Susan Santora '85

Susan Santora '85

Major: B.A. Communications; Employment: Former Corporate Beauty Public Relations Executive, now independent Freelance Copywriter
Susan Santora | Ms-Write | Beauty Writer (

Susan Santora '85

Graduation Year


Tell us why you chose to attend Hood? Was there a particular moment when you knew Hood was where you wanted to pursue your bachelor’s degree?

I applied to Hood because it offered a strong Communications curriculum. After attending an accepted students’ weekend and experiencing “campus life”, I knew that this was my college. I immediately loved everything about Hood, from the first view of Alumnae Hall (with our famous pillars), touring Shriner Hall and walking through the Pergola (in full bloom). There were so many resources available here, and combined with its beauty – I was hooked.

What prompted you to pursue a degree in Communications? Did you have a specific related career or job in mind when you chose this major?

I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in a creative field, whether a writer, reporter or journalist. I chose Communications to have a broad range of knowledge and practical experience by the time I graduated, which I was able to achieve.

Did you have a particular professor, course, or campus experience that had an impact on your undergraduate and post-graduate success?

One person who had a great impact on me was President Martha Church. This woman was Hood College. She was always walking through the campus, smiling and stopping to speak with students. She attended every event, in the 4 years I was a student, from the annual Messiah Concert to small student fundraisers. Her attitude, perseverance and dedication were an inspiration to me and many others. She was a leader and a mentor, someone I aspired to be.

When you were a Hood student, you had three High Impact Experiences: one in the Communications Office at Frederick Hospital, one with a local public relations firm, and one with Youth for Understanding during your journalism semester at American University. Of those three, what was your favorite experience and why?

I was very fortunate to have graduated with 3 internships under my belt. While I learned something unique from each experience, my “favorite” was working with Youth for Understanding, an international student exchange organization, in existence for (now) 70 years. I was given the responsibilities of interviewing prospective students and host families, coordinating appropriate matches, attending local events representing the organization, while honing my writing skills on press releases and pitching news stories to local media.

After graduation, I entered the Public Relations arena and my education, with my HIE, gave me the confidence and skills needed to succeed in the corporate world for over 30 years. I eventually transitioned to copywriting, an in-demand skill in a flourishing field, and now run my own small business.

What advice would you give to current Communication students who want to pursue copywriting and copyediting as a career?

Gain as much practical experience as possible before you graduate. In addition to internships, I was a reporter for the Hood Newspaper and editor of the Hood Magazine. I also liked to sketch and submitted a design for the 1985 Hood Blazer logo – and won! These efforts built my confidence to challenge myself.

There is so much more available to you to help you via social media, volunteerism, online organizations. Utilize it all and connect with those already established in the field you are interested in, via LinkedIn. Reach out to Hood alumnae (like me!) for advice. Create a website now, to feature your work. Keep a practice journal. And, decide what area in which you would like to specialize. I chose CPG (consumer product goods) with a specialty in beauty.

If you could go back and give advice to “Hood Student Susan”, what would that be and why?

Utilize everything offered to you and don’t let anything or anyone hold you back. And, most importantly, enjoy every single minute. Here is where you will make lifetime friends and these years will be some of the best and most memorable of your life.

One last question! What does “Hood is Home” mean to you?

Hood really is home. The minute you step onto the campus, there is a comfort level that feels natural, but is hard to explain. Everything I needed was available to me on campus and I often visited D.C., Georgetown and Annapolis. I felt safe, happy and so lucky to call this place home.  This is where I was able to become me, to learn more about myself and what I was capable of, thanks to the support of this incredible institution that will always be a part of me.