Tell Your Story: Abby Ecker, UD Communication Class of 2012

Abby Ecker currently serves as the Connecting Director at The Journey Church in Newark, Del. Before coming into her role at The Journey, she spent a year and half as the public relations coordinator for ATI Physical Therapy’s East Coast division and developed and implemented the company’s progressive social media strategy. A 2012 graduate of the University of Delaware with a B.A. in Mass Communications, Abby served as the president of PRSSA-UD from 2010 through 2012 and led a team to present at the 2011 PRSSA National Conference.
Her work experience includes internships at the Delaware House of Representatives Democratic Caucus, Inside Out Creative Agency, Autism Delaware, American Cancer Society, and the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union. Forever a student of the digital age, Abby actively contributes to a variety of online publications about social media and public relations, and her work has been featured in USA Today College, Pitching Notes, Get Busy Media, the PRSSA National blog, and Start Networking Today. Abby is currently No. 5 on Jeremy Pepper’s “Future PR Pros To Watch” list and was recognized as one of the ”Top 100 Twitter Account Every Job Seeker Needs To Follow” by In 2011, she received the PRSA National Government and Public Affairs Grant and was named a “Woman of Promise” by UD’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. Abby is currently serving her second term of the PRSA Delaware Board of Directors.

What year did you graduate from the University of Delaware?

May 2012

Where are you currently employed?  

I currently work at The Journey as our Connecting and Church Development Director.

What are some of your every day responsibilities?

As our Connecting Director, I oversee all areas that deal with connecting people to The Journey. One of my main roles is communication and branding; I oversee all of our website and digital content writing, as well as social media strategy, management, and content development. From a leadership perspective, I oversee our small groups ministry, hospitality team, follow-up team, care team, and missions. On a regular day, I am working hard to empower and develop leaders in those key areas.

What is one thing someone would be surprised to know about you?

I absolutely love long-distance running, so they may be surprised to know I didn’t run at all up until about two years ago! I started training for my first half marathon in January 2012 and completed it five months later. In 2013, I took the plunge and finished my first full marathon. It’s definitely a new hobby for me, but I love it!

How did the University of Delaware prepare you for the workforce?

I don’t think I can say enough great things about UD! I absolutely loved my time as a student. I was able to blend a variety of classroom learning, undergraduate research, and real-world internships to graduate well-rounded and ready for the job search. I had a few great professors who took a personal interest in me and really mentored me throughout my years at UD.

From one Blue Hen to another, do you have any advice for current COMM students?

Get real world experience! It’s so important to go into the real world with a resume full of internships and related activities. UD offers great resources through the COMM Department and Career Services, but don’t feel limited. Go out and pursue what you want to do, and you’ll be surprised how many potential employers would love to have you as an intern or volunteer.

What is one piece of advice you received that has helped you get to where you are today?

Professor Bartoo shared so many important tidbits of wisdom with me in my time at UD, but one of the most important things she ever taught me was the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. I’m naturally a more passive person, but I also have a strong interest and love for leadership. Sometimes those two can be at odds with each other, but Professor Bartoo really showed me how to passionately pursue what I want while still being myself.

What is a favorite memory from your college years? 

I have to give just one?! It’s tough, but I think I’d have to go with attending the Joe Biden rally in October 2008. Biden, who was Delaware’s senior Senator at the time, came to UD four days before the presidential election for a rally. While I was walking through security, I had someone from the Secret Service stop me and ask if I would want to stand up on stage with now-Vice President Biden. Um, yes! I love political communication, so being at UD in 2008 was such an exciting time. Between having one former Blue Hen acting as campaign manager for President Obama and another for Sen. McCain, as well as Biden running as VP, Delaware was really the “epicenter” of politics!

What is a favorite memory from a Communications class you took and who was the professor?

Again, it’s hard to choose just one…but it’s pretty hard to beat Professor Dee’s rap from Media Law!

Will you be attending Alumni Weekend 2014? 

I just might! Thankfully I am still local, so I love being able to pop in and out of UD whenever I can.

abby ecker


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From Newark to Spokane: How Niki Flew Across the US to Chase After Her Dream

Last week, Niki found out she was going to fly to Spokane, Washington to watch the Blue Hens Men’s Basketball team take on Michigan State during March Madness. A proud Blue Hen, Niki didn’t want to settle for watching the game on TV. She wanted to be there. So, distance didn’t stop her. The story of how Niki received this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity proves that nothing is impossible. You just have to jump out of your comfort zone and try it. Because of this, the memories she made will last a lifetime!

Curious about how she did it? Read all about Niki’s adventures in the article below.


Before Spokane, had you followed the Men’s basketball team throughout the season? 

I started following the Men’s basketball team during winter session this year. I wasn’t on campus, but I would watch when we played on TV and I would constantly check scores on as well.

Who did you contact to see if you could go with the team?

I contacted the Vice President at the Office of Communications and Marketing about going to Spokane with the team. Once I found out we were playing Michigan State in Washington, I sent the VP an email Sunday night asking if there was a possibility that I could go. I figured the answer would be no because it was across the country, but I received a response around 6 AM the following morning saying the OCM would let me know what Athletics said later that day. It wasn’t until 6 PM Monday night that it was confirmed I would go (Oh, and I needed to be at the Bob at 6 AM)!

What was your first thought when you realized you were going? 

The first thing I did when I received the email confirmation that I was going to Spokane was call my dad. I basically freaked out. We were texting each other all day talking about how this probably wasn’t going to happen and everyone I spoke to had positive feelings about it but me. I just remember I was shaking, speechless, and I just kept repeating that I somehow pulled off the impossible. If there’s one very valuable lesson to be learned from this is you never know unless you ask. For me to email the VP of the OCM asking to travel with the team as the only Social Media Ambassador the night before we left was completely insane, but if I didn’t send that email, I never would have gone. Worst case scenario, they would have said no. So put yourself out there and ask!

What is your favorite memory from the trip? 

My favorite memory from the trip was just seeing how happy the players were to be there. I was able to go (and tweet/photograph) all 3 games in Baltimore for the CAA Championships so I felt apart of the team, and I knew not only how badly they wanted this, but also how badly they deserved this. These guys really put in so much effort this season, and to be able to witness our first March Madness bid since 1999 was absolutely incredible! The entire team was so excited to fly out to Spokane and represent The University of Delaware! They are the ones who worked so hard this season to be the #1 team in the CAA and win the championships– not the press, not the band, not the cheerleaders– so seeing how grateful and proud they were was definitely my favorite part of the trip.


What is something you ended up doing that you didn’t know you’d do? 

Going to Idaho for a couple of hours was something I didn’t know we would do. I’m not going to lie, there isn’t a whole lot to do in Spokane, and because we were a #13 seed, the hotel the NCAA put us in wasn’t in downtown Spokane. For a day trip, the administrators had one of the buses take the band, spirit teams, and whoever else wanted to come to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho on Wednesday afternoon. We were about 10 minutes from the Idaho border, so the trip was a nice little break and a fun way to further bond with everyone. It was also our last free afternoon before the game Thursday afternoon, so we got to explore Idaho for a little bit!

What did you do during the game?

My job during the game was to live tweet and take pictures for the UD Social Media accounts. I worked with the NCAA to get a press pass for the week, which allowed me on the court and behind the scenes not only during the game,  but as well as, during practice. The team practiced in front of the public on Wednesday and had press conferences as well. I was able to sit in on the press conferences with the student athletes (Threatt, Usher, Saddler, and Baptiste), as well as Coach Ross, on both Wednesday and Thursday. On game day I had a spot on the court to sit and take photos.

Did anyone famous tweet at you before/during/post game?

Before the game, I saw Gino Gradkowski [University of Delaware alum] was on Twitter, so I sent him a quick tweet asking if he was going to watch the game and he replied with “Absolutely!” That was really cool for me because no one famous had ever tweeted me before so it made the week just that much better for me!


What was the energy like on the way there? On the way back? 

The energy before the game was super positive. The band and cheerleaders lined the hallway leading out to the buses and when the players/coaches came out we were all clapping and screaming! Every person I spoke with thought we were going to upset Michigan State because we really had nothing to lose. These guys had never been in this situation before so they didn’t really know what to expect, which can be a very good thing in something as big as March Madness. When we walked in and saw the last half of the Harvard-Cincinnati game and saw Harvard had the major upset (along with OSU losing earlier in the day), we all thought “Well, this is it…we’re actually going to do this!” Even when we lost, our spirits were still high because you have to take a second and look at where you lost. No one wants to lose, but to lose (against the team that is probably going to win the entire tournament) on the biggest stage in college basketball after not being there in 15 years…it’s still an incredible experience. The team still went out there, worked hard all game, and played in March Madness. You can never take that away from those guys. We were all going to be proud of them whether they won or lost that game.

What is one thing you learned through the experience? 

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…put yourself out there and take risks! From my own personal perspective, this was a major learning experience because I was the only student representing UD who was covering the game. The Director of Multimedia, as well as one of the photographers for the University was there, but other than those two, there was no one else covering the game from the media side. No one expected me to be there (including myself) but it started off with a short email explaining that I really wanted to go, represent the University and learn more about the sports world since that’s where I want to work, and there’s no bigger stage for college basketball than March Madness. Another thing I would say was a determining factor in them allowing me to take the journey across the country with the team was the fact that I showed interest in this from the beginning. I started getting my own press passes for the football games last year, and that fed into basketball and my Social Media Ambassador bosses saw that. It played a big factor in me being able to fly to Spokane. If you have a passion for something, try everything possible to achieve your goals. Who knows– that could lead you to Spokane, Washington with the basketball team to watch them play in March Madness!


Tell Your Story: Jessica Bryk, UD Communication Class of 2011

Everyone loves stories. Learning from others, gaining insight, and sneaking a peak into someone’s life is all a part of the fun in Communication! We learn from others, whether it be through a blog post, a Tweet, a photo, or a face-to-face conversation. We constantly tell our stories and today, Jessica Bryk, UD Communication alumna from the Class of 2011, shares her’s.

Interested in telling your story? Email our Independent Study student, Keri Betters, today:


Jessica Bryk: BA, Communication 2011 (Minors: Advertising, Journalism)

What year did you graduate from the University of Delaware? December, 2011

Where are you currently employed?  

I am currently working as a freelance copywriter, under contract with a Wilmington, DE-based ad agency called Caspari McCormick.  I started working with them as an intern in February 2011, then began working there full-time after graduation.  In June of 2013, I approached my boss with a proposal that would allow me to move to Rhode Island and continue working for them as a contract copywriter.  Interestingly, the company has a number of clients in the New England area, so this worked out well for everyone.  But, my last day is actually this Friday and I will start work as a Marketing Coordinator at A/Z Corporation (North Stonington, CT) on Monday, March 24.

What are some of your every day responsibilities?

In my current position, I write, edit and proofread advertising copy for a variety of media.  One day I might be writing a technical brochure for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and the next I’ll be on a beach in Rhode Island helping to creative direct a commercial shoot for the Block Island Express Ferry.  Since Caspari McCormick is a small agency (6 full-time employees), I work very closely with the creative director.  Another big part of my job is proofreading proposals for prospective clients.

In my new job at A/Z Corporation, I will be working with the in-house marketing team, which will be a bit different.  The position will be more focused on editing proposals, with occasional event planning for trade shows and potentially writing copy for a new website.

What is one thing someone would be surprised to know about you?

As far as my career goes, people might be surprised to hear that I actually enjoy the more technical aspects, like proofreading and formatting. I’ve always considered myself a creative person, and while I do enjoy brainstorming and developing new ideas, it can get exhausting!  It’s hard to sit down and be expected to be funny or witty or insightful day after day.  Being able to bust out my red pen and look for typos – where there’s a definite right and wrong answer – is a nice break for me.

How did the University of Delaware prepare you for the workforce?

Probably the most influential part of my UD career was PRSSA.  I served as the Professional Development Director during my junior year – a position that put me in contact with alumni and local professionals.  I learned to plan large-scale networking events and that it’s completely okay (and encouraged!) to ask those who are successful in your field for advice. I also improved my professional writing skills in my ad/PR classes, learning to write news releases and proposals.

From one Blue Hen to another, do you have any advice for current COMM students?

Get involved in clubs outside of class!  Whether it’s PRSSA or the Blue Hen Marketing Club, some of the most marketable skills you will gain will come from actually getting hands-on.  And don’t just show up to the meetings – consider running for the executive board, or even see if you can do marketing or PR for your sorority or another club you’re interested in.

Check out Jessica’s portfolio:

tell your story


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Brittany Berger: Fellow Blue Hen, Proud Communication Alum, and eZanga’s Content Marketing Coordinator


As a Department, we love to hear from alumni; as communicators, we are story tellers. What’s the best way to combine the two? Interview the alumni! Our first alum we interviewed is Brittany Berger, a proud Communication graduate from the Class of 2012. Read on to learn more about Brittany’s experience, how the Communication major helped her land a job at eZanga, and what advice she has for current Communication students.


What year did you graduate from the University of Delaware?

I graduated from the University of Delaware in May 2012. In addition to majoring in Mass Communication, I minored in Interactive Media and English.

Where are you currently employed?

I’m currently employed as the Content Marketing Coordinator at, an online advertising company in Middletown, Delaware.

What are some of your every day responsibilities? ezanga

My job is to plan, manage, and execute all of eZanga’s content marketing, from email marketing to our company’s marketing blog and social media channels. Most of my time is spent developing our editorial calendars, writing and promoting content, measuring the success of said content, and coordinating with guest contributors and other sites that I contribute content for myself. I also assist with other marketing and public relations duties, so from time to time I’ll put aside those tasks to write press releases, pitch stories to journalists, apply for business awards on the company’s behalf, and work with the CEO on getting the company’s name out there.

What is one thing someone would be surprised to know about you?

Most people (that don’t know me, at least) would be surprised that I have a crazy tendency that my friends call “IMDB Brain.” Way too much of my brain is filled with who guest starred on what show, which 1950’s actor had a cameo in that new movie, and what TV show that stranger over in the corner just quoted. On top of all that, I truly and honestly can’t remember the last time I went an entire day without quoting a sitcom.

How did the University of Delaware prepare you for the workforce?

I was involved with a lot of RSOs at UD, and I feel like getting such a variety of experience outside of class prepared me really well. You might learn about something in a class, but it’s a really different feeling to be part of a team where you’re the one held accountable for doing it, and you may be the only one who knows how to do so. The speakers at PRSSA meetings also prepared me specifically for what it was like to have a career in public relations and marketing, and taught me about social media back when there weren’t many professors talking about it in my classes.

From one Blue Hen to another, do you have any advice for current Communication students?

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but build the heck out of your personal brand! One of the first things my previous supervisor said to me when I interviewed with eZanga was how impressed she was with my personal blog. Starting my sophomore year and through to the present, I’m active on as many websites and social networks as possible and don’t post anything I wouldn’t want my coworkers or peer to see. But I still have fun and show people what my personality and hobbies are like.

During the day, you’ll find most of my tweets are career-oriented. At night, you’ll find me tweeting back and forth with my friends, talking about television, music, etc. I’ve always tried my hardest to show my entire personality to anyone who could find me online, whether that may be a new friend or a potential employer. Ideally, you want to be able to have someone Google your name and be proud of the “version of yourself” shown on every single one of those blue links on the first page of results.

Will you be attending Alumni Weekend 2014 (#UDCOMM40)? 

I’m going to try my hardest to attend Alumni Weekend! My extended family usually gets together for a barbeque at the end of May or early June, and I’m hoping they don’t overlap like they have before. Other than that, I live about three miles from campus, so I really have no other excuse not to be there!

brittany berger


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