Communication in Real Life

Posted by Paula Paine on April 1, 2015 in communication, "Erin Shriver", golf, "The Campus", "Your OU" Erin-Shriver-2.jpegSenior Erin Shriver first thought she wanted to go into business, but after taking an Intro to Communication course, she instinctively knew she needed to change directions. For her, the Communication major translated directly to real life by teaching her how to communicate effectively with different kinds of people, discover her own voice, write stories and documents for varied audiences, articulate corporate plans and strategies, and create and manage multiple media types.
With coaches and professors who encouraged her to delve deep into her studies as well as her own mind and heart, Shriver has been able to accomplish more than she imagined at OU while also becoming more self aware about who she is and her goals for the future.
Shriver came to Ottawa as a relatively sheltered girl from a private school. Transition to college was complicated further by her diagnosis of ADHD her sophomore year of high school, long-time depression and anxiety, and family ups and downs that she was still learning to navigate. It’s a good thing that the first person she met at OU was Head Golf Coach Wendell Smith.
Erin-Shriver-1.jpeg“Since the first day that I visited campus and met Coach Smith, he has been almost like a second father to me,” says Shriver. “He has taught me a lot about who I am as a person, making me think about life beyond college and golf. He has been an awesome mentor during my time at OU.”
Also during her time at OU, Shriver has gained a toolbox of skills, knowledge and experience to help her overcome the medical and personal issues that held her back in the past. Though treatment for her ADHD allowed Shriver to move her high school GPA from 1.9 to 3.5, she was worried that the added rigor of college would compromise that success. She set her own worries to rest by earning a 4.0 GPA in her major and a 3.85 overall GPA thus far at OU.
She’ll admit, though, that coming to a smaller school where she can get the personal attention she needs and where her professors know her by name has made a big difference. Assistant Professor of Forensics Ryan Louis has been one of those.
“Prof Louis has taught me a lot over the past four years,” Shriver says. “He is so smart and intelligent, and I enjoy having conversations with him that stretch my thinking. He also brings a lot of real-world experience to the communication classes, so I’m learning from someone who knows what they’re talking about and knows what is really important in the industry.”
Shriver has applied what she’s learned from Louis and others by writing for The Campus newspaper since she was a sophomore and serving as editor-in-chief her senior year. As a Communication major, she has also learned the basics of layout and design, marketing plans, public relations, public speaking, and authentic journalism, which she used during an internship (and a subsequent part-time job). She is now compiling all of that work into a portfolio to share with prospective employers. Remembering how important her own OU beginnings were, Shriver has also served as a New Student Orientation Leader the past three years, including as one of only three seniors chosen to be a Senior Orientation Leader this final year.
Shriver_Erin_WGOLF13.jpg“Erin is an especially hard worker - smart, organized and someone on whom I can always rely,” said Louis. “Because she's managed to carve out a path for herself, she is passionate about helping others carve out theirs.  She displayed this passion as an annual Orientation Leader for incoming first-year students.  Additionally, her senior comprehensive project aims at enhancing the available orientation information for communication majors. She has left a mark on the school. I am proud to have watched her grow and succeed over the past four years.”
Beyond academics, Shriver was also worried about the transition from high school athletic competition to college play on the golf course, especially given the greater demands on her time. But with the help of Coach Smith, her professors, and her teammates, she proved that she could keep up with the best of them, even serving as team captain, setting a couple of school records (#1 tournament performance and 2nd best individual round), taking seven of the top 10 best individual rounds in program history, contributing to the 7th (2013) and 9th (2014) highest women’s golf team GPA in the nation, and being voted the recipient of a Braves Athletic Hall of Fame scholarship in 2013.
“Erin has earned a 4.0 in multiple semesters, and she has been heavily involved in the student newspaper and a variety of campus activities while dealing with the expectations and pressures of being one of our top golfers at every tournament,” said Coach Smith. “I think she has more potential than she realizes, and I hope that her four years here at Ottawa University serve as a foundation or platform that she can utilize to launch her toward a very successful future.”
Every success that Shriver has experienced; every encouragement she has received from her coaches, counselors and professors; every lesson she has learned while at OU has helped her develop possibly the most important tool of all – the confidence that she is ready to “show off” her new communication skills in the real world.