April 2018, News & Features

A Stepping Stone for New Beginnings: Briana Snipes

When Briana Snipes was in high school in Mount Vernon, N.Y., she had big dreams of being an actress, and she knew going to college would help her achieve those dreams. But she wasn’t sure how to get started on her journey to success.

“Getting to college was an obstacle,” Snipes said. “I am a first-generation college student.”

Her family tried but was unable to give her all of the help and guidance she needed. Snipes turned to her high school guidance counselor and to a theater teacher who was a mentor. She ended up at Saint Augustine’s University, where she is a junior and a mass communications major.

The journey was not smooth at first, Snipes recalled. “Building self-confidence and gaining the courage to do certain things was my next goal,” she said.

Initially, she was drawn to theater, since she had done that in high school and was familiar with it. But she found inspiration and motivation in an unexpected place.

Snipes began working with WAUG, Saint Augustine’s radio station, as part of her work study assignment. “I saw some seniors running their radio show and that department was more organized to me [than theater] and I liked what I was doing,” Snipes said. One of the students involved with WAUG, Aaron Thomas, pushed her to get involved with broadcasting.

Snipes had not changed her dream of becoming an actress, but she figured broadcasting would help prepare her for that career. Soon Snipes started a radio show with her fellow classmates called “The Wave,” which focused on college life and what’s going on around Raleigh.

Snipes has a way to go to achieve her dreams but she feels that she is well on her way. She knows she could not have gotten this far without the help of a lot of people along the way.

When she reflects on her journey so far, it sounds like she has a good start on her acceptance speech for winning an Academy Award: “I would like to thank my father, grandmother, my high school mentor, Douglas Graves, and Aaron Thomas. Without them, I wouldn’t be here now and I thank them forever for it.”


-Lorraine Henderson