Janelle Carter is sincerely passionate about preparing students for the professional world.
That is why Carter, lead speech writer for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, will return to her alma mater to inform students about what they need to know to succeed in a professional environment.
“I haven’t been back to FAMU in several years,” said Carter, a 1993 graduate from Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.
“This is something I always wanted to do, and the opportunity presented itself,” Carter said.
Carter will host a “What Not to Wear” seminar Thursday in the SJGC lecture hall from 2-3:15 p.m.
In addition to other topics, Carter plans to talk with students about what should be in their portfolios, what is considered appropriate interview attire and how to conduct themselves during a dinner interview.
“I hope it will give them real-life skills on what to expect and what they need to present in a very competitive market to be equipped to get the job,” Carter said.
The SJGC dean, James Hawkins, is thrilled to have someone of Carter’s caliber return to the program to share her wisdom and experience.
“All of us here in (SJGC) who knew Janelle Carter can be excited about her return,” Hawkins said.
“She has carved out a distinguished career in journalism,” Hawkins said. “Obviously her experiences have given her much to share with our current students.”
Students said they look forward to taking full advantage of Carter’s visit.
“I’d like to hear her experience with college students transitioning into the workforce,” said Iesha Crutchfield, 22, a senior public relations student from Kansas City, Mo.
Beatrice Flemister, who is also looking forward to hearing Carter’s advice, said she is proud to know someone of Carter’s success graduated from the program.
“It makes me feel good (that) someone from FAMU’s journalism school is working with a prominent figure,” said Flemister, a senior public relations student from Oakland, Calif.
Flemister added that she wants to get advice on how to succeed and hear Carter’s personal stories.
“I would want to hear about any trials she has been through and what it takes to reach her success,” Flemister said.
Carter said one of the main reasons she is returning is to give back to FAMU because it played a major part in her success.
“FAMU definitely gave me that background,” she said. “It taught me to fight for what I believed in. It taught us to be very proactive, and I learned that from professor (Roosevelt) Wilson, (Gale) Workman and Dr. Hawkins,” Carter said.
Carter’s career has included a full-time job with The Associated Press in Jackson, Miss. While working during the day and going to school at night, she earned a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University .
Carter later became chief writer for U.S. Rep Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, speaker of the House.
Even though Carter has moved up the career path faster than most people, she said she is in no hurry to move to the next job.
“I’m going to enjoy what I’m doing,” she said. “I’m still doing foreign policy. I’m going to figure out the rest later.”