Konnichiwa (こんにちは)! My name is Valerie Figueroa, but you can call me Vallie. I’m a graduate student at Texas State University, pursuing a Master of Arts in mass communication. I’m an experienced digital media professional with a diverse background in social media management, influencer marketing, ad campaign management, radio, content development and journalism. My academic and professional foundation has been developed by hands-on experience across various media channels and a passion for digital storytelling and effective communication strategies.

As a content creator, I’m inspired by the rapidly evolving digital landscape, including innovative storytelling formats, emerging communication trends and the dynamic nature of digital platforms. My goals include merging my social media proficiency with my background in journalism. I aspire to develop captivating and compelling short-form video stories tailored specifically for social media platforms. Participating in Texas State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication study abroad program in Japan is the perfect opportunity to explore my interests and reach my professional and academic goals.

I’ve traveled extensively across the United States and Mexico, with some of my favorite destinations being Guanajuato, Puerto Vallarta, New York City, Miami and Los Angeles. However, I’ve never traveled internationally and am thrilled to make the most of the opportunity to visit Japan. I’m particularly looking forward to immersing myself in the rich culture, savoring the diverse and unique cuisine, exploring the country’s cutting-edge technology and visiting the numerous iconic sites planned for the trip. This journey represents a significant milestone for me, offering a chance to broaden my horizons, gain new perspectives, and create lasting memories in a country renowned for its blend of tradition and innovation.

When I’m not buried in schoolwork (a rare occasion as a graduate student), I cherish spending time with my three cats — Shadow, Bunny and Jareth the Goblin King — and my family. I also love exploring new vegan restaurants, binge-watching true crime series and indulging in summer activities like paddle-boarding, floating the river or lounging by the pool. That’s all – for now – sayonara (さよなら)!

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