ASHLAND, Ohio – Angelique Cunningham, a 2012 graduate of Ashland University, is now a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers front office team.
After graduating from AU with a double major in public relations and electronic media production, Cunningham pursued a master of arts in communication and following her graduation in May she began her new job on June 2.
“I will be working as an account executive with Inside Sales for the Cleveland Cavaliers and my office will literally be inside of the Quicken Loans Arena,” she said. “I know that I will be working with sales revolving around suites, packages and other premier seating. I will be taking several initiatives to build my own clientele, including a renowned training program.”
Cunningham said the whole event around the securing of her job seems very surreal.
“My AU adviser, Dr. Avtgis, has been a mentor to me beyond my graduation and he invited me to go with him and some AU faculty and students to the MAC Career Fair in Cleveland,” she said. “When we got there he encouraged me to go over the Cavs table right away, because he believed I could walk away with a job opportunity.
“It all happened so fast. One minute I was walking up to the table contemplating what my first words would be and the next minute I was walking away from the career table and being escorted up to the offices by my soon-to-be manager,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham said she talked with her soon-to-be manager at length and he invited her and her parents to the Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma Thunder game the next week so she could meet some other employees and get a feel for the work environment and what the job would entail.
“I went up to the Q, early that day around 4 p.m. and went through a series of interviews and tours throughout the night,” she said. “I was informed that I’d be notified in four days whether or not I received the position, but after sending a follow-up email the next morning, I was offered the position.”
Cunningham said she was especially excited when she heard she was the only person hired by the Cavs that day. “My manager informed me how rare it is to meet someone you become a fan of and want to hire right away. He admitted that he didn’t have high hopes while at the career fair and when I walked up I quickly changed his perception.”
Cunningham credited AU’s strong Department of Communication Studies for helping her get to this point in her career.
“As I reflect back on my personal, professional and academic growth, I attribute much of my success to my time spent at Ashland University,” she said. “The communication program built a strong platform for me that not only promoted the value in majoring in communication studies but afforded me the skill-sets necessary to handle communication studies at the master’s level.”
Cunningham said the study of communication is so broad that people, including herself prior to her enrollment at AU, tend to put communication in a box of limitations and believe that they can only do a few things.
“During the course of my education, I realized communication studies proved to be the exact opposite,” she said. “The faculty promoted a value in majoring in communication, reinforcing that there are a multitude of career paths we can take because of its versatility. And during a state of economic crisis, who wouldn’t want a degree that is multi-functional.”
Cunningham said AU has an academic rigor about itself that truly prepares students to handle work after college or to go on to the next level of education.
“With the small class sizes at AU, the professors were really able to get to know me as a student and an individual. In doing that, they knew the level of work I was capable of achieving. During those first few weeks in grad school, I realized that the work load was heavier, but I knew how to do the work. The content may have been different, but the formatting and structure wasn’t foreign to me. The Communication Department at AU really had assigned an array of scholarly work during my time as an undergraduate and I could literally handle anything. Many of my cohorts in grad school would say ‘I’ve never done this before’ and I found myself replying ‘We did this at Ashland.’ They probably got tired of hearing me say that all the time, but it was the truth. I will never forget Dr. Avtgis’ words of encouragement and advice to me when I left: ‘Angelique, all you have to do is outwork everyone. You’re smart and you can handle grad school, just outwork them.’ I kept that in the forefront of my mind the entire time in grad school and that led to several opportunities I’ve had here regarding my role as a graduate assistant, my 3.962 g.p.a., and my new career.
“As a former student, I know people look at price tags when considering schools, but everything is an investment in your future. If you are looking for one or all of these things: a school with solid academics, caring faculty and staff, lifelong friends, a place to grow emotionally, spiritually, athletically and/or professionally, consider a private school and choose Ashland University. At a larger school, I would have never been able to network and get involved in campus life as much as I did at AU. I can’t proclaim it enough, AU gave me footing to become successful and I’ve only just begun.”
Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.