Many of us find our passion as children and mine was to be an architect – I even started undergrad as an architecture major. Then, I encountered a professor who said: “…you won’t do any of your own designs until your mid-thirties.”

At 18 my mid-thirties seemed a lifetime away. Discouraged, I changed my major and ended up a public relations/communications executive and consultant. Eventually I realized I wanted to become a professor. What other job pays you to constantly learn, dig deep into all the random things that interest you, and helps achieve all those save-the-world goals you had in your 20s?

Now, here I am, a second-year Ph.D. student in Mass Communications holding fast to the promise I made my students…. I will never ask them to do anything I haven’t done myself (in this case blogging). I also promise never to be the professor who unwittingly slashes dreams. I still wonder if I could have been the next Zaha Hadid.

I dig learning, travel, food, and exploring cultures. The last song I listened to in the car was Keeping it Moving by A Tribe Called Quest, and I try to eat a cheeseburger every Friday night.


Professional Bio


Kelly C. Gaggin is a second-year Ph. D. student in Mass Communications at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Her research centers on public relations and strategic communications in nonprofit organizations and the populations they serve. Her current research is focused on public relations strategy of refugee aid organizations and its impact on social integration of refugee populations.

Prior to joining the doctoral program, she worked as a part-time professor in communications and public relations at Newhouse and SUNY College at Oswego. Her communications career spans well over a decade and includes experience in the following:  K-12 education, health care, technology, defense, nonprofit, and financial services/banking. She is a consultant in public relations and communications with Strategic Communications, LLC in Syracuse.

Gaggin is a 2012 Central New York 40 Under Forty recipient and currently serves on the board of the Public Relations Society of America – Central New York Chapter and PRSA Northeast District board of directors. She holds a master’s degree in communications management from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School and completed her undergraduate study in business and economics at Le Moyne College.