Finding His Direction

Public relations alumnus David Jorgenson '17 (Photo by Matt Hawkins)

July 17, 2017

By Matt Hawkins

Public relations alumnus David Jorgenson ’17 thought he knew his career path as a freshman. When internship and academic experiences proved him wrong, he discovered something greater than a dream job: Freedom to pursue life wherever it leads.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin native Jorgenson discovered public relations and a job in the insurance industry through four years of trial-and-error. The avid sports fan first tried sports communication and political science. When those career hopes didn’t yield satisfaction, staff from Bradley’s Smith Career Center pointed him to public relations. Internships also helped him build a versatile skillset.

PR capitalized on skills developed through previous experiences and opened new paths to careers Jorgenson hadn’t considered. As a result, he decided to enter State Farm Insurance’s agent training program in hopes of owning an agency.

“Coming into college, I never thought I’d be going into this,” he said. “I learned you can plan as much as you want in college, but your plans can change just as quickly. You have to learn to adapt.”

Jorgenson tested his sports interest as freshman intern for the minor-league hockey Peoria Rivermen. That internship introduced him to gameday operations, which helped him realize a sports media career wasn’t the dream it first appeared.

He traded in the fast-paced, casual sports scene for the suit-and-tie professionalism of congressional politics. A year as a constituent services intern for former Rep. Aaron Schock (’02) exposed Jorgenson to customer service, though it convinced him to find another route to political engagement.

He then tried the corporate world as a product marketing intern for shipping supply company ULine. In that role, he helped improve product development and sales. He gained an understanding of research and development processes and received valuable feedback from corporate executives who worked with his department.

While sports, politics and corporate America seemed unrelated, they equipped Jorgenson with workplace wisdom and skills he could apply to any professional setting.

“All my internships have been great,” he said. “Nothing was wasted because every opportunity was a learning experience. I’m glad I tried everything.”

Jorgenson also found challenges on campus. He navigated relationships as a dorm resident advisor three years and interned for the admissions office two years. He also developed relationships with local organizations through the PR program’s senior capstone Ebeling PR-ize competition.

“There are so many open doors at Bradley that you have to seize those opportunities,” Jorgenson said. “I had so many experiences I couldn’t have found anywhere else.”