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November 2013

Professor Spotlight: Justin Keene, Ph.D.
By Allie Carlson, photos by David Vaughn

Starting a new job can be nerve-racking, especially as the youngest faculty member on staff. But for Lubbock native and Texas Tech University graduate Assistant Professor Justin Keene, Ph.D., this is home.

Keene just began his first year teaching in the College of Media & Communication as an assistant professor in the Journalism and Electronic Media and Communication Department. He received his bachelor's degree in EMC and his master's degree in mass communication. After living in Lubbock his entire life, Keene left West Texas to work on his Ph.D. at Indiana University.

"Working here is a very bizarre and surreal feeling," Keene said. "I walk around the halls, and see Robert Wernsman, who I took classes from, and I see Bill Dean, who taught my baseball team as a kid. It makes me feel very humbled to know that they have known me for that long and trust me to be here. This is my dream job. It's in my hometown, at a university that I am very passionate about, and in a program that I have deep, personal ties to."

Justin Keene, Ph.D.

Students discuss photography with Justin Keene, Ph.D.

Keene said that he had a great experience during his undergraduate career, and that professors encouraged him to go to graduate school after noticing his peculiar curiosity in theories and understanding the "why" of what he was doing in his classes. Graduate school was a place for Keene to find these answers, and during his time there he was involved in research, but he always knew he had a passion for teaching.

"I love translating the knowledge I have to students," Keene said. "The opportunity for me to come back specifically to Tech was really neat, because I think I can be relevant to students here in a way that some other professors cannot, because I am the only one on faculty that has gone through anything in this college on the undergraduate level."

Keene said that his experience as an undergraduate in the college has given him an advantage that allows him to make changes to courses that he took as a student, to make them more relevant to current students.

This semester Keene is teaching Introduction to Photography and Digital Media and Production, both of which he took as a student. He also teaches the new Freshman Seminar course.

During his first year as a graduate student, Keene worked as the recruiter for the college. He said that while high school is about making the grades and getting the scores to be accepted into a university, students should take a different approach to their college education.

"If you treat college that way, you will walk away disappointed. College is an opportunity to learn, class by class, different nuggets of knowledge. It is a chance to become an expert in something, not just to get good grades. Good grades are important, but they are the evidence of learning, not the end goal."


Allie Carlson is a junior public relations major from Austin, Texas. David Vaughn is a senior university studies major from Spur, Texas, and works as a photographer for the college's marketing department.


Intern Spotlight: Courtney Coombes
By Allie Carlson, photos by David Vaughn

In the public relations industry, getting experience outside of the classroom is crucial. Students in the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University go many places for internships, and some have found great opportunities right here in Lubbock.

Junior public relations major Courtney Coombes from Odessa, Texas, is currently interning for Nomiss Communication, a public relations firm in Lubbock. Coombes started her internship in August and will work through the semester for school credit.

Coombes said that she heard about this opportunity through Aleesa Ross, director of the college's Career Center.

"I didn't know how to go about finding an internship, so I contacted Aleesa. She gave me a list of different options in the Lubbock area and helped me narrow it down."

Courtney Coombes

Courtney Coombes

Coombes works at Nomiss Communication every Monday and Thursday, dealing with social media, writing news releases, and helping to develop a new advertising campaign for a local law firm.

"Having this internship is going to be very beneficial in my career. It is a great opportunity to take what I learn in class and apply it to real-world experiences," she said. "Not only am I learning a lot, but it has been a great networking opportunity as well."

Coombes said that she has really enjoyed her time at Nomiss Communication, and she advises students to get an early start on looking for internships.

"Don't be picky about where you have an opportunity to get an internship," Coombes said, "or make a decision based on whether or not you will get paid. It is all about the learning experience, and the most random places could have the most to offer."


Allie Carlson is a junior public relations major from Austin, Texas. David Vaughn is a senior university studies major from Spur, Texas, and works as a photographer for the college's marketing department.


The Outpost Social Media Lab
by Haley Ostrander, photos by David Vaughn

Social media has become a part of our daily lives and is only continuing to grow. Our generation is constantly engaging in social media to stay connected with each other and to keep up with trends that are always changing.

The College of Media & Communication offers a state-of-the-art facility called the Outpost Social Media Lab. This social media command center is powered by Hootsuite Enterprise, which allows students to monitor events in real-time, reaction, and audience engagement with social media.

Outpost Social Media Lab

Outpost Social Media Lab

Last spring, the American Cancer Society in association with Texas Tech held its annual event Relay For Life. During this event, the Outpost was able to update the students on what was happening as well as provide links for students where they could donate money to help fund research about cancer.

The Outpost provides faculty, staff, and the Lubbock community with helpful insight into social media. This research is useful when planning social-media campaigns or projects.

"We are the only college in the country to have Hootsuite Enterprise specifically for our college," said Trent Seltzer, Ph.D., chairperson of the Department of Public Relations.

"PR students are required to take a class that will make them Hootsuite certified. If a student is not a PR major, they still have the opportunity to become Hootsuite certified. This grants our students with an advantage in the real world because they will understand the program and can tell potential employers they are certified. Not many students get that chance," Seltzer said.

The Outpost is not only a place for students to utilize but also offers staff positions. Students can apply to work for pay or even just volunteer to gain experience in social media. The Outpost provides students with awareness of trends and opportunities.


Haley Ostrander is a junior advertising major from Sugar Land, Texas. David Vaughn is a senior university studies major from Spur, Texas, and works as a photographer for the college's marketing department.


Get To Know Your Ambassador: Melissa Brisco

Melissa Brisco

Melissa Brisco and Abbie Arroyos at the 2013 COMC Career Fair

Quick Facts:

  • Name: Melissa Brisco
  • Year: Senior
  • Major:Public Relations
  • Hometown: Coppell, Texas


What do you love about being in the College of Media & Communication?

  • There is such camaraderie in this college. It's a huge college, but you see the same people in so many classes and make friends so easily. Even if you don't know a person, it's so easy to have conversations with anyone here.


What are you involved in here and on campus?


What are your hobbies?

  • I enjoy hanging out with friends on the weekends, reading, and going to the movies. I also like to go home to Coppell when I can.


What are you most excited for as an ambassador?

  • Because student ambassadors are new, I am excited to have a hand in molding the program.


What is your favorite Texas Tech tradition?


What advice do you have for a prospective student?

  • Get involved early on. It completely changes your collegiate experience.


What is a fun fact about you?

  • I love the Dallas Cowboys! At home, I live down the street from one of the players, Anthony Spencer.


Major Spotlight: Advertising
by Haley Ostrander, photos by David Vaughn

AD Team

2013 - 2014 AD Team

Advertising is the art of using research and insight to create a message that will inform, persuade and influence a consumer. Here at Texas Tech University, the advertising program in the College of Media & Communication is a unique program that is centered on the six Cs: connect, compare, critique, create, communicate and collaborate. Through this program, students will gain knowledge and understanding of the business-related aspects of advertising, including copywriting, sales, graphic production, creative strategy, and media planning.

Shannon Bichard, Ph.D., the department chairperson for advertising, said, "Advertising offers a very unique degree program because it combines strategy and communication with creativity."

This major has many sides but the two main aspects are the research that goes into understanding what consumers want, and the creative side that goes into executing the plan.

"Speaking to people in a creative way is a unique flavor we add as advertisers," Bichard said.

Not only does the classroom educate students, but many hands-on opportunities deal with advertising. The Texas Advertising Federation, Advertising Team, and the Hub@TTU are all organizations that are available for students to get involved. Gaining real-world experience, such as an internship, helps students to better understand what working in the field of advertising is like.

Some possible jobs in the field of advertising include advertising sales, brand manager, media planner, account planner, new media specialist, art director, copywriter, creative director, and marketing manager. This is only a small look into what jobs are in advertising. Whatever the job may be, a Texas Tech advertising degree will prepare students for their future.

"We find the perfect balance between entertainment and information," Bichard said.

Research, creativity and communication all combine to create the wonderful world of advertising.


Haley Ostrander is a junior advertising major from Sugar Land, Texas. David Vaughn is a senior university studies major from Spur, Texas, and works as a photographer for the college's marketing department.



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