Lily Wu: Co-op opportunities gave her a leg up in her career
KAKE-TV 10 reporter Lily Wu recently traveled to Washington, D.C., for the Miss United States pageant.
On this trip, however, Wu wasn’t covering the story. She was part of it as the reigning Miss Kansas United States.
While she didn’t win the national title, Wu, a 2007 double-major graduate from Wichita State with degrees in international business and integrated marketing communications, enjoyed it as another of the remarkable experiences she has pursued.
As a full-time reporter, she works on everything from general assignments and breaking news to feature stories.
She loves telling stories and giving people a voice so they can be heard.
Wu came to the United States from Guatemala at age 8. Even then, she wanted to be in television.
When she enrolled at WSU in 2003, she began working toward her business degree. Wu still felt the drive to explore her interests in television, though.
“The best part about being at WSU is you can do so many different things,” Wu said.
The WSU advantage
Throughout her years at Wichita State, she continued developing business skills but at the same time still wanted to pursue journalism.
“I would say that is one of the best advantages to being at WSU. You can go and pursue your passions, and you can develop the skills to go and live out those dreams,” Wu said.
After she began working toward her communication degree, Wu was mentored by Elliott School professor Les Anderson, who guided her while she completed her communications degree as well.
Anderson, who passed away last year, kept reminding Wu to live out her passions and that it was good to have and pursue dreams from both childhood and adulthood, even if they are different.
During her senior year, Wu applied for and won a Rotary scholarship to study abroad. She then pursued her master’s in journalism at the University of Hong Kong.
Both Anderson and Elizabeth King, CEO and president of the WSU Foundation, encouraged her to pursue the scholarship.
King describes Wu as a remarkable young woman. As a Gore Scholar and student leader, King said she demonstrated her unique talents and skills early during her time on campus.
Wu believes that one of WSU’s biggest strengths is the real-world experience available to the students. While at WSU, she had co-op positions at both Hayes Co. and Koch Industries, and said that having the opportunity to do internships and do co-ops while still in school is one of the best advantages about being at WSU.
At Hayes, which has operations in both Mexico and China, Wu worked in the international operations department where she saw firsthand how international business agreements and contracts really worked. She had a glimpse of what that world was like as a freshman.
“I think that it gives you a leg up when you are trying to pursue a career once you’re out of school,” Wu said. “Being at WSU, you’ve built those bonds throughout the years, so that gives you the advantage.”