Dayne Hopkins: Communications Strategist & U-M Alumnus: April aMAIZEing Alumni

Dayne Hopkins, a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint with a BBA in Marketing and an MA in Applied Communications, currently serves as a Communications Strategist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. With a career path evolving from college admissions to communications and marketing, Dayne’s journey reflects a blend of passion and professional growth. His day-to-day responsibilities encompass overseeing social media strategy, internal and external communications, and marketing efforts for the U-M Concussion Center and the Human Performance & Sport Science Center. Drawing from his college experiences, Dayne emphasizes the importance of internships and exploring diverse interests. Beyond his professional pursuits, Dayne finds fulfillment in his photography business and indulges his passion for cycling across Michigan. With aspirations for top roles in communications and marketing, Dayne’s journey embodies a fusion of career ambition and personal fulfillment.

Q: Were you involved in any clubs or extracurriculars during your college experience? If so, what organizations/clubs?
A: I did not take part in extracurriculars because I ended up working around 30 hours/week at the school while completing my education.

Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization? 
A: My official title is Communications Strategist. I currently work for two centers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (the U-M Concussion Center and the Human Performance & Sport Science Center). I’ve been in this role since June 2023.

Q: What is your job like day to day?
A: My day-to-day is dependent on what projects I’m currently working on and changes constantly. I oversee our social media strategy and content, all internal and external communications for the two centers, and our marketing efforts around the university system. There is plenty of writing for the web and news, interviewing, some graphic design, and planning involved in the majority of my work.

Q: Why did you choose to attend UM-Flint for your degree(s)?
A: I chose UM-Flint because it was close to home and allowed me to easily live off-campus and commute. It was also very affordable and has a great reputation as part of the U-M system.

Q: Share your best college memory
A: One of my best memories was spending 3 consecutive years at the intercultural leadership seminar that was hosted by the UM-Flint International Center at the time. It was a week-long program that brought together students from all over campus and the world (exchange students, international students, and domestic students). The program really opened my eyes to my strengths and weaknesses as a student and an individual and was a fantastic growth opportunity for young professionals. Hopefully something similar will be brought back to campus someday!

Q: What is the most important thing you learned while you were at UM-Flint? 
A: I think one of the greatest skills I took with me was being able to comfortably give presentations and present information. This came from numerous opportunities to present in classes and also in the jobs I held while at the college.

Q: How did your education at UM-Flint prepare you for what you are doing today?
A: My professional career started at UM-Flint and so I like to think every step I took and every person I met along the way contributed in some way to where I am. I grew up professionally at the university and learned almost everything I know from my formal education, to putting things into practice once I got my first permanent position.

Q: Who influenced you most during your time at UM-Flint and why?
A: I think the individuals that influenced me most were those that I saw doing the work that I hoped to one day be doing myself.

Q: What is one of your favorite events you attended or classroom experiences at UM-Flint? Why?
A: I always liked attending the Day of Service events for MLK Day. I used to go to the Habitat for Humanity and help out on those days. I love woodworking and so it was both fun and rewarding.

Q: Describe your career path.
A: I started working in the area of college admissions and then moved into roles that brought me to the communications and marketing space, which is where I wanted to end up ultimately. I always liked the idea of putting your formal education into practice when it came to your career and so I was set on working in the communications and marketing field from the start. It did take a few years to get into a role that really aligned with my larger goals, but I got a lot of great experience along the way.

Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in?
A: It started back when I used to play music and had the opportunity to travel all over the Midwest performing. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get people to come to shows and I guess at some point after the group I played with broke up, I decided that marketing aligned closely to what I already enjoyed thinking about. I can’t say that was the only thing that started my journey down this path, but it played a significant role. The funny thing is, I started college thinking I was going to pursue music in some way but ended up finding out that I was more interested in playing it than I was in learning about it! I guess it all worked out in the grand scheme of things.

Q: What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
A: I would say to make sure and intern while you can. Soak up as much information in your field of interest as you can before it comes time to graduate. I like the advice of finding a position that you would one day want to end up in and look at the path it takes to get into that role (skills, years of experience, etc.). I think that is a great way to approach a career if I were to be able to go back and do it again. College is the perfect time to explore interests before making a decision. It’s kind of like dating before getting married. Try some things out for a while and see if they’re a good fit.

Q: What is a long-term career or professional goal you have for yourself?
A: I’m still aiming for a top communications/marketing role in an organization that I enjoy working for and believe in. I’d love for that to happen at Michigan, but we’ll see where things go in the next 3 to 5 first!

Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?
A: Starting my photography business. It’s more of a passion project turned business, but it keeps me happy and occupied in what I used to call my “free time”!

Q: Fun Facts! (Examples: sports fan, long term goals, favorite vacation, future travel plans/ideas, or come up with your own!)
A: I love cycling and have raced all over Michigan.