Every so often at Edge, we like to catch up with alumni of the university and not only talk about what they’re doing now, but how Gannon helped prepare them for that specific career. This week, I spoke with Kathleen Cahill, a theatre communications major who graduated in 2011, about her decisions as a student and how she ended up on the track she is currently on. Kathleen provided us with both her story and advice for future students.
Kathleen Cahill began her time here at Gannon as a nursing major. “I have always been involved in the arts since I can remember, especially in the theater,” Cahill said. “I got involved with a production called The Bald Soprano, directed by AJ Miceli. During the spring semester, I realized I wasn’t happy in nursing and that I really felt more like myself and felt like I needed to completely submerge myself in the arts. Theater was (and still is) my greatest passion and I knew that the arts were where I belonged.”
Cahill had a long talk with Assistant Professor AJ Miceli, director of communication and the arts, who jokingly told her she was crazy and did everything possible to make sure that she was certain of her decision.
“He said, ‘You know we pay in sunshine, rainbows and smiles, right?’ and all I could say was that ‘I liked sunshine, rainbows and smiles,’” Cahill said. “He made me call my mother to tell her what I was doing and then he signed my papers. I remember this day vividly, because it was the day that I felt like I really took the first big step into my future.”
Cahill now works as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center’s marketing, communications and community outreach coordinator. She runs the MLK Center’s website and social media outlets, as well as sends out monthly emails regarding events and forums at the Center.
“The communications department always prided themselves in making their students strong writers, producers, performers and speakers. I feel like the faculty and staff in the communications department really helped me excel in all of these aspects and challenged me to excel in my gifts as a performer and speaker. The curriculum of the communications department made me face my shortcomings and truly push myself to become the best me I could become,” Cahill said.
She was not without her advice for anyone considering the possibilities Gannon provides after high school and beyond, “My biggest piece of advice would be to ask as many questions as you can throughout your time at Gannon. Ask questions of your professors, as well as your fellow students. The people you meet at Gannon will never leave you,” she said.
“I am constantly going back to my professors, asking for their input and opinions on things in my post-graduate career. During your time at Gannon, your professors will be your biggest advocates, greatest supporters and if you give them the opportunity, they will guide you through a very unique experience to get you where you need to be by the time graduation rolls around. Friends are great to have, but don’t forget your professors!”
She went on to say, “As for life after Gannon, never ever say no. The job market may be limited, but never say no to something that doesn’t quite fit the bill. There are countless opportunities out there, and you may have to start from the bottom and work your way up, but everybody has to start somewhere. Just keep in mind that every experience you have (whether good or bad) is a learning experience. One of the greatest lessons I learned at Gannon was that there is no such thing as, ‘I don’t know how to do that.’ Everything is a learning opportunity, so do everything you can do to make sure you are continuously creating a better you.”
It is apparent that Kathleen Cahill is exactly the kind of alumna we are looking forward to speaking with years after graduation, and we couldn’t be happier for her to be making a difference where she is. While many graduate from the university, some take it further and carry the Gannon values throughout life after college. How will you exemplify the Gannon lifestyle in the future?