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Kellianne Mohorter Learns the Ways of City Management

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When Kellianne Mohorter enrolled at Keuka College, she was unsure which major to pursue. She had considered following a business path, until her student mentor, Danielle Alred ’15 suggested looking into her major of organizational communication.

“I met Anita Chirco [professor of communication studies] during the spring semester of my freshman year in an introductory communications class,” says Kellianne, now a senior. “And I fell in love with it. I loved that I was able to get a broad set of skills that I can apply to various job paths.”

Kellianne put those broad skills to use as she spent the month of January completing her Field Period® studies with John Goodwin, city manager for the City of Canandaigua, N.Y.

“I have lived in Canandaigua my whole life, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to see what it takes to run the city day to day,” says Kellianne “I was also interested in how communication works both in and out of a municipality.”

One of the ways Kellianne learned was how to tailor different communications to different audiences.

“I wrote various things for various demographics,” says Kellianne. “Whether it was a letter to the fire department, or a Council Committee Resolution, I had to change the tone and format of the writing. I also learned how to network. Relationships are very important, both internally and externally.”

And forging those relationships proved essential as Kellianne was responsible for updating the city’s website and social media platforms, responsibilities that included meeting with various departments of the city to assess the updates.

“I helped the Canandaigua Police Department set up their Twitter account, and the fire department make updates to their webpage,” says Kellianne. “And I was able to help Mayor Ellen Polimeni send out her first Tweet.”

Kellianne was also given the opportunity of designing the cover of the Canandaigua City and Town Summer Recreation Program brochure, as well as one of its program pages. Additionally, she was assigned typical office tasks, such as answering the phones, or using a scanner to send electronic copies to City Manager Goodwin.

“My supervisor called these ‘boring intern things,’ but I actually found them to be really helpful,” says Kellianne. “Now, I can confidently answer phones, and I know how to print mailing labels—skills I think everyone should have.”

And while Kellianne usually focused on the city’s webpage updates, the creation of the summer brochure, or answering phones, that didn’t mean her days were routine.

“Every day was something different,” says Kellianne. “There was a lot of good energy working with the city officials, and they always made it a fun environment. I would have to say my favorite thing was getting to branch out, and meeting the faces of the City of Canandaigua.”

And while Kellianne enjoyed her Field Period® experience, she says she can’t see herself running a city anytime soon. But it did spark her interest for the parks and recreation programs.

“I think parks and activities can bring a community together, and I would love having a job knowing I made a difference for someone or a community,” says Kellianne. “It was nice going home from my Field Period® every day knowing I was helping the Canandaigua community. From this experience, I learned that whatever job I end up in, I want to help others.” 

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