UT alum first to graduate from new online strategic digital communication concentration

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Category: Feature Story | Communication & Information, Strategic and Digital Communication (SDC)

A UT alumna holds the proud distinction as the first student to graduate from the Master of Science in Communication and Information, Strategic and Digital Communication concentration program.

online graduate Ciera Noe hugging smokey dog statue

Returning to UT was an easy choice

Ciera Noe already knew she loved the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. When she decided to pursue a master’s degree, she knew exactly where she wanted to apply. In 2020, Ciera completed her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Electronic Media from UT, so returning to her alma mater for a graduate degree was an easy choice. With a strong background in journalism, she decided to build on her knowledge base and enroll in the newly launched online Master of Science in Communication and Information program with a concentration in Strategic Digital Communication (SDC).

When I read through all of the courses in the SDC program, I realized that it is such a versatile program.

— Ciera Noe, ’21, MS, Communication and Information, Strategic Digital Communication

Interdisciplinary interests & program strengths

The Strategic Digital Communications concentration allowed Ciera to pursue her interests in areas outside her undergraduate focus on journalism.  

“I was really excited that if I enrolled in this program, I could still study journalism but also learn about other areas too,” she explains.   

Students in the program can take classes from four different schools within the College of Communication and Information, including Advertising and Public Relations, Communication Studies, Information Sciences, and Journalism and Electronic Media. Each course is taught by UT’s distinguished faculty and allows students the ability to craft their curriculum to their unique professional interests.  

Through the 30-hour master’s concentration interdisciplinary program, Ciera embraced broadening her initial training in journalism to expand into social media marketing, an interest that was sparked by her SDC coursework. 

Benefits of online learning

Enrolling in an online program was not originally Ciera’s plan, but she quickly saw the benefits of being a distance education student.  

“The ability to work from my home in Chattanooga was a bonus for me,” Ciera shares. She liked that she could spend more time on work and leisure activities than commuting to and from campus.   

Initially, Ciera did miss being on the UT campus with classmates and professors. However, the program’s emphasis on group work and community building created the connections she enjoyed so much during her undergraduate studies. Ciera quickly saw that the online College of Communications and Information, Strategic and Digital Communication program was the right decision for her.  

This program is especially perfect for people like me who cannot settle for just one area of expertise and who want to learn about multiple fields.

— Ciera Noe

Newfound passions

It did not take long for Ciera to find new passions in the interdisciplinary courses. In her undergraduate studies, she discovered her love and skill for copywriting, but it was in the online Communications and Information program with a concentration in Strategic Digital Communication that she connected this passion with social media marketing. Through the program, Ciera was able to diversify her expertise and interests and broaden her job opportunities beyond what she had originally planned. 

Preparing for the workforce

Ciera points out that this program emphasizes group work more than what she experienced in her undergraduate courses. She says that through these group projects, she has learned a lot more about working with diverse types of people, which has helped prepare her for the workforce and the variety of people she will interact with as coworkers. 

When asked about her future career plans, Ciera states, “Whatever job I end up getting, I’m sure it will be great, and I will have the practical experience, knowledge, and the work ethic this program has reinforced in me to help me succeed.” 

university of Tennessee Knoxville  campus building

Learn More

Would you like more information on the Communication and Information, Strategic and Digital Communication concentration program? Take the first step by completing and submitting a Request for Information form on the program page.