Media and Communications, '18
Growing up among the Green Mountains allowed senior Olivia Maher the perfect environment to start thinking globally and acting locally.
“I feel so at home here,” she said. “What may seem like a quiet town is also so full of life and opportunity, all you have to do is open yourself up to it.”
After graduating from Burlington High School, the Communication major took a gap year to explore the world beyond the limits of a classroom through an au pair position in The Netherlands.
“After high school, I had zero idea what I wanted to do with my life besides that I wanted to travel and document it,” Maher said. “I didn't want to waste money starting college somewhere if my whole heart wasn’t in it.”
With the opportunity to travel across Europe and connect with people from different corners of the world, Maher was able to practice her mother’s native tongue of Dutch and learn that how we communicate is an essential part of who we are.
“I guess I didn't realize it at the time, but I was quickly learning to adapt and relate to each new person I met. Whether we shared a common language or not, there’s so much more that goes into an interaction to make it successful and personable,” she said. “When I got to Castleton and geared my classes towards a major in communication, I knew that learning to adapt and relate to people and companies on a larger scale was exactly the path I wanted to take.”
Beyond the classroom, Maher has interned with the Marketing and Communication department since her sophomore year.
“I’ve had an unbelievable amount of hands-on experience in my chosen career field under Courtney Widli, our Director of Alumni & University Relations. From press-releases, various forms of public writing, social media content creation, and beyond, I’ve been able to gather and capitalize on the tools that I’ll be using every day after graduation," she said.
A photographer for The Spartan newspaper and occasional story contributor, she still travels as often as possible with over 16 countries under her belt, documenting her stories via various social media platforms and first-person narratives for the Spartan.
“I’ve been lucky to have journalism Professor David Blow as my advisor through my time at Castleton. He’s so passionate about teaching and firing up his students that it makes you want to do as best you can so as to not let him down. He helped to define my writing voice and constantly pushed me to create more,” she said.
When not traveling or studying, Maher is constantly pushing herself outside of her comfort zone.
“It’s cliché but that’s how you grow as a person and learn more about yourself outside of the classroom environment. I just participated in the Miss Vermont USA competition this past fall as a way to challenge myself and push the boundaries of what I can achieve,” she said.
Her most recent venture outside of the classroom is creative content creation for a secondary Instagram page she started as a way to show future employers that she can practice what she preaches.
“I’m big into creative journaling and had all these old travel photos from past adventures collecting dust on my computer, so I decided to start @honeywinejournals as a way to showcase my work and hopefully inspire others to get out there and create,” Maher said. “Castleton gave me the platform to grow as an individual and helped tailor my talents on a path that’ll hopefully take me far after graduation. I’ll miss this place like crazy, but wouldn't be as ready to take on the world as I am without it.”