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How to Choose the Right Master's in Communication for You

Author: Jeffrey Lacap, Student

Hello, my name is Jeff Lacap.  I spent 7-plus years in the U.S. Army as a broadcast journalist and have also worked in the Communications field for more than 17 years.  In my career I’ve had numerous communication jobs including writer/editor, radio producer, radio DJ, video producer and media relations specialist.  Currently, I work at the Defense Information School on Fort George G. Maryland where I teach military service members the ins and outs of military broadcasting particularly writing, shooting and editing video stories.  I have worked at DINFOS for more than six years.  A few months ago it occurred to me that while I enjoy teaching very much, I haven’t actually been out practicing my communication skills since I started working at the school.  I didn’t want to fall far behind my peers.  I knew I needed to keep my communication skills up-to-date and make myself more marketable when I decide to go back out in the job market.

I had three main things I was looking for in a graduate communications program:

First, I wanted it to be completely online because of its flexibility.  Not only do I work full time but I have a wife and two young children (a 3 year-old daughter and a son who is 20 months).  I wanted an online program that would allow me to do school work at times that would be convenient for me (after I get my kids into bed).  My wife has a very demanding job where she works some weekends and is on call some days.  An online classroom would allow me that flexibility I needed to balance my family, work and school.

The second thing I wanted was a school that was going to cover a variety of material in different fields of communication that I may be interested in pursuing in the future.  As I mentioned, I have an array of experience in all different areas of communication.  But I want to make sure I was in a program that would broaden my communications skillset and give me a higher level of understanding of public relations, social media and marketing.  

The third thing I was looking for was a program that had a reputable name.  There are so many online schools out there that are marketed all over television, social media and everywhere you look promising to help your career take off.  But I wasn’t looking for promises.  I was looking for a school that people would know, respect and recognize when they saw it on my resume.  

I found everything I wanted in Purdue’s online graduate program in communications.  It has honestly been a perfect fit for me.  I’ve been able to balance my family/school/work life because the way the program is set up.  Even though this is my first time doing online classes, I have found Purdue’s online platform, Engage, easy to use.  The discussion boards let students and instructors exchange thoughts and ideas that allows for deeper learning and understanding. The courses are engaging and challenging and they cover a variety of subjects. I feel these courses will set me up for future success. And hopefully in a few months, I will be proudly displaying a Master of Science in Communication with the name PURDUE UNIVERSITY on it.  I am looking forward to that day.

Learn More
Jeffrey Lacap is a student in Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.

About the Author
Jeffrey Lacap has worked in Communications for more than 17-plus years.  He graduated from the University of Scranton with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 1999.  After college, he worked as an Assistant Editor for Nonwovens Magazine and its website in Ramsey, New Jersey.  In 2000, he worked in New York City as an Associate Editor for Sporting Goods Business Magazine and its website.  In April, 2001, he joined the U.S. Army as a Broadcast Journalist.  

His assignments included Fort Huachuca, Arizona; American Forces Network, Korea; and the Defense Information School on Fort Meade, Maryland.  Mr. Lacap left the military as an Army Staff Sergeant in September 2008.

After his military career, he became a Media Relations Specialist at Northrop Grumman and worked as a radio producer for WBAL 1090AM in Baltimore, Maryland. Currently, he works for the Department of Defense as a Broadcast Video Team Lead at the Defense Information School.  He is currently enrolled in the MS in Communication program at Purdue University.

He’s been married to his wife Connie for more than six years and they have two children, Emily and Andrew.  They live in Columbia, Maryland.

*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.