Start Your Story: How a background in geography led Kaley Lewis to discover her passion for media

By Carly Holmstead

Kaley's hometown: Strathroy, Ontario

BSc (Honours) in Geography graduate turned Master of Media, Kaley Lewis graduated from the MMJC program in 2017 and pursued a career in communications.

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After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography at University of Victoria, many might wonder how Kaley ended up doing a Master of Media in Journalism and Communication degree at the Faculty of Information & Media Studies at Western University in London, Ontario.

While contemplating whether she wanted to further her education in Geography, Kaley realized that working in a lab didn’t offer her the social atmosphere she craved.

After taking a year off, Kaley decided on MMJC. It was the one-year condensed program, combining both journalism and communications—and the prospect of a more social career—that really caught her eye.

Kaley has always been interested in journalism and creative writing, and this was the best place for her to hone her skills. She enjoyed the application process and being able to persuade the admissions committee why she—with a science background—deserved a seat in the program. “I didn’t have any publications, yet they took a chance on a science geek who could write,” she laughs.

Fun Fact

Kaley is a Girl Guide leader and has been guiding for 14 years.

Kaley says her favourite project from the year was her long-form journalism piece on the comeback of “Tupperware parties”, or women selling products for multi-level marketing companies.

“I went and did a bunch of interviews, and went to a ton of recruitment parties, it was super overwhelming. Once I was at a McDonalds because the hydro went out in one part of town, so we just huddled in the corner of McDonalds talking about Rodan+Fields. The overall process was super cool because I got to go to so many different places, some crazy locations and lots of women’s houses.”

Now four years post-MMJC, Kaley is working in marketing and events for a company called #local. In this position, Kaley is able to practise her skills learned from MMJC.

“My favourite memory from the program was my relationship with my professors. Even though my professor was grading me and there was a professional component, I could also relate to them and get to know them. That helped me grow so much professionally, and I really felt free to explore topics further, outside the classroom. That is such a summarization of the program for me.”

Kaley’s advice for future students?

“With a program like this, you are going to learn a lot about each other, because there is an intimacy with sharing written work, visual work and talking about sensitive subjects, like you will in both communications and journalism careers,” she said. “So, leave it all out there, and don’t risk losing out on the opportunity to discover who you are!”

The MMJC program has allowed many students with varied backgrounds like Kaley's to launch successful careers in journalism, communications, marketing and other media-focused industries. If you’re interested in starting your media career, apply to Western’s MMJC program to Start Your Story!

Profiles in the Start Your Story blog are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.