SUNY Oswego Alumna Helps Student Connect to Prestigious Scholarship
Bridget Jackson ’15, one of 17 recipients of a New York Women in Communication scholarship, has Kellen Communications Vice President Joan Reinhart Cear ’80 to thank for the honor. They met in January at New York City Career Connections, an event sponsored by the Oswego Alumni Association and funded with support from The Fund for Oswego, at which Cear suggested Jackson apply for a place in the NYWICI Class of 2014.
Jackson, recipient of the organization’s $5,000 Charlotte Kelly Veale Scholarship, is vice president of the Oswego chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America, has completed four internships and works as a tour guide for admissions. She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, national leadership honor society; Lambda Pi Eta, national communication honor society; and other campus groups.
Jackson’s first management experience came when she was class president for two years and president of the student body in her senior year at Mt. Mercy Academy, an all-girls high school in Buffalo, N.Y.
“I have always taken advantage of every opportunity to lead,” Jackson says. So, when the chance came to travel over winter break to NYC to network with alumni, she took it.
“We met for about four minutes,” Cear recalls. “At the Career Connections event, she walked up to the table and said, ‘Hi! I’m Bridget from Buffalo.’ That made an impression I’ll never forget.”
Cear, a member of the advisory board of the Oswego School of Communication, Media and the Arts, says she was delighted, but not surprised, when she learned that Jackson had been selected as a scholarship recipient. The recognition positions the novice professionals like Jackson to be recognized as rising stars in communications.
“I couldn’t be more excited that a young woman from Oswego has earned this than if it was my own daughter,” Cear says. “This is not about the money. This is about the connections, networks and introductions that Bridget will get to professional women in the communications capitol of the world.”
At Career Connections, Jackson recognized the value of Cear’s advice to pursue a NYWICI scholarship. She completed the online application as soon as she returned home. Two professional communicators reviewed it and recommended her for the second round, a telephone interview. Based on that, she was invited to New York City for a face-to-face interview. Then, another wait ensued.
The suspense ended when Jackson’s cell phone rang March 12, a day of fierce wind and driving snow that had closed most activities in Central New York. She was taking the campus shuttle to her campus home in The Village. When she got there, she returned the call. “NYWICI Foundation Board member Beth Ellen Keyes answered, saying, ‘Bridget, I’m about to make your day.’” Since then, Jackson says, she’s been euphoric.
“It’s not real life,” she says. “It’s every student’s dream.”
Winners have received gift cards to Ann Taylor, where they can purchase professional outfits to wear to the April 28 Matrix Awards at the Waldorf Astoria. They are to be hosted at a sleepover at the hotel, make an appearance at the NBC “Today Show” and be introduced at the NYWICI’s annual luncheon event with a video, “Women to Watch in the Years to Come.”
Cear points out the “glamour and glitz” of the program are important because the young women gain experience in comporting themselves professionally in highly spirited settings. They will, for example, be invited to the VIP reception with luminaries that include Queen Latifah, Jane Mayer, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
“The scholarship Class of 2014 is a fabulous sisterhood,” Jackson says. “I’m forever grateful to Joan Cear for telling me about the opportunity. This opens every door to my industry.”
Cear says NYWCI scholarships create outstanding opportunities for the recipients. “I want students not to be afraid to take chances,” she says. “There are so many people who want to give these young people a chance.”
Cear adds that while all possibilities are open; whether the rising stars take full advantage of their prospects remains with the individual.
“I have no doubts about Bridget,” she says.
-- Linda Loomis ’90 M ’97
PHOTO CAPTION: Bridget Jackson ’15