About Lexi Jensen: Lexi Jensen is a communications professional with experience in public relations, advertising, and marketing. Most recently, she held the position of Account Coordinator at Mighty MCS Advertising in Idaho Falls. Prior to that, Ms. Jensen worked for Beauty Industry Group in Salt Lake City, first as Social Media/Public Relations Coordinator, then as Trade Show and PR Coordinator. Her background also includes roles as Marketing and Leasing Team Lead at Cardinal Group Management, and Public Relations Intern at Braathe Enterprises.
Ms. Jensen graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications, specializing in Public Relations and Visual Media. In 2018, she completed her master’s degree through Westminster College’s Master of Strategic Communication program.
[MastersinCommunications.com] May we please have a brief description of your educational and professional background?
[Lexi Jensen] I received a bachelor’s in communication with a specific focus on public relations and visual media from Brigham Young University Idaho in 2014 and a master’s degree in strategic communication from Westminster College in 2018. In the past, I have held positions as a marketing coordinator, social media and event coordinator, and most recently, an account coordinator at an advertising agency.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree in communication, and why did you ultimately choose Westminster College’s Master of Strategic Communication?
[Lexi Jensen] After I completed my bachelor’s degree, I hadn’t decided if I wanted to pursue a graduate degree. I had researched different programs, but I didn’t find one that was the right fit. About a year and a half later when I moved to Salt Lake City, I began to think about going back to school. I knew where ever I studied I wanted to continue with communication simply because that’s where my passion and interests were. I looked into possible programs from Westminster College because I had a sister working on a graduate degree in community leadership from there at the time.
It only took me probably 30 minutes of reading about the strategic communication program to realize it was the perfect fit and I started my application the next day. A few things appealed to me the most about this program: 1. It was online, so I wouldn’t have to leave work early to attend night classes. 2. No GRE needed to apply. 3. A final portfolio instead of a thesis. And 4, it was a project-based program. After starting the program, I discovered even more benefits and knew I made the best choice for my graduate degree.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please provide an overview of your experience completing the curriculum for this program? What key concepts did the program emphasize, and how did the five specific content areas (Rhetoric and Strategic Public Relations, Visual Communication and Brand Strategy, Organizational Communication and Culture, Integrated Marketing Communication, and Instructional Design) inform your learning outcomes? What skills and strategies did you learn in your classes, and how did you apply them to course assignments?
[Lexi Jensen] The structure of the curriculum for the MSC program for me was organized very efficiently. I found it extremely beneficial to focus on one content area for the whole semester rather than mixing various topics in. After completing this program, I wish I could go back and schedule my undergrad classes to be organized in this manner.
In the MSC program, there aren’t any classes or lessons, instead, there are five individual projects and one group project for each semester with specific competencies you are working to achieve by completing the projects. Project-based learning is how I learn best because I can learn as I go and immediately apply what I’ve learned into a real-life project, rather than trying to fully comprehend it with hypothetical scenarios.
This program is structured where you take the competencies from the previous semester and build off of them in the next semester. At the final semester of the program, the goal is to take competencies from the four previous semesters and apply them into one final capstone or portfolio project that showcases your skills from the entire program.
[MastersinCommunications.com] As a student of Westminster College’s online/hybrid program format, what were your experiences interacting with course faculty and peers both in and outside of classes? What learning technologies did this program use, and were they effective in helping you feel connected to your professors and class cohort?
[Lexi Jensen] The majority of my time in the MSC program I lived in Salt Lake City and had the privilege of being local to the campus so I could meet with my group members and faculty mentors in person. Interaction with faculty and peers during the program was constant from residency to the final day of the semester. Each semester in the program started with a residency day where you came to campus in person, or video chat if you didn’t live locally, and met with your faculty mentor and peers to discuss the projects in detail and have any questions answered. This residency day was also a great time to meet with your peer group (which was the same group as the previous semester) and plan your group project logistics.
Our faculty mentors didn’t have specific online office hours; however, you could visit them on campus if you lived locally, or you could call/email and sometimes even text them to ask questions. In this program, you also had a writing coach available anytime by email to send drafts of your projects to and have them review and provide feedback for. My peer group met weekly in person to work on our team project and get feedback on our individual projects. During my undergrad studies, I took many online and hybrid classes, but none of them had as much beneficial interaction with classmates or professors and I didn’t complete the class learning as many skills.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please describe your experience completing your Corporate Training and Capstone Project? Which client did you work with, and how did you collaborate with your team of peers on a strategic communication project? How did your faculty advisor(s) support you in your research and work?
[Lexi Jensen] The MSC program has a strong emphasis on working with real clients, so each semester you have the opportunity to work with one client for your individual project and another for your team project. With my group and individually, I worked with a non-profit, an assisted living home, pizza restaurant, online craft store, food truck, a corporate office, and a hair extension company.
For the final semester, our group worked with Alta Ridge Assisted Living to create a new website to help them market their business effectively to potential clients. As a group, we conducted qualitative research by reviewing competitor’s websites, studying best practices of websites, and sending out surveys and interview questions to clients and employees of Alta Ridge. From this research, we created a sitemap and site design and presented it to Alta Ridge for them to review and apply to their current inactive website.
In addition to this final group project, I completed a capstone portfolio comprised of five of my best projects from the program that showcased my skills as a strategic communicator. For this portfolio, we were able to choose any five projects and revise them with feedback from the writing coach or our faculty mentor if needed. The structure and design of the final portfolio could be compiled in a website, interactive pdf, hard copy book, or any other format that would showcase our work best. I chose to design full page layouts and print them into a hard copy wood-bound book that I could use to present my projects in person. Leaving with a portfolio of my work from the master’s of strategic communication program was a major sense of accomplishment and something that appealed to me about this program from the start.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What key takeaways, experiences, or connections from Westminster College’s Master of Strategic Communication have you found to be the most helpful for you in your career path?
[Lexi Jensen] Each semester in the MSC program had key takeaways, but for me, the content areas that stood out the most were Rhetoric and Strategic Public Relations, and Visual Communication and Brand Strategy. Public relations and visual communication were topics I majored in during my undergrad, so getting to add to my knowledge of these topics and complete projects with clients was very beneficial to me. Skills I gained from studying these topics were applied almost immediately into my job as an account coordinator for an advertising agency and continue to be helpful in my work to develop a brand and a website for a new business.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What advice would you give students just starting Westminster College’s Master of Strategic Communication program? More broadly, what advice would you give students who are either considering or starting a master’s in communication program, whether it is at Westminster College or another university?
[Lexi Jensen] For students starting the MSC program, I would advise setting aside exclusive time a few days a week for working on your projects. In this program, there aren’t small assignments due throughout the week, rather five individual projects and one group project due at varying times in the semester. It can be easy to put aside working on a paper or a design project because you have a month until it is due, but if you start it early you can take advantage of being able to get feedback, make revisions, and submit the project multiple times until you are satisfied or get a complete score.
You get out as much as you put into this program or any master’s of communication program. You can rush through projects and still pass and receive your degree, but if you put in thoughtful and dedicated work, you will leave with not just a degree, but valuable skills that will advance your career and benefit you throughout your life.
Thank you, Ms. Jensen, for your excellent insights on Westminster College’s Master of Strategic Communication program!