Katy Heineman (’13 COMST) | New Student Services Specialist, ISU

CATEGORIES: Alumni Updates

Katy Heineman (she/her/hers) graduated in 2013 with a degree in Communication Studies and minors in Journalism and Mass Communication and Event Management from Iowa State. She followed up with a Master’s in Education, with a focus on Student Affairs, which she completed in 2015.

After receiving her Master’s, Katy held various roles within the Office of Admissions at Iowa State, including Transfer Admissions Counselor, Telecounseling Coordinator, and Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions. In 2019, Katy transitioned to a new role in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Her new position as New Student Services Specialist includes coordination of college orientation programs, prospective student visits, and new student data.

Katy recognizes the value of Communication Studies courses in her career, but also in preparing her for graduate school. “Nonverbal Communication [taught me that] not all communication is verbal; so much is communicated without intention if you pay attention. Human Communication Theories [taught me about] being able to understand, critique, and apply theories, [which] prepared me for graduate school. [In COMST] 404, completing a research project gave me an advantage in graduate school, as many of my pears had not done a full research project, start to finish.

“Overall, being immersed in writing with APA throughout all COMST courses made my work easier as a tutor/consultant in the Writing and Media Center as an undergraduate student. I helped other students learn APA. It also prepared me for a seamless transition to graduate school. I didn’t have to worry about stylistic writing and could focus on the content and research I was conducting.”

In her new role at ISU, Katy uses her trained communication skills on a daily basis. “When I am talking about programs and resources at Iowa State with prospective students and their families, I have more awareness of what is and what is not resonating with them. Being more aware of nonverbal communication allows me to tailor my conversations in real time.”

“Take time to look ahead at the COMST 300-level courses offered and take classes that seem interesting and fun,” Katy suggests to current students. “Complete internships in a variety of communications-related areas. There isn’t a straight path to a certain career within communication studies like there is for teacher education, engineering, etc., but that’s the beauty of the major. There are such a variety of fields in which you can pursue while using the skills learned in communication studies: sales, research, human resources, social media, and event planning–just to name a few. The opportunities are endless, but only if you take advantage of them!”