There's more than one way to support the Military. Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) student and Navy wife Allison Mercer does her part as the executive director of Dogs on Deployment (DoD), an organization that aims to find temporary homes for the pets of active service men and women.
When she’s not volunteering her time at DoD, Mercer is a digital and social media manager at Appleyard Agency in Norfolk, Virginia. In honor of Veteran’s Day, Mercer shared her perspective on what it’s like to be an IMC student as well as a Navy wife.
Hollie Greene: What made you decide to continue your education in the IMC program?
Allison Mercer: I did a lot of research before finding the IMC program. Since I knew we would be moving—but didn't know where to—in the middle of the program, I wanted something online from a school with a great reputation.
HG: What have you learned or gained from the IMC program that you use in your daily job or everyday life?
AM: As I go through each course in the IMC program, I have been able to apply some aspect of what I learned to my professional life. From learning to better define marketing goals and objectives to new PR tactics, it has been fun to learn and put that learning to use in the real world to see the result it brings.
HG: What are the biggest challenges and rewards of being a Navy wife?
AM: Military life has its share of challenges and rewards. I have met amazing friends that I probably never would’ve had the chance to meet without the Military. On the other hand, there is always a bit of uncertainty with military life: Where will we go next? Will I be able to secure a job that I am qualified for? Is there a deployment in the future? But as long as you can roll with the punches and keep an open mind, it can be a really cool adventure.
HG: How has the IMC program helped further your career goals?
AM: The IMC program has really helped me see where my interests are when it comes to the vast world of marketing and communications.
HG: What inspired you to become involved with Dogs on Deployment?
AM: I have always been a dog lover, but we were never able to have dogs because of my dad's allergies. My husband was also a dog lover. He grew up with dogs but had never had one as an adult because of his Navy career.
He was afraid to get a dog and then have to leave for training or a deployment. He was worried about burdening his family and friends. So, when we got married and were moving to Pensacola, the first thing we did was pick up a twelve-week-old puppy on our way! After that, I found out about Dogs on Deployment through Instagram and knew immediately I wanted to get involved.
HG: What are the biggest rewards and challenges associated with that position?
AM: As an all-volunteer position, it’s sometimes a challenge to find the time to get everything done! Between working full-time, the IMC program and Dogs on Deployment, time management is certainly something that I have had to excel at. It has been so rewarding to see how many people the organization has helped—over 1,100 pets have been boarded, and we have been able to grant nearly $400,000 to military members who need financial assistance to care for their pets.
In partnership with the U.S. Defense Information School (DINFOS), the Integrated Marketing and Communications program at the WVU Reed College of Media offers an application fee waiver, preferential admission to the program and a GRE/GMAT waiver to all DINFOS students. Learn more about our partnership.