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May 21, 2017

Professor presented opportunity, student got the gig

If you’re seeking a successful internship, take note of Gheed Nomaan’s tactic: don’t be shy.

As a student at Johnson County Community College, Nomaan took advantage of an opportunity to attend a conference sponsored by the International Association of Business Communicators. Her instructor, Gretchen Thum, invited Nomaan and three other students who were interested in advertising and public relations.

The group attended a presentation on visual storytelling. Afterward, Nomaan told Thum how much she enjoyed the presentation and how the topic aligned with her career goals.

“I urged Gheed to go up and talk to the presenter, get her business card and try to see if she could foster a mentorship,” Thum said. “The result was unexpectedly successful — Gheed was offered an internship on the spot!”

Boost of confidence

Approaching Jolean Olson, the director of development for Scenic Road, didn’t ruffle Nomaan. “I don’t get nervous talking to people, which is one reason why I think strategic communication will be a good fit for me,” she said. “I guess (Jolean) saw some promise in me, because she handed me the internship on a platter. It really boosted my confidence.”

Nomaan conducts client research for Scenic Road, a video production and strategic marketing agency in Roeland Park. (The company also has an office in Chicago.) Her research will be used by a group of “visual storytellers” – journalists, artists, documentarians and marketers – to create videos that impart messages about their clients.

“Honestly, it’s been an amazing experience,” Nomaan said. “It makes me really grateful to Johnson County Community College because I wouldn’t have had this experience if I hadn’t gone to JCCC. Gretchen has been wonderful, and I’ve taken every class from her that I can. She really cares about her students, and you can feel that.”

Open to possibilities

Nomaan enrolled at JCCC because her father had been a Cavalier and appreciated his classes. She also liked the low tuition because she hadn’t chosen a major.

She started taking classes thinking she might be a physical therapist, but something caught fire in Nomaan after her first public relations class with Thum, assistant professor of Journalism and Media Communications

“I knew then that strategic communication was for me,” she said. “I loved everything about it. I knew I was coming to JCCC to find that ‘thing’ that makes my future, and I found it.”

For more information

If you’re interested in strategic communication, brand journalism or public relations classes, email Thum or call her at 913-469-8500, ext. 3190. For help with student internships, contact the Career Development Center at 913-469-3870.