Emily Ronquillo is an accomplished Southern Utah University graduate who dabbled in public relations in Las Vegas before making her way back to Cedar City to become the manager of marketing and communication at the Southern Utah Museum of Art.
Ronquillo grew up in Las Vegas and decided to pursue her bachelor’s at SUU in 2010 because it was the perfect distance from home.
“I liked that it was close but far enough to get an education and experience that launched me into adulthood,” said Ronquillo. “By being involved on campus, I was able to make lifelong friends and develop professional relationships with my professors and supervisors.”
Ronquillo studied English and business management before deciding on communication with an emphasis in public relations. After receiving her bachelor’s in 2014, she stayed at SUU to get her Master of Art in Professional Communication. Ronquillo became interested in social media marketing and its ability to connect people; it helped her expand her skill set and experience for the future.
“I spend probably too much time on social media but for someone starting their career in that field, I think it is very important,” said Ronquillo. “To run a successful brand account, you need to create content native and natural to that platform and the best way to do that is to be a user on those sites.”
Ronquillo remarked that social media has changed significantly since she started in 2013— when brands were beginning to use platforms like Instagram to market. The first account she managed was for the Southern Utah University Student Association.
“Now almost ten years later, it’s nice to see how [SUU social media] has grown into SUU Student Life,” said Ronquillo. “I love the idea of creating one central account that helps students get connected with what is happening on campus.”
Along with managing social media for SUUSA, she was the marketing and events assistant for the Convocations Distinguished Lecture Series, better known as the Ask. Ponder. Educate. [X]. events. Ronquillo also worked as a social media strategist for SUU.
Other jobs Ronquillo held on campus while she was a student include being a writer and junior editor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and teaching a course as a graduate assistant for the Department of Communication.
“It was a great opportunity that has helped me in my current role as I manage different publications,” said Ronquillo. “I then put my focus on my social media marketing career.”
After receiving her master’s degree in 2016, Ronquillo was hired by the Las Vegas PR agency Kirvin Doak Communications to “craft narratives and build relationships between clients and the media.”
“It was a great first job because I learned so much and a lot of the time you get to have fun doing it,” said Ronquillo. “Every day was different whether I was assisting drag queens for a makeup store opening, working with a local nonprofit with their holiday assistance program or following an NFL player around a farmers market run by elementary school students.”
She worked with Kirvin Doak Communication for two years before she took a job at SUMA that put her in charge of all content that markets the museum to the Cedar City community and surrounding area. The responsibilities include graphic design, website maintenance, podcast recording and email newsletters. Thankfully, Ronquillo manages a team of SUU undergraduates and graduate students that helps her produce and distribute content so she is not doing it alone.
Ronquillo also has her hand in planning events for SUMA like the “Day of the Dead: Festival of Altars” and SUMA staff retreats. Other duties she has include creating exhibition catalogs, compiling reports and keeping budgets.
“My favorite part of my job is being able to help students get real-world experience because they have a lot of creative flexibility and are the ones making nearly everything you see from the museum,” said Ronquillo. “I hope the students I work with can graduate with a better understanding of what they are studying because they’re immediately putting it into practice at SUMA.”
Since working at SUMA, Ronquillo has enjoyed seeing different exhibitions at the gallery. One of the annual exhibitions that amazes her every semester is the Senior BFA exhibition.
“Each exhibition builds on the last one in taking SUMA to greater heights,” said Ronquillo. “It’s great to see what SUU art students have put together and the variety is always a treat.”
She highlighted two exhibitions as some of her favorites: Al Farrow’s “Wrath and Reverence” that appeared in summer 2019 and “A Very Big Tiny Art Show” that appeared in fall 2019.
Farrow’s featured art was religious architecture constructed out of munitions, glass and steel. Ronquillo said she was lucky to spend time with the artist during his visits because she learned a lot from him and the artwork was beyond anything she had ever seen before.
The “Tiny Art Show” was a collaboration with SUMA that was fun for Ronquillo to put together with the Collections and Exhibitions team. The reaction from visitors was priceless with more than 500 people walking through the exhibit opening night.
Ronquillo’s career is far from over and she has SUU to thank because it opened up a world of possibilities for her. She will continue to repay the university by mentoring the next generation of students to discover their dreams.
Story by: Addie Horsley
Photos courtesy of Emily Ronquillo