May 11, 2011
Drury graduate students Brandon Lawson and Lindsey Castrodale know what they’ll be doing in the future with their newly minted Master of Communication degrees from Drury. Both will be pursuing their passions after graduation on May 14.
Lawson is headed to Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer while Castrodale, a former Drury tennis player, will spend the summer in Cincinnati as a marketing and communications intern for a professional tennis tournament.
Lawson began his college career in 1999 at the University of Missouri fresh out of Kickapoo, but he dropped out just shy of graduation to pursue an improvisational comedy career in Chicago. That didn’t work out, so Lawson returned to Columbia where he worked as a bar manager and gained invaluable experience booking musical acts but, “I knew that if I wanted to do something serious with my life I didn’t have the work experience or the education to do it,” Lawson says.
In 2007, Lawson was hired as a fraternity house director at Drury. During that time, he finished his undergraduate and, now, he’s done with his graduate degree, which he earned tuition-free as a Drury staff member.
Lawson will head for Peace Corp training later this year where he’ll be immersed in the culture where he’s placed and, finally, on to the community where he will help business start-ups. “I’ve wanted to join the Peace Corps since I was nine years old, and, more than two decades later, it’s become a reality.”
Castrodale arrived at Drury in 2005 as a freshman tennis player from Little Rock, Ark. After earning her bachelor’s in 2009, she remained at Drury as a graduate assistant in charge of intramural sports. That job allowed her to pursue her master’s degree tuition-free.
Over winter break 2010, Castrodale landed an interview for a paid internship position with the W & S Open in Cincinnati. During the interview, she mentioned that she was going to take Drury’s Social Media Certification online course during January. That impressed the head of marketing for the tournament and he continued to question Castrodale about the curriculum and how to develop marketing plans using social media.
A few months later, Castrodale received word that she landed the marketing and communications internship that will run from late May through September.
Castrodale’s tennis background, and her current part-time job as a teaching pro, had almost nothing to do with earning the position. The tournament officials were looking for workers and they were more impressed with the 23-year-old’s education, work experience and interview answers.
After her internship, Castrodale hopes to find a full-time job in sports marketing, with a non-profit or in higher education, “I feel very fortunate to have bought myself time to figure out what I want to do next while gaining valuable experience,” she says.