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Alumni Profile: Sylvia Dsouza '14
Year Graduated from UCLA:
2014
Current Occupation/Field of Work:

Public Relations, Media Relations, Events organizer

Work Experience:

Worked in the hospitality industry for about 10 years before returning to school to earn my bachelor's degree. During my undergraduate academic career at UCLA, I also worked as a student worker in Development (fundraising), and Donor Relations for UCLA External Affairs that has culminated into a full-time paid position with UCLA Alumni Affairs right after graduation. I have also been working on Public Relations projects for start ups founded by Bruins.

Why did you choose Comm Studies as your major?

I was drawn to the interdisciplinary aspect of the program. I wanted to be a part of a major that gave me the options of exploring my various interests academically as week as professionally. I am interested in International Relations, Public Diplomacy, Public and Media Relations and Development. Additionally, I am also interested in television and film content development and production There are few majors on famous that offers courses that encompass all these interests. Therefore, after exploring all other majors and familiarizing myself with the courses offered within this major, and the different career trajectories of Communication Studies Alumni, choosing this major only seemed natural.

Favorite UCLA memory and/or professor:

I have enjoyed all my classes at UCLA and have deep respect for all the professors. However a special shoutout goes to Dr. Steven Peterson for his amazing lectures. He really tries hard to integrate information needed to be successful in the real world into his lectures. One of my favorites is his spheel about cheating and networking/connections. Dr. Peterson reminds his students that "it is not cool to be get caught cheating by one of our fellow classmates, because just in case they are the ones who happen to hold our dream jobs in the future and their memory of us is as cheaters, we are done." That really does it for some students:)
I have also enjoyed with Dr. Suman who served as my departmental honors advisor and mentor. Dr. Suman has constantly challenged my thoughts and influence my ideas as how to be a better critical media scholar. In addition, he has also encouraged, supported and guided me in my entire final year of undergraduate academic career that led to my successful completion of my honors thesis and graduating magna cum laude.

How has Comm Studies empowered you in your professional and personal life?

I have certainly learnt to read more critically and analyze things at a much deeper level. I have become a educated media consumer. My learning and education has not only helped me think and analyze issues in a more critical and rational manner, but has also equipped me with the knowledge and skills in being a more persuasive writer and public speaker. Most paper assignments within the major requires the student to take a position and offer arguments to justify that position as well as refutations and counter-refutations. This is a very important skill to have as we all support or in opposition to something or the other in our lives and gaining the skills to rationally, logically and substantially support our position is a very useful skill to possess. As a result of the courses I took in the program, I was able to negotiate my salary in my first job after graduation that probably could not have been achieved had I not taken the "Negotiation" class with Dr. Kerri Johnson. All in all I have become a better person professionally and personally due to me being a Communication Studies major.

What was the most valuable or applicable lesson you learned from a Comm Studies class?

It is really very difficult to pinpoint to just one valuable or applicable lesson from a Communication Studies class. I can confidently say that almost in all classes that I have taken, I have learnt something of considerable importance. For example, in my introductory Communication Studies class, CS 10, I learnt why males and females communicate and understand each other differently. Gaining this knowledge allowed me to approach my personal and professional relationships with people from the opposite sex with more empathy and understanding which in turn helped me cultivate successful and meaningful relationships. In CS 156, Social Networking class with Dr. Peterson, I learnt the influence of social media in connecting people and issues. I learnt how to conduct a social network analysis and the process of the diffusion. Considering that we currently live in a world that is digitally connected, it is very important to understand how to market a product using diffusion methods or understand why someone or a group is connected the way it is and what lies at its core. Due to this understudying I was recently able to identify a social network group on Facebook and was able to diffuse a service to its members. I have also learnt to analyze mass media content more critically and evaluate positions of the news corporations, networks. Most courses taught within the program teach students the importance and influence of mass media in our lives and how to be better and educated consumers. In this aspect I feel CS majors have a leverage over students of other majors.

What advice would you give to a current Comm Studies student?

Take a variety of different classes with different professors, work on a 199 or or a 198 research project, make connections with faculty and students, reach out and stay in touch with Alumni. Build your own future, one class and one relationship at a time. Last but not the least, don't ever hesitate to ask questions and seek help.

Fun facts, interests, hobbies:

I was a flight attendant for Singapore Airlines for 8 years. I love dancing (any and all kinds), play tennis, love camping, riding motorcycles and playing the electric guitar.

I am a bad cook, but love to eat good food in non-chain and boutique restaurants and love drinking wine.

Significant Achievements:

Graduating Magna Cum Laude with departmental honors from UCLA as a Communication Studies major. Also proud of being offered and landing a great job with UCLA right after graduation that will allow me to stay closely connected with my UCLA family.

Additional Pictures: