MURRAY, Ky. — Bailey Porter, a senior from Clarksville, Tennessee graduating May 11 with a liberal arts major, has turned her Murray State University education and academic internship with the Paducah Quilt Show into a job with the American Quilter’s Society.

Porter has accepted a position as the official vendor coordinator for the AQS.  She will be working with and coordinating over 200 vendors for each of the eight shows the society sponsors each year.

Her story starts with a liberal arts major, some guidance from her faculty advisor and an internship.  

“Liberal arts is the reason I landed this job,” said Porter.  “Dr. Barbara Cobb has always been enthusiastic about my ideas and has provided me with so many resources. As soon as I told her that I wanted to go into event planning, she had the idea of me working with the Paducah Quilt Show.“

The liberal arts major is a multidisciplinary major.  Rather than the traditional major-minor combination, it requires that students have two primary fields of study and a minor.  This allows students to tailor their education to their future career needs.

There is not a major for event planning, which is why the liberal arts major was the perfect route for Porter.  

“No single major could have given Bailey the breadth of skills and knowledge that she acquired through the Liberal Arts major,” said Cobb. “Bailey combined coursework in anthropology, organizational communication, sociology and business to lay the groundwork for a career in event planning.”

“Many career and professional plans benefit from a wider range of course choices than typical majors allow,” she added. “Liberal arts majors’ unique and self-designed programs of study open doors for them with prospective employers and graduate programs.”

Students in the liberal arts major are also strongly encouraged to participate in an internship in order to build workplace skills. Dr. Cobb reached out to a Murray State alum and arranged for Porter to interview for an internship with the Paducah Quilt Show, which provided Porter with valuable insights into the industry and the mechanics of event planning.

“As the intern, I floated around to each department,” said Porter.  “I enjoyed seeing how each department and everything they were doing all pieced together these huge events. Whether it is the contest, the vendors, the speakers, the classes or setting up the floor plan of each building, all these elements must come together to create each show.”

Porter has not always been on this trajectory.  She initially majored in liberal arts because it permitted her to pursue anthropology at Murray State. “I love anthropology and have enjoyed it over the past few years, but it was not the career I wanted to pursue,” said Porter.   

She credits the liberal arts major with the ability to change career fields without setting her back.  

“With liberal arts, I was able to take hospitality courses and other business-related classes that would help prepare me for the career I was entering,” said Porter. “Instead of my last-minute change setting me back, I was able to keep my credits and tailor my last two semesters to my new interests.“

Porter almost didn’t come to Murray State.  In fact, she did not even visit campus prior to showing up her first semester, but she said she could not be happier with her decision to become a Racer.

“I couldn’t be more thankful that I changed my mind,” said Porter. “I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for the guidance I have received from all my professors and advisors and the opportunities provided by this University.  I am proud to be a Racer!”

The May 2019 commencement ceremony will take place May 11 at 9 a.m. in the CFSB Center for graduates of the Bauernfeind College of Business, College of Humanities and Fine Arts and Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology, with a 2 p.m. ceremony planned for graduates of the College of Education and Human Services, Hutson School of Agriculture, School of Nursing and Health Professions and interdisciplinary studies (Associate of General Studies and BIS Degrees). Use #RacerGraduation on social media to share your commencement experience. Additional information about the ceremony and a live stream link are available at

Photo: Bailey Porter, a senior graduating with a liberal arts major, has turned her major in liberal arts and an academic internship with the Paducah Quilt Show into a job with the American Quilter’s Society.

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