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Once A Highlander Always A Highlander: From Alumna To University Employee
By Alexis Goodwin
Finding opportunities and exceeding expectations has been the focus of Radford alumna, Ann Brown since high school. Time after time she landed the right internships and worked with all that she had to open her own next door.
Brown earned her Master of Science degree in Corporate and Professional Communication from Radford University in 2003 and her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Millersville University in 1996.
During high school, Brown interned at WHP 580, a news talk station, and Traffax Traffic Network in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In college, she interned at WFLA in Tampa, Florida where she field-produced and learned her way around a television station newsroom. During her final semester of college Brown worked as a full time intern at WPMT-FOX 43.
“I took every opportunity that I could to write stories for the producer and field produce with a videographer,” Brown said.
Her hard work paid off and after graduating, Brown was offered a permanent position with the same station. Through the internships and roles she held, Brown was able to network her way into a position at WSLS News Channel 10 in Roanoke.
“The connections I made during my internship at WFLA in Tampa helped me to obtain my job at WSLS. The two stations are owned by the same company, Media General,” Brown said.
Brown left broadcast journalism and started her career in public relations at Radford University in 1999 as a public relations specialist writing press releases and feature stories. Shortly after, Brown decided to pursue a graduate degree at Radford.
“I wanted to find out why we do what we do, what was the strategy behind the communications tools I was creating,” Brown said.
Brown took one class per semester for most of her degree, then doubled up on classes for two semesters because she was expecting her first child, and in 2003 successfully completed her graduate degree in Corporate and Professional Communication.
“My Radford University graduate degree helped me learn the strategy behind communication and how it can help organizations reach their goals,” Brown said.
Brown has been at Radford University for a total of 18 years as a student and employee, and has held numerous roles including News Bureau Writer, Multimedia Coordinator, Associate Director of University Relations, Assistant to the Dean for the College of Science and Technology, and Associate Director of Alumni and Advancement Initiatives. She currently holds the position of Director of Advancement Communications and oversees all communications that support fundraising and alumni relations.
When asked if anyone stood out from her time at Radford as being influential in her career, Brown named Ms. Debbie Brown who was the head of Radford University’s Office of University Relations. Coincidentally, they have the same last name.
“She was very instrumental in my development as a public relations practitioner. She challenged me with special projects and responsibilities and helped me grow professionally. I’m very thankful for her mentoring and guidance,” Brown said.
Since 1999 Brown has seen immense changes occur at Radford University.
“The University has grown in reputation and academic offerings. It has been an exciting time to be a member of the Highlander Family,” Brown said.
By simply looking at the experiences Brown has had over her academic and professional career, it is easy to see how her main advice to students would be to take advantage of any and all opportunities they come across.
“Build your resume with as many internships as you can while a student. While in those internships, take the initiative to take on projects that will enhance your portfolio,” Brown concluded.