Laurel Johnston Spotlight
- Saturday, October 9th, 2021
Laurel Johnston (MHC ‘23) never anticipated how much her life would be impacted by a simple morning walk. As a Mahurin Honors College (MHC) scholar, Laurel had a unique opportunity to take a morning stroll with Dr. Craig T. Cobane, Executive Director of the MHC.
During their morning walk, Laurel described her passions and general ideas for her life, but also confided in Dr. Cobane about her uncertainty and stresses. She explained her love for research and musical theatre, her dreams of studying abroad and pursuing a PhD, and, finally, her passion for social media, art, and marketing. “Dr. Cobane,” Laurel said, “is great at taking those general ideas, and then giving you actionable items.” He introduced her to different study abroad opportunities that would develop her interests, including the University of East Anglia. Dr. Cobane connected Laurel with an MHC alum who traveled to UEA and also to an alum working in her field. Laurel’s meeting with Dr. Cobane helped cement her identity as a driven scholar, armed with tangible steps toward her future plans.
This past summer, Laurel was inspired to further her education in marketing through an internship. Laurel canvassed the community looking for agencies who could develop her skills. She was impressed by Sublime Media Group but noticed there were no requests for interns. Laurel proactively contacted the company listing her resume, why she loved their work, and what she had to offer. Sublime Media Group loved her initiative and ended up creating an internship for her!
Laurel praised the experience, citing how her work with Sublime has made her a happier and more well-rounded individual. She encourages other MHC scholars to take this approach- to stop merely checking boxes on a college To-Do list, but instead, find experiences that advance your education, offer technical experience in your field, and “feed your soul.” She is also combining her marketing skills with her passion for cultural and arts non-profit work as the Social Media Manager of Poco a Poco, a non-profit vocal music festival in Streator, Illinois. They provide extraordinary music education opportunities that students would not have access to otherwise. In the coming years, Laurel plans to continue to advocate for the arts and to pursue a PhD in business with a focus in marketing on a consumer behavior track.
In addition, Laurel has made impressive strides under the mentorship of Dr. Joanna Melancon. Laurel completed her two favorite augmentations this past spring semester for her Personal Selling class and her Social Media Marketing class. Laurel’s Social Media Marketing class, in particular, helped her flesh out her thesis. Through that research, Laurel discovered connections in social media between apologies and linguistic components, specifically on Twitter. After testing some of those variables, she decided to adjust her research and focus on a smaller scale. Laurel decided to create a Lit Review and presented it at the WKU Student Research Conference where she ended up winning her session. After examining some of her variables in a real-world context, she decided to adjust her research and focus on a smaller scale. Recently, she submitted an abstract and was accepted to the Atlantic Marketing Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Laurel encourages all MHC Scholars to go for a morning walk with Dr. Cobane and be open about your goals, passions, worries, and everything in between. One simple walk can take feelings of uncertainty and being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of opportunities and help turn them into actionable next steps.
We are so proud of all you have accomplished, Laurel!