Hometown: Loveland, Colorado
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing
Activities: Student Veterans Organization publicist and member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, part-time Ancell Learning Commons tutor
INTERNSHIPS: Public relations internship in the university's PR Office for one semester
Honors and Awards: Dean's List every semester, Alpha Mu Alpha through the American Marketing Association, Marketing Department award
It's a long way from Colorado to Connecticut, and the path Dawna Denison took to attend Western Connecticut State University has been interesting. "The original idea to move to Connecticut came from watching 'Gilmore Girls,'" she says. "My husband was about to get out of the military, so we started researching the area. After looking at the different communities around the universities in Connecticut, we decided that the Danbury area was the community we most wanted to be in. We talked to WCSU's Veterans Affairs coordinator to learn more about the school, and determined that WestConn may be small, but it offered a lot of services that are commonly found in larger universities. We also felt that the smaller class sizes would provide a better learning environment than sitting in a lecture hall with hundreds of other students, as we had experienced for three semesters at Kansas State University."
Denison decided to major in marketing at Western because "Marketing has always been fascinating to me, but I didn't think I was creative enough to do it. As I worked through my core business classes, I discovered that there are so many different elements to marketing, and I don't have to be artistically inclined to be successful in this field."
As a new-to-the-area, nontraditional student, Denison was smart enough to develop a strong support system at Western. "Ancell Learning Commons Coordinator Elise Silkowski and Adjunct Professor of Marketing Bob Watson have been such wonderful mentors," she says. "As a nontraditional student and veteran, I sometimes would feel like a fish out of water. Both of these individuals were great about pulling me in and giving me pretty good advice about how to survive in this type of setting."
Asked what she will remember most about her Western experience, Denison says, "Working in the university's PR office is by far the most memorable experience for me. I am meeting new people and learning about events every day. My eyes have really been opened to how much the school really has to offer. I knew it offered a lot of services, but I never researched or engaged in any activities."
As graduation approaches, Denison says she has applied for a couple of jobs, and is looking into law school. "I am still open to whatever opportunities come my way."
Denison’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Get involved -- there is a lot to do here, and you will have professors who truly care about your growth and success. Take advantage of every opportunity you are given. Have fun, but adopt time-management skills early!"