By Derek Opina
At first it would seem like Elizabeth Hummer has a dream job that most college students would want: getting paid to eat Taco Bell.
“This question gets asked all the time,” says Hummer, who graduated with her communications degree in 2017. “We occasionally get asked to go test food and I feel so lucky that I get to have Taco Bell almost every day on the job.”
But as cool as it is to have access to Taco Bell’s test kitchen, taste testing is only small bite of the $5 dollar box sized meal that is Hummer’s job as an internal communications coordinator. It’s a position that allows her to maximize the education and skills she received while a student at Cal State Fullerton. Hummer was formerly a broadcast journalism major but switched to print while in school. She worked as a Features Assistant for the Daily Titan and was a finalist at the Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Now as an internal communications coordinator, her job is to help other departments within the corporation with communication strategies. But her inner journalist wanted to take her job a step further by telling stories of people within the corporation who have stories that need to be told.
“I asked my boss, I really want to keep recognition. I know I’m super busy but I want to do something with this. So I still post recognition stories about great people across the brand,” says Hummer. “I think what’s beautiful about the position I have now is that Taco Bell gives you the opportunity to develop the way that you want to develop and I told my team that I wanted to start researching more recognition stories and researching more people out there who are great and that brings in that adrenaline of being a journalist. Any journalist knows how it feels to learn about someone’s story and tell it in such a great way. I just feel lucky that I get to do that still while still learning new things about being a communications strategist.”
Hummer has wanted to be a journalist since she was in eighth grade. She felt that attending CSUF would allow her to obtain the skills needed to be a good storyteller. In fact, she feels she would not have her current job if it wasn’t for the time spent being a Titan.
“It has everything to do with it. And it’s not just the schooling. The connections that I made with the people. Everything that I have today, I owe to that….I don’t know where I’d be without Cal State Fullerton. I can’t even imagine where I’d be.”
Hummer didn’t imagine that she would have this job that she loves so much two years ago. She attended several COMM week events and listened to professionals tell stories of how they got to their current jobs, hoping that it would help her navigate out her own future. Now that she has her own established career, she was honored to share the story of her own journey during a speaking event at COMM week.
“Coming into that room and seeing so many people, it was pretty full,” says Hummer. “I actually took a selfie with everyone because I was in such shock. It was kind of surreal because I was in that chair two years ago. Like I was sitting right where they were at, stressed, not knowing where I was going to be in a couple months. I felt them so much more because I feel like I was just there. And it really meant a lot to me.”
And that is how Hummer’s story came full circle in a nutshell…or in her case, a taco shell.