My Brand: A PR Grad Cohort Story

My Brand: A PR Grad Cohort Story

I was one of two people at my graduation ceremony earning a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) in History of Art, and I had never previously met the other person. Members of my major were internally deemed “unicorns”, partly due to our elusive numbers but also because of the unique nature of our degree. It was a fun mix of intensive historical research supported by access to any art class I wanted that made me choose History of Art in the first place. However, I came to find out that the unicorn is a lonely species.

Even during my time bouncing around in an administrative capacity at various temp jobs I never really established my herd, a group of people who were traveling through their professional life in a way that was similar to me. That all changed when I met my Public Relations cohort at Newhouse.

While I would like to say we were all fast friends from the start, I would be lying. My PR cohort is diverse — in interests, in age, in experience, in backgrounds, in culture, in race, in just about every way. For a group of 30 or so people working toward the same degree, there is very little overlap when it comes to our career goals. In the words of Professor Tony D’Angelo, “Public Relations is a portable degree,” and I think the diversity of our cohort is a testament to that. That being said, it is not necessarily an easy task making besties out of a group of strangers that may not share your passion for a 17th century Caravaggio painting, or don’t know a lot about your cultural traditions. So, how does Newhouse rectify this? With a 6-week intensive summer Boot Camp, because misery sure loves company and endless hours of class and group work. It was in these early days I got my first glimpse of, what we now as a cohort affectionately refer to as, “our brands”.

My Brand

Branding by trade can be defined as the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. In an industry where originality and uniqueness are your lifelines, honing our individual identities became a daily practice and a source of endless inside jokes. In a program as intensive as those at Newhouse, a little levity goes a long way.

As the nauseatingly nostalgic person that I am, I spend a lot of time pondering the past. I also get great comfort from comparing where I started as a measurement for where I am going. Looking back six months to the first time my peers and I introduced ourselves to one another I can’t help but laugh. I laugh partially because of how awkward and unsure we truly were of ourselves (and our brands), but also because we had no idea we would go on introducing ourselves, over and over again. You will come to find that as a graduate cohort you are asked, at least bi-weekly, to share in some capacity who you are and what you are interested in. While this process may sound tedious, in reality, it has been incredible to watch our answers become more refined and poignant each time. These people who started as strangers are now my friends, and our diverse interests have developed into distinguished brands. While I still may be the only person in the group who cares about Caravaggio’s impressive use of chiaroscuro, I no longer feel like a lonely unicorn. I have found my herd.

2018 Graduate Public Relations Cohort
2018 Graduate Public Relations Cohort


Katherine Arts
Aspiring arts advocate and creative problem solver, Katherine Arts has years of exposure working and learning in a creative environment. Arts is currently pursuing an MS in Public Relations, studying methods to effectively communicate and advocate on behalf of artists and arts organization. She is passionate about empowering and supporting women and is interested in serving as the bridge between artist and institution.
Please wait...

Become an Insider!

Want to be notified when a post is published? Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.