Plattsburgh State senior public relations major Victoria Dowers knows how to light up a room. As she sat in a dimly-lit computer lounge wearing a camouflage dad hat, red windbreaker, striped track pants and ankle booties, her radiant smile illuminated all corners. Her bubbly personality and love for exploring different cultures has allowed her to excel in all of her pursuits.
As a high school senior, the Long Island native intended to attend Buffalo State University, but she had a change of heart after visiting Plattsburgh State.
“To be honest, I came in with the mindset that I wasn’t going to go here because I had my mind set on another school,” Dowers said. “But, I ended up going with my gut feeling.”
During her first year at college, Dowers wanted to pick a major that would complement her interpersonal skills. After speaking to her academic adviser, Coordinator of Special Projects at Student Support Services Tom Thompson, she realized public relations was the perfect fit.
Dowers joined several clubs including V-Nation: The Vietnamese Association and Black Onyx: The Black Student Union (formerly known as AKEBA), where she served as Miss Black Student Union.
“Hands down, it was one of my favorite positions and one of the most rewarding things I’ve done,” Dowers said. “I gave my whole heart and soul to the club. I would stay up late to make a flyer extra pretty or make sure meetings were held on time.”
She also interned for the Center for Diversity, Pluralism and Inclusion, where she worked as a teaching assistant for two years alongside Chief Diversity Officer J.W. Wiley and CDPI Staff Assistant Aaron Schwartz.
Schwartz described her as reliable, friendly and tremendously gifted.
“She’s really great at problem-solving,” Schwartz said. “She listens very attentively to people. She asks remarkable questions that I haven’t been asked before, which is one of my favorite things about her. She challenges me.”
The mentorship helped Dowers find her own voice and encouraged her to promote change in the Plattsburgh community.
Her involvement on campus also inspired Dowers to explore her own background.
“I’m biracial,” Dowers said. “I’m half white-American and half-Brazilian, which is probably the biggest part of my identity.”
To Dowers, being biracial has allowed her to view racial and societal issues through two different perspectives and taught her to appreciate people from diverse backgrounds.
As a current visiting student liaison for the Global Education Office, she has used her personal experiences to effectively communicate with others and to learn about different cultures. She has also learned how to spot microaggressions in everyday conversations.
“If there’s some form of hatred or a slick comment that people don’t catch, my brain has been trained to catch it,” Dowers said. “That allows me to be a leader in situations that need leaders.”
Travelling has also sparked Dowers’ interest in learning more about diversity.
Driven by wanderlust, Dowers never misses an opportunity to explore new places. Within the last few years, she’s traveled to Brazil and several states. Last semester, she studied abroad in Florence, Italy. During her time there, she also visited Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
“Every city I visit, I take a picture and create a poster out of it.” Dowers said. “In Florence, I found a quality picture I thought embodied the experience and made a poster for myself.”
When she’s not in class or across the world, Dowers dedicates her time to editing blog posts for the Takeover Movement, a Houston-based clothing brand. She resonated with the brand’s mission to network with aspiring entrepreneurs and offered to write for the company’s blog.
“One day, I literally searched the hashtag ‘#dadhats’ online because I wanted to buy one,” Dowers said. “I found one [on their website] with a globe. I’m obsessed with anything travel related, so once I saw that, I was like ‘I need it.’ I was their first customer.”
PSUC senior sociology major Tatyana Spence and Dowers’ close friend described Dowers as a go-getter.
“She is someone who goes after anything she wants,” Spence said. “When Victoria wants to tackle a certain project or goal, she does just that. She doesn’t stress about anything [because] it always goes as planned.”
Dowers aspires to find a job in either global public relations or international affairs post graduation. She attributes her success to being a risk taker, having a positive mindset and taking the initiative to learn about people’s experiences.
“If we can all take the time to just be genuine with each other and actually try to connect with people who are different from you, you’ll gain so much in return.”
Email Jasely Molina at firstname.lastname@example.org