Madelyne Van Hoff

After years of working in a variety of roles at different companies, Madelyne Van Hoff realized one very important fact: she wouldn’t be able to continue to advance her career without a degree.

Although Van Hoff had started college when she was fresh out of high school, she left because she couldn’t find a major that felt right. She decided to move to California for a change of pace and to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. After a few years, she moved back to Utah and enrolled at UVU — but still, she hadn’t found a program that was the right fit for her.

She moved to New York, and that’s where she started working in corporate events. After a couple of years living and working in New York, she realized that she was hitting a ceiling in her career — she could only advance so far without a degree. She learned that UVU had gotten a lot of recognition for their PR and Communication program, so she decided to move back to Utah and re-enroll at UVU.

Van Hoff said that she really found a home at UVU thanks to the professors who mentored her and the other students she worked with. “I was able to work very closely with several professors, including Stephen Whyte,” Van Hoff said. “He challenged me to get involved, to run for student leadership, and to participate in some of those extracurricular activities [the communication department offered]. They really made a huge difference in my career just because of the people that I got to work alongside — the people I was able to meet, the trips I was able to go, on the scholarships I was able to get through UVU. And because I had great mentorship and someone who believed in me, it made all the difference. I was this nontraditional student who had this interesting background — I barely graduated from high school, I was raised by a single mom, we were homeless for a time, we didn’t have cars, my mom couldn't afford food at times. And for someone [like Stephen Whyte] who I felt like was so impressive, and had such an interesting and impressive background, to challenge me and believe in me in that way, I think that that's really what was missing. And once I had that, it was game over — I felt that fire, but I also felt like I'd found a home.”

Whyte said he distinctly remembers Van Hoff. “I remember meeting Madelyne Van Hoff in the Introduction to Public Relations class at UVU. She had like one of those sparks of interest in communication where she had a real genuine interest. She also had a really strategic mind — her passion, her early desire to learn, and to be able to understand made her one of the best communication public relations students we've seen come through the program at UVU.”

After graduation, Van Hoff had a lot of different opportunities and different interviews with notable companies like Coca-Cola. She eventually decided to go and work for an agency that specialized in PR, communications, and in all things marketing and advertising. “I had heard from some of my professors [that working for an agency is great] because it puts you in a position where you can work in lots of different industries with lots of different clients,” she said.

After several years working for an advertising agency, Van Hoff reconnected with several of her UVU classmates who were looking to start a new business. After a few months of discussions and deliberation, Van Hoff decided to jump into a new entrepreneurial venture — Tangible School, where she now works as the director of operations.