“Everybody likes Courtney — she’s just one of those people everybody gets along with because she’s so genuine,” said Jerri Lynn Kyle, an instructor in the communication department who was one of Wendel’s favorite teachers.
“I first had her in public speaking class and just thought she was the sweetest young lady.”
Courtney loves Missouri State. When she was in high school in Barnard, Mo., (preparing to be valedictorian — if you know her, you’re saying “of course”), she knew MSU was the only college to which she wanted to apply.
She got a scholarship and made the most of her time here. As an undergrad she was in Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, Student Government Association, University Ambassadors and Campus Crusade for Christ, to name a few of her many activities. She held leadership roles in many of those groups (if you know her, you’re saying “of course”), and was even awarded Most Involved Member a few times by her sorority.
“I just enjoy being a part of things that I think will benefit or help other people,” Wendel said. “I like to work for change.”
Courtney talks fast and thinks fast, so it makes sense that she got a job fast — even before marching to receive her master’s degree in communication, which she did in December 2011.
She is now the marketing manager for Springfield Symphony Orchestra. She manages all media relations, promotes special events, does graphic design for publications, oversees online content and works at each concert.
“I love working for the Symphony; it’s a special art form that enriches the community in a unique way.”
She wants to bring her view of public relations — which focuses on ethics and transparency — to the community group.
“Public relations is important, even though it’s difficult to quantify a P.R. person in terms of ‘return on investment.’ It’s more about building connections. Your business or group may offer the best programming or product in the world, but if no one knows about it, that won’t do you any good. P.R. professionals tell people why your organization exists and why it benefits them.”
Now that she’s officially in the real world with a job, a fiance, tons of friends and a cat, Courtney keeps up with her alma mater by going to basketball games, contributing to development campaigns and participating in alumni events. As a recent graduate, she knows how much students appreciate alumni who stay involved.
“My one message to alumni would be: Come back to talk to current students and tell your story. Students are dreaming of the career you have and would be excited to hear how you got there. You can make their lives brighter.”