March 2017

She works hard and hopes to chart her own course

Times have changed and, for many young adults, life is not about finding a job just to pay bills. Many young adults are working hard to create their own career path.

Lorraine Henderson, a sophomore mass communications major with a concentration in public relations, is driven to achieve success on her own terms.

Henderson, who goes by Lo for short, grew up in Durham, North Carolina, and thought about attending North Carolina Central University but wanted to go to college a little farther away from home. After weighing all of the factors of both universities, she decided it was best that she made her transition into adulthood just a little further away from her hometown.

But there was no question that she would attend college somewhere. “I knew that the idea of going to college was important and that it was something I wanted to do,” Henderson said.

Ironically, for someone who wanted to get away from her family, her family had a big influence on her. Henderson said her father and aunt played a big role in motivating her to attend college.

And Henderson credits her ambition partly to her grandfather, with whom she had a very close relationship. Lorraine was only 9 years of age when her grandfather passed away.

“My grandfather motivated me a lot and I am motivated to fulfill that legacy,” she said.

Henderson is thinking about the future and not just her future but the future of her children. She says, “I want to secure the future by going to college and earning my bachelor’s degree – I do not want anyone to struggle.”

Henderson has ambitious plans that would take her well beyond freedom from struggle. She wants to become a CEO, an ambition that stems from the fact simply that she likes to control what she is doing and work on her own. As a public relations major, she hopes to own her very own PR firm. She would like the firm to be a consultant for small businesses and individuals, focusing on strategies to guide clients in branding and marketing their products and services. In between putting in all of the hard work it takes to run her own company, she hopes to travel a lot.

Henderson is finding that the journey to success is not easy. “It was not until I got into college that I learned everything isn’t handed to you,” she said. “You have to do it; it is you that has to make things happen.”

In the second semester of her freshman year, she needed money to continue living on campus and, ultimately, to stay at SAU. In order for her to get the funds she needed, she decided to ask for help from the university’s Financial Aid Office. She was able to get the assistance needed, but not until she sought the personal intervention of Dr. Ronald Brown, a former vice president of SAU, who is now retired.

That taught Henderson that, when you need help, you have to seek it out because help won’t come to you. “It was an epiphany,” she said.

Currently, Henderson works at SAU’s radio station, WAUG. She works alongside Aaron Thomas, who goes by the name Magic. Thomas does PR for the station and is Henderson’s mentor. She also does a radio show for the station with a few other classmates, and she has her own blog page,

Henderson said she works hard so that after she graduates she will have references and mentors that she can contact to continue to guide her after college.

“I know that when I leave SAU I need to have plans for my future beyond what I did in college,” she said.

— By Jazmin Powell