About Cecilia Weiland: Cecilia Weiland works as a Human Capital Consultant for Deloitte, and is currently the Communications Lead for an ERP System Implementation at an institution of higher education. Prior to joining Deloitte, Ms. Weiland was a Senior Strategic Communications Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she served as a Communications Consultant for the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Weiland currently lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, Andrew. Her hobbies include designing and building websites for small businesses and organizations, attending Orangetheory Fitness classes, following Purdue sports, and FaceTiming with her parents who are currently serving overseas.
Ms. Weiland earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Strategic Communications from Purdue University in 2015. In 2016, she graduated from the Master of Arts in Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT) program at Georgetown University. She also completed a Graduate Certificate in Social Media Management from Georgetown’s Graduate School of Continuing Studies.
[MastersinCommunications.com] May we please have a brief description of your educational and professional background?
[Cecilia Weiland] I am currently a Human Capital Consultant at Deloitte, and absolutely love my job. Before coming to Deloitte, I was at Booz Allen Hamilton where I served as a Senior Strategic Communications Consultant. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications from Purdue University in 2015, and during my undergraduate career, I completed two internships overseas for the U.S. Department of State. I earned my Master of Arts degree in Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT) from Georgetown University in 2016, and a Graduate Certificate in Social Media Management from Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Continuing Studies in 2018.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree in communication? What skills did you hope to obtain, and what career path(s) were you interested in post-graduation?
[Cecilia Weiland] I decided to pursue a master’s degree in communication for a few reasons. I turned 21 years old the day I graduated from Purdue, so I was quite younger than the rest of my graduating class. To be honest, job recruiters didn’t take me seriously when they found out how old I was, even though I had the exact same qualifications as my peers. Because job recruiters thought I was too young to really be successful in the professional world, I knew that I needed to distinguish myself from all the other communications graduates, and decided that even more education would do that.
Going into Graduate school, I didn’t know that I wanted to go into consulting and thought that consulting was something done at the end of a career after spending years in industry! I always knew I would end up in the communications field; the more difficult part was discovering exactly where I wanted to share my talents and invest my time.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Why did you ultimately choose the Master of Arts in Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT) program at Georgetown University? What about the CCT program attracted you in particular?
[Cecilia Weiland] I chose the CCT Program at Georgetown because it is the only program in the world of its kind. I wanted to learn more about technology as a communications professional, and I thought having a background in tech would definitely set me apart from my peers who only had bachelor’s degrees in Public Relations or Communications. The program was a challenge and I never thought I could get into Georgetown, but I did – and the Georgetown name carries a lot of weight in the professional world. I knew I wanted to go into some type of communications-related career because writing and communicating is what I’m best at – but I also knew I wanted to be more well-rounded and have insight into the non-comms world, too.
The two things that attracted me most to the CCT Program were that I could choose a thesis vs. non-thesis route, and that I could choose between a wide array of courses yet still keep a narrow focus on media and communications. I felt that I had a lot of freedom to create my own graduate experience, which is something that was very important to me when choosing a program and curriculum.
[MastersinCommunications.com] How is Georgetown’s CCT program structured, and what concepts did the program emphasize? What were some of your favorite courses? What skills and strategies did you learn in these classes, and how did you apply them to course assignments?
[Cecilia Weiland] The CCT Program at Georgetown is a two-year (four semester) program if completed at full-time student status. There are only three courses that are technically “required” – Introduction to CCT (CCT505) and Fundamentals of Technology (CCT506) – as well as a qualitative or quantitative methods course of the student’s choosing. All supplementary courses are selected by the student, which is what makes CCT so special. Additionally, students can choose from one of two paths: the thesis or non-thesis route.
Because students have so much control over the courses they take while at CCT, no two CCT experiences are the same. For example, I chose to focus the majority of my courses on communication and media-related topics rather than technology and coding classes, because I knew I wanted to advance my career in a communications field. I took classes such as Presidential Campaigns in New Media Environments, Social Networking Sites and Civic Engagement, Media and Politics, and Content Analysis, yet I still chose to take multiple technology-related courses to enhance my degree and experience.
I had two favorite courses at CCT. One favorite, Presidential Campaigns in New Media Environments, was taught by Jon Decker, a member of the White House Press Corps. I took this class during the 2016 Presidential election cycle, and Professor Decker took us to the White House to sit in on a daily press briefing and tour the press corps area. We also got to sit in on President Obama’s ceremony with the 2016 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, which was an incredible experience. My other favorite class was the Communications Portfolio course, taught by Dr. Jeanine Turner. That course was so valuable because we were challenged to define our personal brands and create an online portfolio for our academic and professional work. My portfolio helped me get my first job out of Grad school and has evolved into my current website, www.ceciliaweiland.com. Each spring, Professor Turner still asks me to come back and speak to her class about my experience and love for the course, and I love evaluating the students’ portfolios at the end of their semester!
[MastersinCommunications.com] What key takeaways, experiences, or connections from the CCT program have you found to be the most helpful for you in your career path?
[Cecilia Weiland] During my time at CCT, I worked as a Communications Assistant for the program and also served as a Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant for Dr. Leticia Bode, Dr. Jeanine Turner, and Dr. Kimberly Meltzer. Being a TA was one of the most rewarding experiences of my time at CCT, and I loved interacting with Dr. Bode, Dr. Turner, and Dr. Meltzer. Learning more advanced research and technical writing skills is something that I have carried with me into my career and has made me more valuable to my clients.
I did not take a summer off between academic years, and instead completed four semesters back-to-back and graduated six months early, in December 2016. I got engaged right before my final semester at Georgetown, so I was job hunting, planning a wedding, and working full time on top of my normal full-time Graduate course load during my last semester in school. I worked full time all four semesters in Grad school, and it really helped shape the person I am today. Like many Grad students, I missed a lot of social events with friends and had to sacrifice sleep, but nothing sharpened my work ethic and organizational skills more than navigating the CCT Program.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What advice would you give students just starting Georgetown University’s Master of Arts in Communication, Culture, and Technology program? More broadly, what advice would you give students who are either considering or starting a master’s in communication program, whether it be at Georgetown or another university?
[Cecilia Weiland] A question I receive quite often from current undergraduate students inquiring about the CCT Program is about timing of attending Graduate school. Because of this question, my biggest piece of advice for students looking to go to Graduate school is to take a good, hard look at your current social, financial, and employment situations, and decide what you are willing to sacrifice in the short-term for a long-term gain. In my opinion, there is no right time for Graduate school – it all depends on your own situation.
I found it was easy for me to go right into Graduate school coming out of undergrad because I was already in the “study/school” mindset, whereas a lot of the older students in my program at Georgetown were coming back from the professional world and forgot what it was like to study and read so much. I was the youngest student in my program at 21 years old (22 at graduation), and the average age of students in the CCT Program during my tenure was about 25-30 years old. CCT had a select few students come into the program right out of undergrad, but a lot of students were already working full-time and were going “back” to school. It didn’t make me any less or any more successful, but instead gave me a unique insight while I completed the program. The right time for Graduate school is completely dependent on you and your own situation – but there’s never a wrong time for more education.
Thank you, Ms. Weiland, for your excellent insights on Georgetown University’s Master of Arts in Communication, Culture, and Technology program!