Jamie Nolan '06
Jamie Nolan ’06 is known for her strong work ethic, passion for renewable energy and positive outlook on life. You might even describe her as a “ray of sunshine” that motivates those around her to stay positive and work hard.
Nolan provides strategic communication direction to the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, which aims to make it faster, easier, and more affordable for Americans to choose solar energy to power their daily lives. She manages media relations, messaging, digital content, social media, and stakeholder engagement for SunShot’s roughly $1 billion portfolio of solar research and development projects throughout the United States.
“I love this job and I am extremely happy here. I want to be in solar energy for the rest of my career,” says Nolan. “One thing that you constantly hear about our generation is that we want our work to matter. I feel very lucky that I have a job that I find intellectually challenging and is also making the world a better place,” says Nolan.
Nolan enrolled at Radford University in pursuit of a degree in music business. Not long after, she developed an interest in public relations and marketing and began to explore her interest in a communication major.
“My first semester of sophomore year, I took introduction to public relations. In the first week, our professor made an announcement that the university’s office of public relations was looking for an intern. I thought that was the perfect opportunity for me to dive into my new field, test the waters and make sure that I would like the public relations field, so I started working there. I continued to work for Ann (Ann Brown, is now the Director of Advancement Communication) for the remainder of my time at Radford,” says Nolan.
While interning, Nolan had the opportunity to write news releases for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, as well as articles for Radford Magazine and video scripts for radford.edu. “I definitely credit Radford University so much for the guidance and motivation I received as a student. I was always younger than everyone. When I first began working for Ann, I was only 18. The fact that she had faith in me motivated me to do better. I still remember her telling my mother that I was a really good writer. That was 12 years ago and I still remember it today. Things like that really make a difference,” says Nolan.
Nolan says that several Radford University mentors encouraged her to continue her education and strive to be the best. “Dr. Kennan and Dr. Hazelton really influenced me to continue my education. And Ann was the first person to look at me and tell me, ‘you are good at this and you can do this as a career.’ In that time and still to this day, that was one of the most important moments in my life,” says Nolan.
Nolan continued her education at the University of Miami where she wrote her thesis on how Australian newspapers framed climate change. Her thesis was the ticket to her first job and her love for public affairs and environmental issues. “It can be depressing when you have a job that revolves around world problems, but my job is to focus on the solutions.”
Nolan encourages communication students to improve their writing as much as possible while they are in school. “Focus on your ability to write in different voices and for every channel. Also, take advantage of the relationships you build within the classroom. Your friends are important, but your classmates are too,” says Nolan.