Bengal Tales – Jessica Lewis

Jessica Lewis, '07

Class Year 2007
Major B.S. in Social Studies Education

Current Occupation
 Principal Publicist & Owner of LaLew Public Relations

What is one of your fondest memories of Buffalo State?

My fondest memory is heading to Buffalo State with my best friend since second grade and surprisingly ending up in the same freshman dorm, across the hall from one another.

Were you involved with any on-campus organizations as a student?

I was involved with a number of organizations on campus including Black Active Minds, SPiRiT Gospel Choir, African American Students Organization and Adelante Estudiantes Latinos. I was also a Resident Assistant in Towers 3 and 4 and worked part time in the café in the campus book store.

How did graduating from Buffalo State shape your future? 

Buffalo State shaped my future in a number of ways. I served as president of Black Active Minds during my junior year. That experience helped to refine my leadership skills and taught me how to work with different people and a variety of personalities. Additionally, it instilled a love of my culture and heritage, and taught me to be proud of who I was. This experience was also cultivated by the late Dr. Felix Armfield, a professor in the history and social studies education department who always emphasized a love of Black culture. Prior to coming to Buffalo State I attended school in a suburban town outside of Rochester, New York. There was not much in our social studies curriculum around people of the African diaspora so, taking his history course on African American studies was an eye opening experience that I'll forever be grateful for. 

In addition to Dr. Armfield, I had great professors including Gerald Oczek and Dr. Jill Gradwell who helped prepare me in the field of education. They were outstanding teachers who taught me how to be an effective educator.

What accomplishments have you achieved since graduating from Buffalo State?

Since graduating from Buffalo State, I launched my own public relations company called LáLew Public Relations which is a full service PR firm designed to meet the communication needs of companies, businesses and organizations. In addition to leading LáLew Public Relations, I am the communications specialist for ROC the Future (RTF), an initiative of The Children’s Agenda. There I manage RTF’s communications initiatives by developing and executing, comprehensive communications for funders, conveners, networks, community based organizations, and neighborhood residents. 

Prior to joining ROC the Future, I served as the communications specialist for the Urban-Suburban Transfer Program, the nation’s first and oldest school-based integration program. I served as a 50th anniversary steering committee member, and had the pleasure of emceeing the Urban-Suburban 50th anniversary gala with Adam Chodak of WROC News 8.

In 2008, just one year after graduating from Buffalo State, I was named director of after school programs at the Urban League of Rochester. I coordinated five college and career programs that served Rochester area youth, and managed funding totaling $400,000.
My programs consistently surpassed outcomes and goals earning me the 2012 Employee of the Year award.

Do you have any advice for current students trying to achieve success after graduation?

My advice to current students is to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you. Be sure to be an active member on campus because it makes for a much more rich college experience.



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Originally posted: April 2017