UCF Continues to Stand for Opportunity for AlumKnight Joan McCain

UCF attracts students for many different reasons: Spirit Splash, the luxurious pool, a state-of- the-art gym and tailgates at Memory Mall before football games. But when Outstanding AlumKnight Joan McCain chose UCF, none of that existed. She knew UCF would provide the opportunity, experiences and internships to launch her career in marketing and communications.

“Instinct told me UCF could offer great internship opportunities because it was in a major business market,” McCain said. “I did get an internship my senior year, and had a job at the same company before I graduated. I never doubted my instincts after that.”

McCain credits her 25 years of success to the experiences and connections brought forth by UCF faculty. She’s worked for advertising agencies, public relations firms and corporations– even founding her own marketing and consulting freelance writing business.

“The faculty was so in tune with the profession and brought professionals to our campus to enhance that,” she said. “The icing on the cake was the experiences we could have as students because of the partnerships our faculty and department had. Even back then UCF was a partnership university.”

Joining the Nicholson School of Communication in 2004 as a full-time associate instructor and advertising-public relations program coordinator, McCain continues to bring her experience to prepare students for their future careers. She has always been involved with UCF, even after she graduated. As one of the co-founders for the student club Quotes, she was the professional adviser for five years, and has watched it grow into the largest student chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association.


Joan McCain with Dean Michael D. Johnson.

Her favorite thing about teaching at UCF is connecting students outside the classroom with professionals locally and nationally, many of whom are alumni.

“It’s those moments in the classroom when you feel students connect and become inspired or motivated,” McCain said. “There’s nothing like that feeling.”

McCain shares some of her favorite memories as a student.

“We didn’t have Spirit Splash. The football team was just beginning,” she said. “Sitting by the reflecting pond with classmates and dorm mates, just talking, laughing and sharing. That’s what we did before cell phones.”

That doesn’t mean she isn’t a football fan. She’s been a Golden Knights Club member and UCF football season ticket holder for 15 years, and attending games since the first home game in 1979. McCain cheers on the Knights at basketball and baseball games as well.

Her advice to students is simple.

“Be insanely, incessantly proud of UCF. Wear black and gold. All the time,” McCain said. “If for no other reason, you should do it because it annoys Gator fans and makes them feel threatened, as they should be, and there is great joy to be found in that.”

Joan McCain was honored as an Outstanding AlumKnight from the College of Sciences.

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