Like a couple thousand others, I had planned to be in Nashville, Tennessee this week for the annual PRSA and PRSSA conferences. Instead, as with almost everything else in our lives these days the conferences are being held virtually. That includes my favorite event—the awards banquet celebrating future leaders of our profession.
For the past 12 years, I’ve had the privilege of presenting what I’ve dubbed the Culpwrit Mentorship Award to an outstanding student who has helped others navigate their college and pre-professional lives.
In addition to virtually presenting the award last night to recent Georgia State University graduate Kenon McCollins, I also met with him via Zoom to discuss his powerful extra-curricular project during his college experience as well as his future career plans.
Upon graduating from high school, Kenon like his father, joined the U.S. Marines Corps. After eight years in the Marines, E-5/Sergeant McCollins enrolled in college in Washington state before moving to Atlanta where he majored in public relations at Georgia State University.
While attending Georgia State, Kenon decided he would try make a difference by founding MVP, the “Men in Violence Prevention Initiative.” His goal was to encourage students of all genders to discuss everyday issues that male students face. The initiative led to discussions and workshops on topics such as Controlling Your Anger, Consent, Insecurities & Self Worth and Relationships. As this article points out, Kenon’s initiative was a huge success. He modestly says he was “simply trying to make a difference in campus culture.” For more about Kenon’s advocacy and the impressive Georgia State programs to help students, check out the Back to School Guide for Stressed Out Students.
Now that he’s graduated, Kenon is pursuing freelance assignments that will help support his true passion, music. He plans to make his first album in January, and he realizes his PR training will help him promote it.
Congratulations, Kenon. I’m looking forward to buying that first album and following what I know will be an amazing career.