Klein College of Media and Communication prepares students to excel in any of the professions they decide to pursue throughout their lifetimes and the proof is in Grace Shallow, KLN '20. Shallow graduated from Klein with a degree in journalism, but in September received a position as a communications specialist for Katz/Pierz, a health insurance agency in New Jersey.
Shallow has always enjoyed storytelling and writing, and found that journalism was the perfect profession to both utilize her writing skills and learn others' stories. She took on several writing and editing positions during her time at Klein, including a columnist and editor at The Temple News, an intern at the Philadelphia Media Network, a peer editor for the Covering Addiction solutions journalism class in the Journalism Department and a freelance reporter for Philadelphia-based platform Generocity. She was also a Lew Klein Fellow for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a role that allowed her to conduct focused reporting for the Journalism Department publication.
"I think what [Temple] really [got] me to do is just to think about how to convey information that's dense and not really approachable in a way that everyone can understand," she says. "And being able to do it quickly, I think that's a benefit in any industry you're in."
Shallow says learning how to effectively communicate with others helped her prepare for the real world. While balancing her Temple commitments and other communication-related obligations, she worked in food service, even taking a semester off to be a full-time manager at a restaurant. The position further developed her communication skills and bolstered her desire to interact with others.
Christopher Malo, an adjunct instructor in the Department of Journalism, worked with Shallow on Philadelphia Neighborhoods. As the program manager and editor of the publication, he noticed Shallow was a standout reporter who was incredibly thoughtful about her work.
"Grace was one of the most capable, focused, dedicated, holistic reporters that I've been fortunate enough to work with," he says. "She had the ability to see stories and see narratives from a very human perspective — yet the reporting was always there."
Shallow's ability to forge strong connections landed her the position at Katz/Pierz. A contact in her network heard about a communications role opening up at the agency and helped her get a foot in the door, but her qualifications and professionalism secured her role. Since starting the position, her responsibilities include communications duties within the agency, creating and disseminating marketing materials and managing the agency's social media.
Malo believes that Shallow profoundly understands her audience, an asset in any communications career. "I think that that's led her to be an extremely effective communicator going in both directions — not just in disseminating a particular message but also the ability to understand and consider how that's going to be perceived. So I think that she'll be excellent at any communication field that she chooses to pursue," he says.
In the future, Shallow hopes to grow as a communications professional with Katz/Pierz. "I'm honestly eager to learn about that because I think health insurance is something people don't think about a lot during the day or they don't want to think about but it really impacts so many people's lives and what they're able to access. So I think it will be a really valuable topic to learn more about," she says.
Although Shallow is stepping away from journalism, she knows her education at Klein will serve her for the entirety of her career.