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Student Journalists Have Been Invited to the White House

August 11, 2011

. – Ten students from the Florida A&M University (FAMU) School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) will depart from Tallahassee on Friday, Aug. 26, for a four-day trip to the White House to meet the nation’s highest level of press officials.
“We’re very grateful for students to be able to go behind the scenes because we understand the impact and power of communication and media,” said SJGC Assistant Professor and Director of Internship/Placement Yanela Gordon.  “We recognize how vital it is for students to see this from a federal level. That is not something we can teach in class.”
The students will have an opportunity to ask questions and meet with White House senior communication officials, directors of congressional communications and other press officials. They will also get a tour of the White House as well as the briefing room where a number of government officials such as President Barack Obama convene to speak with the press.
“It signals we are investing in opportunities for students that are immediately rewarding,” said James Hawkins, dean of the SJGC. “It’s an indication that we are providing a quality education for our students.”                                                     

The students selected to attend include: Alexandria Collins, a junior broadcast journalism student from Tallahassee; Aria Aaron, a junior broadcast journalism student from Nashville, Tenn.; Clarece Polke, a senior print journalism student from Archer, Fla.; Duane Robin, a journalism student from Cay Bay, St. Maarten; Denecah Nickerson, a senior public relations student from Houston, Texas; Kari Knowles, a senior broadcast journalism student from Tampa, Fla; Tiffany Bain, a senior public relations student from Miami, Fla.; Jordan Culver, a senior newspaper journalism student from Winter Garden, Fla.; Wandoo Makurdi, a graduate broadcast journalism student from Lagos, Nigeria; and Brittany Holman, a senior broadcast journalism student from Leesburg, Fla.
Collins, who works in the FAMU Student Government Association’s executive branch communications department, is excited about the opportunity and said the trip will help her with her duties in SGA.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to visit the White House, witness the political process and be a part of history,” Collins said.
According to Gordon, FAMU alumni who work in the communications field are abundant on Capitol Hill.  She also believes that having students meet with the communications professionals “will open students” minds to potential careers that are going to impact people’s lives.
“By accepting this invitation from the White House, not only are students going to gain valuable insight from communications and press professionals of the highest levels, this also helps FAMU strengthen and further grow relationships with the White House,” said Gordon.

About FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication
The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication was founded in 1982. Its Division of Journalism was the first journalism program at a historically black university to be nationally accredited by the ACEJMC. It offers four journalism sequences: newspaper, magazine production, broadcast (radio and television) and public relations.

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