A detour from pre-med to communication leads to a career as a social media manager
by Cathy Robinson
Jessica (Overend) Snider never imagined she would work at an ad agency after graduating from Drury University. In fact, she never expected she would be a communication major in college. Jessica’s story proves that sometimes life works out in unexpected ways.
Jessica entered Drury with aspirations of fulfilling pre-med requirements, but wound up earning a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations in 2011. The following year she entered Drury’s accelerated master’s degree program and earned a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications.
“It didn’t take me very long to realize that it (pre-med) wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy science as much as I used to and I don’t do blood, so I don’t really know what I was thinking.” Around the time she decided the sciences weren’t for her, she took an introduction to public speaking class with Dr. Waters. “It just really sparked my interest and allowed me to use a lot of my abilities and strong skills.”
During her time as a member of the Department of Communication, Jessica gained valuable experience through three nonprofit internships: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Developmental Center of the Ozarks.
In addition to her internships, Jessica got involved with AD Team during her senior year. Drury’s JC Penney campaign took third place, and she was grateful for the experience. “AD Team was huge for me. I was really glad I did that, especially since I didn’t have any internships at ad agencies.” But she also values the memories she made as part of the team. “All of our AD Team experiences were a lot of fun. It was a lot of late nights with people you enjoy.”
After graduation, Jessica was set on working for a nonprofit. “I wanted to do event planning and advertising for that kind of organization.” Her first job was as a Special Events Coordinator with Big Brothers Big Sisters, which had been one of her internships.
As much as she enjoyed her work in the nonprofit world, she began to look for different opportunities in the Kansas City area when her fiancé, Sam, took a job at the Federal Reserve Bank.
She now works at Intouch Solutions, which is a digital pharmaceutical marketing agency located in Overland Park, Kansas. Intouch won Medical Marketing & Media magazine’s “Agency of the Year” award for 2014. As a social media manager, Jessica works with various clients, manages patient communities, writes content for Facebook, blogs, and other social media properties, and manages budgets.
“I never saw myself working in an ad agency but it’s been the best career decision I’ve ever made and I really like it. It’s fast-paced and I get to learn new things and think on my feet.”
Jessica is now enjoying life in Kansas City with Sam, whom she dated at Drury and married in September 2013. They recently bought a house and keep busy with their two puppies, Elly and Stella. Jessica and Sam consider themselves “foodies” and love to travel together; they went to Bora Bora for their honeymoon.
Jessica has one final piece of advice for current communication students:
“Take as many internships as possible. I know everyone says that, but they really helped me get both of my jobs after college. Experience – you just can’t beat it.”