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Alumni Panel offers advice to Trojans during Homecoming Week

Don Napoleon, Emmy Award-winning video journalist and photographer, engages the audience in a discussion at the Alumni Panel on Friday, Oct. 13. Napoleon earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in English/Communications from Virginia State University.

The faculty and students of Virginia State University ha­­­d the opportunity to partake in the Mass Communications Alumni Forum held on Friday, Oct. 13 in the Multi-Purpose Center during Homecoming Week 2023.

Alumni Christopher Waddy, Caryn Wright, Don Napoleon and Trevor Patterson were the four panelists who spoke to the audience on what it’s like to be in the mass communications field once you leave the walls of university.

Panelists at the alumni forum included Christopher Waddy, Caryn Wright, Trevor Patterson and Don Napoleon.

They went into detail about the dedication it takes to be in the competitive field of mass communications and how important it is to push through adversity, even if that means during a pandemic or having to start anew.

“So  right  before  the  pandemic,  we  reached  our  ceiling…  and  I  got  let  go,” said Wright, A&R Manager for Love Renaissance Records. “And  I  was  okay  with  it  because  I  wasn’t  happy  at  the  time.  I’m  gonna  be  straight.  I’m  gonna  be  great  regardless.”

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This minor setback would in turn lead her into future career endeavors. Soon after, Wright applied as an intern for Love Renaissance Records and this would open up more opportunities and adventure ahead.

“I got a call at three o’clock in the morning,” Wright said. “And they were like, ‘What are you doing for the next  30  days? Come to  Atlanta ASAP.’  So  I was  like okay cool, like, all right, I’m not gonna ask no questions. So I go down to Atlanta.”

Wright and the other panelists agreed that just because someone’s first option may not have worked out, it shouldn’t discourage someone from trying again. In this type of field, having a range of experiences will allow an individual to gain perspective.

“Pay attention to what folks up here are saying about keeping your feet wet, being in different areas to have different skill sets. So pay attention to whatever that you can learn,” said Napoleon, a VSU alumnus and Emmy-Award winner.





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