Cassidy Book is a senior Communication Studies student anticipating graduation with summa cum laude honors in May of 2020. She has traveled around Europe and currently does research involving civil rights and the social impact of nonprofits. I asked her a few questions about traveling, why she chose Ohio University, and what she is going to do in the future.
Q: What made you want to come to Ohio University?
A: I moved to Columbus at 15, but before that, I lived in Portsmouth, Ohio. It’s an hour and a half southwest from here. I had a class of 26 kids at the time. When I moved to Columbus, you can imagine the culture shock when I realized my class went from 26 kids to 400-some, in a metropolitan area. I faced more culture shock with the Portsmouth to Columbus switch than the Columbus to Hungary switch!
Part of the reason I chose OU is that it felt like coming home. Whenever I went to Columbus I always missed the hills in the mountains of an Appalachian region. That’s why I wanted to come back: as soon as I visited here, I knew I would love it. My dad also used to be an adjunct professor at OU Southern. He taught business law and a couple of other courses. Lastly, I knew the communication school was top notch.
Q: What made you want to pursue Communication Studies?
A: My parents told me that I always had the gift of gab, or being able to talk a lot. I also always had an affinity for people, regardless of their walk of life. Furthermore, it is my belief that you can have some of the most brilliant minds in a room figuring out an answer to a problem, but if you cannot communicate that solution adequately, there is very little value to be gained.
I saw communication as an important under-capitalized concept in our society. Our communication is always suffering because we’re individual people trying to make sense of everything autonomously; therefore, I feel like it can be underappreciated how effective communication skills can be within a business or organization.
Q: You have a variety of areas of interest including Biology, Entrepreneurship, VR, Grant writing, and PR. Which ones are you interested in the most for your career?
A: I’ve always had an interest in VR. I think that the new possibilities of technology are intriguing. Sadly the ways it can be used in my industry have not been developed yet. I admire entrepreneurship too, which I think can be attributed to my Appalachian side. My dad started a variety of companies, and all of my family members are entrepreneurs. I like the notion of self-starting since that involves being disciplined, autonomous, and making your opportunities. Yes, I always have found biology interesting too- I enjoy incorporating possible biological predeterminants to understand why we communicate and act the way we do.
Q: What made you go on the Global Consulting Program (GCP)?
A: The Global Consulting Program is within the College of Business. I’m Hungarian, my great grandparents got married in Hungary when they were 16, came to America, and never saw their parents again. I was very curious to visit my great grandparents' homeland; moreover, I was interested to learn about them- as it could help me understand what makes me, well, me. So I narrowed down that I wanted to go to Hungary when I studied abroad.
That’s when I found the Global Consulting Program and enrolled in the program. Fun fact: I was 18 years-old whenever I was applying, 19 years-old when I went abroad, and it was going to be around $11,000. I didn’t want to ask my parents to help me with it so I ended up closing a mutually beneficial deal between myself and a third party to help secure funding to go, which in turn created a relationship between this nonprofit and Ohio University. With that, I asked on as a global ambassador for the program after I completed the program. Over the last two years, I have helped market it to other students.
Q: What was it like to go to Hungary?
A: I loved it. If I didn’t have work or school and everything I would go back in a heartbeat. It was very different, which I liked. I like the idea of change and constant movement, but I know a lot of people don’t really like that.
Q: Have you traveled elsewhere?
A: After Hungary, I went to Salzburg, Vienna which are both in Austria, Prague, and London. Oh, and I went on a Florida cruise or two with my parents too!
Q: What sort of work you do as a Research Fellow at Ohio University?
A: I’m a research fellow for two different programs on campus. I was selected by Dr. Aden who primarily studies public memory. We’re looking at the National Museum of War and Peace, focusing on the public memory of lynching, the Jim Crow era, and how Americans remember this time in our history. We’re trying to see how the museum and the memorial in Birmingham, Alabama affect how we talk about these atrocities, or unfortunately how some may choose not to talk about them.
My other work is the Social Enterprise Ecosystem project, which is part of the Voinovich school. It’s a bit of a mouthful! We call it the SEE program for short. We’re using the social return on investment approach to quantify social good: essentially, we are looking at the social impact that a nonprofit or a social enterprise might create.
For example, if we were working with a non-profit that wanted to put in a stoplight system, we could tell them how much that stoplight is worth. Not just materially, or what it is worth in the marketplace, but what it is worth socially. Elaborating, if the year before the stoplight was put in there were ten car crashes, but maybe the year after the light was put in there was only one crash we would figure out how much money this stoplight saved (by the drivers, police department, and insurance companies). This approach is pretty cutting-edge and helps give clarity to a sector where good-doings can be hard to quantify compared to the stock price of a publicly-traded company.
Q: You are in a multitude of organizations, like the GCP Ambassadorship, The Schey Sales Centre, Research Fellowships, and Phi Sigma Pi. how do you spend your free time?
A: I have a really awesome group of friends that encourage me to better myself professionally and academically. I’m normally really busy, but a lot of the time I like to hang out and go on walks on the bike path. I also like going to the gym.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: When it comes to my future, I will be going to IGS energy in Columbus, Ohio as a Rotational Analyst, which was a very competitive application process. I will be doing a lot of problem solving and communication management. I’ll be starting in July. I’m planning on being there for at least five years. After that, there are a lot of different opportunities, especially at IGS. They have an entire social impact branch, which drew me to them because that shows how mindful they are. They also one of the cleanest energy companies and have the highest LEED Certification. After this period I might try to go into government affairs as a lobbyist or work within IGS’s social impact branch. We will see where the wind blows me though!