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Communication is Key
LSU Distinguished Communicator Returns to Campus to Pursue MBA

Lexi DeBrock of Mandeville, a 2008 LSU Distinguished Communicator, now works as a graduate assistant with LSU's Communication across the Curriculum program while she pursues an MBA. Communication across the Curriculum, or CxC, operates Studio 151, where students can work on a variety of communication projects.

As an LSU undergraduate, Lexi DeBrock pursued a degree in English, following her passion for reading and writing. But she wasn't exactly sure what she would do with her degree that undoubtedly offers many career options, yet no clear-cut path. To get a "real job," DeBrock knew she had to be creative and amass a skill set that would make her competitive in today's marketplace. "I was a strong writer, but I knew I had to be more than that. I wanted to be more than that," she said.

That's when DeBrock discovered LSU's Communication across the Curriculum, or CxC, program. CxC is the home of LSU Distinguished Communicators, an elite group of undergraduates who undergo extensive training to advance their writing, speaking, visual and technological communication skills.

"I quickly realized just how important communication is and how much I had to learn about effective speaking and visual presentation," she said. "The DC program also opened my eyes to so many new technologies like wikis, blogs, and web design software and the immense power that comes with knowing how – and when – to use them."

DeBrock was wary of her prospects when she attended the LSU Career Fair during her senior year in 2008, but said that she was confident in her communication skills.

"I was a little uneasy approaching companies like Microsoft and Schlumberger, but the minute I started telling them about my pursuit of the Distinguished Communicator certification, they became very interested in me, the English major."

Engineering firms, airline companies and video game manufacturers were all interested in DeBrock's professionalism and ability to communicate despite the fact that she wasn't in the official list of majors they were looking for.

"We're seeing this more and more in today's economy," explains CxC Assistant Director Rebecca Burdette. "Companies are looking for students with strong communication skills first, and then assessing whether or not the grad has the ability to work, or learn to work, in the field for which they're hiring."

According to Burdette, CxC often receives requests for a list of the LSU Distinguished Communicators from companies, many of whom are not concerned with students' majors because they are primarily looking for articulate critical thinkers.

DeBrock graduated from LSU in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in English and quickly made her way into the tourism industry, doing marketing and events for Nottoway Plantation. She relied heavily on her writing and visual communication skills to develop new marketing materials and her interpersonal skills to manage a variety of tours and social events, booking more than $500,000 of business in her first six months for Nottoway.

Through the professional network DeBrock built, she quickly saw the need for small businesses to have marketing representation without having to "break the bank," so she left Nottoway to open her own marketing firm, Lexi DeB Designs. In 2010, the successful alum decided her next challenge would be to pursue her MBA at LSU, while continuing to grow her business.

Studio 151 is located in 151 Coates Hall
and contains a variety of multimedia
tools for students, including a sound booth
for recording audio.

"When I found out there was a graduate assistantship available with CxC, I knew it was meant to be," she said. "Between my classes, my business and my work with CxC, I'll certainly be busy, but I know it will be a fun and rewarding learning experience for me. The Distinguished Communicator program has had such a profound impact on my life, and I want to give that back to other students."

As a graduate assistant in CxC Studio 151, located in room 151, Coates Hall, DeBrock will use her professional experience to help undergraduate students with a variety of communication projects such as presentations, posters, websites, videos and podcasts. She will also mentor and help train students pursuing the Distinguished Communicator certification.

"We are working with faculty to integrate more communication-based projects into their courses," Burdette explained. "This may be a photo essay showcasing a lab project or a video documentary exploring a research topic. Be it science, art or any other topic, these projects help students learn the course content in a much more fun and engaging way. They also build critical thinking and communication skills in the process so it's a win-win for the students."

CxC Studio 151 is open to all undergraduate students, regardless of their major. CxC Studios provide hands-on support and feedback on any type of communication project, whether it is for a course or extracurricular. Students can also check out a variety of multimedia equipment for communication projects, including video cameras and audio recorders.

"Communication is key to everything we do," DeBrock said. "It doesn't matter what your major is, you will be responsible for collaborating with others, selling your ideas and presenting your work. Communication is about information, persuasion and presentation. You have to master these skills to be successful in any field, and the DC program helps you do just that."

Students interested in learning more about becoming a LSU Distinguished Communicator should visit www.cxc.lsu.edu.