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Mason Arnold is one of Northwest's winter graduates, earning his bachelor's degree in writing. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Mason Arnold is one of Northwest's winter graduates, earning his bachelor's degree in writing. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Dec. 10, 2021

Arnold benefits from resources, mentors, opportunities to mold future

There was a time when Mason Arnold was certain he wanted a career in advertising, but the abundant opportunities available to him at Northwest Missouri State University – and his knack for seizing them – opened him to multiple possibilities. 

Now, Arnold is a graduate with his bachelor’s degree in writing and will continue his education at Northwest in pursuit of a master’s degree in English.

“The goal still remains pretty well the same to work in advertising as either a writer with design experience or a designer with writing experience – or go into teaching at the college level,” he said.

Arnold is a native of nearby Andrew County, so Northwest was never absent from his list of college options. He became familiar with the campus as a participant in the University’s Upward Bound Math and Science program, which provides high school students with enriched academic, social, cultural and personal support. That positive experience led him to select Northwest for his undergraduate experience because it was the most affordable option.

His familiarity with campus also gave Arnold an advantage in that he knew Career Services was ready to assist. Staff there directed him to the Office of Marketing and Communication, where Arnold secured a student employment position as a design assistant when he began his freshman year.

“I wouldn’t have started on this entire journey – working in University Marketing and Communication, being a teaching assistant, working with GreenTower Press – if I hadn't had the initiative to go talk to Career Services about my résumé,” Arnold said. “Having that resource available and knowing that it’s available – I knew that it was available through Upward Bound Math and Science.”

As Arnold engaged in his coursework, he realized he could apply his skills to other potential careers. He changed his major from graphic design to writing while he continued honing his graphic design skills and teaching himself how to use design software. His interest in teaching evolved from an opportunity he received during the spring of his second year to become a teaching assistant for media design courses with Dr. Jody Strauch, who retired in 2020 as an assistant professor of mass media, in the School of Communication and Mass Media.

“She gave me a really good foundation for what students might expect from a teacher or professor in the type of role that I would like to occupy,” Arnold said.

In the Department of Language, Literature and Writing, Arnold counts Senior Instructor of English Luke Rolfes and Professor of English Dr. John Gallaher as two more faculty members who provided invaluable mentoring.

“Having both of them has been incredibly influential to me as a student, as a writer, as a designer, as a worker,” Arnold said. “They just ran the gamut on influential activities and actions.”

An early internship with the Laurel Review and GreenTower Press led Arnold to a student employment position with the organization that he occupied for the remainder of his undergraduate career. As he continues his education in Northwest’s Graduate School, he will remain with the Laurel Review and GreenTower Press as a graduate assistant.

Additionally, he was active in AdInk, serving a stint as co-president for the advertising club, and he was a multiplatform content creator with Knacktive, a student-run marketing agency, during the spring 2020 semester.

“I’ve been able to design a lot of different posters, a handful of different books and talk to a lot of different writers,” he said, adding his attendance at last year’s Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference in San Antonio, Texas, as another highlight.

“Professors have a lot of different standards and expectations for their classes, and taking a lot of different professors and a lot of different classes really helped me to know who I am as a student and who I might be as a teacher or a worker,” Mason said.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215