The Birth of a Digital Marketer

Marketing certificate graduate Marissa Joy Clark emerges as a digital marketing coordinator

While Marissa Joy Clark felt unchallenged in her day-to-day work as an office manager, there was one shining light: She was able to work on marketing functions, even though it wasn’t part of her role as an office manager.

It was that side hustle of coordinating the company’s social media presence that sparked her decision to pursue a new career in digital marketing. In order to do so, Marissa wanted a formal education to help her stand out in a competitive marketplace.

After speaking with friends and family on who to turn to for her educational needs—including her sister who had taken Extension courses—she selected our Certificate Program in Marketing.

“I really enjoyed the curriculum and the way it provided a solid foundation in traditional marketing concepts,” the 2014 graduate recalls. “Also, there were so many different electives in current marketing areas, such as digital, social, research and copywriting. Some of the friendships I made with group-project partners have lasted to this day!”

Instructors Turned Mentors

Marissa also enjoyed the open rapport with her instructors, allowing for easy conversations about real-world applications of their lessons and frank advice on the field.

Specifically, Marissa points to:

  • Scott Worthge, who taught her Marketing Research and Strategic Brand Management courses. “He’s incredibly dynamic, and I tell anyone considering the program to seek out his classes.”
  • Carin Capalongo, who teaches Copywriting. “I wish her class was a full year—there was so much to cover!”
  • Michael Brito, from whom Marissa learned social media techniques. “I took many tools and concepts directly from his class into practice at work.”

From each instructor, Marissa parlayed what she learned into taking over social media at Integral Group. In that position, Marissa was responsible for managing all social-media channels. Day-in and day-out, Marissa would test many of the tools and skills she learned with us.

Moving on Up

Even more exciting, last year Marissa transitioned full time into a Digital Marketing Coordinator role—one that is brand-new to the company. Because the role was brand new, Marissa had to advocate herself for this promotion. Once again, she drew on lessons learned in the class to do so.

“Scott’s class on Brand Management explained the concept of a personal brand and how to explain to others who you are, what skills you have, what your goals are and how a new role will help you get there,” Marissa explains. “The tools I took from Michael and Carin’s classes help set me apart as an emerging subject-matter expert in social media and copywriting. I was able to get others to take me seriously in a new role.”

In this elevated position, Marissa manages:

social-media marketing

internal communications

content generation


social and Google analytics

website development

recruitment marketing

graphic design


“I feel that my education at Extension helped me take on this role because—over time and using my new skills—I was able to show value in the areas where our company wasn’t previously considering in the digital space.

“People look to me for my professional opinion on new digital-marketing ideas that we are trying out,” Marissa enthuses. “It’s empowering for me to walk into meetings and be able to assess current practices, offer new ideas, build and develop them, and be able to quantify their value for our company. The certificate was a springboard to getting the opportunity to build my experience.”