By: Heather Cox
Shaelie Clark graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in the Spring of 2016, after majoring in Media Communication.
Clark was first introduced to IWU through her youth pastor’s daughter who was a student during Clark’s senior year of high school. At the time, Clark was living outside of Indianapolis in Greenfield, and had been unsure of where she wanted to go to college.
“She took me up there for a visit, and I just kind of knew the minute I walked on campus– I was like ‘I think this is the place!’” Clark said.
Part of what drew her to IWU was the communication department. Clark had always known she wanted to be a news reporter, so after learning about the TV station on campus, she was even more excited.
For Clark, she has always pictured a career in news reporting.
“I think I was probably 6 or 7, and I was playing with my doll house,” Clark said. “I remember my mom was watching the news, because my parents were always watching the news, every night at 6 … we were that family, and my mom made the comment ‘you know, you should do this when you get older.’ I don’t know what it was about that comment, but it just stuck with me my whole life. I guess that’s just what I pictured was ‘Oh, I’m going to be a news reporter!’”
While living on campus, Clark was heavily involved with the communication department, making sure she gained good experience for future employers to see.
Starting her freshman year, Clark became involved with Crossroads, a TV program on WIWU-TV on campus. She began by attending meetings, and it was not long before she was joining the staff on shoots. By her sophomore year, she had a leadership position producing the show, and eventually began co-hosting the show.
“I would not be at this job right now if it weren’t for Crossroads, or if it weren’t for the TV station staff and the professors that I had,” Clark said. “Crossroads is how I learned how to shoot video, how I learned how to be a reporter, basically so I could do my job now.”
Clark also picked up a weekly shift at 94.3 The Fortress, a radio station run by Indiana Wesleyan students for the community of Marion, during her sophomore year as a student.
“That did wonders for me as well, because up to that point I was real awkward on camera,” Clark said. “But radio teaches you to how to ad lib and how to talk to people because you’re not worried about a camera, you’re just talking, so that helped a lot and that helped my vocal performance.”
A few of Clark’s favorite parts of IWU include McConn and the friends she made on campus, but she also highly valued her relationships with her professors.
“Our division had really great professors, and I really enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t just their student; they actually cared about me,” Clark said. “Even with me being out in the job now, they text me, they ask how I’m doing, and they watch my work and say ‘Hey, saw your latest story!’ That really means a lot. They don’t even know how much it means. So I loved being able to go get coffee with my professors and I loved them knowing more than just my academics, they knew what was going on in my life.”
During spring break of her senior year, Clark headed down to Evansville for an interview at Channel 14 News, in hopes to begin her career in news reporting.
“I really liked the Evansville market. It was the place I wanted, and it was the place that really felt like I needed to be. It was the same feeling when I knew Indiana Wesleyan was the school,” Clark said. “Not even a week later, I heard from the News Director who asked me to come down. I came down, and when I got back I heard I had received the job!”
It was only two weeks after graduation when Clark packed up and moved south to start her career.
“I’m really glad that I did that, because I was able to get started sooner and get to start knowing the area sooner,” Clark said.
When it comes to plans and goals for the future, Clark said she is trying to take things day by day, but the ultimate goal is to earn her way to reporting for Indianapolis.
“I’m really the type of person who always has a plan and has life figured out, but I’m trying to just go day by day for once in my life,” Clark said. “Obviously I’m probably not going to stick around here my whole life, but I would love to go back to Indy. Because Indy is home, so I’d love to work for a news station up there. It’s the news station I grew up watching. When I pictured my future I kind of pictured it there.”
As for advice for current Indiana Wesleyan students, Clark says to enjoy school while it lasts!
“I would say to enjoy the time you have in school. Don’t try to wish it away, because life is too short,” Clark said. “I’d also say to get involved, figure out what you want to do, and if there’s any opportunity at school to start getting your feet wet in that profession, such as communication, or nursing, or anything really, start picking up any opportunities you can to get involved, because that’s what’s going to help you stand out, and that’s what’s going to get you a job in the end!”
Written by Heather Cox, guest writer for the Alumni Office. Heather is a Junior Journalism major at IWU. She is also the Editor of GrantCOnnected.net, a community news site run by IWU students. She is unsure of where life will take her after college, but she knows she never wants to stop writing!