By: Lindsay Hudock
UCF Professor / FPRA Orlando VP of Student Outreach
The start of the fall semester at UCF is always hectic. Students struggle to get back into the academic groove, faculty mourn the end of the quiet summer months and traffic is a nightmare. This fall was different for me, because that’s when I stepped into the role of Quotes advisor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no less hectic and traffic hasn’t improved one bit, but I’m invigorated by the opportunity and an amazing, dedicated student board.
We began the academic year with a brainstorming session to ask ourselves what Quotes is really about. The answer: Helping students bridge the gap between the academic and professional worlds. In our industry, students have to be more than well versed in what they learn in the classroom. They have to be poised, professional and able to network. These aren’t skills you develop in a class, they’re attributes you cultivate in the professional community. So our focus this year is simple; to create opportunities for Quotes members to engage and connect with the professional community.
Some tactics are all about making it more comfortable. Quotes is now organizing carpools to FPRA meetings. Students who are intimidated by arriving alone can meet on campus and ride with Quotes board members. This approach was tremendously successful in September when it resulted in 12 quotes members attending the monthly FPRA meeting, three times as many as the previous month.
Other tactics are about creating insight into the professional community. Two full days of agency tours are planned for students this semester. When asked in a survey what members would like to see on the agenda, the most consistently requested topic was “agency life.” Voce Communications and Edelman are already confirmed tour stops. The board is looking for others, so if you’d like to open your door to Quotes, please let me know. In addition to tours, the club plans to bring in speakers on other topics of interest such as media relations, personal branding and social media.
We’re also working to help students prepare the supporting materials needed for networking and the job hunt. Quotes is hosting a LinkedIn competition to encourage students to set up or clean up their LinkedIn profiles. A big thanks goes out to Macbeth photography who has agreed to come out to campus and offer free professional headshots to Quotes members so that their profile pictures are in line with their professional goals.
As one of the few Nicholson faculty to have been involved in Quotes as a student, I was excited for this role. What Quotes offered me back then was tremendously important to my professional development. The chance to support that same experience for current students is something I’m energized to be a part of. And it’s something many of you have a chance to be a part of too. Quotes may be calling to see if you’ll share your insights or open your doors to the next generation of professionals. When they do, I hope you’ll say yes. It’s incredibly rewarding.