Andrea Zekis (’20) has accepted a position as a Health Communications Specialist for the Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga.
In her role with the CDC, Zekis will serve as a member of the Communications Unit within the CSTLTS Office of the Director, providing communication support to internal and external staff and stakeholders. Zekis’ position with the CDC serves as her appointment as part of the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program.
PMF is a highly competitive program that matches standout graduate students with federal agencies by making select positions available exclusively to PMF finalists each year. PMF program finalists who ultimately receive an appointment participate in a two-year training and development program within a U.S. Government department or agency. Zekis is the fifth Clinton School graduate to be selected for the PMF program, joining Emily Fischer ('10), Fernando Cutz ('12), Kate Cawvey ('12), and John Vollertsen ('13).
Zekis’ duties with the CDC will include creating content and disseminating information via web, newsletters, video, etc.; responding to internal and external inquiries from public health professionals, the general public, policymakers, media, and others to communicate about new or existing programs, initiatives, and activities; and providing communication consultation to CSTLTS divisions, branches, and units to assist them with communication planning, message development, product development, promotion, and dissemination.
Zekis said that there were specific courses and field service projects that helped prepare her for this role.
“My IPSP project in Nepal for Winrock International dealt with developing media about the KISAN II project and its activities, as well as contributing to their reports,” Zekis said. “Dr. Richards’ Communications for Social Change course with its training on facilitation and group communication will be helpful as well.”
Run by the U.S. Government’s Office of Personnel Management, the PMF program is a flagship development leadership program created for advanced degree candidates, focusing on ultimately developing a cadre of potential leaders in government.
As a Clinton School student, Zekis completed a semester-long fellowship as a McLarty Scholar with Vital Voices Global Partnership (VVGP) in Washington, D.C. Her work focused on researching and evaluating the interaction, strength, and effectiveness of the VVGP global network of women leaders.
She will continue to serve remotely as the Interim Executive Director of Lucie’s Place, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ youth homelessness in central Arkansas, until a permanent executive director is put in place.
Zekis is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, Syracuse University with a master’s degree in broadcast journalism, and the University of Central Arkansas with a master’s degree in geographic information systems.
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