When it comes to life after graduation, no two Owls pursue exactly the same path. After finishing his time at Temple University virtually during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Will Careri, KLN '20 (he/him), has been freelancing in public relations in Philadelphia. Recently, Careri decided he wanted to continue his education and develop his storytelling skills and was accepted to the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) to pursue his master's in data analytics and visualization. We talked to Careri to find out more about what is next for him, and what his journey was like to get there.
What have you been up to since graduation?
After graduation I was doing a lot of freelance work, specifically for B2B tech companies both in the United States as well as a few internationally, and I did that for maybe a little less than a year. At that point, I did a six-month stint as the communications manager for Philadelphia city councilwoman Cindy Bass. That finished up in December, and since [then] I've still been doing a lot of freelance work, a lot of work for the city. I did a city-wide vaccination campaign for them where I was in charge of branding. I also did a citywide voter registration campaign. I worked for the Science History Institute based in Philadelphia. Those are some of the bigger projects I did.
What made you want to pursue your masters at a place like MICA?
I think it comes back to just my love of storytelling. You know, at Temple, I studied public relations, which very much is written storytelling. As times change, it's important for me to become a much more diverse storyteller. Being able to tell stories through data and through graphics really goes on to enhance that.
What was your Temple experience like?
I actually came to Temple as a transfer student. I went to Northhampton Community College for two years and then I transferred to Temple in 2018 and immediately jumped into extracurriculars. I was a part of PRowl Public Relations. I was an assistant firm director for them my final year. I was in PRSSA. My senior year I won a national PR scholarship through PRSA, and I was recognized at the PRSA international conference for it. I was a student worker in the Klein Career Center where I was the graphic designer. I was part of Klein's Bateman team which is a national PR competition. I gave a TED Talk while I was at Temple for TEDxTempleU on the importance of sharing your story, which was all about mental health.
How has your Klein experience helped you?
I think the one thing that really stuck out has been my ability to foster relationships with so many great organizations and other professionals. It's helped me build and help me tell stories, build brands. I couldn't have done that without professors and mentors like David Brown and Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein, as well. A big influence in diversity, I'm, as well as being very much into mental health, I'm neurodiverse, and so, like, I have autism. Being able to tell stories from diverse perspectives has also come with having a very diverse group of professors and mentors at Temple.
What was the transfer process like?
It was very different. At the community college I went to I did get my associates and I was also very heavily involved there. I was even more involved there than I was at Temple. That was very different because I was going from a small community college in the Pocono Mountains with a campus of 1,000 students as opposed to Temple's near 40,000 in a large city. So, very different in terms of, you know, a little bit of culture shock, but Klein is also a very small-knit community, so I was able to very quickly find a group of friends and basically a family at Temple.
It was easy to get involved, both through PRSSA and other organizations. I joined PRowl while I was still in the process of transferring. So, I think I had actually received my acceptance to them while I was still in community college. Overall, it was a really helpful experience.
How did the beginning of the pandemic affect the end of your time at Temple?
It definitely wasn't the way any of us expected to graduate, but from the people I've remained close with it seems that we've all persevered and been able to find ways to make it work. I think that's something our professors very much pushed for, which, you know, I commend them because they were going through something completely new, too. For them to be able to motivate us to find new paths that they had focused so many years trying to help us build, to quickly change last minute, it wasn't expected, but, you know, perseverance conquers. I know that's very cliché. I do think that Temple grit is very real with staff and with students, so I definitely have to thank them for helping me set up my next steps.
What's next for you?
I'll be starting [at MICA] in the fall and I'll be finishing up in December of 2023. I don't know if I have a set path yet. I'd like to continue to just grow my own skill sets. You know, I've been lucky to work on some great campaigns and I continue to do so. So, I see it more as just a way to better enhance my ability to story tell and really just offer more services to the clients I work for and the projects I work on.
Quotes were edited slightly for length and clarity