Preston Stringer, a University of Southern Mississippi (USM) strategic communication major with a public relations emphasis, gained valuable experience and insight into the professional world through his National Millennial and GenZ (NMGZ) field trip to Washington, D.C. this year.
The field trip included visits to the White House, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Museum of American History, as well as global agencies like Weber Shandwick, and major corporations including Nestlé and AARP.
“The National Millennial and GenZ field trips provide wonderful learning experiences and opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Jae-Hwa Shin, professor in the School of Media and Communication. “I am pleased that our students can benefit from such opportunities with support, as I serve as the NMGZ Campus and Civic Advisor at USM. I hope to see more of these opportunities offered for a lifetime experience and life-changing motivation for our students. These learning experiences cannot be easily created inside the classroom alone, and the combination of out-of-school experiences with classroom learning will elevate our students’ experiences to the pinnacle.”
The student participants from various institutions and states learned key insights from staff and professionals at each site and had the opportunity to network with professionals.
“I greatly enjoyed my trip to Washington, D.C., with the NMGZ community. I was able to engage in substantive discussions with government representatives at the Department of Transportation, the State Department, and even the White House,” said Preston. “I also met with representatives from Weber Shandwick and Nestlé. Weber Shandwick is the second-largest global public relations firm in the world, and I gained valuable insight into the public relations industry.”
Additionally, Preston enjoyed meeting other NMGZ members from across the country and hearing diverse perspectives on topics that are important today.
“My favorite aspect of the trip was the meeting at the White House where I got to represent not only USM but also Mississippi and the South as a whole,” said Preston. “I engaged in important discussions with White House Senior Advisors on LGBTQ+ issues and the opioid epidemic, discussing how these issues are affecting young people in our state.”
The National Millennial and GenZ Community was created in 2016 because the younger generation makes up more than 50 percent of the U.S. it is essential to create an atmosphere where they can engage in dialogue with leaders fueled by broadening awareness and understanding, advancing civility, and focusing on solutions. Today, members include more than 44 colleges and universities across over 40 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam, and across the country in 10 different time zones, spanning from Alaska to Florida and Maine to Guam.
Additionally, exceptional conversations have taken place with more than 360 executives from over 130 corporations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and governmental agencies through 32 field trips to cities ranging from Atlanta to Seattle and from Los Angeles to Vienna, Austria.