Meet Colleen Kappeler: Our Campus Adviser & PhD Candidate

Her Campus Carthage started only a year ago and is continuing to grow. Although the writers and the Campus Correspondents keep the club running, there's a lot more behind-the-scenes action that happens - often without recognition. Colleen Kappeler is our on-campus adviser and is one of the few who has been with HCC since long before its launch. Between her work as a full-time mom, educator and student, she had the opportunity to sit down and answer a few questions for us.

HC: Tell us a bit about yourself!

CK: I have two kids – one is a freshman at UW-Parkside and one is in middle school. I have three full time lives: full-time single mom, full-time educator (job), and full-time student (PhD). It’s a lot and I get tired, but I love what I do and the people I get to work with so in the end it’s always worth it. I enjoy reading as a way to wind down, especially YA literature – so it’ll be great when I have time to do that again. And I love to travel – like any place any time. I love being pushed outside my comfort zone, immersing myself in new places, seeing new cultures – it gives me great perspective on life and makes everything that feels so big and overwhelming just a little bit more manageable.

And I guess one more thing that fits with both who I am and what I teach and study – I am a researcher of people. I love to study people and see what they are like, why they believe the things they do, what they do and why – all that stuff. That’s part of what is so amazing about studying communication and public relations – the field is not a concrete field like, say, math. It’s fluid and draws upon theories from not only communication and public relations, but also psychology and sociology and sometimes even science. And it’s a field that is always growing and changing as technology changes – and that keeps me on my toes which keeps life interesting!

HC: What made you decide on this career path?

CK: When I was in my undergrad days, I was an honors writing fellow at UMass Dartmouth. As one of four fellows for the University, I was in charge of working with whole majors on their writing skills (one semester I had nursing students, one history, and one English). I learned that I loved two things: 1) the connection I could build with the students and 2) the ability to help students learn and see their own worth and intelligence. That sealed the deal for me and I became an educator. In fact, when I graduated with my BA I had no idea I couldn’t get a teaching job because I thought I’d already been teaching. So, I marched myself into schools in Ohio and got myself jobs teaching college classes – no masters even! I began at Cincinnati Technical College and Northern Kentucky University.

HC: Luckily for us, you eventually made the move to Carthage! What do you teach here?

CK: I teach public relations classes as well as Mass Communications. I began at Carthage teaching Mass Comm and Western Heritage. Within a year, I was teaching a full load of PR classes along with my Mass Comm class. PR inadvertently became my specialty for teaching – and that led me into a whole new career path as an educator, changing my PhD from English to Communication and Media Arts with a concentration in PR.

HC: What drew you to advise for HCC?

CK: Amanda Goecke started Her Campus Carthage last year and I just loved her passion for the project as well as her writing abilities and her desire to include more opportunities for women writers on campus.

HC: What type of content on our page do you enjoy the most?

CK: I love seeing the updates on student life! I often worry that my students don’t have a whole lot to do outside of school work and campus, especially if they live on campus. So getting to see whatever opportunities for fun and life they have outside the classroom is important to me!

HC: Do you have a favorite job you've had in the past or a favorite part of your current position at Carthage?

CK: My favorite job is what I’m doing right now. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true. I love what I do and I am always happy to get up in the morning and see what the day brings as far as interactions with my students, what I can teach them, and what they can teach me. It’s an ever-changing, new-each-day kind of job and I love almost every second of it.

HC: Do you have any advice for students wishing to pursue Public Relations or anything else in the Communications field?

CK: You have to love learning how people work. You have to be willing to grow and learn and change within yourself as a scholar and worker as the world of communication and public relations changes, so you have to have flexibility and curiosity. And you have to have good writing skills!

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us, Colleen! 

If you're interested in reading more about how awesome our adviser is, check out this article published by the Kenosha News!