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Finding the Perfect Fit

Carly Owens

I chose to major in communications because it combines both strategic planning and creativity

As a child, Carly Owens’ career ambition was to become Minnie Mouse at Disneyland. When she surpassed five feet tall, that dream was dashed. So after high school, she focused on another passion —dance — ultimately earning her associate’s degree from Chaffey College. Yet as much as she loved it, Owens realized dance would never be her lifelong career.

Fortunately, a chance encounter working for the junior college’s bi-weekly campus newspaper inspired a new vision — a career in Public Relations.

Today, Owens is well on her way to making that dream a reality. Now a senior at Cal Poly Pomona, she is set to graduate in spring 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in communication, with an emphasis in public relations.

“I chose to major in communications because it combines both strategic planning and creativity,” she says. “I’m a very analytical person, but I also have a strong creative and performance side, too. So communications — and public relations specifically — allows me to use all of these strengths.”

Inspired by her new direction, Owens didn’t waste any time applying herself.

She immediately joined the Cal Poly Pomona’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), where she now serves as president. This association proved invaluable, especially for networking opportunities. Through a connection she made at PRSSA events, Owens received an internship at a Southern California office of Porter Novelli, a public relations firm that operates in 60 countries.

“I’m so thankful for that internship for so many reasons, but one of them is confidence,” she says. “I’m more confident in my abilities and I can now tell other chapter members that, without a shadow of a doubt, the PRSSA is one powerful network filled with people you want to get to know. These are the people we’re going to be working with for the rest of our lives.”

Owens also serves as an officer in the Student Alumni Association, a club on campus that connects students with alumni. Plus, she’s a member of the award-winning Model UN team — a student program she says changed her life.

“Being involved in an annual simulation of a real United Nations conference truly opened my eyes to both how large—and how small—our world really is,” Owens says. “Even if you personally disagree with your assigned country’s position, the exercise of researching a topic forces you to view the issue from another perspective. Before this program, I had a very Southern California-centric view of the world. I wanted to change that and broaden my horizons. This is a very effective way to do that.”

One thing is clear, Owens’s future is bright. Her GPA has earned her a place on the President’s Honor List, and she received a President’s Council Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships at the university. She also works as a student assistant within Cal Poly Pomona’s Office of Public Affairs, where she can practice the skills she will need when she enters the job market.

Going forward, Owens knows exactly where she wants to be.

“Ultimately, I would like to work in corporate communications for a company that embraces corporate social responsibility — ideally Disneyland, but I’m open to anything as long as the company has a mission I believe in,” Owens says. “I am also interested in public affairs, which is where I may land soon after graduation.”

Published on November 4, 2015

Impact Map

Explore Impact Map

The Impact Map shows how Cal Poly Pomona alumni are making a difference in Southern California and around the country. Explore the map or share your own impact.

Explore the map

Submit Your Story