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2020 Journalism / PR Senior Superlatives

By Sterling Bright
April 7, 2021

Every year at the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication our Faculty and Professors give out three student achievement awards. Unfortunately, during the 2019-2020 academic year, due to Covid-19 our staff was unable to make selections.

There are three different awards that faculty give out including the Journalism Student of the year and the PR Student of the year. Also, every year our staff presents the Nefertiti Student Journalists of the Year, which goes to the best journalist in the graduating class.  For the 2019-2020 academic year, the PR Student of the Year and Nefertiti Williams Student Journalist of the Year awards go to Lilla Bleu Bell.  The 2020 award for Journalism Student of the Year went to Rickayla Mitchell.

Mitchell was an example of success and hard-work while at SJGC. Mitchell was heavily involved across campus as a member of Big Sister Little Sister Mentoring Program, SISTUHS Inc., and a Spring 2018 initiate of The Real Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. 

Mitchell stated that due to her work ethic it allowed her to stand out from the crowd. Mitchell is a Spring 2020 graduate of SJGC and is currently a news producer for WFAA in Dallas, Texas where she produces the Midday news show.


Rickayla Mitchell

While a student, Mitchell was a part of the WANM 90.5’s “Primetime Sports” and “Play Makers” radio show, a writer for the FAMUAN and Journey Magazine, and a TV-20 News Producer and Senior Producer.  Although this is Mitchell’s first award from the faculty of SJGC. Mitchell did win a first-place award for “Best Radio Sportscast” at the Pinnacle College Media Awards presented by the college Media Association in 2019.


However, One of Mitchell’s most notable accomplishments within SJGC was her time as a producer for FAMU TV-20 while working as a producer for WCTV in Tallahassee. Mitchell is an Atlanta native who used the opportunities that FAMU had to offer and took advantage of them as soon as possible.

“I chose FAMU because not only is it the best HBCU but it also breeds black excellence. I knew I wanted to be surrounded by other young black people who strived for greatness and pushed each other towards success,” said Mitchell. “I wouldn't trade my time there for anything in the world.”

Originally from Gainesville, GA, Bell graduated from FAMU in Spring 2020 with her B.S. in Public Relations. Since leaving “The Hill”, she has been continuing her education at Northwestern University where she is currently a master’s candidate in Integrated Marketing Communications.


Lilla Bleu Bell

Bell made a name for herself and while a student of SJGC, she took advantage of all we had to offer. Bell was a writer and editor of the FAMUAN, member of Voices Poetry Group, as well as a leader and advocate for Mental Health apart of Active Minds.  As a PR professional Bell even participated in the Public Relations Student Society of America.


“PR is what happens when psychology and literature have a baby,” said Bell. “I wouldn't say that PR was the major for me, but instead that I have always been a talented writer as well as a critical thinker and this is a mesh between the two.”

Bell got her start as a PR professional with several internships while at FAMU including an internship with local Tallahassee agencies.  Including an internship that landed her as the only African American face of payroll. Bell used that experience as a way to excel but also show that FAMU has the talent and our student have the same potential as students from other universities.

“The moment I learned what HBCU's where I knew I wanted to attend one because I know I'm intelligent with a bright future, and I don't want a PWI taking credit for that,” said Bell. “I wanted people to look at me, look at my resume, and see that I was nurtured for and by people that look like me.”