OTC alumnus Sean Barnhill found his calling in a time of crisis. As the COVID-19 pandemic began its spread across the globe, Sean landed an important position with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. As the public health information specialist, Sean will provide critical information to the community as it relates to COVID-19.
A former KY3 news producer, Sean says his new position is the best of both worlds.
“Crisis communication is what I live for. While a news producer, I loved dispersing critical information to the public, anything that could impact or help people through emergency situations,” he explained. “So my new job will allow me to be engaged in crisis communication full time. I know my work will help keep people informed and safe during this outbreak and beyond.”
A Branson High School graduate, Sean attended the OTC Springfield and Richwood Valley campuses on the A+ Scholarship. He later transferred to Drury University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations. Most recently, Sean completed his master’s degree in leadership and management from Western Governors University.
The self-proclaimed “breaking news junkie” got his start in broadcasting at a young age, landing an internship with Branson’s vacation channel as a high school student. He began working for KY3 shortly after graduation. In fact, he took evening classes at OTC to accommodate his busy schedule.
“My coursework at OTC was challenging, but the class sizes were small, which I really appreciated,” Sean recalled. “And that was a big draw for me at OTC, especially for my more challenging coursework in math and science – that one-on-one instruction was so helpful.”
While in college, Sean also landed competitive, fast-paced internships with CNBC and the Today Show. His wildest memories from that time involve an elevator ride with the famous talk show host and actor, Regis Philbin.
“I escorted him in the building and took him on the elevator. So it was just the two of us for like 30 seconds,” Sean said with a grin. “I also made eye contact with Adam Levine at one point – that was a fun experience, too.”
Sean expects his new job to be fast-paced, just like his big-city internships, but a lot more is at stake this time. Instead of writing articles and catering to celebrities, he’s keeping citizens informed during a global pandemic.
“People have the right to this important information – especially when their family’s health and well-being is affected,” Sean explained. “And although it’s scary, walking into all the unknowns with this virus, I’m excited to be part of the team that’s keeping everybody informed and saving lives along the way.”
A critical job in critical times – Sean’s work will positively impact thousands of lives throughout the region.