Lehigh Valley corporate communication alum lands promising marketing career

Carissa Ackley Headshot

Penn State Lehigh Valley graduate Carissa Ackley's degree in corporate communication set her up for a rewarding career with Emmaus-based Altitude Marketing.  

Credit: Carissa Ackley

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Internships are highly valued for the on-the-job training they provide college students. Better still, they sometimes lead to actual job offers.

Such was the case for 2020 Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV) corporate communication graduate Carissa Ackley, who received a job offer from Emmaus-based Altitude Marketing shortly after completing an internship at the full-service business-to-business integrated marketing company.

The 23-year-old Easton resident initially started at Altitude as a public relations and content marketing specialist. After some time in that position, however, she realized she wanted to learn more about agency-client relationships, starting a journey that eventually resulted in her being promoted to her current role as client engagement manager for the company’s account management team.

“My core duties include serving as the main liaison between the client and the agency, managing the client’s portfolio of work, and ensuring that client needs are being met internally,” Ackley said. “Day to day, I spend my time crafting emails to key stakeholders, conducting meetings with the Altitude team and our clients, and using our project management software to coordinate deliverables.”

“There’s nothing better than the feeling of working with an energized and motivated team when reporting back on our work to a client,” she continued. “Whenever I have the opportunity to showcase and prove the results of our efforts to our clients, I consider it a success.”

Ackley was drawn to the “inherent flexibility” of PSU-LV’s Corporate Communication program, where she found courses that were consistently “memorable, relevant, and thought-provoking.”

“Communication is an ever-evolving — and always needed — field with a significant relevance across every industry, and I enjoyed the program’s inclusion of marketing, public relations, graphic design and crisis communication classes,” she said. “Because of its range, students receive a rounded education that successfully exposes them to multiple facets of the communication discipline. The faculty were very passionate about their field, and classroom discussions were insightful. My proficiency in public speaking also received a boost due to the amount of experience I gained delivering presentations — a skill that has proven instrumental in my post-college career.”

Away from the classroom, Ackley landed a highly valuable work-study position in the campus’ Strategic Communications office. And, from the beginning, she had her sights set on getting an internship with a marketing agency.

When a fellow student recommended Ackley look into Altitude Marketing, she headed to the company’s website. She was immediately impressed by the agency’s broad portfolio of integrated marketing experience, its business-to-business focus, and, perhaps most importantly, its work culture.

“Marketing is a field where innovation, creativity and determination produce the greatest results, and everything I saw on Altitude’s website underscored how highly it prized those values and took pride in offering best-in-class marketing solutions and services to its clients,” Ackley said.

Given how well the internship turned out, Ackley was “thrilled” to accept the job offer once it came her way. Now firmly established, she continues to make very good use of her PSU-LV education.

“My degree provided me with a number of hard and soft skills that are directly related to my career,” she said. “I learned how to present my work with confidence, how to research, analyze and interpret data, and, most importantly, how to think critically about the ‘why’ behind strategic recommendations in marketing and communication. Attending PSU-LV allowed me to explore a field that I love and secure a job opportunity with a company that values its employees and cares about its clients’ success.”