Devan Chavez: From T-Bird Journalist to Outdoor Information Officer

SUU alumnus and outdoor enthusiast Devan Chavez came to the university because of the small class sizes, student involvement and hands-on opportunities.

While at SUU, Chavez enjoyed videography, cycling around town, photography, concerts of the hardcore variety and training in Muay Thai kickboxing. He also spent his time developing a love for both video broadcasting and writing.

Chavez said he was a consistent member of SUTV and was hired as the News Editor of the University Journal.

“I embraced every opportunity I found,” Chavez said. “I was even able to visit the ‘New York Times’ for a weekend editor’s conference, (and) spend the summer of 2014 studying abroad in South Africa.”

Chavez said his time in Africa allowed him to study subjects like ecotourism and photojournalism, as well as immerse himself in the outdoor culture. This experience gave Chavez the idea to start doing outdoor photography and videography reporting.

When Chavez graduated with an emphasis in broadcast journalism, he began working at St. George News. While there, Chavez returned to SUU to work towards his Master of Arts in Professional Communication.

During a class taught by Graduate Coordinator and Communication Studies Professor Matthew Barton, Chavez was given the assignment to apply for a job indirectly related to his current field. Chavez landed an outdoors public relations job during the class. Now, he focuses on his career in communication and public relations at the Department of Natural Resources.

Chavez’s typical day is divided between working on statewide events, discussions of hot topics in the outdoors and planning upcoming photo and video shoots for Utah State Parks. He spends the rest of his time working with crisis communication for park events, such as the Utah State Park Bison Roundup and media tours.

Chavez said if he could give advice to a freshman coming to SUU to work in his field in the outdoors, he would tell them to follow his similar communication route. Students who want to work in PR for the parks, or any specific field for that matter, should focus on AP writing, video editing and photography. He also said students should get involved in the outdoor areas they are passionate about, and utilize SUU as the University of the Parks.

As Chavez focuses on his future with the Department of Natural Resources, he hopes to get younger generations involved with the outdoors on a collegiate level.

To follow more on Chavez, go to his LinkedIn here.

Story By
Samantha Burfiend

Photo Courtesy of Utah State Parks and Devan Chavez