Grads Are Back: Reloaded

Grammy award winning and Oscar nominated Florida A&M University graduate spoke at the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication annual “Grads are Back.” The alumnus enlighten students on being professionally prepared after graduation.

During homecoming week, the SJGC featured the new and improved “Grads Are Back: Reloaded,” with workshops, seminars and networking.  

The day involved a breakfast mixer for students, alumni and faculty to discuss the steps to success. The forums held included Job Hunting Etiquette, Creating Your Future By Standing Out, Opportunities With Student Media And Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch.

Not straying too far from tradition, an all-school colloquium with a speaker was held in Lee Hall.

Amir Windom spoke to students and faculty on his steps to success. The Grammy award winning and Oscar nominated record executive shared plenty of knowledge relevant to all.  While telling his story of success, he gave worthwhile advice that could benefit anyone along his or her journey.

“Be yourself, realize who you are and who you are not,” said Windom. “Differentiate a hobby versus a career. Making your talent an opportunity is critical to your success.”

He encouraged the students to aim for more than success, to aim for significance.

“Be here to flex purpose, not power,” Windom said.

Previously, “Grads Are Back” was an event exclusive to the SJGC.  This new ‘reloaded’ aspect opened up the event to all schools, even local high schools.

Alexander Grant, a junior from Lincoln High School, came to participate among other students from their yearbook staff. Grant is grateful for attending the event. He feels the information he learned will be helpful with his future endeavors.  

“This has motivated me to stay on track and stay focused on what my clear-cut goals are in the future and what I would like to do,” said Grant after listening to Windom.

After colloquium, everyone headed back to the SJGC for the customary barbeque.  Once the barbeque finished, for the first time students were able to break up and go to sequence specific workshops. 

Ashleigh Beverly, Sr., an art and publication production specialist of SJGC, is a SJGC alumna and returning panelist that participated in the Graphic Design workshop. Beverly feels these new-implemented workshops have made this the best “Grads Are Back.”

“Having these workshops allows more of a one on one feel, versus a general message from different people on a panel,” Beverly said. “Sometimes it’s not people that are tailored to the graphic design side. I like that there are small, intimate sessions that you can actually talk to people that cater to your field.”

Following the workshops, a student and alumni showcase was held in the SJGC’s atrium, where both parties were able to showcase their previous work. Shortly after, an informative discussion about graduate school was held in the lecture hall.

Tommy Hawkins and W. Earl Kimbrough, SJGC alumni, led the discussion for students curious about applying to grad school, getting accepted and survival.

To wrap up the event, an SJGC mixer was held in the gallery.  After another delicious spread of food, students were able to network and speak with all the alumni from the day.

Tony Watts, visual media coordinator of the SJGC, is the co-chair of this year’s “Grads Are Back: Reloaded,” and is pleased with the success of the event. 

“In past years we weren’t really engaging our students,” Watts said. “This year we wanted them to leave this event knowing they learned a lot more about their major rather than sitting in colloquium. By giving them the opportunity to ask questions and pick the minds of these graduates, they’re able to have an idea about what its like once you leave here and gain insight of what the industry is really like after graduation.”