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A BTS Look Into Student Life with Lauren Gersten and Jessica Newell

On the first video edition of Media in the Mix, students Lauren Gersten and Jessica Newell talk all things AU SOC, but this bonus Q&A is all about them!

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Media in the Mix with special guests Lauren Gersten and Jessica Newell

If you’ve ever wondered what life at American University School of Communication (AU SOC) looks like or how the Alumni Mentor program works, join current students Lauren Gersten and Jessica Newell, and host Grace Ibrahim on our most recent Media in the Mix podcast episode – and our first video edition! 

Gersten is a first-year public relations student and Newell is a graduate student working on her Master’s of Strategic Communcation. On the podcast they talk all things SOC, classes, professional goals, and falling in love with Washington DC with a special focus on our unique Alumni Mentor program. After the shoot, we quizzed them on the truly essential questions: 

AU SOC: What is your favorite spot on-campus?   

Lauren Gersten: I love the McKinley building (and it is not just because I am an SOC student). 

Jessica Newell: I’m fond of McKinley’s rooftop patio. If I’m early to class or in between classes, it’s a sunny, quiet place to do work in the fresh air without getting too far away. 


AU SOC: What has been your favorite class so far?  

Lauren: I am a second semester freshman so I haven't taken that many classes, but I will say Understanding Media (COMM 100) was super fun and a great way to get into the world of communications at AU. 

Jessica: I enjoyed my Writing for Strategic Communication class last fall with Professor Konowe. We wrote in different formats each week—speeches, media advisories, infographics—to promote small businesses that we invented. I felt like I was a fictional entrepreneur, as well as a PR professional who challenged myself to incorporate new writing behaviors and shed some of my bad writing habits. 


AU SOC: What is one thing you can’t live without?    

Lauren: I am always listening to music or podcasts, so headphones are essential to get through the day. 

Jessica: Cats! I’m counting the species as one thing. My childhood cat, Domino, is pure joy for me. While she chills in NJ with my parents, I often borrow time with my friend’s cat, April, to get my cuddle fill. I’ve had cats my whole life, and the best part is that I’m allergic to them--the universe can have a sense of humor. 


AU SOC: What is a random skill/talent most people don’t know you have?   

Lauren: I could name every single One Direction song from memory. 

Jessica: My weirdest skill is wiggling my ears on command. A more useful talent of mine is picking up languages, accents, and melodies quickly and being able to repeat them back to people. 


AU SOC: What is your most memorable experience at AU to date?  

Lauren: Getting to see my room for the first time at move-in day or participating in my first Shakespeare play with Rude Mechanicals! 

Jessica: Last fall, Professor Phillips got my class exclusive access to a private lecture hosted by the communications team at the Library of Congress. We learned all the insider details about them hosting Lizzo for a flute concert, and the evening ended with me walking past the Capitol and the Supreme Court on my way back to Union Station. I remember thinking, “yeah, so this is what it means to go to school in D.C.” 


AU SOC: If you could be any mode of transportation, what would you be and why? 

Lauren: I would be an electric scooter and I really have no reason for this, I just think they're funny. 

Jessica: I would be a train. I like how safe they feel and that they’re on a carefully planned track. But they give you time to take in the view as you head toward an adventure, and they sing at you with their little whistle!