This year alone, I have made many remarkable accomplishments, met many new people across the country and took advantage of some major opportunities unlike anything I’ve experienced before.
It is hard to imagine how 2012 could possibly top all of the great things that happened this year. Before I look forward to what the new year has in store for me, let’s look back on all of the major events in my life in 2011. The headers to each event except for the last one have links to the original blog posts that go more in depth about each one.
Following my very first–and highly successful–trip to the East Coast a few months earlier for the PRSSA 2010 National Conference in Washington, D.C., I went to New York City for the very first time in January. This was a city that I have been wanting to visit for many years and I finally made this trip a reality after believing that such a trip was still many years away from happening. I had a chance to visit many of the major landmarks, tried out some of the food popular to New Yorkers among other activities. As my first solo trip anywhere as well as being my first true vacation, it is certainly one that I will never forget.
In late March and early April, I went to Seattle for the PRSSA 2011 National Assembly in Seattle. This was the second national PRSSA event that I attended since the PRSSA 2010 National Conference in Washington, D.C. in October. I met some of the same people from Conference as well as many new friends from all across the country. I finally met the famous Lauren Gray in person, someone I had connected with through social media since summer 2010. The overall experience was wonderful as I learned more about the exciting world of public relations through breakout sessions and speakers. I absolutely loved exploring the city by checking out the Pike Place Market, Seattle Space Needle and taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island. It was during that time that 11 students from across the country including myself met each other and established a unique bond that led to the formation of a group of friends called The Winslows.
I participated in the commencement ceremony at Cal State Fullerton in May. However, it did not mark my official end as a student since I still had classes left to take in the summer and fall. Nevertheless, it was a momentous occasion to mark the ceremonial end of my last four years as a student. I officially graduated in mid-December and I made the decision to walk in the spring ceremony since my school does not have a winter ceremony nor was I willing to wait to walk in the spring 2012 ceremony.
After more than 10 years in the works (since I was a child), I finally went to Alaska for the first time in May to visit my relatives. During that time, I met with my aunt and uncle as well as my cousins and their families. I also explored the vast, beautiful landscape of the state with its clean air and water, encountering wildlife up close and consuming a lot of reindeer sausage (it does taste pretty good). During this time, I also learned a lot from my aunt and uncle about my family’s early history, much of which was new and shocking to me, giving me a better perspective of how things really were before I was born and when I was young.
Over a four-day, two-week period in August, I participated in the Women’s Transportation Seminar of Orange County’s Transportation Academy. The program provides male and female college students wanting to pursue a career in the transportation sector with learning opportunities about the functions of the different aspects of transportation through real-world experiences by visiting real sites and meeting professionals in the field. It certainly opened up my eyes to the wide world of transportation, giving me a better picture of what I can expect in the future.
Mobility 21, a major transportation advocacy organization, selected me to moderate a panel discussion for one of its breakout sessions at the 10th annual Mobility 21 summit in September, the largest transportation conference in California. This summit presented me with an opportunity unlike any other and allowed me to rub elbows with some of the big names in the local, regional and national transportation circles including former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, the keynote speaker of this year’s summit and the co-chair of Building America’s Future.
For the second year in a row, I attended the PRSSA National Conference in October, this year in Orlando. This was my third and last national PRSSA event that I attended before I graduated in December. I met some of the same people from Washington, D.C. last year as well as Seattle in the spring along with many more new faces. I very much enjoyed this last national event that I attended as I learned a lot of new, insightful things through the sessions and speakers about public relations. I also had an opportunity to connect and get to know each of the national committee members, all of whom are absolutely wonderful in their own ways. It was a delight, as always, to meet people from across the country, all of whom have such unique and wonderful stories to tell.
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest
Tune in to your ABC affiliate on New Year’s Eve and just after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day. During the pre-taped performances featuring Florence + The Machine, LMFAO, Gym Class Heroes and Robin Thicke (no one else besides the ones I just named), you may see me on the floor or near the stage dancing during their performances. If you’ve never seen me dance before, you’ll see it on national television if it makes the cut.