By Rachel Breeding
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (Dec. 9, 2021) – As communication lead for Aerojet Rocketdyne, Jessica Carlton applies the knowledge and skills she learned during her time as an A+PR student at UA every single day. In her role in communications at an aerospace and defense manufacturing facility, Carlton works in internal communications supporting plant operations and employee communications as well as external communications focused on communicating with Aerojet Rocketdyne partners.
“In my current role, no two days are the same,” said Carlton. She continued, “That’s the nature of communications, and I wouldn’t have it any other way—I like being kept on my toes, and this role does that for me.”
Carlton graduated from UA with her B.A. in public relations and political science in 2011 and with her M.A. in advertising and public relations in 2012. During her time at The Capstone, Carlton was involved with ASSCA, a predecessor to the current C&IS Ambassadors program, and she was also a member of the UA Forensics Council, which she considers a “defining experience” of her college career.
After graduating from UA, Carlton returned to her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, where she continues to live and work. Carlton previously worked in marketing and communications for the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of Huntsville before joining the Aerojet Rocketdyne team.
When discussing the value of a UA C&IS education, Carlton noted that the A+PR program is tough, but that’s why it’s the best in the country. “My UA education prepared me for the professional world of communications in a way that not many other A+PR programs could,” she explained, “and having that degree from UA on my résumé automatically makes me and every other UA A+PR graduate stand out, and that’s so valuable.”
Carlton emphasized the lifelong impact that current C&IS faculty members Dr. Suzanne Horsley and Dr. Bruce Berger and former C&IS faculty member Dr. Frank Thompson, former director of the UA Forensics Council, made on her personally and professionally, saying, “They each pushed me to be my best self, and I will never forget their passion and the dedication they showed to each of their students.”
Carlton provided some words of wisdom to current UA C&IS students: “More than anything, follow that dream, no matter how big it seems—keep your sights on that ultimate goal and use every opportunity that comes to you as a stepping-stone toward it.”
In her professional career thus far, Carlton has directly contributed to a number of successful projects and initiatives, including the “I Heart Huntsville” campaign with the Huntsville/Madison County CVB. Carlton is passionate about the field of communications, and she looks forward to a long career in the field moving forward.