Lisa Hoffman knows that she can make a difference in the world. She is a senior public relations major and Honors student from Mandeville, La. During a summer internship with the Louisiana Public Health Institute, Hoffman conceived and executed a plan to design and distribute 5-minute phone cards with hurricane preparedness and emergency information on them. The cards were distributed in New Orleans, and her concept is also being considered for use by disaster planning organizations in Athens. Lisa’s father, a lawyer whose life was strongly affected by Katrina, died suddenly from a heart attack just weeks before the end of Spring 2006. Nevertheless, Hoffman finished the semester and maintained her 4.0 GPA. Hoffman has already been admitted to the M.P.H. program at Tulane University, and her career goals emphasize public health and disease prevention.
Mandeville High School
A.B.J. in public relations with a minor in sociology
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I was chosen to be one of two pre-Grady Dean’s Council members at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Following my admittance to the public relations major, I continued to represent the council, and I was given the opportunity to develop the “Grady Bunch” pre-Grady informational sessions. As a member of Terry College of Business’ Institute for Leadership Advancement Leadership Certificate Program, I worked with Parker Middleton and a team of students to conduct research and produce a report featuring student-alumni survey findings and recommendations for a grass roots student-alumni organization which will go into effect this year as the “Grady Society .” Additionally, I have been an active member of PRSSA throughout my college career. I am a member of PRSSA’s Executive Board serving as the director of PRSSA’s student-run PR firm, Creative Consultants. I am responsible for soliciting and securing all accounts and overseeing the firm’s operations. This year we have nine clients, including both non-profit and for-profit organizations in fields ranging from hospitality and entertainment to women-focused non-profits and health care. I have worked as a Creative Consultants account executive for the Jeannette Rankin Foundation and an assistant account executive for Safe Campuses Now.
I am a member of the Honors Program, and have been named a Presidential Scholar every semester since my matriculation at Georgia. Currently, I am in the second semester of my Honors capstone experience. I am working with Patricia Thomas, the Knight Chair for Health in Medical Journalism at Grady College, to develop a feature article aimed at exposing the many obstacles facing New Orleans as it prepares to drastically revamp its health care system. I spent fall break in New Orleans, where I interviewed people intimately involved with the Louisiana Healthcare Redesign Collaborative. I also toured Charity Hospital’s temporary clinic and spoke with patients about their concerns surrounding the clinic’s dissolution.
I am not currently employed, but I spent this past summer working for the Louisiana Public Health Institute’s Communications Department as the first segment of my Honors capstone experience. My father had just passed away suddenly of a heart attack, and ironically I found myself working on communications materials highlighting the high incidence of heart disease and the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on hurricane victims. Nevertheless, I focused my efforts on the CDC-funded StayHealthyLA campaign and its Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. I conceived and executed a plan to design and distribute 10,000 5-minute prepaid phone cards with hurricane preparedness and emergency information. The cards are being distributed in New Orleans and throughout other select gulf coast communities, and the concept is now under consideration for use by disaster planning organizations in Athens. I also identified emerging health concerns facing the State of Louisiana and prepared fact sheets to be distributed to state legislators.
I chose to attend UGA because...
...I fell in love with the campus from the moment I saw it. I took a tour with my dad, and I remember thinking it was definitely the right fit for me. The beautiful campus combined with the fact that Grady is one of the best journalism schools in the country made UGA my choice.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...attend Georgia football games. There is nothing like Sanford Stadium packed with fans on a beautiful day. I also enjoy walking around North Campus with friends, people-watching and grabbing a snack downtown.
When I have free time, I like...
...to go to Pilates class with my best friend, Adrienne. I also love to cook, to bake, to watch juicy shows with my girls and to support the local economy by making a few purchases.
The craziest thing I've done is...
...take a trip in a pirogue (a canoe-like boat developed in Louisiana for duck hunting in cypress swamps and coastal marshes) that turned disasterous. Some friends and I foolishly climbed into a boat with a hole in it in my neighborhood swamp, and needless to say, we quickly began to sink. Having seen alligators in this swamp before, I was extremely hesitant to get out of the boat. Luckily we were able to trudge through the murky waters and make it out of the swamp alive. I haven’t stepped foot in a pirogue since!
My favorite place to study is...
...Cups Coffee Café because the large wooden tables and chairs remind me of my kitchen at home in Mandeville, La. I love all the artwork on the walls and the friendly staff makes me feel like family. Anytime I am feeling stressed, I can hardly resist a piece of one of their delicious cakes.
My favorite professor is...
...Patricia Thomas. I cannot express what having the opportunity to work closely with her means to me. She inspires and challenges me in ways no other professor has. She is a fabulous mentor and arguably the most amazing woman I have ever met.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...my father. He passed away suddenly of a heart attack last April, and my family and I miss him immensely. We had no idea he was sick, and in a matter of 45 minutes, my faith in the universe was shaken to a degree I never thought could happen to a 21 year old. I last spoke with him the Wednesday that I was elected to be the director of PRSSA’s Creative Consultants. He was so proud of my accomplishments, and he never thought anything was beyond my reach. I miss his warmth and inspiration, and I would give anything to share some stories with him. It was my father’s untimely death that helped solidify health care communications as my chosen career path. I am confident through this profession I can make a difference by communicating health promotion and disease prevention messages.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
...launch a nationwide heart disease awareness campaign targeting teens and young adults. This campaign would educate the younger generations about heart disease and related risk factors while simultaneously reaching their parents. The tone of the campaign would elicit a feeling of responsibility in our nation’s youth to ensure their parents are healthy and ask whether they are taking the appropriate preventative measures.
After graduation, I plan to...
...return to New Orleans and attend Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine’s M.P.H. program. I plan to enroll in their Health Education and Promotion tract, concentrating in health communication. My public relations course work has taught me that message sent doesn’t always mean it’s the message received. In order to effectively communicate health messages, I must familiarize myself with the public health theories and practices that will serve as the foundation for my career. I plan to dive into the health care system restoration efforts with my MPH peers and work with the Greater New Orleans community to improve health outcomes.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
..my first night in my 9th floor “penthouse” Brumby dorm room. My roommate and I had left Mandeville, La. to come to Georgia. I will never forget watching our parents walk away and thinking “Now what?” We were living on our own, hundreds of miles away from home for the very first time. It was quite a milestone for me.