By Takia Venable
As the technical team scrambled to restore audio for the Facebook video call with a panelist, students arrived early to get good seats for the last panel discussion of the day.
“Can you hear me Kathy?” said a member of the technical team.
A long table draped with a white tablecloth and four chairs were decorated with small vases with short red and white roses.
What usually would be the Texas Southern University logo on the backdrop now displayed the face of TSU alumna Kathy Sapp, who could not physically attend the panel, but was able to video chat from her home.
Today was the third day of Communication Week at TSU and a panel of alumni spoke about their start in the communications industry and how to overcome hardships that may arise when out in the profession.
“I have audio,” Sapp said.
The three panelists who were physically able to attend the event were seated and the panel discussion began with Dr. Vera Hawkins as the moderator.
Hawkins, a journalism professor, started by asking everyone in the room to have a moment of silence for former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died the night before.
After everyone bowed their heads for a moment, the panel was in full swing.
Hawkins asked a series of questions in which each panelist answered and further elaborated on as the session continued.
Taking a trip down memory lane and paying the proper respects to the people who made it possible for them to be able to succeed after college, each panelist gave a touching story.
“I got here on an open enrollment and the love kept me here,” Nakia Cooper, a TSU alumna and web manager at the Houston CW 39 said.
When Hawkins asked the panelists to give the students a pearl of wisdom, many students and spectators were seen digging for their cell phones to record the information that they were about to receive.
“If you don’t hustle, you don’t eat,” Cooper said.
That one statement seemed to have touched everyone in the room because of the serious tone in which she said it.
“Your availability is your best ability,” said Nate Griffin, a breaking news reporter for FOX 26 news.
He emphasized the importance of getting to class every day, because you can learn new things, and this gets you in the routine of getting to your internships on time every day to make a good impression.
“Be willing to accept constructive criticism from mentors and people who paved the way for you,” Charles Hudson, operations manager of KTSU 90.9 said.
Hudson also spoke of how important it is important to separate business from personal, no matter who you are dealing with in the workplace.
Jamail Mathews, a broadcast journalism junior at TSU, was honored to be given such valuable advice from such established alumni.
“This panel gave good insight on how to make it in the professional world after college,” Mathews said.
Jayla Jimerson, a TSU honors student, was inspired by Sapp and Cooper because they were once in the same seat that she sits in today.
“The biggest thing I took away from the panel is that in order to be successful as a journalist, you must not forget where you came from,” Jimerson said.
The event ended with a question and answer session with the audience.