VCU inspires alumna’s career in advocacy

By Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC)

Alexsis Rodgers (B.S.’13/MC), director of communications for Planned Parenthood Virginia, takes over the VCU Alumni Instagram account Monday. Outside of her full-time job, Rodgers is active in local politics and recently worked as director of policy for then-Lieutenant Governor of Virginia  Ralph Northam.

What drew you to VCU?

I originally chose VCU because of its top-notch medical program, but I later decided I’d rather work for doctors than be a doctor myself. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to lead communications efforts and messaging for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Dr. Ralph Northam and the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood.

The diversity of VCU’s student population was also a driving factor in my decision to attend the university. The ability to learn from and build lifelong bonds with individuals from all over the world is a degree on its own.

What was your time like at the university?

A balancing act. Earning good grades and getting communications internship experience were my top two priorities. Of course, I wanted to have fun and try new things while I was in school, too. I’m sure I didn’t strike the perfect balance, but I think I came pretty close.

I loved traveling to Guatemala to serve as an interpreter for an arts education study abroad trip, working at a local coffee shop near campus and organizing the 2012 Intercultural Festival at VCU. None of these opportunities were “part of the plan,” but they were major highlights from my time at VCU.

When did you know you wanted to be involved with politics and issue advocacy?

During my senior year, a friend of mine was a national leader for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. His involvement inspired me to start volunteering. A few months later, I decided to defer my final semester and accept a full-time job on the campaign.

I’ve stayed active in local, state and national Democratic politics ever since. Recently, I was elected president of the Virginia Young Democrats, the largest partisan youth organization in the commonwealth of Virginia.

How has VCU tied into your career path?

I was really blessed to be able to weave a lot of career development opportunities into my time at VCU. I interned at PR firms and advertising agencies, and I served as a career center ambassador as well. Those real-world experiences prepared me to jump right into my career.

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