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Texas Exes Asian Alumni Network » Alumni Spotlight » March Alumni Spotlight: Alison Kwong

March Alumni Spotlight: Alison Kwong

Alison graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a concentration in Business Foundations.  As a student she was an active member of the Public Relations Student Society of America and the Phi Eta Sigma and Alpha Lamda Delta honors societies.  Alison currently coordinates and executes a variety of public relations, event planning and media relations initiatives for several clients at her current role at Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm.  Alison supports her agency’s consumer-based clients as well as her company’s healthcare, technology and digital practices. Before joining Weber Shandwick, Alison traveled the country for a year representing Kraft Foods as an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Brand Ambassador and Spokesperson.  Her responsibilities as a “Hotdogger” included interfacing with national and regional media, serving as a spokesperson for broadcast television and radio coverage, planning and executing appearances at sports, corporate, fundraising and retail events, and regularly contributing to Oscar Mayer’s official Hotdogger Blog and social media initiatives.  As a Hotdogger, Alison also guest lectured to upper-division Public Relations, Advertising and Journalism courses at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Missouri.

1. What is your favorite memory, tradition, or thing about UT?

That’s a tough question, but I would have to say that Texas Football is one of the greatest programs in the country and easily one of my favorite things about UT. Many of my fondest memories stem from eating corn dogs at the Cotton Bowl during TX– OU or coming early, being loud, staying late and wearing orange to home games at Darrell K. Royal. Plus, Vince Young and the Longhorns won the National Championship my freshman year; witnessing an undefeated season during your first year of school is difficult to top.

2. What have you done since you graduated and how has UT helped to get you there?

After I graduated, I snagged the unconventional, but fun occupation of driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile across the country. I visited 25 states and executed media and public relations campaigns for the company. I even guest lectured at a few communications classes at UT to recruit future drivers. My coursework and student involvement definitely played a significant part in my getting that job; Oscar Mayer only recruits their spokespeople at four major universities each year, and Texas is one of them. That speaks very highly of the Communications College and UT’s smart, talented students. After my cross-country tour, I have since traded my outlandish hot dog-shaped vehicle in for a Honda Civic, and currently practice PR and media relations at Weber Shandwick, a public relations agency here in Austin.

3. UT’s motto is “What starts here, changes the world”. What is one thing you would like to see change at UT?

I don’t know if I would change anything to be quite honest. What I love about UT is that it’s an extremely well-rounded institution. For instance, it’s a widely known fact that UT’s law school and UT’s business school are respectable programs, but UT’s advertising program was just ranked #1 in the country, and the Daily Texan has won more awards than any other college newspaper. In addition to academics, Texas excels in everything from research to sports. UT’s culture of diversity and talent is what makes the school so great, and I expect it to continue growing and evolving. The only changes I would recommend are fewer 8 a.m. lectures and cheaper football season tickets.

4. What’s one thing you’ve learned from UT outside of the classroom?

I exercised the concept of discovery a lot during my four years at UT, and that manifest itself in many different ways. I was introduced to an abundance of fascinating people during college, and I also picked up a smorgasbord of hobbies and interests that I never explored before I moved to Austin. But self-discovery was probably the most valuable takeaway from my college years. I suppose the independence of being a college student and the inundation of opportunities that accompany that self-assuredness allowed me to determine what I’m good at and what I enjoy doing. Somehow that shaped my future decisions and current career path.

5. Who has been an important role model to you?

My aunt is the President of the US Pan Asian-American Chamber of Commerce Southwest region, and I’ve been privileged enough to work with her and help plan some of her advocacy and supplier-diversity initiatives. I’ve witnessed her interact with executives of Fortune 500 companies, politicians, the media – and I so admire her for representing and championing the Asian-American culture in those settings. I aspire to be as savvy an Asian-American woman as my career develops.
Colt McCoy is also a great case study of a wholesome individual overcoming adversity. I’m glad he got drafted, and I’m glad he gets some playing time for the Browns.

6. What’s one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen or current students?

Try something new at least once a week. There is never a shortage of flyers or posters plastering the campus inviting you to join a club or listen to some scintillating guest speaker. You might be surprised by what fun and fascinating activities are lurking around the corner. Discovering interests, hobbies or causes that your fellow students are passionate about make you that much more knowledgeable and cultured. What do you have to lose? Trying new things and meeting new people is always rewarding in some way. At the very least, you might meet a new friend or get free Tiff’s Treats at whatever function you decide to attend.

And take a lot of pictures. Your four (or five, or five and a half) years will fly by quicker than you realize, and they will be some of the greatest years of your life. You should have a handful of photos of you and your friends clad in burnt orange to fondly remember them by.

Written by Jennifer Wang

Filed under: Alumni Spotlight

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