Julie Beasley is a ‘97 Ball State CCIM alumna. Involvement on campus through the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and influential professors led her from a career as an Advertising Copywriter on Madison Avenue to her current career as a freelance Creative Director and writer. We sat down with Julie to reflect upon her experience at Ball State and what happened after CCIM.
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What kind of student were you while at Ball State?
I was a super focused student and was super dedicated and appreciative. I had started college at Purdue up in Hammond, Indiana to play basketball. I always had my sight set on going to Ball State because I wanted to be a writer and I knew they had a great journalism and advertising program. I was actually taking courses there with the intent of switching schools. When I got here I was super appreciative and very focused on advertising. I was never a real fan of the basics like math and science, but once I got into what I wanted to do and to be able to focus on that I was super into it.
What was your favorite place on campus?
I always enjoyed my walk to my journalism classes. I liked the woody feeling with all the trees. That feeling was so different from the rest of Muncie. I also liked the architecture building since it was the coolest building.
What is your best memory at Ball State?
The fun stuff would be hanging out with friends. I lived off-campus in a house with my best friends from high school and junior high. I obviously met some other friends there. I met some really great friends through the journalism and advertising programs. I have some great memories working on campaigns with them in their rooms for AAF. It was really fun and stressful with long hours, but that was what I wanted to do.
Was there a professor that had a big impact on you?
The professor who had the biggest impact on me at Ball State was Bob Gustafson. He was an advertising professor; he had a background in account services. He taught a copywriting class and that’s exactly what I wanted to do, so I was really into it. He had a huge impact on my love for that. He was also in charge, at the time, of the AAF program. AAF and Bob Gustafson had the greatest impact on me ending up where I was and am now.
If you could meet your freshman self what would you say?
Enjoy every minute of it because it goes so fast. Don’t stress out so much, everything is going to be ok. Some of those classes that you’re taking and wondering if you’ll really need it, I have found in my career everything has come in handy. Specifically for the College of Communication, Information, and Media, everything from PR, marketing, newspaper writing, and journalism, even though that wasn’t always my focus, they havebeen helpful. I have found over the years some of these classes have been helpful classes that you can apply to real life.
How did your program equip you with the skills to be successful in your professional life?
My program equipped me really well in all facets of my career and the different routes I ended up taking — Advertising, which I did for most of my career, then PR, all the way to writing books, which I didn’t realize I would do. Those skills have come in handy when I least expected it. It’s interesting how those skills come around and you know how to use it.
What advice do you have for students approaching life beyond college?
When it comes to advertising specifically and you want to work at an Ad Agency or in the marketing department at a firm. Definitely think big and small. We all have a career in mind, but I have found you never know where your career path is going to take you. Be open to the big places and the small places because you can learn different valuable skills from both. If you have a goal, you can still reach it no matter what route you take. I thought I was going to be in account services and now I’m a copywriter. It’s good to be open-minded.