Student Profile: Steven Sommer

Steven Sommer

Steven Sommer, a recent graduate student in the information communication technology (ICT) program, earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Longwood University. Prior to joining the program, he worked for various collegiate athletics programs in sports information. 

“The roles partially involved public and media relations, but also managed a lot of statistics and other data. As an undergrad, my university went through an athletic department rebrand, in which I was a member of the committee that helped make decisions on refurbishing the logos and other marks,” Sommer said. “It inspired me to complete my undergraduate research on logo design and fan response. I still have a love for athletics and am extremely interested in how professional sports organizations use data to make personnel and operational decisions and would love to hopefully explore that interest further during my time as a graduate student.” 

Currently, he is the public relations manager for the Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky. Having worked in public relations for more than four years, Sommer says that his favorite tasks involve finding different ways to utilize technology to make tasks easier and more efficient for his teams. 

“I have always enjoyed the process of collecting data and using it to help solve problems. I chose the ICT graduate program to better develop my knowledge of both implementation of communication technologies and data analysis, while also helping to prepare me for a career path where I can use both more frequently,” he said. 

Sommer says that his favorite course so far has been ICT 600: ICT in Society

“The course brought up a lot of discussion regarding the ethical and moral elements that surround a lot of real-world issues regarding ICTs that can get looked past relatively easily if there is not time devoted to stop and think about them,” Sommer said. “I also just started taking ICT 661: Introduction to Data Science and am very interested to learn more about utilizing large data sets to solve problems.” 

In addition to his full-time position at the university and keeping up with class work, Sommer is also planning a wedding for the end of the year! In order to maintain a healthy work-life balance, Sommer suggest blocking off your calendar by task and use lunch breaks to complete class readings. He also recommends preparing meals ahead of time to make the work week easier. 

“Another important part is making sure to build in time for myself. If I stay good about managing my time and taking steps to prepare where I can, I usually have a least one day on the weekend where I can relax and recharge before another big week,” he said.     

As a full-time employee juggling work and school, Sommer says that he has found office hours extremely useful. 

“Outside of access to journals, texts, and research materials through UK Libraries, the best resource so far has been utilizing my professors’ office hours. As a full-time employee juggling work and school on top of my personal time, my professors have been very accommodating about meeting outside of class when given appropriate notice,” Sommer said. “Additionally, many have given the option to meet virtually, whether through discussion over Canvas or via Skype, which is super convenient.”