Student Spotlight: Harlie Collins

Tell us your name and a bit about yourself. Where did you study undergraduate and what did you get your degree in? Where did you work prior to grad school?

My name is Harlie Collins and I am originally from Lexington, KY. Prior to coming to Texas, I graduated from the University of Kentucky and earned a Bachelor’s degree in integrated strategic communication which is a cross between advertising and public relations. I graduated in August 2015 and, shortly after graduation, immediately began working at the University of Kentucky as a communications specialist. Really the impetus for me wanting to work at UK was I had such a great undergraduate experience where I studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa as well as completed an internship in Ecuador that was very public relations focused. All of these experiences really lead me to working in higher education and then eventually pursuing a graduate degree.

What year are you in and what are you studying here at UT?

I am a first year graduate student in the Stan Richard’s School of Advertising and Public Relations and I am very focused on higher education and its intersection with advertising.

Why did you choose Stan Richard’s School of Advertising and PR? 

UT was really at the top of my list when selecting graduate schools and it checked all of the boxes in accordance with having really well-known faculty, with prolific research projects and things like that and just being a really reputable school overall. But the biggest thing that held me back when looking for schools was really being worried about the distance from home. It had been the first time that I was leaving Lexington. I actually came to Austin and visited in March before joining the program and before I had even accepted admissions everyone here who I had met really embraced me and it felt very comfortable, like I belonged here. I then accepted admissions when I got home.  

We heard you have an “Archer Fellowship”. Can you tell us a bit more about what that is and what it entails? 

I was awarded a graduate Archer Fellowship in December of 2019, and what that means it is an opportunity for me to live, take classes and work in Washington D.C. over the summer. This program is facilitated through the Archer Center with the University of Texas system that touches all the campuses at UT including UT Austin. It is a great way for students to get engaged in public policy and civic engagement. One of the reasons why I was so interested in this particular fellowship was because having worked at UK for four years before pursuing a graduate program, I was really invested in university leadership opportunities. For instance, I was on the UK College of Communication Information staff council and chaired that for a year. I was also elected to the university staff senate and was really involved in three or four committees there too, which was really my motivation in looking into a public policy fellowship.

What do you look to gain out of your Archer Fellowship? 

As part of the fellowship, we are required to complete a policy paper, which I think will give me a lot of professional opportunities particularly because I will be looking at the way consumer behavior tools (such as the net-price calculator that students use to find out tuition costs at universities) as well as things like chat-bots and tools we use to recruit students and how these will play into marketing and advertising in the future. I am very interested in the background on public policy relating to these things.

What are your plans post-graduation? 

I’m not 100% certain, but in the future once I graduate with a Master’s I would like to return to higher education and pursue a leadership position. We will definitely have to see how that all plays out.

Do you have any advice for students in Stan Richards? 

Make time for yourself. A lot of us get very involved in organizations and different external job opportunities but I definitely feel it is still important to have time for yourself. For example, I like to walk my dog and enjoy taking him on hikes and stuff. I think it is really important to get out and not be totally academic your whole time in school.  

Fun, Rapid Questions:

What's your favorite hobby? 


Tacos or Pizza?


Biggest fear?

People who crawl 

Cat or dog?

Definitely dog

Favorite food on campus?


Favorite Matthew McConaughey movie?


What’s the best concert you’ve been to?

Bad Bunny

What’s your favorite Austin restaurant? 


Favorite ad?

Anything Kentucky Basketball

Video Interview:

Videographer: Nicole Eggert

Editor: Zoe Georgulas

Reece White