Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Williams ’18
Rachel Williams (’18) is the first alumna to represent Prairie View A&M University as an HBCU Fellow at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. She just wrapped up the first of three semesters at the school in New York City.
“I graduated from PVAMU with a degree in business management, but I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in communications and saw this as a great opportunity. After researching Columbia’s strategic communication program and its course load, I felt intrigued to further my pursuits,” said Williams. “Additionally, I have lived in Texas my whole life and have always wanted an out-of-state school experience, so I knew this would be a holistic growing experience for me, which, I can honestly say it has been.”
The fellowship includes housing and full tuition for one of eight master’s degree programs. Each fellow also receives career coaching and guidance, community service and access to a 2,500-plus member Columbia alumni network.
“A few months after I started, we took a trip to Washington D.C. where we met with Johnathan Holifield, executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, and Johnny C. Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) and chairman of the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs,” said Williams. “I believe that with this program the importance of HBCUs will become highlighted even more, it will show that we have great talent to offer to the world and that we belong and can thrive outside of HBCUs.”
Fellows have to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better throughout the program. The 2018 cohort of 21 students will graduate in August 2019.