What year are you and what is your major?
I am a senior public relations major here at Hofstra University.
Why did you choose your major?
When I originally came to Hofstra, I was registered as a print journalism major. When I was in high school, I was an editor for the school’s award winning newspaper called Wicket but I always felt that I was hindering my creative side even though I have always been a strong writer. When I came to Hofstra, I met with Dean Oppenheim who told me to join the PR clubs to see if I would like public relations. Since then I fell in love with the industry and I have completely immersed myself in the field.
What makes you unique compared to other students?
I think that I am unique compared to other students because I have a tunnel vision when it comes to my future. I don’t let anything stop me from accomplishing my goals and reaching towards my dreams. Being the first person in my paternal family to go to college and soon graduate is a fulfilling accomplishment, and I know that there are an abundance of opportunities the world has to offer to me.
Tell us the story of Brie at Hofstra? Why Hofstra?
I chose Hofstra for my undergraduate studies for several reasons. Honestly, my original plan was to attend school in New Orleans, Louisiana, but the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on the city made me look elsewhere for school. I applied to seven schools total, but after I visited Hofstra, I knew it was the school for me. I came to Hempstead on a dreary January day, when most students are not even on campus. My mom and I were only 10 minutes into the tour when I turned to her and said, “This is the one. This is the school for me.” Since that day, I have never once regretted my decision to come to Hofstra and I openly praise the School of Communication and the public relations program for all of the knowledge I have gained. I only hope I am able to leave a mark when I graduate and I look forward to coming back in the future to speak to undergraduate students and offer internships.
How has Hofstra and the School of Communication helped you grow throughout your time here?
I openly admit that when I first registered as a public relations major my second semester freshman year, I didn’t know a thing about public relations besides the idea that most freshman have of the PR “glamour”. The School of Communication openly welcomed me freshman year and has fine-tuned my professional development. Since my freshman year, I have developed relationships with professors and faculty and I always feel secure. It is evident that they want their students to succeed. With their help and the School of Communication’s program, I’ve noticed how I am now incredibly confident and comfortably knowledgeable of my industry.
What are your plans after graduation? What do you see yourself doing for a career?
After graduation, I plan to get a job as a PR professional at either an in-house company or at a public relations agency. My dream would be to stay in the New York City area, but I would not mind returning to my hometown in Washington, DC or moving to another metropolis city. Eventually, when I am well into my career, I hope to one day have my own PR agency and be a mega public relations powerhouse.
Favorite memory at Hofstra?
My time at Hofstra has been rather eventful and I have several favorite memories that come to mind. There is one moment in particular that stands out in my mind. I joined the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) my sophomore year at Hofstra and that has been one of the best things I could have done. Even though I had barely taken any PR classes and I had a vague idea of what makes up PR, I got involved in the organization and by the following spring semester I was elected to be on the executive board of the association.
The fact that I was actively involved in a pre-professional organization with other students, who shared the same passion for PR that I held, is the memory that I will never forget. We ultimately act as a support group for one another and I truly believe I have lifelong friends from PRSSA. We’ve experienced some of the same things together and witnessed each other blossom into young professionals and that is something I will truly miss once I graduate.
What is your edge?
I’m the type of person who likes to show and not tell. I feel as though anyone can say, “I can write a press release for your media campaign” or “I can set up an agenda for your event”, but I’m the person that says, “let me SHOW you that I can do it”.
I think Hofstra’s communications program is beyond great, but the program does not mean anything to a student if they don’t take advantage of the opportunities given to them – and that is exactly what I did. Tailoring that mindset into everything that I do, I am now able to state accomplishments that students the same age as me cannot. Sometimes I consider myself to be an oxymoron. I’ve had to develop a thick skin on top of my politeness and humility while at the same time balancing professionalism and aggressiveness. My passion for PR and drive for success along with my analytical mind contrasting my out-of-the-box creativity all combined sets me apart from the rest.
How has being a part of PRSSA as well as HABJ helped you in your career and aspirations?
I joined both Hofstra Association of Black Journalists (HABJ) and PRSSA my sophomore year at Hofstra. By the time my spring semester ended, I was elected onto the executive board of both clubs. Joining the pre-professional clubs was a major part of my learning experience. Both clubs allowed me to lead using novel strategies and tactics. With HABJ, I brought a public relations edge to a journalism club and helped spread awareness around campus. I also contributed to the club’s legacy by naming and assisting with the release of the club’s first publication Black Ink and organizing a release party to promote the new publication.
My experiences with PRSSA have all been beneficial and substantial as well. Not only did I create relationships with other PR students with an array of interests in public relations, but I also launched (along with the help of other members) the campus’ first public relations agency where I have stood as the agency director for the past two years.
Through my involvement in the organizations, I have received and excelled at internship opportunities because the organizations helped me tweak the skills I learned in the classroom and develop the confidence from being in a leadership position. It is EXTREMELY important to get involved with on campus organizations. The students who join clubs and have leadership positions WANT to be there. Most pre-professional clubs are well established and have national membership, which provides opportunities to network with other students and most often professionals themselves. It is also important to remember to participate once you join the club as well. Just putting something on your resume to say you were a part of the organization is not very helpful when you can’t explain any special projects and your involvement.
What is the thing you will miss most when you are no longer a student at Hofstra?
There are several things I will miss when I leave Hofstra. I will undoubtedly miss PRSSA, especially Prestige Agency – it’s been my child for the past year and a half. I will also whole-heartedly miss my PR Professors and the Deans. Their constant encouragement and support is always good to hear and I know that once I am consumed within the work force, I won’t be able to stop by their offices and shed a few tears.