Community college can be thought of as a stepping stone, but for Amy Hood, it was a place of self-discovery.
Hood, a public relations specialist for the J. Paul Getty Trust, is a Pierce College alum who first discovered her interest in media arts by immersing herself in the various media-related classes offered at Pierce.
“I had done a little bit of writing in high school, but at Pierce I really found that I enjoyed the journalism classes. I felt like I really thrived and blossomed in that environment,” Hood said.
Hood eventually went on to write for the Pierce College newspaper, the Roundup. She later became the editor for the Arts and Entertainment section. In addition, she took on the role of Editor in Chief of the student-run magazine, The Bull.
“I loved staying late at night and pasting up the pages. We used to run our copy through wax and cut it out ourselves,” Hood said. “It was a lot of late nights and a lot of fun times.”
Before attending community college, Hood had no intention of pursuing a career in journalism or public relations.
“Initially, I thought I would go into the medical field. I was actually considering nursing when I first started at Pierce. I worked as a medical assistant at a doctor’s office,” Hood said.
After receiving an associate degree in journalism from Pierce, Hood went on to the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received her master’s in art history.
“UCLA didn’t have a journalism degree at the time. I was very interested in going to UCLA, and when I started taking art history I really enjoyed it,” Hood said.
Hood currently works as a public relations specialist for the J. Paul Getty Trust, where she specializes in media relations and communications.
“We each have our own areas of the Getty that we represent. I represent The Getty Research Institute, The Department of Painting, Sculpture and Decorative Arts, as well as the Specials Exhibition Pavilion at The Getty Museum,” Hood said. Additionally, Hood previously worked for several other companies, such as Ruder Finn, Arts and Communications Counselors, LAXART, and the MAK Center for Art and Architecture.
Rachel Bauch, a former colleague of Hood at Finn Partners, worked with her for several years at the start of her career.
“We hired Amy to come on board a few years ago and she was a fairly new mom at the time. She started off as a lower level accountant executive and she really rose up in the ranks with her hard work, great work ethic and wonderful personality,” Bauch said.
Bauch believes Hood’s success is greatly due to her communication skills and patience in the workplace.
“She has a great deal of inner strength. She is able to take things in and assess them ever so calmly,” Bauch said. “Sometimes it’s like the sky should be falling, yet she is still able to keep her calm under a lot of pressure. It’s one of her greatest gifts.”
Hood continued to address how the Media Arts Department at Pierce not only prepared her for the world of public relations, but for the workforce in general.
“The kind of writing you learn in journalism helps you in any career. I use some of the most basic skills of journalism all of the time when I write,” Hood said. “Regardless if I stayed in a media-related field, the skills you learn are extremely useful.”
Assistant professor of journalism Jeff Favre has worked closely with Hood throughout her professional career.
“I used to write a column for The Ventura County Star and I covered the Getty. From the first time I called them, Amy was always responsive even though she didn’t know who I was,” Favre said. “She has always helped me and treated me as if I was from a bigger publication, even though it was a smaller paper. I could tell right away she totally knew her job.”
Among all other ties, Hood shared how if it weren’t for Pierce, she would have never had the family she has today.
“I met my husband at Pierce College. We’ve been married for 15 years and have two kids. Pierce has had a huge impact on my life because I now have a wonderful family,” Hood said.
Hood encourages students to take advantage of all of the opportunities offered to them at a community college.
“Community college is a great time to experiment and try different things. That’s what I was doing as a student. It’s just a great environment to really expose yourself to new ideas,” Hood said.