Public Relations Alumna Continues to Succeed
Gabrielle Woodard, '17, has been selected as a Principal Communications Representative for the Cyber and Intelligence business at Northrop Grumman Corporation. The public relations graduate will lead communication efforts for the company’s artificial intelligence business as well as other communication priorities.
Woodard has worked with the aerospace and defense technology company since graduation and has held roles on their political action committee and in the technology services sector. She has produced employee communications, planned executive and board of director events and worked on strategic communications.
And she credits her time at Kent State for opening these doors to success.
"As soon as I toured the PR program at Kent State, I knew public relations was the right major for me and I never changed,” Woodard says. “It gave me the foundation for my professional career. Professor Stephanie Smith has had a huge impact on my life...she's been my mentor in many things."
While here, Woodard also obtained her minor in political science. "This helped me understand complex political issues and apply PR methods outside of a communications scenario," she says. "Kent State provided me with opportunities to learn and the tools I needed to become a professional communicator."
Her advice for current and incoming students is to get all the experience you can. "Anything you can learn outside the classroom is just as important as those experiences in the classroom," she says. The president of the Kent State's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) her junior year, Woodard points to her membership in the organization as illuminating to her the range of places public relations are necessary -- and where that can take you.
"I did several internships," she says of her professional experience while a student. "My first was in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Federal Communications Commission. I did two internships at Northrop Grumman in communications and then an internship as a field team intern at Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign."
Those internships served as a valuable springboard too. At Northrop Grumman, Woodard still relies on the contacts she made while an intern. "These relationships have been immensely helpful and also provide a friendly face in a company of more than 90,000 employees," she says. "My current role on the legislative affairs team required me to pull out the skills I learned at the FCC in order to quickly complete analysis products for my team."
And for students who just recently graduated or are about to, Woodard has this advice: "Your first (or likely second) job will not be your dream job, focus on getting a job that will help you develop your skills, network and pay your bills. Your PR/communications skills will translate far beyond traditional PR roles. I promise you will get there."