By Krissy Vick
Media Relations Specialist, UNCW
Before enrolling in UNCW, Sharryse Piggott ’18, ’21M served in the United States Marine Corps for four years of active duty with one tour in Bahrain and Kuwait, followed by five years in the North Carolina National Guard. Like so many military-affiliated students, Piggott joined the armed services to help pay for college so she could pursue her career dreams.
“Since I was 10 years old, I knew I wanted to be a journalist.” said the double-degree Seahawk. “I used to come home from school and watch The Oprah Winfrey Show with my parents.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in professional writing and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications, Piggott was awarded a journalism fellowship at North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC. The Military Homefront Fellowship is an 18-month position intended for a military veteran who is interested in becoming a public media journalist.
This year, Piggott plans to complete her fellowship and find a permanent job working in public radio as a military reporter.
“I want people to look at the news I report on and gather unbiased information that helps them understand what’s going on around them,” she said.
She also intends to continue producing her podcast, “Connect Like Minds,” which she hopes will inspire people to follow their dreams. Her mission for the podcast is “to educate first, then entertain.” It can be found on all major streaming platforms such as Apple, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
“I interview people making a difference in their communities within their creative spaces,” explained Piggott. “That means I can interview anyone from a five-year-old kid selling lemonade to a public official.”
In one of her latest episodes, “Deployments,” Piggott speaks to young teens about their experiences having parents in the North Carolina National Guard. Other episodes include interviews with authors, actors, rappers and entrepreneurs.
Piggott credits several UNCW professors for helping her pursue her ultimate goals: Tiffany Gilbert, English department chair, for her guidance when choosing a major that would pair well with a career in journalism; Rory Laverty, senior lecturer, for being her biggest cheerleader on campus; and Anthony Atkins, associate professor, for teaching an engaging rhetoric class—her favorite class at UNCW.
While at UNCW, Piggott was the Hawk Stream Radio manager and DJ during her undergraduate years. She also presented a final project on the experiences women of color have in the military and specifically addressed the recently changed hair policy for women in the military. A 4.0 graduate student, Piggott plans to attend commencement in December.