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August 2013


Intern Spotlight: Mackenzie Rachal
by Stephanie Derkowski, photo by David Vaughn
Mackenzie Rachal

Mackenzie Rachal

Students in the College of Media & Communication have the opportunity to gain experience in many different communication environments. They can intern for private companies, small businesses, news stations, or government institutions. Mackenzie Rachal, senior advertising major from Austin, Texas, took her opportunity interning at an advertising agency where she focuses on doing the social media for Griffin-Wink Advertising in Lubbock.

"In advertising, I want to focus on account services, account planning, and social media," Rachal said. "So when I saw the opening for a social media intern, I thought that was a really great opportunity for me."

Rachal said Griffin-Wink has some clients who want assistance with their social media pages. She said her social media tasks are to post on Facebook daily, monitor the Twitter pages, and respond to any comments from followers. Rachal stays busy as well by researching new clients of the agency and helping to find promotional products for them to use.

"My favorite part about this internship is the experience I've gotten, being able to see how companies do their social media, and seeing it on the agency side. It's really interesting," Rachal said. "And also the people I work with, it's really made a difference when you're surrounded by people who are so helpful."

Rachal believes having this internship will help her in future career goals by giving her the experience that is vital to see on a resume in the communications field today. She said she is very interested in pursuing a career in an agency-type setting, so having first-hand experience early in her university studies by working at an agency will help her find that first full-time job.

For students who have an internship, or will in the future, Rachal shares some advice that she learned during her time as an intern:

"In an internship, really step up to the plate and volunteer and want to do things. Also, do everything to the best of your ability, because they're looking at you for a potential full-time job, or at least to give you a good recommendation once you start looking for your first job."

Stephanie Derkowski is a senior public relations major from Longview, Texas.

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Major Spotlight: Electronic Media & Communications
by Morgan Spruiell, photo by David Vaughn

Storytelling is the oldest form of communication known to humans. Since the beginning of time, humans have found a number of different ways to express their tales. Throughout the years this communication has been transformed into an industry of its own. Electronic Media and Communications or EMC is one of the five majors offered in the College of Media & Communication.

Whether a student is interested in behind-the-scenes production or on camera as the star of the show, professors with industry experience can help majors perfect their vision.

Todd Chambers, Ph.D., has been department chairperson for Electronic Media and Communications since 2004, and last year he took on the same role for the Journalism Department. "When students graduate, they're walking into a world where they're going to have to wear multiple hats in the industry. "

KTXT-FM Studio

KTXT-FM Studios

Chambers said he wants students of both majors to graduate and have some sort of media franchise to call their own. "It may be something as simple as a blog, something that they've done with The Hub or maybe something with the campus radio station, KTXT FM, but we want them to take ownership in that."

Current Electronic Media and Communications students of the college produce material everyday, and they use some of the best resources around to do complete their efforts. With studio capabilities, lab access with Adobe Suite, and the ability to check out equipment, one has everything needed to get the project done.

"One of the things we try to do in this major is to provide students with the foundation areas in the industry and theories of electronic media, and then we like to make sure they have a toolbox set of skills. We want our students to know about the Web, know about photo, know about video, and we want them to have those from a technical skills perspective," Chambers said.

is a student organization in the college that meets on Tuesday evenings. Chambers is the faculty adviser and recommends students get involved. Although the group includes mostly Electronic Media and Communications majors, all students in the college are welcome to the organization. The group gets together once a month to discuss the industry and individual experiences, test out equipment, and listen to guest speakers. Whether freshman or senior, students always have something new to learn and many friends to make.

"One of these things from this point forward is I'm going to tell students everyday, I want you to write two words down, those two words are: one thing. We only get this chance, this moment to do one thing," Chambers said. "You've got to focus on one thing you can take with you that's going to help you in your career and that's what we're really trying to focus on here."

Morgan Spruiell is a senior electronic media and communications major from Dickinson, Texas.

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Professor Spotlight: Shannon Bichard
by Morgan Spruiell, photo by David Vaughn
Shannon Bichard, Ph.D.

Shannon Bichard, Ph.D.

“Creative without strategy is called 'art.' Creative with strategy is called 'advertising.'” -- Jef I. Richards

The quote captures the essence of Shannon Bichard, Ph.D., and her attraction to the field of advertising. Bichard is the chairperson for the Department of Advertising and will be starting her 13th year at Texas Tech University in the fall.

She obtained her undergraduate degree in organizational communication and her master’s degree in communication from the University of Central Florida. Bichard’s doctorate is from the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she focused on advertising.

“I met my husband in Orlando, got married, started looking for professor jobs, and interviewed at some different places around the country, and the moment I came to Tech I fell in love. There was no question between all the places I looked. I called my husband from here when I was interviewing and I said, ‘This is it,’” Bichard said.

While many enter college knowing exactly what they want to major in, Bichard tried a number of different subjects before she felt she was in the right place.

“I had five different majors in college. I tried graphics, I tried architecture, I tried anthropology, and you could see I was dancing around the creative side but yet the analytical side, because I really enjoyed the research side too,” she said.

Advertising is something she got into late in her college career. The program she came from at the undergraduate level was very mixed with internal communication, organizational communication, advertising, public relations, and electronic media, all under one roof.

“You kind of get that right professor that turns you on to the field, it just sparks an interest, and that really happened for me in graduate school,” Bichard said. “I had a professor who was in political advertising. She was amazing and really bridged the two areas of research and teaching very well. It was like a light bulb just went off.”

Bichard’s favorite undergraduate class to teach is Media Planning.

“Every semester a few people kind of get that look on their face like, ‘Oh, I could do this...’ and they never thought that they would like media,” she said, “so I really enjoy teaching that.” At the graduate level Bichard said she enjoys teaching Integrated Branding because the class is a mixture of all media and communication areas focusing on the concepts of branding. Most of Bichard’s research concerns social media.

“I’d say my biggest project is a book titled ‘Politics and The Twitter Revolution,’ which just came out. I’ve tended to do politics, which I’m kind of getting bored with, so I might try some other areas,” she said, “but the social media aspect is something that really intrigues me. Our book on Twitter looks at several different theoretical perspectives.”

Bichard’s advice for incoming students is to try lots of different activities and courses.

Morgan Spruiell is a senior electronic media and communications major from Dickinson, Texas.

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Applying to Texas Tech University
by Morgan Spruiell, photo by David Vaughn

Are you planning on applying to Texas Tech University soon? Here are some quick tips for a smooth transition into the application process:

Rex Oliver, the manager of the Dallas/Fort Worth regional center for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, advises to start the application process early.

“Students often get distracted their fall semester, and they get to November and realize, ‘Oh my gosh, all this time has gone away,’ so I would definitely say to start early and start sending things in whenever you want after Aug. 1. Students can still apply even if they haven’t completed the required test or received their scores yet.”

Apply to Texas Tech University

Texas Tech has four requirements to submit a “completed application.” For freshman students, these consist of the actual application, SAT or ACT scores, an application fee, and transcripts. For transfer students, the same requirements apply, but those students should make sure they send their high school transcript and the college transcript from the school they are transferring from.

“As soon as we have those things, it’s a two- to four-week deliberation process,” Oliver said.

If you need help along the way, Texas Tech has many resources to offer.

“We have regional locations across the entire state, and we have admissions counselors that are in high schools across the state as well,” Oliver said. “Applicants can either call us up on the phone or go in to any of our offices to get help with that stuff.”

How do you know if you’ve been accepted?

“There’s multiple ways. We send out an immediate email to the email account students have on their application, then we follow up with a hard-copy letter that details the next steps,” Oliver said. “ First, register for Red Raider Orientation -- that registration process opens in January -- and then the next step is to register for housing, which opens in November,” Oliver said. “The scholarship deadline for freshman students is Feb. 1 and for transfer students is March 1. You must be accepted into the university before applying for scholarships.” Students will apply to Texas Tech while they also consider other schools. “When they come to Lubbock to visit the campus, it just completely changes their view,” he said.

The Texas Tech University Office of Undergraduate Admissions encourages students to call or email at any time for assistance and for answers to any questions at admissions@ttu.edu or 806.742.1480.

Morgan Spruiell is a senior electronic media and communications major from Dickinson, Texas.

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Get to Know Your Adviser Q & A: Ryan Johnson, Journalism
photo by David Vaughn
Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson

Where are you from?

Originally I'm from Anderson, Indiana. It's a half-hour Northeast of Indianapolis.

Where did you go to college?

Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

What is your degree?

I have a dual journalism and photojournalism degree and a minor in theater. I have a master's in fine arts from Minnesota State University in Mankato, and I'm now finishing up my Ph.D. here at Texas Tech.

What is your favorite Texas Tech tradition?

Probably the Carol of Lights is my favorite. But as a graduate student, and particularly a Ph.D. student, you don't really get to do as much because we don't have orientations. So it's not like we really learn the traditions, we kind of just stumble upon them. Our athletic fees are waived, so we don't automatically get to go to games. The only one I've really done is Carol of Lights; I've been to it a couple of times and have really enjoyed it.

What do you like to do outside of being an adviser?

I do a lot of school work, and I have a 1-year-old son, so that takes up a lot of time. So that and pretty much just relaxing at home.

What is your favorite part about advising?

Helping students avoid the pitfalls that I know other students have hit. Like not paying attention and retaking the same class, not knowing how to use the writing center or even the library, and facilities like that.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Check your email! And be wary of how you use your time because it goes by quickly, and you don't want to be caught at the end of November realizing, "Oh I have four papers due and finals and my professor never told me other than to keep up with the syllabus." It's not like high school, it's not where somebody is always telling you what you need to do, you need to be accountable for what you're doing.

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