Kris Keilty loves traveling, meeting people and learning about other cultures. She’s studied abroad in Milan, Italy, and worked as a graduate assistant in Dalian, China. Studying abroad enhanced Keilty’s perspective; she now knows what it’s like to be a stranger in a foreign land.
New cultures bring new understanding
“When I went to Milan in the spring of 2011, I didn’t know what to expect. When I came back, I wanted to help international students with anything I could, even a drive to the airport. It was a huge reward for me to travel abroad. I was able to put myself in an international student’s shoes,” Keilty said. “I was able to learn a lot about other cultures, as well as about myself. It’s one of the best things you can do to enrich your college experience.”
Keilty's passion for new cultures often intersects with her marketing and fashion education. Her interest in consumer behavior drives her, and she’s always searching for why people in certain markets act or buy in certain ways. “If you understand your consumer, you can exceed their expectations and give them something great! Understanding your consumer tells you what’s going to work and what’s not going to work.”
During her time in China, she conducted an independent study on conspicuous consumption. Working in China gave Keilty a whole new perspective on business, marketing and fashion. “There is no better way to study material than to be surrounded by it. The independent study gave me the freedom to apply theories and research, coupled with first-hand experience.”
Besides the academic experience, Keitly’s favorite part of her trip was navigating everyday life in Dalian. “Daily interactions and conversations helped shape my understanding of the culture and allowed me to be more mindful of the differences. I think it’s important for us to understand other cultures because we live in a global society.”
Taking advantage of professional, educational and service opportunities
A typical graduate student, Keilty is always busy. She works as an assistant in the marketing department and as an intern at Noble Communications. “I am an account service intern, which has given me experience with many aspects of the agency, including client contact, media, briefs, projects, writing, editing, image mapping and research. I really enjoy how we all work as a team to create assets that exceed our customers’ expectations.”
Keilty still finds time to give back to her community. At Missouri State, she has actively carried out the public affairs mission by volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, Champion Athletes of the Ozarks, Convoy of Hope, Kids Against Hunger, Ozark Food Harvest and Relay for Life. Keilty’s efforts haven't gone unnoticed. In the spring of 2013, she received the award for Outstanding Marketing Student for Exemplifying the Public Affairs Mission.