When Alana Gaither’s high school football coach asked if any of the girls on the soccer team wanted to be their kicker, Alana stepped up. Now she’s the first female in Otterbein history to have kicked a field goal for the Otterbein football team. It may have been out of her comfort zone to go to football camp as an incoming freshman, but Alana learned something, too.
“It completely changed how I perceive new experiences. It has made me more confident going into internships or job interviews. I realized that with respect, patience, hard work, and dedication, I can achieve anything I set my mind to. It also reminded me to never judge anyone, because the guys I was initially terrified of are now my best friends.”
Alana was certain she wanted to be a nurse when she came to Otterbein, but quickly realized it wasn’t the right path for her. With guidance from the Center for Career & Professional Development and faculty, she realized that she needed to make a change.
“I found my new passion in public relations. I think it’s important for people to take advantage of the resources we have here for free at Otterbein and to follow your heart, even if that means making a big turn in your life,” she said.
With her new major, Alana found a mentor in Professor Dan Steinberg, who helped her gain the experience necessary to guide her career goals.
“He helped guide me through the process of changing my major to public relations, and I can confidently say that was the best decision I’ve made thus far at Otterbein,” she said. “Instead of learning about PR through textbooks, Professor Steinberg makes sure his students learn through real life experiences. He is always willing to take students to PR agencies, sports games to learn about sports PR, hospitals - you name it, he will make sure to give you that experience.”
During her time at Otterbein, she has had several internships, such as After School All-Stars, the 2nd & Seven Foundation, Express, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Will Allen Foundation.
“I have been to Pittsburgh to meet with Will Allen, who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Professor Steinberg, Alissa Harle (another PR student) and I helped Allen with a program in his foundation called The Big Play.”