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Keeping up with Drury's Department of Communication

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Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Weaverling ’05


Nicole (Dunning) Weaverling proves the path forward doesn’t always require a plan

By McKensie Hodges, junior advertising and public relations major

Are you a freshman, sophomore, or even junior who is undecided on a major?  Nicole Weaverling ’05 doesn’t think this is a terrible problem. In fact, being undecided should be viewed as an opportunity to network and develop your personal brand.

Nicole came to Drury with aspirations of working in public relations and was not sure about much else.  “I was really focused in on what was going on around me in the college world.” While at Drury, she participated on the Speech and Debate team where she spent many long nights of running lines and working on stage prep with the team’s coach, Dr. Curt Gilstrap. During her senior year she joined AD Team and served as the Research Director on the Yahoo! campaign. As is the case with many communication students, Shewmaker became her home away from home.

As the late study nights, 3 a.m. coffee runs, and endless papers came to an end after four years in college, Nicole prepared herself for graduation day. She was not exactly sure of where she was going to go after walking across the stage to receive her diploma. This was an unsettling reality.

Nicole decided the best move she could make was to pack her bags and return home to live at her grandmother’s house in Texas to regroup, rest, and take the initiative to get her name out there.

“The first few years were rough.  If you don’t have experience, you can’t get experience.”

She accepted a job at the Midland Reporter in advertising and sales. From there Nicole worked a few different jobs in graphic design and communication and eventually became a stay at home mom in 2011, after giving birth to her son Eli. While working at home, Nicole discovered her love of cake decorating and party planning and ran her own business for a while.

Her true professional calling came during the oil boom when she decided it was time to dust off her high heels and dress pants and hit the business world. A connection helped her getweaverling a job at the Midland Chamber of Commerce as a public relations and communications assistant, a position she currently holds. This role allows Nicole to perform a variety of PR activities, including writing press releases and organizing events for the Chamber. This career is a perfect fit with her skills and interest.

Nicole is happy to reside in her home state of Texas. In 2008 she married Dirk and they started a life together in Midland, Texas, home of former President George W. Bush. Midland is the size of a community where Nicole’s husband has actually had the opportunity to meet the former president.

Now that Nicole has launched her career in public relations, she fully understands the importance of professional networks. Nicole’s best advice for students? “Start networking while you’re in college.” As Nicole story proves, you never know how a connection might shape your career path. Students, you’re encouraged to make a connection with Nicole on LinkedIn —  especially if you are undecided.


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In their words: What is means to experience AD Team

It’s not easy to create an integrated communications plan for a national brand, but that’s exactly what AD Team did during the spring 2014 semester. Mary Kay was the sponsor for this year’s AAF National Student Advertising Competition.

The 27-member team traveled to Kansas City on April 10-11 to pitch its 26-page plans book to a panel judges at the District 9 event. While Drury did not win the district title, the team was recognized with the Best Business Ingenuity Award for its recommendations on how to improve the starter kit for new independent beauty consultants.

AD Team is demanding. It involves in-depth collaboration with peers, late nights pouring over research insights, and endless revisions to copy and creative ideas.  So what do students gain from the experience?

AD Team is important because it gets you out of your comfort zone. It teaches you to never settle for a ‘ok’ idea or even a ‘good’ idea, and it teaches you how to work on a team with people you have probably never had the chance to work with.  This is one of the best experiences I have had at Drury and I would urge any student that is even a remotely interested in AD Team to seek out a current member and hear what it’s all about. Carolyn Adams, Marketing and Management 

It was an incredible experience that allowed me to pull together and apply all of the skills my professors have sought so hard to teach and develop within me. In the end I made great friends and memories, all while gaining hands on experience applicable to the real world.  Sara Hammond, Advertising and Public Relations

ricardo on floor

AD Team was the defining experience of my collegiate years. Not only was it a blast, it was the thing that made me pick Ad/PR as a major.  Evan Melgren, Advertising and Public Relations

AD Team is a phenomenal time of growth! I learned so much about everything related to creating and being confident in your ad campaign. And it’s a bonding experience like no other. If you’re considering adding Ad Team to your schedule, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Emelia Enquist, Advertising and Public Relations

ad group

The wonderful thing about AD Team is that students from many different disciplines have the opportunity to work together, much like in an actual agency. My experience with AD Team was both professionally and personally beneficial.  Sheila Haskins, Advertising and Public Relations

I learned so much over the past 2 years doing ad team, not only the ins and outs of how to create a great campaign from start to finish, but also the amazing people I’ve gotten to work with. It’s been an amazing learning experience both working with and helping to lead such a multidisciplinary group.  Ricardo Moreno, Visual Communication

Perhaps Nick McCarthy sums it up best:
“AD Team is good

Want to learn more about AD Team, AAF and AD/PR Club? Check out these short videos by senior videographer Cameron Boushehri:
Drury AD Team – Here’s what it’s all about

Drury AD Team – Preparing for the NSAC

Contact Dr. Regina Waters, faculty advisor,