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Arkansas State University

Macy Dukes Gains New Impressions in Online Master’s Degree Program

A-State MSStratComm Student Macy Dukes

Six months after Macy Dukes landed a digital marketing coordinator position, she seized an opportunity too good to pass up: returning to higher education.

“When I told some of my friends that I am getting my master’s degree online, they were a bit surprised,” she said. “They thought I was back in school pretty quickly after my undergrad — only a year.”

Dukes enrolled in the online Master of Science in Strategic Communications program at Arkansas State University in January 2020.

“With this degree program, I am looking for something specific to help me with the position I am in now and to prepare me for whatever position I may hold in the future,” she said. “Right now, I run social media. This master’s degree is right in line and on track with furthering that role.”

Dukes works for a Dallas-based education company where she also interned for two months in 2018. Her first work experience was in retail sales.

“I always thought about going back for a master’s,” she said. “Master’s in communication programs aren’t super common — especially online. The timing worked out perfectly, and I happened to find the program that ended up being exactly what I wanted.”

Earning a degree online helps Dukes plan out time for studies around her busy schedule at work.

“It’s very manageable,” she said. “The professors keep in mind that the people taking these classes are working adults.

“The information is relevant without being easy. It’s still a rigorous program. With it being online, you definitely have to be on top of your time management.”

Direct Messages

Dukes grew up in Southlake, Texas, where she attended Carroll High School. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in corporate communication with a minor in Spanish from Baylor University in 2019.

“I wasn’t always a communication major,” she said. “I started out as a business major. After that first round of classes, I changed pretty quickly. When I switched to communication, I enjoyed it a lot.”

In Dukes’ position as digital marketing coordinator, she creates content and manages the company’s social profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. She recently completed her third course in the online M.S. in Strategic Communications program.

“I also chose A-State because it has such a great reputation for having a robust online program,” she said. “That made it an easy decision. I have definitely been able to apply the information that I have learned in the program to my job.”

So far, STCM 6033: Communication Regulation and Policy, taught by Holly Hall, J.D., is Dukes’ favorite course in the program.

“It was informative,” she said. “There was a lot to take away that I hadn’t had exposure to or learned before. Holly Hall is a great instructor.

“With an online program, some people are concerned about the instruction and the delivery. She made it interesting in a perfect way. She posted short video lectures that were super informative. It was fun to learn something new.”

Dukes said the A-State faculty members are responsive any time she has a question about the material or the program.

“It’s been great,” she said. “I am the type of student who sometimes has a lot of questions. The professors have always been helpful and responsive. It’s almost like there is no distance barrier. It’s like the professors are right there with you as if you were in a classroom.”

Multiple Platforms

With seven courses left to complete, Dukes, who enjoys spending time with friends, is eyeing a 2021 graduation date. She plans to attend the commencement ceremony in Jonesboro.

“I am definitely going to be there,” she said. “My family and friends are excited for me.”

She feels she made the right decision by enrolling in the online M.S. in Strategic Communications program not long after finishing her undergrad.

“From my experience of being in class and interacting with other students, everybody is in the same boat,” she said. “They either know what they want to do or that they want to be in the communication field.

“I would say don’t be afraid to go for it. It’s something that will help you in the long run. Jumping off is the hardest part.”

Dukes also believes the master’s degree will open up several career options and job opportunities for her in the future. When it does, she will be ready to take advantage of them.

“The program has been exactly what I was looking for,” she said. “It has a broad range of classes that will teach me about a lot of different areas.

“The field of communication is so versatile. I can apply to any job position and it doesn’t have to be communication-specific. The master’s degree program prepares you for the workforce and wherever that may take you.”

Learn more about the A-State online M.S. in Strategic Communications program.

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