The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


SMU grad reaches out to community, kids

When Becca Phillips, development associate for Bryan’s House, has a bad day at work, she walks to the back of the facility at Bryan’s House to see kids playing outside on the monkey bars, reading their favorite books and finger-painting pictures.

“After seeing their smiling faces, I remember why I do what I do,” she said.

Phillips graduated from Southern Methodist University in May of 2000 with a major in public relations and a minor in psychology. Now she works in the development department at Bryan’s House, Dallas’ only special care facility for children and teens affected by HIV/AIDS. Although she is no longer a student at SMU, Phillips remains involved on campus by representing Bryan’s House at Mustang Marathon, a 24-hour dance marathon that benefits the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Bryan’s House.

While Phillips attended SMU, she was a Mustang Manic, vice president of programming for Program Council, involved in intramurals, a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, the club crew team, the sailing team and the public relations student society. When she graduated in 2000, Phillips had no problem finding a job.

“Luckily I graduated when companies were actually hiring,” said Phillips. “I graduated on a Friday and started work on that next Monday. All of my friends and I had a couple job offerings, and we had the luxury of choosing the job we wanted. But things are quite different now. I would tell graduating seniors to take advantage of the underutilized career center and SMU’s extensive networking system.”

Phillips took her first job with BSMG, a Truth North Communications Company, and worked in tech public relations for a year for clients such as Microsoft, Unisys and Intel.

“I felt incredibly prepared to work in the PR field after graduating from SMU,” Phillips said. “Professors like Rita Whillock and Kathy LaTour really helped me fine-tune my writing skills. My major was so specialized that I already knew all of the proper steps on how to deal with the media.”

Phillips said she learned a great deal about public relations while working at BSMG, but she wanted to work for one client who was out for a good cause.

In July 2001, Bryan’s House hired Phillips as the volunteer coordinator. Within a year Phillips was promoted to development associate, which included public relations, marketing, special events and producing HIV and AIDS information for Bryan’s House.

“I had a lot of things on my plate when I first began working at Bryan’s House,” Phillips explained. “But the very first day I came to Bryan’s House I started working on the first annual Mustang Marathon, which debuted in February of 2002.”

Phillips began assisting students who planned for Mustang Marathon in an agency-supporting role, but now she takes on an advisor role. She meets with the PR person for Mustang Marathon on a regular basis, helps with sponsorship and donations, goes to the weekly meeting on Monday nights and gets children who have been affected by AIDS to speak at the actual event.

“I put more effort into Mustang Marathon because I am an SMU alumni,” Phillips said. “This event means more to me than just being a beneficiary. I really enjoy working with the SMU students who devote so much time to this cause. I want to help them be successful in every way that I can.”

Ashley Moss, a junior and head of recruitment for Mustang Marathon, appreciates the time Phillips devotes to the event.

“Becca is at every meeting giving her input and using Bryan’s House connections to help with Mustang Marathon,” said Moss. “She helps us plan and does everything with us. Becca is a recent graduate so she is young enough to really understand what is going on at SMU.”

Phillips is now in her fourth year at Bryan’s House, and she is already excited for the Fourth Annual Mustang Marathon which will be held on Feb. 25 and 26. She hopes to continue to stay involved in philanthropic work and the SMU campus for as long as she can.

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