When Brooke Rubright first transferred to Castleton University as a sophomore in the fall of 2018, it was mostly because she missed her family in Salisbury, Vermont and the interpersonal connections small town life has to offer.
Now a graduating senior, Rubright has returned to her community not just as a citizen, but as a leader in her own right—assisting her public as employee for the newly-merged Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region.
CEDRR, a typically membership-based service, uses tactical marketing and communication to diversify Rutland county’s economic offerings and attract young populations and businesses to the area.
Rubright, a graphic design and media and communication double major with a minor in creative marketing, says the position couldn’t be more perfect for her right now.
“I think just being able to interact with some of these awesome businesses from Rutland County has been a huge influence on my career—being able to sit in and learn how people who have been in their professions for a while are interacting,” Rubright said. “Being able to witness [that] and have that opportunity to go right into working—and knowing my role—is awesome.”
According to Rubright, her main duties at CEDRR include client outreach and working to develop personalized business plans with those clients.
However, as of late April, the position was offered to her full-time.
“I write the newsletter that goes out every two weeks, I do a ton of graphic design work. It feels like it’s the perfect blend of what I was going to school for, which was really public relations and then graphic design,” Rubright said.
Originally a student of Colby-Sawyer college in New Hampshire, Rubright knew straight out of her senior year in high school that she wanted to go into graphic design. After realizing Colby-Sawyer wasn’t quite her forte, it was head of Castleton’s graphic design program Bill DeForest, who convinced her this was where she was meant to transfer.
“It’s funny, one of the first things I ever learned about learned about Brooke was her penchant for staying organized. It’s been a real inspiration,” DeForest said. “It’s great to have someone like Brooke who can really raise the bar.”
Within a year, Brooke made a name for herself at Castleton and strong connections with faculty and staff—eventually being offered a blanket internship opportunity at what was once Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC) through Media and Communication Chair Michael Talbot.
“She was overseeing our job board, which is really vital in our work for recruiting people to move to the area,” said Kim Rupe, Communications and Community Engagement director at CEDRR. “She just was instantly that spark of energy and a hardworking student that a lot of employers are looking for.”
Rupe has been working with Rubright since her internship first started in the fall of 2019, acting as a mentor within the professional world. However, Rupe said it wasn’t long before she realized Rubright simply needed more to do.
During the height of the pandemic in fall of 2020, REDC made the move to merge with Rutland Chamber as a measure to streamline the two groups’ outreach efforts. Rubright, an intern at the time, was invited to come on as a part-time communications assistant to help with the transition.
“The ability to work quickly and efficiently is critical and she has a knack for knowing what looks good, what communicates well, and how the audience will respond. All of those skills are just what we need,” said CEDRR Executive Director Lyle Jepson.
Rubright’s work is not just being recognized among her CEDRR peers.
“Consistently, community members reach out to me and tell me how impressive Brooke is—people who’ve worked with her when she was an intern at REDC and the people who work with her now in her position at CEDRR,” Talbot said.
In addition to her work with REDC and now CEDRR, Brooke has left an incalculable mark on Castleton. An avid writer and creator, Brooke has been published in local papers and is the current president of Castleton’s Content Lab—a graphic design club aimed at exposing students to professional work.
“As one of, at the time, REDC’s communications aides, she was given the opportunity to develop a portal for jobs on their website and thus, opportunities to come to the Content Lab. So, she really is responsible for putting some foundational structure into the lab,” said DeForest, who also serves as her advisor. “Her willingness to meet, meet regularly, and meet productively, changed the whole character of the lab.”
As Rubright begins her professional journey away from college, many of her peers and mentors were at a loss when it came to words of advice. To many, she simply doesn’t need it.
“She’s recognized what she needed to get out of college, and she did it. I always tell my FYS students before the first semester, ‘the hungry dog always eats’—and Brooke is a perfect example of that. Any opportunity that came along, Brooke jumped right at it,” Talbot said.
When asked what she was most excited for in the upcoming months, Rubright didn’t hesitate for a second.
“I think, as far as CEDRR, I’m ready to just jump in both feet. I’m so ready and excited and have so many ideas about what I want to do and I, it’s just kind of that, anticipation of ‘okay, I’m ready to start right now,’” Rubright said with a chuckle.