by Nicole Coutlangus, SMWC journalism intern
Proof that Woodsies are avant-garde, independent academics is Brenda Clemons, a professional writing major and junior through the Woods Online program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Presently residing in Manassas, Va., Clemons currently has her finger on the pulse of the entertainment world. When asked what her personal mantra is, her response is a resounding “keep going. Always, always go after your dreams, no matter how difficult.”
Working as an entertainment writer and marketer, Clemons’ present focus is on the Alexander Skarsgard website, where she employs social media and marketing to promote the actor from the HBO hit series True Blood. “I post videos and pictures to his website. If there is a rumor going around, I will post something to either confirm or deny it.” She also uses her savvy to sift through the Internet, in order to detect individuals posing as Skarsgard and weed out the false websites from the legitimate fans sites.
To attain this position, Clemons decided on a proactive approach. “I am such a fan of Alexander Skarsgard, and I wanted experience using social networking and marketing. I wrote a letter to the website creators, and attached my resume,” she explained. They were clearly impressed. “You could say this position is both my job and a hobby. I put in more hours that I’m required to, but I just have so much fun. I am learning a great deal.”
Certainly, Clemons’ optimism is an innate characteristic. However, she finds that this trait has been nurtured through her Woods Online education: “The instructors are excellent, and everyone is so helpful and encouraging.” Further, she is pleased with her writing education. “I look back and compare my early writing with my present writing, and it amazes me how much I have improved.”
Additionally, Clemons finds her solid SMWC education to have real-world applications. As she put it, “the classes that I thought were the most boring, such as Intro to Mass Media, or the hardest, like marketing, are the ones I am using the most in my work.”
It is apparent that Clemons finds her work to be fun and rewarding. However, that feeling of success has not come easily. “I have a mental illness called disassociation,” she confided. “I get stressed very easily, and when I am under extreme stress I forget blocks of time.” Though it is upsetting, she believes that something positive came of her illness: a love of writing. “It was after I recovered from a particularly rough incident that I started writing. I work hard at it, and it is something that makes me feel good about myself.”
Clemons’ other projects include helping with Fangs for a Future, a fundraiser for the not-for-profit charity organization Action Against Hunger; and creating a Tumblr site for Skarsgard. She explained that in the latter “I will have free reign over the project, so I could not pass it up.” Additionally, she is writing her first fiction novel, about a slave woman named Eshe living in Egypt during the time of the Exodus. Reiterating her mantra, Clemons ends the conversation on a positive note: “Never give up. It is always the difficult things that are the most worthwhile,” she insists. Surely, that heartening inner monologue has kept her inner naysayer at bay, and her North Star shining bright.