A web communications specialist for web & digital strategy in the office of university marketing & communications, Grant Kurosu loves working on websites, but laughingly laments that his parents unwittingly hampered his chances of becoming a professional surfer when they moved the family from Hawaii to Las Vegas
UNLV was always a top choice for me, but I started my college education at CSN since I didn’t have an idea on what my major would be. When I finally chose marketing as my major, UNLV’s marketing program offered much more to me than the other options. I graduated in 2014 with a bachelor of science in business administration - marketing.
What made you decide to stay at UNLV as an employee?
When I first decided to major in marketing, I had visions of being an advertiser like Don Draper (from Mad Men). After working in the office of university marketing & communications as a student worker, I came to the realization that web can have a huge impact for a company as a marketing tool.
Working here gives me the opportunity to learn more about web, its relatively newfound importance in business, and grow as a new professional. As a student worker I was able to see first-hand what the team was doing for the university, and I wanted to have a bigger role in accomplishing the long-term goals of the unit.
What are your primary job duties?
I collaborate with various campus units to create and maintain a website that is worthy of a Top Tier university. Web now serves as the primary source for information, and having a good site can make key decisions for students, faculty, and the community much easier.
What is the biggest challenge in your field?
That’s when clients don’t see the value of a good web presence. Although the perception of web has started to change for the better since the time I was a student worker, I believe there is still a lot more that can and should be put into the web.
Is there something people on campus can do to make your job easier?
I think the best thing people can do is to have an open mind when it comes to the web and working with us. Although the web has been around for many years, it is actually a relatively new tool for businesses and universities to use and properly leverage. I’m lucky to be working with great people who know so much about web development and content strategy that I know that if we can collaborate with all of the units we work with, UNLV’s websites can become amazing tools for students, faculty, and the community.
What about UNLV strikes you as different from other places you have worked?
I’ve had various positions in retail. Working here is different because there seems to be no periods of slow times. There’s always work to be done and projects can stretch over years.
Tell us about an item in your office that has special significance for you and why.
If I had to choose just one it would be a hand-drawn picture of a plumeria. It was drawn and colored by my sister when she worked in the office as a student worker.
There’s actually a long history of Kurosus working here as students. My two older siblings (Eric Kurosu, ’05 BS Business Administration - Accounting, and Julie Kurosu, ’11 BA Art) worked in this office before me, but I was lucky enough to get a full-time position. My little brother, Ian, doesn’t plan to attend college, so, unfortunately, there's no chance he'll work for us.
Where did you grow up and what was that like?
I was born in Hawaii, but my family moved to Las Vegas when I was 4. I imagine growing up in Vegas is similar to a lot of places. However, I like to think that if I had grown up in Hawaii, I could have been a professional surfer by now!
Tell us about a time in your life when you have been daring.
I’ve always been open to trying new things, and “rebelling” against what my traditional Japanese parents thought. For me, the most daring time in my life was when I joined the lacrosse team at Spring Valley High School. I originally wanted to play football, but my mom didn’t let me because she knew it was dangerous. I signed up for lacrosse instead because I knew she had never heard of it, and wouldn’t know that it’s actually a pretty brutal sport.
Finish this sentence, "If I couldn't work in my current field, I would like to..."
be a content creator on YouTube. I’m fascinated by how some channels today can produce content that rivals regular television. I’m not sure what kind of channel I would have, but it is definitely in the back of my mind all the time.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I think most people are surprised to learn that I love to cook. I first became interested in cooking while watching Food Network with my dad. He loved the original Iron Chef show. I enjoy trying different cuisines and techniques, and I dream of having a huge kitchen with all of the equipment I would ever need.
Tell us about someone you admire and why.
I admire my father because he was confident, smart, and creative, and he always used his knowledge and experiences to teach others. He was a Renaissance man. Outside of his work as a contractor, he made sculptures, painted, played piano, wrote songs, and cooked.
Any tips for success?
My father always taught me to put your best effort forward, and to be humble. I believe that everything I’ve achieved can be attributed to those two rules.