Practically speaking

By Nancy Ridgeway
April 7, 2014

Growing up, Camille Ivy-O’Donnell ’13 pictured herself finding a career path very different from her parents, both geologists in the gas and oil industry. That all changed when the Texas native interned in Dallas at Pioneer Natural Resources, working in government affairs and corporate communications.

“Pioneer motivated me and brought me to understand my passion for the oil and gas business. It exposed me to the corporate communication side of the industry,” Ivy-O'Donnell said. “As a sophomore who had just changed her major to public relations, this was very exciting. I knew this was the industry I wanted to remain in once I graduated from Bradley.”

Ivy-O’Donnell earned a second major in political science and was drawn to graduate school at Louisiana State University, which offers a program in political communications.

She had a very positive experience with caring faculty and staff at Bradley and was impressed with the similarities when she visited LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication.

“I applied while I was on campus. I knew that if LSU is anything like Bradley, I would have a good experience,” Ivy-O’Donnell said.

She also anticipated opportunities within the oil and gas industry, as it has a large presence in Louisiana. Her father’s company, Forestar, is a member of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA), and he suggested checking into the possibilities of an internship there.

“It seemed like a perfect compilation of how I could express what I learned at Bradley while I am a student at LSU. I called them and set up an interview,” Ivy-O’Donnell said. She was offered the internship and feels her background at Bradley prepared her well for her new role.

“LOGA is an association that represents the independent and service sector of the oil and gas industry. Our primary goal is to provide the industry with a good working environment so we work to ward off tax increases, change burdensome regulations and inform government and the public of the importance of the industry,” Ivy-O’Donnell explained.

Her biggest project is drafting an issues management plan for LOGA. 

“We are working on developing an internal communications plan and some crisis management,” she said.

Other responsibilities include message development and issue research, social media and website strategy and deployment, brand identity and development, print media and television advertising, presentation development and event coordination.

“Right now, we are in the middle of the 2014 legislative session, so I am helping with fundraising,” Ivy-O’Donnell said. “It is interesting seeing how the legislative process works from this side of the aisle. At Bradley, I went to the state capitol twice to lobby for the MAP [Monetary Award Program] grant. It was my first experience with lobbying and was a catalyst for applying for this internship, as well.”

Ivy-O’Donnell had several internships while at Bradley. In addition to Pioneer Natural Resources, she interned in the office of Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock ‘02, with Laura Herlovich ’79 at PR Plus in Las Vegas, at the Chicago Auto Show, and with Bradley’s Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service (IPL). She also was a STAR (Student Admissions Representative).

Ivy-O’Donnell also appreciates the practical experience she gained in her coursework.

“Dr. Ron Koperski, who retired last year, was an amazing mentor. My first class with Dr. K was an introduction to campaigns, and I worked with three other group members to create a mock campaign for an alum’s company, Pooch Couture. That was my first introduction to working with a client in public relations. Who gets to do that as a sophomore?”

Ivy-O’Donnell enrolled in Dr. Koperski’s January interim class in Los Angeles to learn about public relations in the entertainment industry. She also enrolled in his capstone class, where she and her teammates worked with Peoria Heights High School and Russell’s Cycling in Washington on a campaign to explain to high school students the importance of voting.1

Her extracurricular activities added to a well-rounded Bradley experience. She served in leadership positions with Bradley HEAT (Hope, Empower and Teach), Sigma Kappa and Panhellenic Council and was involved in many other organizations.

Ivy-O’Donnell concluded, “The educational experiences I received while at Bradley were innumerable, but I am most thankful for the confidence going forward. I had so many mentors who were willing to take the time to make sure I succeeded. I will be forever grateful for that.”