Joseph Petriches's hometown is Redford, MI. He earned is BBA from Eastern Michigan University. Read more to discover why Joseph choose UM-Flint and how the online Applied Communication program works.

Why did you select UM-Flint for your graduate studies?

A combination of the online flexibility, the prestige of the Michigan brand, and the resources available through the University of Michigan system.

What is something that has surprised you about UM-Flint?

The relationships that are established between students and faculty, even in an online program. The faculty members in the Communication Department have been very helpful, and available. I always receive the help needed or answers to questions, and receive them quickly.

What sets the Applied Communication program apart?

What sets the Applied Communication program apart is the focus on real world learning. Many of our projects, papers, or blogs are involved working directly with people in industry. For example, last semester I was in a group that developed a brand management consulting project for small business owners. At the end of the semester, we carried out this training project with local small business owners.

What is your highest aspiration? How will obtaining your graduate degree from UM-Flint help in pursuing it?

I’m still making decisions on my long-term career goals. The more I learn about my field (Development/Advancement), I’m trying to decide between an Assistant Dean at a major school or college, or an Associate Vice President. Regardless of which direction I choose, my goal is to lead a multifaceted fundraising shop. This graduate degree is preparing me to communicate in the most effective manner, as well as collaborate and lead teams through communication. Upon completion of the program, I believe I will have a good foundation to be a positive transformational leader.

Can you describe some of the ways UM-Flint has prepared you for greater success in the real world?

UM-Flint puts you in the real world as a student. It is not just theoretical knowledge from a reading. We work on projects and do research on the real world, so once we graduate we are not trying to figure out how to transfer our academic experiences to life; we already have that understanding.

What is something “newsworthy” about your time or work in your graduate program and/or at UM-Flint?

During my first year, I was able to work in a team of three to completely develop and implement a training program, or consulting project, for small business owners. Across the country, one thing that really sets different graduate programs apart is the ability to take part in real world experiences. I feel fortunate to have had that opportunity, and it has even sparked a long-term professional goal for me. I would like to continue this work, and grow my own independent consulting business. This program, and this specific project, not only sparked this interest, but provided me the framework to get started and begin to narrow in on what I want to focus on.

Who is the person who has made the biggest impact on your UM-Flint career (professor, advisor, mentor, fellow student, alum, etc.)?  How specifically did they affect your life?

Daniel Lair has made an incredible impact on my experience from the start. Prior to this program I spent at least a year researching graduate programs, looking for the right one for me. Once I had my sights set on UM-Flint, Dan spent time throughout the summer exchanging emails with me, answering all my questions. He made me feel confident that UM-Flint was for me. That didn’t stop once the program started. Dan is still available at all times to help answer questions, share his insight, provide guidance, or whatever is needed.