Down by the (Tampa) Bay, graduate Caroline Nelson is thriving

When Caroline Nelson was in high school, she didn’t see college as her next direction in the future.

But four years, three major changes and two transfers later, she not only finds herself with a degree, but with her dream job in Tampa Bay.

“Marian did a great job of helping me discover what it was I wanted to do,” said the Green Lake, Wis. native. “And, through it all, Marian never made me question whether I could earn my degree in four years – the support I needed was always there.”

That includes her initial look, which took place when she was a senior in high school. Thinking maybe the name recognition of UW-Whitewater or UW-Milwaukee was more her style, taking the 45 minutes to drive from Green Lake to Fond du Lac confirmed that Marian had the small-town atmosphere she needed to replicate a sense of home and make a smooth transition.

“I just thought it made more sense to try and make the transition from small town to small university rather than going from small town to big university,” she said. “The people at Marian I was meeting for the first time were so personable, and I knew that’d be helpful as I pursued something I had only just started considering working toward.”

She began as an Exercise and Sports Science major before moving on to Biology. Then, spring semester of her junior year, she switched to Marketing – after she had transferred back from the University of Tampa, which she attended for the fall semester of her junior year, as her parents had moved to nearby Fort Myers.

“I knew looking back I’d always wonder ‘what if’ when it came to going to a big school, but I quickly realized it wasn’t going to be possible to graduate in four years there,” she said. “Getting back to Marian, everyone was great – the professors ensured I got back on track, and everyone was invested in making sure I learned everything I needed to about marketing while still keeping me on track to graduate on my timeline.”

And learning those things – leadership skills, communication skills, time management skills, etc. – as well as developing a resume and established LinkedIn profile, that led her to be recruited for a position she began tackling in February, as a Social Media Producer at Marxent, a global leader in 3D Commerce for furniture, home improvement, and DIY.

“I love the position I’m in, I enjoy going to work every day, and everything I learned at Marian is being utilized right now,” she said, noting that working in Marian’s Office of Marketing and Communications for her senior year exposed her to the tracking of social media analytics and metrics that is the focus of her job. “It never felt like I was just thrown in, everything I learned was transferable.”

In her role, she creates content for Marxent’s social media platforms by combining market research and visual design, while also developing and implementing social media initiatives by leading marketing techniques that increase brand awareness. Monitoring and reporting data analytics is another important part of her position, with one of her main objectives being to increase website and social media traffic by reaching a wider audience through LinkedIn and Facebook Campaigns.

She hopes to master these skills before someday becoming an entrepreneur and launching a business focused on helping family-owned restaurants refine their social media accounts and online marketing strategies.

“My Marian education was a great opportunity to learn a lot of different skills and dive DEEP into my major,” she said. “I was surrounded by so many knowledgeable professors who were invested in me, and now that’s transferred into me being invested in myself and my career, and my future couldn’t be brighter.”