ARTS & CULTURE
UAPB Student Strives to Make Creativity Her Career
After a good night’s rest, graduating senior Gia Turner wakes up to ponder over her outfit of the day. Working remotely while in school could never stop her from dressing to impress, even if it’s just to impress herself. “I wouldn’t be a creative person if I didn’t express myself through my fashion because I believe if you look good, you feel good.” Turner’s creative background helps her assimilate with students and faculty of the Multimedia Communications department at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. As a young girl, she recognized her passion for the arts, but incorporating that into a future career was difficult early in her college life.
For Turner, the struggle of choosing a field that best suited her interests was real until her older sister started a jewelry business. Naturally, her older sister often asked Turner for her opinions on creative decisions and marketing strategies. Once the business began to take off, Tuner felt compelled to work alongside her sister, writing copy, creating and posting content for the brand’s media outlets, setting up photo shoots, and more. She fell in love with creating compelling messages through building and supporting her sister’s brand. It was that love that led her to the world of public relations. “I wanted to be the person brands and companies could call on for all their creative and communicative needs.”
After a quick major change, Turner applied for many different opportunities to increase her skills in PR. One of those opportunities involved a summer internship with Vines/Brookshire Marketing Agency. During her time with the agency, she showcased her dedication to the field, which led the company to extend her internship through the fall semester.
In August 2023, she was tasked by the agency to cover the Little Rock Touchdown Club as part of her duties. Known as one of the fastest-growing and largest football clubs in the state, the LR Touchdown Club hosts annual awards banquets, recognizing the Most Valuable Player from each Arkansas college football team, as well as honoring coaches and players of the year from various high schools. Turner’s only responsibility was to attend and take photos at one of the Touchdown Club’s biweekly meetings.
After meeting the guest speaker, NFL Live’s Laura Rutledge, Turner took the initiative to conduct a one-on-one interview with the sports reporter. “It was a very eye-opening experience because just months ago I was not in the position where I could interview big-name hosts, sports broadcasters, etc.” After she became acquainted with and interviewed Rutledge, Turner was given the opportunity to come back the following week. She was able to sit in the same room with big names in the football world, like Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. “My biggest takeaway from my time with the Little Rock Touchdown Club was that my price just went up. I realized there was no other way for me to go but up.”
Despite the challenges Turner has faced during her college experience, she has still created a name for herself in her community and among college professors. “Gia is an eager, observant, no-nonsense kind of student,” says UAPB Public Relations instructor Cozetta Jones. “She makes it known that she’s in class to learn skills she can use in her career.” When asked to advise future communications students, Turner encourages them to “find your beat, your niche, and your path and stay on it. Stay persistent and make the right connections, and soon you’ll be working your dream job and living your dream life.”