Betsy Mills is a ’08 and ’10 Ball State alumna with a passion for rhetoric and political sciences. Right after graduating with her Master’s degree in Communication Studies, she joined the Pennsylvania State University as a lecturer of communications arts and sciences, a position she still holds to this date. Betsy is also an elected official and currently serves the Henry County Council. We sat down with her to discuss her time at Ball state and what happened after CCIM. 

Writer: Ruth Brungard, Department of Journalism Student • Interviewer: Any Ung, ’19 Telecommunications grad • Video: Ball State UMS 

What type of student were you?

I came to Ball State and I had been awarded an Emens Leadership Scholarship. I came from a small county school of 400. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew Ball State had just given me this major scholarship for leadership and academics. I was also a member of the Honor’s College. I thought if Ball State believes in me, I better believe in me too. I immediately got involved. Within my first week here I joined Student Government, I was our Residence Hall Representative, I got involved with Greek Life as a sister of Chi Omega, I was very involved in University Governance at every level. I was a four-year member of University Senate. As a student I was on campus counsel. My junior year, I was elected Student Body President through student government. I was really involved and was everywhere. I really loved my time at Ball State.

Did you have a favorite place on campus?

I spent a lot of time in the Student Center for Student Government. I loved our suite in Woodworth, the Chi Omega suite. Off campus, I spent time at the fraternities. My very good friend was in FIJI, so I spent a lot of time at their house. I was all over the place. Every time I come back here it feels so warm and welcoming. It feels like coming home.”

What is your best memory of Ball State?

My best memory is the night my slate won the Student Government election. It was a tough and competitive race with another really good slate of candidates, and we won. I was at the FIJI house that night. I was surrounded by my sorority sisters, the FIJIs who were essentially my fraternity brothers, my whole family was there. It was a really magical night. We had worked for years to get to that point. It was a dream come true. I’ll never forget it.

How about your worst memory?

The worst moment at Ball State was when we lost a really good friend, from student government and from FIJI. He took is life. I know it’s very dark, it’s sad. That was really hard but having the community there to support each other and to try and do better for each other really meant a lot. That was a tough moment here.

Is there a professor that made a lasting impact on you?

There are so many faculty members on this campus who just touched me and pushed me to be a better version of myself. I’ve always thought so highly of our faculty and I am so proud of our Communication Studies department— they are phenomenal. Dr. Glenn Stamp, Dr. Laura Ohara, Dr. Beth Messner, Dr. Lori Byers, Dr. Carrie Schue, Dr. Kristen McCauliff. I could go on and on forever. We have unbelievable faculty in this building.

Dr. Stamp helped me get my first job at Penn State. I had no idea what to do as a graduate student or how to get hired at another school. We don’t train people to do that exactly, and he helped me. I still have that job. They’re more than faculty, they become your family, especially when you’re a graduate student.

How did the Communication Studies department equip you with the skills to be successful in your professional life? [not sure she covered that in her interview]

In Communication Studies, I studied a lot of rhetoric and I studied a lot of speechwriting and delivery. That was of course COMM 210, the public speaking course. I had always been interested in public speaking. I had always been ok and had good experience in that from FFA in high school and University Governance here in college. It was good to get a formalized training and to really learn rhetoric from a different perspective and have unbelievable rhetorical scholars help to teach me that. I learned a lot and it has empowered me now that I am a teacher and I’m teaching rhetoric, I’m grateful for the different experiences I had and be able to know. It’s very simple, it goes back to message analysis, it goes back to considering your audience, really simple principles that I learned here that I employ not just professionally, but in my life and in public service. I am an elected official and I use those skills constantly. Here at Ball State, I was able to refine those skills thanks to our faculty and our courses.

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