COM Alumni Spotlight
Rhonda Aldridge Simmons
Substitute Teacher & Media/Logistics Manager
Duval County Public Schools & Coast High School Sound of Distinction Marching Band
|Current Location:||Jacksonville, FL|
What was your favorite class in the COM Department? Why?
Diversity in Public Communication; this class prepared me for real life social issues. It made me so much more aware socially not just of my surroundings, but globally. This class gave me a larger sense of social responsibility. It taught me that we don't build the lives that we have solely for ourselves, but to give back and inspire those behind us as we were inspired by those before us.
What organizations/groups were you involved in while you were a student?
Residence Hall Association, International Student Organization, Screaming Seahawks, Student Media (the Seahawk Newspaper), Co-Ed Intramural Sports (kickball), Art Circle, and Housing Summer Desk Receptionist
Did you complete a departmental internship? If so, please list your internship agency.
No, but I worked at the Seahawk Newspaper for 3 years in advertising and design
How are you using the skills/concepts learned from your COM degree in your life?
I use the skills/concepts I learned from my Communication Studies degree every day! As a substitute teacher I often teach at a different school every day so I am constantly seeing new faces. Each class is different so I have to adapt my technique for each class. I have also taught classes with children with behavior problems, physical, and mental disabilities. My communications degree has taught me to be flexible and how to quickly adapt. It has taught me how to really connect to my students and focus in on each of the subjects that I have taught. Although, I do not have an education degree my COM degree has given me the tools to function as close as possible like "official teachers" do.
As media/logistics manager for the band I do a great deal of desktop publishing, graphic design, and writing. My organizational skills have to be super sharp to map out the fine details of the band's day to day functions. I handle large amounts of sensitive information and must do so with discretion. I also have to communicate with various vendors for uniform and travel bids, equipment, and band parents. My public relations skills have to be strong. I use them to manage the students and staff I work with. When I am gathering bids and quotes for the band I negotiate prices and "freebies" for the band. My Communication Studies degree comes in handy every day!
What advice would you give current COM majors?
Be open-minded and willing to take a chance! Sometimes you only know what you want out of life because it's all you know. The world is full of newness and unless you stay open-minded you will never fully discover what life truly has to offer.