Emma Shores is a senior public relations and political science double major who is on the cusp of becoming one of Illinois State’s newest alumni. Before she walks across the stage, Emma looks back on the past four years.

Why did you choose Illinois State?

I picked this amazing university because I felt like it was another home away from home. I felt like a person rather than a number. I came into Illinois State as a declared public relations major and Illinois State has the best public relations program in the state. I also loved the Quad and how beautiful McLean County is, which made this decision very easy.

Why did you choose to double major in public relations and political science?

Becoming a political science major was something I was originally just trying out. Now I can say that adding that major changed my life for the better. I was able to find lifelong friendships in and out of classroom experiences that opened many doors for me after graduation.

What other organizations and activities were you involved in during your time at Illinois State?

While a part of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at Illinois State, I was able to go on agency tours to see what work in the field interested me most. If you’re a PR major, join PRSSA right away! Through the Department of Politics and Government, I was able to go to Washington, D.C. to meet elected officials. This trip landed me an internship on Capitol Hill during my senior year. I was also able to study fair trade in Costa Rica and am forever grateful for the opportunity that the department gave me. They pushed me to become a better researcher, writer, and student.

What are some of your favorite memories at Illinois State?

Illinois State student with ISU flag

Emma shows her Redbird Pride while interning in Washington, D.C.

Joining Alpha Kappa Psi professional co-ed business fraternity helped me become a better professional. More importantly, I surrounded myself with driven individuals who wanted everyone to get the most out of their time in college.

Another one of my favorite memories was the Disney College Program my sophomore year. Working closely with the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council and traveling with them to D.C. to help lobby on behalf of McLean County initiatives got me loving local development and learning about economic growth. Lastly working for Welcome Week two years in a row was great. I loved working closely with the Student Activities staff because they truly invest in their students.

Who was your favorite instructor?

Erik Rankin because he changed my life and was always on the lookout for new and challenging experiences for me. He kept it real and pushed me to be a better student. If you don’t know him, stop by his office!

Tell us about your experience interning at the U.S. House of Representatives.

I felt lucky to have been chosen to intern for Congressman Adam Kinzinger. His team made sure that the internship program was a worthwhile experience and delegated tasks that challenged the interns. As a communications person, one of the biggest takeaways was being able to truly understand policy and then articulate it in a way that would make sense to others.

Advice to future Redbirds?

Get involved! You get out what you put in. Get a hammock for the Quad. Spend time in the atrium at the Bone Student Center. Look out for LJ’s Tweet Treats! Meet President Dietz and his fabulous wife. Get the mushroom cheese balls at Brewe-Ha’s (unpopular opinion but you’ll thank me later). Lastly, reach out to alumni for advice. Nine out of 10 times they will help in some way. If you’re a future Redbird, find me on Linkedin and I will help you!

Thank you Illinois State for the best four years of my life.