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College of Mass Communications and Information Studies


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Diving into integrated communications

Posted July 30, 2014


Kirstie Russell, a former collegiate diver who is pursuing a master’s in mass communication, is using the integrated communication and management skills she’s learning in the classroom to help promote the University of South Carolina diving program and to support the recruitment of top athletes to the university. 

Russell is a graduate assistant with the USC diving team. Working directly for the team’s head coach, Todd Sherritt, her responsibilities include assisting the team with compliance and administrative paperwork, running home dive meets and planning large events on behalf of the program. 

“One part of my responsibilities was the USC Swimming and Diving Alumni Weekend event,” Russell said. “The planning and execution of this event allowed me to exercise my communication and management skills — it gave me hands on experience I could not get anywhere else.”  

Russell decided to pursue a master’s in mass communication after earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She recognized the impact that integrated marketing was having in the field of strategic communications and wanted to continue studying the profession before starting a career. 

“I chose to get my masters at USC because it is a well-recognized master’s program with classes that covered all of my educational interests,” Russell said. “I knew the head diving coach before coming to USC and knowing I could work alongside him in athletics sealed the deal.” 

Russell’s hands-on communication experiences while at USC have extended far beyond the traditional classroom and the USC pool.  Russell participated in the school’s popular, three-week study abroad course where students travel to Munich and Berlin, Germany to research and produce communication-focused projects in an international setting.

“While studying abroad my group did our project acting as a travel public relations firm. We created an integrated marketing campaign that was focused on promoting the eccentric drinking and brewing culture of Germany,” Russell said. “It was a once in a lifetime experience that allowed me to put my integrated campaign skills into practice.”  

To complete the requirements for her degree, Russell will take part in a semester long practicum with Liz Lapidus Public Relations in Atlanta. LLPR is a boutique public relations firm that specializes in upscale retail, hospitality, real estate and art brands. 

Liz Lapidus PR is a prestigious firm with nationally recognized clients like the W Hotel and the High Museum of Art,” Russell said. “I feel lucky to be working with the firm and can’t wait to experience the fast-paced lifestyle of a public relations professional.”