Published: April 29, 2021

Senior Emily Reno came to CMCI from Lake Oswego, Oregon, and found herself on her own for the first time. 

Luckily, during her years at CU Boulder and CMCI, she found a support system of great friends, roommates and professors who helped her make the most of her college years and encouraged her to finish strong.

This May, Reno will graduate with a major in Strategic Communication focused on public relations and a minor in Business. She’ll do so with the distinction of being the Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design’s William W. White Outstanding Senior––an award given to students in each department based on a combination of academic merit, professional achievement and service to the college.

We caught up with Reno to learn more about the people who helped make her college experience special, what it was like to be a senior during the pandemic and the advice she has for future students as they embark on their own college careers. 

 From your time at CU, what will you carry with you into your next chapter?
My professors have made my experience at CU so wonderful because I truly feel like they have prepared me to be successful in whatever role I take on post-grad. I have also made the most amazing lifelong friends here and will carry the memories we have with me forever. 

​ A huge part of college is finding a community of people to support you, work with you, mentor you and encourage you. Who was in your herd during college and how did they shape your experience?
I would not have had as positive of an experience in school if it weren’t for professors like Erin Willis, Dawn Doty, Jolene Fisher and Mark Heisten to name a few. These individuals served as amazing mentors and I appreciate all of the advice, guidance and encouragement I received from them these past four years. Outside of school, I had my eight incredible roommates, my sorority filled with some amazing women and so many other great friends that made college so much fun. 

​ Based on what you know now, what is your best piece of advice for other students?
Enjoy it! These past four years went by so quickly and if I could do it all over again I would. It is also so important to find a good balance between school and your personal life. You are here for an education, but you should make sure you take the time to do things that make you happy. 

​ What’s an area where you feel like you’ve really grown between your first semester of college and today?
I am much more confident and independent than I initially was coming into college. As an out-of-state student, I was truly on my own for the first time. While it was intimidating at first, this really gave me the chance to grow on my own and learn things about myself that I didn’t know before. 

​ The past year has been especially challenging. How did you adjust as a student during the pandemic and is there anything you’ve learned from the experience that you’ll carry with you beyond graduation?
While it was weird not being in person this year, I fortunately adjusted well to class on Zoom and appreciated the extra time it gave me in my day. In addition to the self-discipline I learned from being online all day, I also became much more productive with my time––two things that I think will serve me well beyond graduation. 

 What motivated you to persist throughout college?
I have such an amazing support system in my friends and family and they were always there for me when times were tough. Whenever I was stressed or upset, I knew there were people that I could go to. I feel so lucky to have this kind of support and encouragement throughout college!