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Workshop empowers students

Grambling State University students were focused on the road to their successful career paths on November 11 as the Mass Communication Media Management graduate class organized a student workshop eitled “Empowering Students with Knowledge Regarding Their Future Career”. 

GLENN LEWIS/The Yearbook Students listen and take notes on career advice offered by successful alumnus Brian Lowe. The workshop, held Wednesday in Washington-Johnson Complex, was organized by graduate students in the Department of Mass Communication.

GLENN LEWIS/The Yearbook
Students listen and take notes on career advice offered by successful alumnus Brian Lowe. The workshop, held Wednesday in Washington-Johnson Complex, was organized by graduate students in the Department of Mass Communication.

   The speakers at the workshop were professionals Brian Lowe of TeamUp Sports Consulting; Murray Fortner, chair and professor of psychology and sociology at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas; and Douglas Thurman, news producer at KTBS in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Two mass communication students, Candice Dixson and Jordan Wynn also made presentations. 

The first topic, “The Importance of Discipline to Gain Professional Success”, was talked about by Lowe, founder of TeamUp Sports Consulting. 

He asked the students what they thought the true definition of discipline was. Answering his own question, he said, “Discipline is doing exactly what you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it; that’s called life,” he said. 

He said students who have true disciple also have the maturity and the control level to take full advantage of their college experiences.

“There are so many people who don’t get the opportunity to even go to college, and others that go to college but don’t get the chance to graduate from college,” he said. “They unfortunately are missing out on the most critical opportunity in life because earning a degree increases your chances of being successful. So why not take the advantage to excel?” 

Brian Lowe

Brian Lowe

   Students around the room had determined looks on their faces when Lowe told them that they had a purpose, and that they were not just in college to simply exist. He asked everyone in the room to commit to achieving the goal that they have set for after college. 

To help the students achieve long-term goals Lowe talked about some key factors in remaining disciplined. The key factors are remembering the importance of meeting deadlines, practicing timeliness and having a leveled balance between handling business and having pleasure time. 

Lowe ended with telling the group that, “Every day you should tell yourself you feel that you’re doing a great job.” “It was a challenge for me as well to get serious and focus on my future, but I made sure I understood my challenges and I worked on them and I understood my strengths and polished them.” 

Next came Wynn, a senior CIS major and mass communication minor, who did a presentation on the social networking site LinkedIn.   

Murray Fortner

Murray Fortner

She began by explaining that LinkedIn is the largest professional network site that there is, with 4 million users with activated accounts and the site being used in nearly 200 countries. 

“I believe as students are seeking to find quality internships and jobs, it is important to have a professional LinkedIn account,” Wynn said. 

“When creating a LinkedIn account, the user can put their previous or current job experiences, education, skills and their involvement in professional organizations.” 

Wynn also included tips on how to best utilize a LinkedIn account, including using professional headlines, actively job hunting, following individual target companies, broadening personal networks, and finding and researching hiring managers. 

Jasmine Roper, one of the graduate students who helped organize the workshop, invited her friend and mass communication student, Candice Dixon, to talk about “Empowering You to Say What You Cannot Say”. 

Dixon shared a true story of being a survivor who is ready to achieve academically and professionally — no matter what. The military veteran told students how she had to fight healthwise for her life. 

Last semester the senior became ill and had to be hospitalized for nearly three weeks.  Her physician thought Dixson had either cancer or a condition called sarcoidosis, the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells in different parts of your body most commonly the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin. 

Her health scare turned out not to be cancer, but she was still prepared to fight from that day forward. 

She said from that experience she found the courage to say what others thought she could not say, and do what many thought she couldn’t. 

“Courage is something that gives you the confidence to say and do things you would not usually feel comfortable doing or saying.”

Dixson said college student have great ideas, “but sometimes they don’t act on them or they don’t have the courage … to just make it happen.”  

Dixson closed with a quote from Steve Jobs: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.” 

Fortner, the professor from Tarrant County College, spoke on the topic “Words of Wisdom to Guide Your Career Path”. 

He talked about who young adults and college students have as their leaders, those they choose to idolize and use as their inspiration. 

“It is something seriously wrong when thugs become heroes,” he said. “I feel that hip-hop is very powerful in this generation and rappers are leaders to our youth and young adults, but rappers would have more intelligent things to say and more positive messages to spread if they had more education.” 

Fortner said it is important to show and guide black children to a better life. He said it takes determination and believing in oneself and their dreams to survive. 

He believes that if you attend a historically black college, then you are already tailor-made. He told the students that since your color makes you stand out, let your color make you outstanding. Murray also has authored a book titled White Collar, Black Necks, that encourages African Americans to strive above and beyond.

“Slaves died in order to have the opportunity to learn to read and write, and now many don’t even take the time to do it,” he said. “Yet, we have people who don’t even have water, but we’re crying because we don’t have ice.” 

Stephanie Lindsey, mass communication graduate student said that she chose to invite Fortner because he is an alum of GSU and he taught for eight years. She also liked that he fights for African American rights and focuses on a project called FOCUS: A Social Growth Approach to Preventing Conflict. 

Thurman, a morning producer at KTBS Channel 3, is a 2014 graduate of GSU. His topic was “How Multimedia is Changing the World”. 

He shared that most reporters today are called multimedia journalists and that most publications now post many of their print or broadcast stories online as well. 

“The use of social media has grown tremendously, you even most times have to have a social media account when applying for jobs,” Thurman said. 

He said he can remember when watching the news on TV used to be the number one source to get news in the world, but that is not the case any longer.

“I think now social media is where our youth and young adults go first to receive their news,” he said. “I often use it myself. I first heard about the recent University of Missouri scandal through Twitter posts and hashtags, that shows you the strength and growth of social media.” 

Although TV is not the main source in getting news right away, he says he still looks at many of the broadcasts to get inidepth information and updated stories. 

“I have three televisions in my room just to keep up with what is going on in the news airing on separate channels,” he said. 

The mass communication students, faculty and staff all appreciated the speakers coming out to share their encouraging and empowering words with the students.

“I was proud to see alumni come to give encouraging messages to the students as far as reminding them of the importance of their matriculation through college,” mass communication alumnus Jaron Clark. “They did a wonderful job of thoroughly discussing the issues concerning their professional aspirations.” 

Santoria Black, a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, said that this workshop was a great networking experience for the students. 

“The speakers today gave the students a professional perspective of where a college education can take them. 

“It gave them a chance to hear real life stories as to what they did while they were in school that helped them to get to this point in their career,” Black said.

Bria Patterson, a senior mass communication major, found the workshop to be encouraging and informative. 

“It means a lot when someone that was once sitting in the same classroom and learning the same skills I am learning now comes back and tells how they are able to successfully use them now in their careers.”