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Cronkite grad set to dive headfirst into industry

Andrew Columbro has already secured a job with Scottsdale-based public relations, marketing agency

Student's portrait in cap and gown
May 02, 2022

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

Ultimately, it was the stellar reputation of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication (though the Arizona sunshine didn’t hurt) that drew Washington native Andrew Columbro to Arizona State University.

And the school did not disappoint.

During his time as an undergrad, the New American University Scholar learned valuable lessons – in and out of the classroom – about the importance of reputation and the value of storytelling.

“Thanks to my student worker position at ASU (Media Relations and Strategic Communications), I was able to enhance my writing and analytical skills while becoming a stronger storyteller,” Columbro said.

He also learned to step out of his comfort zone, and encourages other students to do the same.

“I got my first job out of college because I sent my strategic sports communication teacher an email about a job I was applying for at an agency he previously worked at,” he said. “I ended up getting the job, thanks to him.”

This May, Columbro will graduate with a degree in journalism and mass communication and a minor in Spanish linguistics before tackling his first full-time job at the public relations and marketing agency Communication Links in Scottsdale.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: My “aha” moment had to have been after my intro to PR class with Fran Matera that made me want to pursue public relations and strategic communications. I love doing the behind-the-scenes work when it comes to helping clients and brands enhance their reputation and strategize to reach their goals and objectives. We worked on a campaign that semester and I fell in love with the analyzing and copywriting that created storytelling with the capability to be more creative and have more freedom on the type of projects and impact I can create to help build relationships.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: Something that I learned while at ASU is that it’s oftentimes not about what you know, but who you know. The connections and people I was able to meet over the last four years will help me dearly in the next steps of my career. Also, I would say that it doesn’t hurt to put your best foot forward and not be afraid of trying new opportunities. A lot of the times, I would find a new passion of mine or make new friends just because I got out of my comfort zone and made myself vulnerable.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because I wanted to get out of the lazy weather in Seattle, and the Cronkite School has such an amazing reputation as being one of the top journalism programs in the country. The school’s history and rich alumni really got me intrigued and interested in learning more.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: The professor that taught me the most important lesson while at ASU was Lisa Schmidtke. She taught me about how to showcase true professionalism and the importance of maintaining a good reputation, especially in the public relations industry.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Make sure that you take advantage of all the resources and services that ASU provides. I know it sounds cliché, but there are so many ways to get involved in the school, and the teachers here really want to see all of their students succeed, so don’t be afraid to reach out and contact them for guidance. I got my first job out of college because I sent my strategic sports communication teacher an email about a job I was applying for at an agency he previously worked at. I ended up getting the job, thanks to him.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: My plan after graduation is to start my first full-time job at a public relations and marketing agency in Scottsdale called Communication Links that specializes in the golf industry, as well as tourism, hospitality and real estate. They do media relations and publicity work for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: If someone gave me $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, I would tackle world hunger and make sure that we have sustainable agriculture in the future as the effects from climate change worsen.

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