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May 19th, 2023

Class of 2023 Outcomes: Olivia Connelly Brings Strategy to the Table

Olivia Connelly

HPU graduates are leading prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse at one extraordinary member of the Class of 2023:

Name: Olivia Connelly

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky

Major: Strategic communication with minors in social media marketing and graphic design

Post-graduation plans: 

Connelly joins Baker Furniture in High Point, North Carolina, as an events and communications coordinator. In her role, she will assist in developing public relations plans, coordinate and track social media pages, and support showrooms, stores and dealer channels.

How HPU helped you get there: 

“HPU equipped me with the tools and confidence to handle technical and interpersonal aspects of my job. The staff, students and faculty at HPU provided a safe environment where I could take on challenges and diversify my experiences. Since freshman year, I visited the Office of Career and Professional Development and received resume help, career advice and support.”

Most impactful mentor at HPU:

“At HPU, I met many influential people who helped me grow and become the person I am today. From Benita VanWinkle, associate professor of art, reaching out to me after Presidential Scholars Weekend to help me learn more about HPU’s dance program to working on research with Dr. Sarah Vaala, associate professor of strategic communication, I built great relationships with my HPU family. I would also like to thank John Mims, assistant professor of the practice of communication, for helping me pursue my interests in social media and for inviting me to join PRSSA’s (Public Relations Student Society of America) Bateman Case Study Competition. I am extremely grateful for the faculty and staff who supported me in all my endeavors.”

Most impactful moment at HPU:

“My most impactful experience at HPU was living in Finch Residence Hall my freshman year for the Honors Scholar Program. I made many fond memories and life-long friendships with the people I met living in Finch and being part of the Honors Scholar Program. Freshman year can be a vulnerable time for many and I’m glad I was able to find caring people who supported me during some of the toughest times and the best of times.”

How has HPU’s inspiring environment contributed to your success? 

“While no school is perfect, HPU is beautiful, and I am continually amazed at how detail-oriented the university is when it comes to amenities, atmosphere, resources and more. The best part of HPU, however, is the people and community.”

What are the values and virtues HPU’s campus helped you develop that you’ll take with you after graduation? 

“At HPU, I was able to cultivate my values and virtues by practicing courage and compassion with everyone I met. I believe everyone has a story to tell and there is so much you can learn from others. Additionally, I hope to support others whether it is through a smile, advice or just listening to them. Coming from a place of understanding instead of judgment is so important in today’s world, and I try and remind myself each day to have that perspective.”

Advice for underclassmen: 

“Say yes to opportunities that come your way and step out of your comfort zone, but also know that it’s OK not to do and be everything. You can’t change the world and help others if you aren’t OK (as cliche as it sounds). I often felt overwhelmed and compared myself to others, but changing my perspective helped a lot and leaning on my support system was so beneficial. Lastly, know your worth because everyone has something to bring to the table.”

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