For professions like medicine and law, certain degrees and credentials are required for practitioners. Public relations isn’t one of those professions. However, the Nicholson School of Communication is proud to have dedicated staff members who search for opportunities to set themselves apart. Tommiea Jackson, NSC’s coordinator of communication, marketing and events, has earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential.
APR is a voluntary program which communicates expertise, dedication and high standards within the public relations industry. To earn the credential, candidates must submit an application, present his/her portfolio to a panel presentation of three peers and sit for a computer-based examination. Jackson’s interest in public relations has grown over time, especially since she handles many public relations tasks on behalf of NSC.
Last spring, Jackson began attending study sessions sponsored by the local Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) and Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapters. She successfully sat for her panel presentation on May 2017, when she presented a project she completed while working at Jackson State University, titled “People of Jackson State.”
“That project was my heart,” Jackson said. “Still, I think it is one of the projects about which I’m most proud.”
Jackson successfully passed the exam this past March, but she’s now focused on helping others reach the same goal. This fall, Jackson will serve as co-chair of Accreditation/Certification for the Florida Public Relations Association’s Orlando chapter.
“Though I’d worked in public relations more than 13 years, my formal training was in journalism,” said Jackson, who earned a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Mississippi in 2001 and bachelor’s degree in English from Rust College in 1999. “I wanted to learn more about this field and thought this credential would help me better understand some of the things I’d learned through practice. Now, I get to take all that I’ve learned in my career to help others through this part of their journey.”
There are many in the NSC family who have earned their APR credentials. Jackson joins a network that includes associate professor, Melissa Dodd, Ph.D., Kena Lewis, the director of public affairs and media relations at Orlando Health and Roger Pynn, who currently serves as senior counsel at Curley & Pynn Public Relations & Marketing Communications, and this is just to name a few.
In addition such a network, Jackson is grateful to have NSC leadership and colleagues who have supported her through this process. She said that Nicholson Deputy Director Boyd Lindsley, Ed.D. and Director Robert Littlefield, Ph.D. made this the ideal time to pursue the credential.
“It seemed that the leadership team here was invested in my success,” Jackson said. “Boyd encouraged me to take the time I needed to study. Dr. Littlefield took time to critique my presentation and literally cheered when he found out I’d passed the exam. He actually made up a cheer for me. It doesn’t get better than that. The support has been wonderful!”
Jackson has been an essential part of the NSC team and proudly serves the school.
“We strongly believe in professional development for faculty and staff alike; when someone like Tommiea expresses an interest in advancing themselves, I think it incumbent upon us to do whatever we can to provide support to ensure his/her/their growth and development.” said Lindsley. “Additionally, Tommiea has proven her commitment and devotion to the Nicholson School time and again. Her talents are far and wide reaching and it’s so great to continue to see her succeed. She makes the school proud.”