Kelsey Foy ’16 is no stranger to Seton Hall University. After earning her B.A. in Public Relations, Foy selected the M.A. in Strategic Communication program within the College of Communication and the Arts to continue her education and expand her career opportunities. Due to her selection of the program, she has developed critical research skills that she applies in her role as a digital marketing strategist.
Foy, who works part-time for an integrated digital marketing agency, attributes her experience conducting research for her Communication Research assignments and culminating Master’s Project as providing the mindset of easily locating needed information and thoroughly analyzing it on multiple different levels. As a result, her skills have enabled her to take on research-based projects like composing competitor social media audits. Overall, Foy believes her research experience is preparing her for a career after graduation. And she advises students to similarly take advantage of any research opportunities they might come across.
“Critical research skills are a valuable tool,” Foy adds, noting that major organizations such as Facebook often look for job candidates with qualitative research experience. “Do not take the research skills you learn for granted. Even though (researching) is challenging, it is invaluable.”
Foy is currently working on her Master’s Project and hopes her thesis will be an asset to the communication discipline. She explained that her project, which is an analysis on negative consumer interactions on the Internet, was inspired by her internship at an international nonprofit and her belief that negative comments on brands’ social media pages can hurt company image and loyalty. Her goal is to examine the strategies and motivations behind this type of online behavior to produce a set of best practices organizations can utilize to improve consumer interactions.
She is passionate about her Master’s Project topic and credits the program’s faculty, including Dr. Renee Robinson and Dr. Ruth Tsuria, for cultivating her interest and mentoring her throughout the research process. “I love it,” Foy said. “I feel like I am doing something that I did not know I was capable of before starting graduate school. The program is helping me grow and become more confident in myself and my academic and professional abilities.”
To complement her experiences, Foy serves as a graduate assistant for Graduate Studies within the College of Communication and the Arts, where she writes feature and profile stories, researches social media best practices, and performs other tasks related to communication.
Looking forward, Foy said she would like to work in the strategic planning side of the communication industry. For now though, she said she is concentrating on making a difference through her capstone project. “I am spending a significant amount of time and effort on synthesizing existing literature to conceptualize my Master’s Project,” Foy shared. “I want to be proud of my work and be able to help people with the research that I do.”
Master’s Project is the culminating academic experience for students in the Strategic Communication program. Beginning with core program courses such as Communication Research, students explore the design and application of practical research techniques used in the communication discipline. With faculty mentorship, students organize and develop the basis of their projects, demonstrating their ability to apply research and writing skills. Initially, an appropriate research method is selected based on a synthesized review of relevant literature and theoretical frameworks. Once a statement of the problem and research questions are designed, primary research is conducted and data is analyzed to answer the study’s research questions. Students graduate from the College’s Graduate Studies programs with critical research skills associated with communication and leadership in ways that are grounded in theory and applicable to settings in a highly interactive world.
The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Strategic Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered. A Ph.D. program is currently under development.