Since graduating in the spring, Julissa Cañas Escobar ’19 has successfully pursued multiple opportunities in her field. The Communication Studies major is following her dreams of being a journalist through her work at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, while also dipping her toes into public relations with the City of Brookhaven, home to Oglethorpe.
In July, Cañas Escobar started as Public Engagement Specialist for the City of Brookhaven, concentrating on community outreach to the Latino community. This role includes translating city news and communications materials and connecting with local businesses to distribute them to the community. She also helps with event planning, graphic design, and social media management for the city.
According to Cañas Escobar, public relations and social media analytics courses with Dr. Kate Keib prepared her for the position. In fact, the Oglethorpe grad keeps her old notebooks from class with her at work every day.
“Oglethorpe was very good preparation for what I am doing now. My communications classes definitely prepared me and translated to the actual work in the field.”
“I always felt like journalism was a very important way to make sure there is justice and it is being upheld. The power of journalism is very important in keeping a healthy democracy.”
While working for Brookhaven, Cañas Escobar also later landed a post-grad internship with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in September, reporting on breaking news for the paper’s hyperlocal team on the City of Dunwoody beat. The aspiring journalist snagged the gig after making a direct connection with an AJC editor at an Oglethorpe on-campus event.
In this role, Cañas Escobar is writing several stories a day, mostly on topics related to crime, which has helped to grow her writing skills and prepared her for the next step in professional journalism.
“It really teaches you to be conscientious of what you’re actually writing and how you are portraying the information, and it is challenging—in a really good way.”
The former editor of the Stormy Petrel Newspaper credits her experience at that student organization, as well as her News Writing class with Dr. Seema Shrikhande and Dr. Keib’s Multimedia Journalism class, with teaching her how to effectively write online stories.
The recent grad sees her Oglethorpe experience as integral to helping to connect a passion for the community and aspiration for journalism with a rising career in communications.