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Grads Come Back to the “Hill” to Empower the Next Generation to the “Hill” to Empower the Next Generation


By Aniah Jackson

The FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication hosted a special series during Homecoming titled, “Grads Are Back.”

The event was designed to bring successful alumni back to campus from across the media, communications and entertainment industries to provide insight and training to students as they prepare to take flight in their own careers.

The series of events included a career fair that provided students with opportunities to engage with major industry companies and influencers such as Hill + Knowlton Strategies, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, iHeartMedia, Sachs Media Group, ESPN/Disney, CNN Viacom, Politico, and the New York Times.

“Grads Are Back” continued with an all-school colloquium, which included a panel of media professionals who also serve on the school’s Board of Visitors. Panelists included Kim Godwin (CBS News), Carolyn Fennell (Orlando Airport), Yvette Miley (MSNBC) Gregg Bishop (New York City Commissioner), Avido Khahaifa (Orlando Sentinel) and Denise Hendricks (CNN).

Homecoming Week also brought back alumni who held exclusive chats with students about the future of media and communications.

Discussions included a dialogue about diversity in the radio industry. The event celebrated the recently formed organization “Women in Radio” and its founder and former WANM 90.5-FM DJ Meaghan Taylor. Other guests included Carli Cole of Blazin 102.3, Miss Monique of Heaven 98.3, and Shakyra Chrysostome of L.O.U.D. District Marketing.

The power of digital storytelling was also a hot topic during “Grads Are Back,” and James Bland, alumnus and creator of the hit series “GIANTS” was onsite to share with students how digital media can help them tell their own stories and set them apart in the industry. Bland was joined by alumni Ameer Brown (Adobe), CJ Faison (AT&T Entertainment Group), Valeria Sistrunk, (ContentNews), Joshua King (NowInfluencing), and Daniel Ware (CoorsLight).

For students attending the event, the series left a lasting impression.

“I loved the opportunity to speak with alumni that are doing exactly what I would like to do when I graduate,” said Jenee Mathews, a public relations student. “’Grads Are Back’ was simply great!”