Auburn Family

Jenny Rikelman :: Honors Graduate Exemplifies Community Outreach

"I chose Auburn because I loved the community feel of the town," said Jenny Rikelman.

Like all of our featured alumni and students, Jenny has an appetite for hard work and tackling many challenges at the same time.  

"Auburn has allowed me to learn and grow in the fields of marketing, communication, journalism and of course, public relations. I have held several on-campus jobs as well as a fellowship that allows me to bridge the gap between the Auburn campus and community," Jenny said.  

Campus Involvement

Jenny served The Auburn Plainsman, the award-winning Auburn University student newspaper, as the Advertising Manager.  She supervised all of the sales activities by tracking revenue, setting goals and creating ad space layout.  Given that the newspaper world isn't what it once was, this was a challenging job.

Jenny's work  at Auburn was very well-respected.  Her work ethic is impeccable.  She is one remarkable student ... now alumna.

Jenny was active on campus in many other ways, too.  She was employed as a Tiger STRIPE recruiter.  The university values these recruiters highly.  In the university's own words, these student "build relationships with prospective and enrolled students and their families over the telephone. Tiger stripes have frequent, ongoing telephone contact with students at critical points in their decision-making process and provide information about the application process, student activities, campus organizations and life at AU."  Only remarkable students are chosen for this role.

Jenny was also a Community and Civic Engagement Fellow in the College of Liberal Arts seeking to help promote the opportunities offered through the College of Liberal Arts.  A highly sought honor, the fellowship rewards students with a scholarship.

Jenny graduated from Auburn University in May 2012 with a B.A. in public relations and a concentration in management.

Jenny's Path to Auburn and Atlanta

Born in Chisinau, Moldova, Jenny and her family "moved to Birmingham, Ala., when I was two years old. Growing up in the south with a traditional Russian family was a unique experience that shaped me into who I am. With family gatherings that can only be compared to those shown in the movie 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding,' I grew into the social person I am today, always eager to form new relationships."

"In high school, I was active in our local Jewish youth group which led to my serving as president of NFTY-Southern, a regional section of the National Federation of Temple Youth. This experience made me realize my passion for forming and strengthening relationships. So as I entered into my first year of college at Auburn University, I immediately knew that public relations was the major for me," said Jenny.

After graduation in May, Jenny launched her career with a public relations internship in Atlanta.  Jenny hopes "to continue to grow in this field and be able to help businesses and organizations deliver their messages to their targeted publics."

Jenny Rikelman :: Family and Friends

More on Jenny and her blog after the video.



Blogging for an Agency

"I wrote this blog for my company, Hope-Beckham Inc. in Atlanta, Ga. in timing with the vote for TSPLOST (traffic referendum) going on recently. The referendum asks to add a penny tax in order to raise funds for construction projects across 10 counties in the metro Atlanta area. My blog touches on this referendum but expands on my own experience commuting to work every day as a newcomer to Atlanta," Jenny said.

"I wanted to write this blog because I knew the vote for the referendum was coming up and I wanted to share my own experiences as a commuter. I enjoyed writing this blog because it gave me the opportunity to express myself, while also talking about a topic that is pertinent to most residents of the metro Atlanta area. I know that the traffic will be a problem for a while, so I thought I could offer tips on how to improve the drive."

Jenny shared her own experiences as a new Atlanta commuter.

As a native of Birmingham, Ala., and having lived in Auburn, Ala. while attending school, any drive longer than 20 minutes is considered a road trip. So as I moved to Atlanta in pursuit of a career in PR, I knew that commuting to work everyday would be an adjustment. I was severely unprepared for what awaited me.

Every morning, I climb into my red Hyundai Elantra, “Lucy”, trek along GA-400 with the other 82% of metro Atlanta drivers who commute alone. My hour-long commute, twice as long as the average in this city, leaves me annoyed and bored while I fight the traffic for 23.2 miles, six miles over the average one-way commute in Atlanta.

Writing the post not only gives Jenny a chance to express her support for the referendum, it also offers a venting outlet. Her reactions to Atlanta traffic are not likely much different from the million-plus people struggling to make their commutes.

The morning drive is somewhat peaceful as I listen to music and slowly sip on my coffee, still waking up from my nightly slumber. But the late afternoon drive brings out a side to me I never knew I had, as I roll my eyes and scream and shout at “all the people who can’t drive” and attempt to quicken my journey by weaving in and out of lanes. It’s a battle every afternoon, with no victors.

Fighting traffic leaves me in a perpetual bad mood due to high fuel costs and wasted time. The average commuter in Atlanta spends $924 annually in wasted fuel and approximately 240 hours a year (an estimated 30 work days) from traffic congestion and delays. With over 9.6 million people living in Atlanta, traffic congestion is only getting worse.

Sadly, the referendum did not pass (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and Atlanta remains locked in their deserved reputation as one of the worst traffic cities in America.  Atlanta has held the #11 spot for two years in TomTom's list of the 20 worst traffic cities in America.

Why Agencies & Businesses Blog
The variety of Hope-Beckam's blog is appealing. They launched it to "inform, educate and communicate on a variety of topics including aspects of public relations, current events and issues that affect you or your business." Contributors include interns, "HBI staff members, current clients and guest contributors and friends."

Jenny's contribution to the blog helps those interested in the agency gain a perspective on the firm's personality, as well as serving a community outreach function.  The blog states, "We want this blog to address not only HBI staffers’ interests and concerns, but those of our clients and friends as well."

We're all very confident that Jenny's success will continue.  She was a joy to have at Auburn as a student and we're proud to call her an alumna.   Look for her next post at Hope-Beckham's blog ... or where ever she decides to flourish.  Learn more at Jenny's website.

Editor's Note: This series highlights students and alumni blogging.
Whether it be for personal pleasure or for work, the practice seems to be growing.
This has now become a six-week series.  And these are our final five bloggers.

~ Robert French


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Tags: Atlanta, Jenny Rikelman, PR, alumnibloggers, referendum, traffic


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