KU journalism experience!
Q: What is a typical day in your life like?
A: I start out with coffee – most important meal of the day – then get right on my laptop. I’ve been working from home for my job since COVID hit. After work, I usually stay pretty busy, either knocking out some homework, practicing my bass or working on my podcast, Drink KC.
Q: What makes you the happiest?
A: I’m at my happiest when I’m not nailed down to one thing. My interests evolve; some weeks I get on a baking kick, other times I get super interested in a science topic. I really like the variety. As far as something that always makes me happy, I’m a big fan of exploring downtown Kansas City and finding new places I haven’t been before.
Q: What motivates you?
A: There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a job well-done, and I’m always looking to make things – a song, a story, a project – that I can be proud of. That feeling of accomplishment helps me stay motivated, even when things get a little crazy.
Q: Why did you choose KU and the Edwards Campus?
A: I’d had a general notion that I wanted to get my master’s degree from the time I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. My mom had gotten hers, and I’d always wanted to follow in her footsteps. But as I looked around at master’s degrees, it seemed like there was this huge focus on MBAs, and that’s not the direction I wanted to go. When I finally came across the integrated marketing communications program, a lightbulb went off. This was exactly what I’d been looking for.
Q: How did KUEC meet your personal and/or academic needs?
A: KUEC is perfect because it offers small class sizes and personal attention as well as high-level, professional resources and instruction.
Q: How has your KU degree prepared you for the future?
A: KU has gone far beyond just giving me a ton of great information; I feel like my education here has truly helped me grow as a person and professional. I’ve learned how to be an effective leader, when I had always previously preferred to work independently. Before, I tended to focus on simpler, one-off tasks, and now I’ve learned to focus on the bigger picture and a higher-level strategy.
Q: What was the most difficult part of earning your college degree and how did you overcome it?
A: I think I originally underestimated the time and mental commitment it would take. It’s easy to think, “One or two nights of class a week isn’t bad,” but especially with higher-level classes near the end, a class or two begins to feel a little like a second job. It’s been important for me to continue to remind myself that the investment is worth it, and that pushing through will lead to great things for my future, both professionally and my own personal growth.
Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?
A: The proudest accomplishment of my education, and it’s up there with the proudest of my entire life, has been successfully completing our capstone project, where our group of eight conducted research, created a strategic marketing plan and presented to the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC). I think it’s the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. Putting out such a professional project together as a team was a very proud achievement.
Q: What is your favorite memory of your time at KUEC?
A: After our presentation for Capstone, our group “got together” (virtually, due to COVID) to debrief, and it was so fulfilling to see the strong connection between our team members and amazing professor, Angela Hendershot. We all thanked each other for all the hard work put in to make something we were all proud of, because it took everyone’s effort to make it happen. While I’ve made many great connections throughout my time at KUEC, I hope we’re all able to keep in touch and admire each other’s careers as they continue to grow.
Q: What are your long-term career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
A: My next big goal is to form my own marketing consulting group to serve small businesses. Toward that end, I’m building my knowledge of local small businesses and their needs. I’m also working on networking with the many talented professionals in the area, so that when it’s time to take that entrepreneurial leap, I’ll have some great resources at the ready.
Q: What advice would you give others who are thinking of earning a degree, whether a first-time bachelor’s, a second bachelor’s or a master’s?
A: Never be afraid to ask for help when you need it, in or outside of school. Reach out to your support network when you start to consider taking on a degree. There are times where it will be very tough, and it helps a lot if you have people in your corner who are cheering you on and helping keep you accountable. Plus, those people can share in your success when you do make it through!
Learn more about the Master of Science in Journalism in Integrated Marketing Communications at KU Edwards Campus.