Capitol Communicator

Matt Hawkins
July 20, 2015

Communication major Sabrina Salvacion ’18 didn’t wait for classes to start her Bradley Experience. Instead, the transfer student from Springfield, Illinois, took an internship with the state House Republicans’ communication team to gain experience before her first Hilltop semester.

Salvacion chose Bradley for Peoria’s job market and its opportunities to study abroad or work with the Olympics. Conversations with communication department chair Dr. Paul Gullifor sealed her Hilltop choice.

After a discussion about internships, Gullifor contacted State Rep. Mike Unes ’96. Unes then connected Salvacion with the GOP’s communication team.

“Even though I’ve not officially taken a Bradley class, I want as much experience as I can get,” Salvacion said. “I want to learn it all. This experience is preparing me to start fresh in the fall by introducing me to Bradley’s connections.”

Gullifor applauded his new understudy’s efforts.

“She showed a lot of drive for this prestigious opportunity,” he said. “I reached out to Mike, and now she’s living the journalist’s dream in Springfield.”

She quickly integrated into the communication team, which kept busy during the legislature’s annual budget discussions. The experience tested her interviewing and video skills as she helped produce weekly news updates.

Salvacion also learned the GOP’s high-tech community organization tools. She honed research and analysis skills as she managed an online database of district profiles and community organizers.

As a result, Salvacion gained respect for a communication niche she hadn’t yet considered. Though political journalism may not be a career calling, she recognized the summer as a valuable training ground for her future.

“It’s important to learn in as many environments as possible,” she said. “I want as many experiences in variety of settings because each will teach me key skills in new ways.”  

Salvacion now has a cell phone contacts list full of state leaders, Bradley alumni and media. Those relationships will be beneficial as she seeks future internships and, eventually, jobs.

She particularly appreciated working with Minority Leader Jim Durkin and his team away from the House chamber’s pressure. She doubted many other college students could say they’ve had that level of exposure to high-level leadership.

“I’m getting to do what I love,” Salvacion said. “Interviewing people about their lives doesn’t feel like work to me.”