As a journalism major and aspiring magazine editor, Tammy Tibbetts ’07 hoped she would one day get the chance to get the chance to interview interesting people and cultivate new and exciting story ideas. What she didn’t expect was the fruitful relationship and rewarding career that resulted from an interview she conducted while still a student.
As part of her senior journalism project, Tammy interviewed MacDella Cooper ’01, a native of war-torn Liberia and founder of the MacDella Cooper Foundation (MCF). The foundation’s mission is to empower Liberian youth by providing education and the basic necessities of food, water, and shelter. (Click here to read more about MacDella.)
Inspired by MacDella’s story, Tammy went to work for MCF. Today, she is the foundation’s director. She and MacDella are working to finish fundraising for the construction of a MCF Academy in Liberia, which will hold 200 students, tuition-free, where they will also receive food, clothing, education, and medical attention.
As busy as that position keeps her, foundation director is not the only hat that Tammy wears. She is also the Web editor for special-occasion sister sites of Seventeen.com. In this role, she edits the Web site www.DonateMyDress.org. That organization serves as a resource for girls to donate their prom or special-occasion dresses to girls who cannot afford them. And Tammy also established her own non-profit organization: www.ShesTheFirst.org. She’s the First promotes the importance of educating girls who would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to school.
Studying at TCNJ “enabled me to make the connections that led to my employment at Hearst Magazines Digital Media upon graduation” due to the “class flexibility and support to intern during the semester at magazines,” Tammy explained.
All three of her current endeavors stem from that senior journalism project, and Tammy is quick to credit her former professor, Kim Pearson, with helping her connect with MacDella.
“Professor Pearson united MacDella and I because we have a shared worldview: we believe in style and substance, that one person and small groups can change the world on a grand scale,” Tammy said. “My suggestion for all TCNJ students is ask your professor, ‘Do you have any former students who you think I’d really get along with, and who share a common outlook with me?’”
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