As a Washington state employee, Shannon Blood has long informed the public about government resources and policies. But communication should flow in both directions, she believes: If citizens and government better communicate, agencies can be more effective and responsive.
To help improve this dialogue, Shannon enrolled in the online strategic communication master’s program offered through The Edward R. Murrow College at Washington State University.
“I have a passion for making sure vulnerable populations have a voice in the programs and policies impacting them,” she said. “Learning more about communication strategies and tactics can help me support greater citizen engagement.”
Shannon works for the Washington State Health Care Authority, and was just promoted to Medicaid early learning and home visiting program manager from her previous position as a communications consultant. She has also worked for the state Department of Early Learning, and the Department of Commerce in early childhood education and crime victim advocacy.
WSU’s program offers “excellent, engaged” professors, she said. “I’ve had the flexibility to explore how I can apply the skills and lessons in ways that make sense for me and my career goals.”
Shannon graduated in May 2016, but some of her coursework will live on. In her Persuasion for Professional Communicators course, students used Facebook to explore different persuasion tactics. Shannon started a Facebook group called Whose Voice Matters?, dedicated to improving citizen engagement.
“That is when I really started to take a deeper dive into exploring why citizen engagement matters, uncovering obstacles to being heard, and taking a look at different tactics to support citizen voices,” she said. “At the end of the course, group members asked me to continue curating the page, and it continues to this day.”