Two of the founding members of TRUST (Transforming Relations Using Student Thinkers), Clayton State University’s student public relations agency, are making dreams real.
Sarah Boyd and Amanda Parham are Clayton County residents who graduated from Clayton State last month with B.A. degrees in Communications and Media Studies (CMS). As part of their final semester at Clayton State, they were two of the driving creative forces in Assistant Professor of Communications Dr. Susan McFarlane-Alvarez’ CMS3560 class, which was also the basis for TRUST. How good are Boyd (whose hometown is Jonesboro and is a 2007 graduate of Riverdale High School) and Parham (a lifelong Morrow resident who graduated from Jonesboro High School in 2008)? Alvarez has paid them a high compliment… she wants them to return to Clayton State this semester as guest lecturers.
“We will miss our grads, but I also plan to have them visit and share what they learned in the agency and hopefully add a bit of what they're doing now,” she explains.
“I have high hopes for what we plan to accomplish in the spring and will be moving forward with TRUST through my Intro to Advertising class.”
Another testimonial to Boyd and Parham is that they will also be continuing their fall 2013 assignments as volunteer journalists for the Clayton State Office of Public and Media Relations, and will be contributing articles to the forthcoming issue of Clayton State’s The Laker Connection
“In the past 18 years, dozens of Clayton State students have served as writers for this office,” says Director of Public and Media Relations John Shiffert. “Ms. Boyd and Ms. Parham are easily among the top five writer/journalists in that group.”
In addition to polishing her writing talent, Boyd says her experience at Clayton State has empowered her to define what she wants to do with her career.
“I believe one of the things that is empowering to me is the faculty and staff, particularly of the CMS program,” she says. “I started learning about different aspects of the media from professors who have such a passion for teaching their subject and who are also so knowledgeable on their subject. This has helped me decide exactly what I want to do with my life, career wise, and how I am going to do it.”
Not surprisingly, Alvarez has had a tremendous influence on Boyd.
“She is one of the best individuals you will ever meet and she definitely has a passion for her subject and teaching her students,” she says. “The things we learned in (her) class were greatly beneficial and we were able to do things on our own that has helped progress and succeed in school thus far. It has helped me learn more about the PR field and has given me more confidence for this career field.
“By being around professors and even students who have such a passion for this field has definitely empowered me to go out there and succeed without looking back or losing my confidence.”
In addition to empowering its students, Clayton State is also known for providing experiential learning opportunities. For Boyd and Parham, that opportunity came about both through TRUST and as writers for Public and Media Relations.
“I am thankful that you have allowed me to write… and have given me the opportunity to further build my portfolio,” says Parham, who also gets additional creative credit for coming up with the TRUST acronym. “Thank you for the many opportunities you have given me which has helped me to expand my resume and portfolio. You don't know how truly thankful I am.”
It might be added that Parham isn’t the only one who is thankful. Parham and Boyd have written a series of excellent stories on topics ranging from Auxiliary Services’ Bio-Digestor to the reprint of Dr. Randy Clark’s book, “At a Theatre or Drive-in Near You: The History Culture and Politics of the American Exploitation Film,” to recording engineer Matt Forger’s presentation on campus to Clayton State graduates who are now faculty members to a review of the Clayton State Theatre’s fall production. While their work has indeed bolstered their portfolios, they have also proved to be an invaluable asset to Public and Media Relations.