Five years ago, Trevin Shirey left his hometown of Punxsutawney, Penn., to start his freshman year at Anderson University as an aspiring marketing major. Last year, he moved back to Pennsylvania with a degree in communications and the launch of his career as an Internet marketing specialist. He works for WebpageFX, a leading company in web design and development, search engine optimization, and Internet marketing services.
Shirey chose to attend AU for personal reasons, including the university’s affiliation with the Church of God and the continuation of his family legacy, as several of his relatives graduated from AU. More than anything, though, Shirey wanted to discover his passions and interests in a supportive environment. “I basically wanted an adventure,” said Shirey.
Although he began as a marketing major, Shirey quickly became interested in writing. After talking with communications professors, Shirey learned more about journalism and enrolled in AU’s communication program his sophomore year.
As Shirey progressed in his journalism degree, he planned to enter either sports journalism or a traditional newsroom setting, but in the back of his mind, he considered specializing in Internet media. In his spare time, Shirey learned to build advanced websites, and by his junior year, realized he wanted to write and build on the Internet.
“To technically go back to the beginning, I was always really passionate about the Internet,” said Shirey, who built his first website when he was 10. “As a career, it seemed like a natural choice, and it’s always better to enjoy your work.”
Shirey began working with different AU media, including the radio station, WQME 98.7 FM, and the newspaper, the Andersonian. One of his major projects as an undergraduate was launching the Andersonian website, which he and another student worked on over a three-month span.
Dr. David Baird, professor of communication, asked Shirey to help develop the Andersonian website over the summer. “Trevin had a high degree of interest in technology, which was a subject he used to write about for our student newspaper,” said Baird. “He cultivated some computer skills that we needed on the Andersonian website, so we were able to put him to work on the technical side of a redesign.”
Shirey said building the Andersonian website was his best memory at AU and one of his biggest accomplishments as an undergraduate. Most importantly, it led him to discover his desire to work in Internet media.
“There were a lot of really late nights and really early mornings,” said Shirey. “I would be in the Andersonian office or my dorm room editing images for the website or compiling code for hours on end, but that was a light-bulb moment for me. I realized this was something I could do for 18 hours a day and never get tired of it. It became a goal of mine to make a living working on Internet media.”
When Shirey’s senior year approached, he struggled to find a suitable job for his interests in Internet media. Finally, he began searching for the type of company he wanted to work for on Google and found WebpageFX, his current employer. An online application and two interviews later, WebpageFX offered him a job.
“I felt pretty prepared,” said Shirey about applying at WebpageFX. Mentioning courses he took in e-commerce and e-business through the Falls School of Business helped. “There were topics I hadn’t thought about since those classes, but I was able to remember them and use them in the application process.”
Today, Shirey works with several hundred clients tackling multiple projects. “The really cool thing about social media and Internet marketing is it always changes,” said Shirey. “I love the challenge of something new every day and trying to figure out how to best help my clients.”
Shirey intends to stay in the industry as he gains more skills. “I just want to keep learning more and more about Internet media,” said Shirey. “The longer I work at learning about the Internet, the more I realize I don’t know about it.”
— Kelly Frye is a senior from Elkhart, Ind., majoring in biology and communication arts. Frye is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.