Two dynamic departments join forces at Pearl River

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Submitted by loneill on July 13, 2022 – 3:26pm

Two key Pearl River Community College departments are teaming up to promote affordable, accessible, and efficient educational opportunities for future wildcats.   

While the offices have worked hand in hand for many years, the Office of Marketing and Communications and the Office of Recruitment have officially merged into one department. Kari Eve Valence will lead the department as the Director of Marketing and Recruitment.   

“Combining the talent from our Recruitment Department and Marketing Department allows us to better use our resources and human capital to achieve the mission and goals of our institution,” said Candace Harper, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Business Services. “Teamwork remains the ultimate competitive advantage and PRCC strives to be innovative and progressive with our recruiting and marketing strategies. Both departments are filled with extremely talented individuals and specialized assets; when combined they build a powerful team.  

“Leading this team is Kari Eve Valence, our former Director of Recruitment, who also worked in the Marketing Department for several years under my leadership. Her commitment to PRCC, leadership style, drive, and experience allows her to understand that if everyone is moving together, then success takes care of itself. We are extremely excited to watch this new team flourish.”  

Before joining the PRCC Marketing team, Valence worked at WDSU in New Orleans as a part of the morning/weekend Assignment Team, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS as a Multi-Media Journalist and Producer, and was most recently the “Algiers Accent” columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and NOLA.com.  

Valence provided her talents in broadcast journalism when she came to PRCC in the position of Marketing Specialist focused primarily on multimedia journalism through the institution and the community. She developed programming featured on CAT-TV including the YouTube channel and podcast The Wildcat Way Show, the series Workforce Wednesday, Wildcat Weekly, What’s What This Week, and the Alumni Spotlight series.  

During the 2021-2022 school year, Valence served as Coordinator of Recruitment directly overseeing all operational aspects of the Office of Recruitment. She launched effective and impactful recruitment techniques such as the implementation of digital admissions announcements, “Legacy tours”, and the Wildcat Parent’s Prowl, as well as overseeing the success of the re-designed Wildcat Experience, Allied Health Day & CTE Day events.  

“Marketing & Recruitment go hand in hand in cultivating the culture our Wildcat Family cares so deeply about, living your life the Wildcat Way, with Pride, Respect, Class, and Character,” said Valence. “I believe in our institution’s motto and love that I can work to showcase our amazing Wildcats and how they implement these qualities in their everyday lives.”  

Valence has a Master of Science degree in Strategic Communication from Troy University and is currently working towards a doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration at Liberty University. She serves as President of the Rotary Club of Poplarville, Vice President of College Public Relations Association of Mississippi (CPRAM,) and is a member of the 14th cohort of the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy (MCCLA.) Originally from Buras, Louisiana, she now resides in Poplarville with her husband Jonah, their son Little Jonah (6), and their daughter Gentry (3).   

“My background is in the news business, so I love being able to showcase our college, tell the stories of our students, faculty, & staff and share that with our community,” said Valence. “By combining the highly qualified and uniquely talented individuals within these two departments, Pearl River will continue to see success in bringing our message to the surrounding communities as well as continued growth within our institution.”  

MEET THE MARKETING TEAM  

Alexx Kennedy has taken on the role of Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications where she will oversee and implement marketing projects. Kennedy attended The River from 2011-2013 during which time she was involved in several on-campus groups including the PRCC Singers and River Road show choir while also serving as the work-study for the campus Vice President. She earned her associate’s degree from PRCC and then transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi where she attained her bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies before moving on to her graduate studies. She returned to The River as a full-time employee in 2015 and has served in a variety of departments. Kennedy is a native of Poplarville where she currently lives with her corgi, Bo. 

Jacob Cochran currently serves as a Marketing and Communications Specialist with a focus on photography and videography. He attended The River from 2010-2012 and was in The Voices, Spirit of The River Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, and the Jazz Cats. He came back as an employee in 2020. He owns Jacob Claude Photography & Videography and J. Claude Portraits. A lifelong Poplarville resident, he is working on a bachelor’s degree in Digital Media & Marketing Communications from Tulane University.  

Corey Guerra joined the department in July 2021 as the Graphic Designer. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Graphic Design from Tulane University and a Master in Fine Arts degree from Full Sail University where he was valedictorian. He has done extensive brand identity and logo design for other colleges and universities in the region as well as assisting businesses in all phases of development with branding needs. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor of design at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Guerra has been happily married for six years now, and has four dog children: Friz, Pearl, Lola, and Bleu.  

Laura O’Neill is entering her second year in the role of Marketing and Communications Specialist. She has a background in customer service, education, and marketing. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master of Science degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Rochester Simon Business School. O’Neill currently resides in Poplarville with her husband and three of her four boys, one of whom graduated from PRCC in May 2022 and one slated to graduate in May 2023.  

Chuck Abadie has been serving as a Communications Assistant based out of the Lowery Woodall Advanced Technology Center in Hattiesburg and hosts the Wildcat Radio Show. He was the Director of Public Relations for 18 years before retiring in 2018. He had a 28-year award-winning career as a reporter and editor of the Hattiesburg American. Abadie was named Mississippi Sportswriter of the Year in 1986 and 1988 and received the company’s President’s Award for Outstanding Customer Service in 1990 and 1992. Abadie graduated from Southern Miss with a bachelor’s in athletic administration. Abadie is married to Martha. They have two daughters, Miriam and Catherine.  

MEET THE RECRUITMENT TEAM  

Chelsie Lyles splits her time on the Forrest County Campus as an Academic Advisor and Recruiter. She earned an Associate in Arts Degree in 2011 from PRCC. She then transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi to earn both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. She also obtained 18 post-graduate hours in Speech Communication and is currently an adjunct online Instructor of Public Speaking at PRCC. She is married to Garrett Lyles and has two children; Weston and Savannah.  

Caitlin Warner is from Poplarville where she attended Poplarville High School and joined the Wildcat Family as a student and work-study in 2011. She received her Associate in Applied Science in Marketing & Management from The River before going on to receive her Bachelor of Marketing & International Marketing from William Carey University. She has almost finished a Master of Business Administration from William Carey University. Warner has a decade of experience in the business industry focusing on marketing, sales, and entrepreneurship. She has been an employee of PRCC since July 2018 and recently welcomed her first child.  

Ron’Shea Moore is a lifelong resident of Gulfport, Mississippi, and a graduate of Gulfport High School. She earned an Associate’s degree from PRCC where she worked at PRCC’s Center of Academic Engagement as a student worker and member of the Student Government Association. She transferred to The University of Southern Mississippi to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Sciences. Moore returned to the Wildcat family as a Recruiter in 2019. She also owns a small business Lovely Roots, a hair salon that offers natural beauty services.   

McKinsy Hickman is a Recruitment and Marketing Specialist at Pearl River Community College. Hickman graduated from PRCC in 2018 and transferred to Mississippi State University where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Communication. She has been involved in many different aspects of Marketing throughout her career, including her role as an Account Executive for Mercedes-Benz of Tuscaloosa and the creation of her own show, HometownHype. Hickman resides in Wiggins, MS with her husband, Ashton Hickman.  

Lucas Lymuel is a Recruitment and Marketing Specialist splitting his time between the Forrest County and Poplarville Campuses. A proud alumnus of PRCC, he graduated in 2019. While at The River, he was a resident assistant, part of the Student Government Association, and The Voices. He transferred to The University of Southern Mississippi where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations with an emphasis in Educational Leadership and was heavily involved as a scholar, mentor, and student leader. Lymuel is an active member of his church and community and loves spending time with family and friends. He plans to pursue his master’s degree in Higher Education.  

Jolie Pervel has joined the team as Office Manager/Assistant Recruiter. She recently earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Management Technology. During her time at The River, she was an active member of both Phi Theta Kappa and the Baptist Student Union. She also served as a work-study in the Marketing Department. She is a resident of Lumberton.  

MARKETING TEAM RECOGNIZED  

Earlier this spring, members of the Office of Marketing and Communications were recognized for their work when they earned 17 awards at the 2022 College Public Relations Association of Mississippi (CPRAM) Conference.  

GETTING STARTED AT PRCC  

Enrolling at Pearl River Community College requires just four simple steps:  

1. Apply for Admissions online and have your transcript sent  

2. Apply for Financial Aid, including doing your FASFA  

3. Apply for Housing if needed  

4. Sign up for ROAR, our orientation program to help you have the BEST experience as a Wildcat   

Visit PRCC.EDU/Admissions to become a Wildcat today. 

Anyone interested in a tour of the Forrest County Campus or Poplarville Campus can reach out to the Office of Recruitment by calling 601-403-1197, emailing recruitment@ prcc.edu, or visiting the webpage Prcc.edu/recruitment.    

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).