From launching her own podcast to supporting a Valpo psychology professor’s research, Victoria Bruick ’17 has relied on the skills she acquired and connections she’s made at Valparaiso University to achieve creative fulfillment and professional growth.
As Victoria navigated her professional goals as an English and music double major, she took a class at Valpo that changed how she viewed her education.
“In New Literacies, Technologies, and Cultures of Writing, I was able to explore how modern technologies (Twitter, blogs, podcasts) influence writing today,” Victoria says. “I used class concepts to conduct beginner-level audio editing and create my own story.”
Allison Schuette ’93, MFA, associate professor of English, wanted students to realize that the reading, writing, and analyzing skills acquired in the program could be applied in any future career or to any written work.
“We find our “texts” everywhere — on our bookshelves, in libraries, on the Internet, in memes, on podcasts, in video games,” Professor Schuette says. “English is a very flexible field that bridges tradition and innovation and really prepares students for a dynamic, evolving world.”
Victoria later incorporated those course concepts during her senior year when she needed to complete a capstone project for her music major.
“I wanted my capstone to have future applications,” Victoria says. “I knew I wouldn’t perform in a career setting, so I sought to design a project that focused on my other interests such as writing and audio editing. I created a podcast from start to finish where I interviewed faculty and staff members in the music department. The best part was hearing my finished product broadcast on WVUR on campus.”
As Victoria began her post-graduation career in marketing, she relied on her capstone experience as a means for more creative fulfillment. She launched a podcast with her roommate, Julia Clausen, called Book Club with Julia & Victoria.
“All the pieces came together: marketing, technical skills, webinar and podcasting experience, and, of course, a love of literature,” Victoria says. “My Valpo education really prepared me to follow this idea.”
The podcast has released more than 40 episodes, each focusing on a different novel or collection. There is also a collection of “minisodes,” during which the pair breaks the standard format and delves into broader topics of literature and life.
In addition to the skills she attained at Valpo, the connections she made with faculty and fellow alumni have helped shape her professional career.
After graduation, Victoria completed a Calling and Purpose in Society (CAPS) Fellowship through Valpo’s Institute for Leadership and Service. She served as an intern at Ingenuity, an arts advocacy group in Chicago. Through her role, she was able to advocate for access, equity, and quality of arts education in the Chicago Public Schools.
After her fellowship, Victoria pursued another of her interests: study abroad. Victoria had previously spent a semester in Cambridge, England, and wished to take her positive experience and advocacy skills to the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES Abroad). She worked alongside other Valpo alumni in the IES Abroad marketing department as a writer, where she managed website content.
“Getting into marketing was exciting,” Victoria says. “I loved working in the nonprofit space.”
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Victoria’s position was eliminated, and she began her job search in earnest.
One of Victoria’s alumni friends mentioned Amanda Zelechoski, J.D., Ph.D., ABPP, associate professor of psychology, was looking for someone to help with marketing on Pandemic Parenting, a website hosting resources and webinars to help parents navigate the challenges of COVID-19.
“It was exciting to be connected with Amanda because she was enthusiastic and knowledgeable,” Victoria says. “In the first two weeks, I helped her set up a website, create brand elements, and hired a video editor, Carmen Vincent ’20, who is also a Valpo graduate.”
Victoria serves as Pandemic Parenting’s digital content producer where she markets Professor Zelechoski’s research on social media and through email, develops website content, and provides IT support during webinars.
“The Valpo connections are great; I have found opportunities everywhere,” Victoria says. “The relationships I made through my campus involvement continue to bear fruit as my colleagues, roommates, and closest friends.”