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Aspiring News Anchor Takes Home Prize on Wheel of Fortune

Tomia Gordon of Alabama A&M University (AAMU), an aspiring news anchor, worked diligently this year to accomplish several of her goals, including competing on “Wheel of Fortune.

Gordon is a junior studying communications, and her on-campus accomplishments include membership in AAMU’s honors program, the Transfer Student Association, and the speech and debate society. Her background shows dedication to her education and her future. During her time at Smiths Station High School, she served as student vice president for two years and graduated in the top 10 percent of her class.

As she pursues her future as a news anchor, Gordon takes to heart the advice that impacted her most: “You only get one life, so live it to the fullest. This inspired me to make sure I inspire generations behind me to strive for greatness as well. I want to make an impact that can never be erased."

New Cultural Experiences Build Leadership Skills

One of Gordon’s most recent accomplishments was a leadership mission with Caravan for Democracy in Israel. The program required both an application and interview process, and Gordon researched and read as much as she could on Israel to prepare. “It helped me ask the right questions while on the trip and appreciate the experience more.”

The group traveled to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, spending a total of 10 days in Israel. “I learned about Israeli culture and their way of living. It was an amazing experience that changed my life.”

Embracing different cultures is so important to one's growth as a leader. Staying curious and having a growth mindset are necessary skills to succeed. This breeds empathy, which leads to stronger and more inclusive teams. Of course, travel is a great way to learn about other cultures and celebrate our differences.


“Wheel of Fortune”: A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Gordon also struck gold with another accomplishment, gaining a place on “Wheel of Fortune” during the show’s “College Week Spring Break.” She applied through a Facebook ad and then went through both an introduction and a game play style interview, both of which she completed while on the leadership mission in Israel.

Every day until the show, Gordon played the “Wheel of Fortune” game on her phone and watched old episodes to prepare for her appearance. “This allowed me to be calm and confident on the show.”

The preparation paid off: On her episode, which aired April 5, she won $31,700 and a trip to the Grand Caymans. Gordon plans to use the winnings for her tuition and to donate to a nonprofit that AAMU supports.

“Being on Wheel of Fortune was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was so cool getting to meet Pat Sajak before he retired and Vanna White. I had a great time and loved getting to see Los Angeles for the first time as well.”

Gordon’s Advice for Future Leaders

"I would say be the type of leader you would follow yourself. This will help you be more cognizant of your actions and remind you to not be so quick to not think through actions."

So what type of leader does Gordon admire and want to model herself? She looks up to the leader of the campus honors society, academic learning enhancement specialist Carla Draper-Holloway, who “embodies the words confidence and fearless.”

“She is the type of leader everyone should seek to be. She is honest, driven, and spirited. I am blessed to know her and to gain knowledge from her."

The NSLS also proved to be a great resource for Gordon to develop as a leader and meet other success-driven students on campus.

"The NSLS connected me to individuals on my campus who were like-minded and successful as well which motivated me to push myself to become a strong leader."

Next, Gordon plans to continue living life to the fullest while being someone others can look to for guidance.

"Leadership to me means leading others to a common goal and being the person for them to look up to."

Goal-setting is integral to achieving common goals as a team or personal goals, but there's a way to do it right. Get the scoop on goal-setting and start taking the steps towards the life you envision.