Alumni of the Week: Maryann Akinboyewa ’15

MAI started my journey at Syracuse University as an education major. Each morning, as I walked from my dorm in Dellplain to Huntington Hall, I would stare across the street at Whitman. I wanted to be there so badly! Within the first week of my freshman classes, I started working on changing my major. I remember upperclassmen would tell me how difficult getting into Whitman would be. I worked really hard to keep my grades up and made sure I did well in my prerequisite courses. I remember the day I received my acceptance letter to Whitman because it was on my birthday. It was one of the best presents I’d received in a long time! And, it also taught me an important lesson that guided much of my experiences at Syracuse: never give up.

As a student, I was very involved. I started a program called REAL Girls, which was an after-school arts and mentoring program for girls. I also did the Whitman Alumni Club Mentoring program where I met my first mentor, Dan Buddie. He’s also a Whitman alum and we’re still in touch today. During my senior year, I was on the 2015 Whitman Class Act Committee with many of my peers.


One of the highlights of my senior year was being an officer in the Whitman Student Government (2014-2015 Whitman Student Government Executive Board pictured right). I’m proud to have been part of the inaugural group. I was the vice president of programming and worked with some of the brightest students Whitman had to offer. One of the events we pulled off was the first annual WHITfest, which was an event to bring together the Whitman undergraduate community. The event planning skills I learned came in handy this past fall when I planned my company’s launch party!

During the final semester of my senior year, I did a PR internship at Eric Mower & Associates. That experience sparked my passion for public relations and I’ve been working in the field since graduation. I live, work and play in St. Petersburg, Florida now. It’s a beautiful city and there is absolutely no snow! When I arrive at work, I scan headlines to see what happened the night before. From there, I work on updating my company’s social media. I spend the majority of the day pitching media outlets, accompanying and prepping my boss for media interviews and monitoring my company’s social media. I’ve gotten placements in Good Housekeeping Magazine and on Mashable, NPR, NBC and ABC.

I love life in the sunshine state, but I miss Whitman and all of my friends dearly. I have two pieces of advice I’d like to leave for Whitman students:

#1) Diversify your experiences. On paper, I was a business student, but anyone who knows me personally knows I dream in color. I’m a creative at heart and I’m glad I was encouraged to express that at Whitman. Whether it’s a semester abroad, entrepreneurship class or volunteer experience, try something out of the box. You never know where that experience may lead!

#2) Keep in touch with your friends! Believe me, life gets even busier after college, but some of the best moments are when I look down at my phone after a long day at work and see a text or call from one of the friends I made at Whitman. I’m still in touch with many of my peers and we continue to support each other today. Friendships are so important and you never know—you and your classmates may end up in the same city or across the boardroom one day!

Maryann Akinboyewa
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