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Alum Tyler Mullins credits hands-on experience for career success  

Tyler Mullins HeadshotWhen Tyler Mullins (Class of 2014) was growing up just outside of Butcher Holler in Johnson County, he didn't have dreams of eventually working for one of the biggest social media companies in the world as the user researcher for people systems at Twitter. He didn't have a social media account when he attended high school, but that was the least of his struggles.  

"(I) didn't have a car in high school or job. Didn't have the internet," he said. "It posed a lot of challenges to do after-school activities or to participate in clubs or groups to build skills or to build my resume for college."  

While Mullins didn't have as many opportunities as some of his classmates, he saw college as a step toward something better and decided to become an MSU Eagle.  

"I grew up dirt-floor poor and MSU was an affordable college," he said. "I think I saw it as a launching point for what could be different in the future. It was the only option I had other than working."  

Mullins knew he wanted to go to college, but it took him time to find a degree where his creative passions and practical career goals came together. He originally came to MSU for music before studying art and later computer science. He was switching his major as frequently as he was working jobs to pay for his college education but his interest in philosophy was one of the constants of his college experience.   

"I always looked forward to my classes. It was the material I was most interested in," Mullins said. "The faculty served as the best mentors I had. They were the most empathetic, the most willing to listen, but they would also challenge me. They would poke and prod me and get how my mind works so I could grow in different ways."  

While pursuing a bachelor's degree in philosophy, Mullins decided to double-major in philosophy and convergent media, a program where "the creativity and the technical side came together in a more commodified way." In addition to working as the editor of a documentary on Morehead's St. Claire Medical Center that aired on KET, he also gained practical experience interning with MSU's Office of Communications and Marketing in 2013 with Director of Digital and Brand Strategy Toni Hobbs (Class of 2002, 2009).  

"I switched my major and had an opportunity and was able to capitalize on it to get credits I needed, and work experience I needed," he said. "When I actually did work for a client on campus, they were like, 'this is great.' I was like, 'I could do this.'"  

"Students like Tyler are why we work in higher education, and this is why I strongly advocate for education–it is life-changing,” Hobbs said. “As a fellow Appalachian, it isn't always easy to realize our potential to impact our region and beyond positively. I couldn't be prouder of this Eagle." 

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Convergent Media and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 2014, Mullins got his first job as an AmeriCorps service member before he moved to Louisville to work for the Next Step Network as a marketing and communications assistant from 2016 to 2018. While he had his reasons for not pursuing a degree in computer science at MSU ("Calculus is not for me," he said), that knowledge, his convergent media classes and his learning to code with the help of the training program Code Louisville helped him land his next job at Humana in 2018. He worked as a software engineer before assuming roles as a senior employee experience designer and senior employee experience strategist.  

"I would say a lot of the art and design skills and the media skills still came in handy," he said.  

His role in ensuring Humana employees had optimal internal communication online, often referred to in human relations as "internal facing projects," gave him the experience he needed right as he stumbled across an interesting job opening at Twitter. Even though he felt he was a perfect fit for the job with his skillset, he tried not to get his hopes up too high.  

"The position I was applying for was out of my league. I was punching above my weight class, I felt like. It was very aspirational," Mullins said. "I got a piece of advice earlier...'You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.' I went for it, and... here I am."  

Working remotely from Louisville since March 2022, Mullins researches and coordinates ways to make Twitter's employee digital experiences as beneficial and stress-free as possible within the company. Since he was a kid, he has always wanted to impact people's lives in a positive way. His position at Twitter has not only been a huge career milestone but has also allowed him to help people in a fulfilling and unexpected way.  

"I call it the snowball effect. You start on small, incremental changes on one part of the experience...and it starts to build as it goes," Mullins said. "By the time it gets to the customer level, it's a lot bigger than it started. It makes it easier for them to do their jobs and do better quality work and we're all happier."  

Mullins said he owes much of his current success to his decision to attend college at MSU. It was where he found a path out of the poverty of his childhood. It was a place to explore his early interests and discover new ones. It was where Mullins, who grew up "extremely queer" in Eastern Kentucky, was able to embrace his LGBTQ identity in an atmosphere where he felt safe and included. More than anything, Mullins said a college education provided Mullins with a place to propel him toward a promising future.  

"College was like a set of doors. Every door is an opportunity, and it was a set of doors that were not available to me back home," he said. "It definitely opens doors that you don't know are there and those pathways lead to other opportunities that are hard to predict or are hard to see."  

For more information on the philosophy program at MSU, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/study/philosophy or contact the Department of History, Philosophy, Politics, Global Studies and Legal Studies at hpgl@moreheadstate.edu or 606-783-2655.  

To learn more about MSU's convergent media program, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/study/communication or contact the Department of Communication, Media and Languages at cml@moreheadstate.edu or 606-783-2134. 

College can change lives and communities. Higher educational attainment increases tax revenue, decreases unemployment and even improves health outcomes. Learn more from the KY Council on Postsecondary Education at kyhigheredmatters.org