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- Professor Spotlight: Kristi Gilmore
- Student Interest: MCOM 1100 Success in Media and Communication
- Intern Spotlight: Townes Donovan
- Get to Know Your Student Ambassador: Grace Diana
Professor Spotlight: Kristi Gilmore
By Burklee Berry
Kristi Gilmore, Assistant Professor
After 20 years of working in the public relations professional world, Kristi Gilmore, Ph.D., decided to take a career turn and landed her first job as a professor in the College of Media & Communication.
Gilmore earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. And after working in sales for a few years, she decided to go back and get her master's degree.
Gilmore said she looked into the programs that were “really popular” and “happening” at the time. And going back to school and changing her tracks from psychology to public relations sparked a new interest and passion.
“I didn't know much about public relations at all. When I went and sat down with the woman who was in charge of the department at the time, she really became my mentor and sold me on public relations. What I love about it now is that it's so versatile. And no matter what it is that you love, they need public relations people in that industry,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore started her public relations career as an intern for the U.S. Olympic Committee, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. She later returned to Birmingham and was the director of sports and media for the local chamber of commerce. Shortly after, she moved on to work for a local hospital and health care company.
After she had worked for the health care company for 10 years, Gilmore said, the FBI raided the building one night and a big corporate fraud was uncovered. She spent the next five years doing crisis communications, watching people go to prison, and delisting and relisting the company from the New York Stock Exchange.
“That experience was incredibly rewarding as a professional. I mean, who gets to work with your own board members who are going to testify before Congress? Not everyone gets to go through something like that,” she said.
“After that, I wondered what else I could go do,” she said. “I felt as if I had done everything I wanted to do there, so that's when I thought about going into teaching and actually studying and teaching crisis communications.”
Gilmore admits she loved working in the corporate world. She said she liked being able to help people and getting several different groups of people on the same page.
“For me, I liked being the liaison and that internal public relations person between 2,000 facilities, 50,000 employees, and a corporate office. I liked being a part of the big picture and seeing how it all fit together,” Gilmore said.
Currently, Gilmore teaches the graduate class Research Methods online and the undergraduate public relations class Crisis Communication during the fall semester. Over the course of the past year, Gilmore said she has also been developing a 30-hour online master's program for Strategic Communication & Innovation.
Gilmore said she found something at CoMC that she didn't find anywhere else when interviewing at other colleges and universities around the country. “It was this entrepreneurial spirit-- not just a ‘come and teach your classes and go home,'” Gilmore said. “ I felt that something was growing and happening in this college specifically, and I wanted to be a part of something that was growing. The students and faculty are great.”
Student Interest: MCOM 1100 Success in Media and Communication
by Burklee Berry
Roger Saathoff teaches MCOM 1100 class
Choosing the ideal major and programs to get involved in on campus can become a bit overwhelming, leaving students feeling unsure about what path to take for the next four years.
The College of Media & Communication added a course in the college's core curriculum that is designed for freshmen, students new to campus, or transfers, as an introduction to the college's faculty, majors, and programs, making it easier to find the perfect fit.
MCOM 1100, also known as Success in Media and Communication, is a newly required course that will begin its third year the fall semester of 2015. The class meets once a week and students can receive one hour of credit upon completion of the class.
MCOM 100 is only offered during the fall and spring semesters and is instructed by Roger Saathoff, Ph.D. Saathoff said there are several different guest faculty members, activities, and opportunities for students to learn about each week that the class meets.
“I have as many as four different faculty come in each week and talk for about ten minutes covering topics such as the courses they teach, the research they are doing, and the student organizations or opportunities they have available for new students to receive information about,” Saathoff said.
“The Dean came in the first day of class to give a welcoming speech and to tell students about opportunities within the College of Media and Communications,” he explained. “We also have people like Aleesa Ross come in and talk about the internship programs available, as well as the Center for Student Success in the college.”
Saathoff said there is a separate portion of the course that is focused on student academic success, where a variety of topics such as study techniques, time management, and organization are discussed during lectures.
“I also like to place some responsibility on the students. They are required to find out about between six and 10 different programs or aspects of the university, as well as in the college, that they may find helpful,” Saathoff said. “These exercises are called ‘Your Advantage' activities, and they range from student services and student organizations to tutoring or campus events.”
One of the things Saathoff said he really enjoys about teaching the class is the time he gets during the lecture to talk to the students.
“I like to save at least ten minutes every class for myself to get to talk about academic success. It's almost a pep talk for students about how to be successful, not only in college, but throughout life,” Saathoff said.
MCOM 1100 is primarily designed to help students make a decision on what major they would like to follow, what faculty they would like to work with, and what kind of organizations they want to get involved in.
Saathoff said that almost half the faculty who come in and talk to the students eventually get back in touch with him after visiting the class.
“Usually the faculty will say that at least one to two students have contacted them, interested in a specific major or class they teach,” Saathoff said. “It's a neat aspect to the class, and about 80 percent of the freshmen seem to have a positive attitude or reaction to the material presented in this course.”
MCOM 1100 is offered during the fall and spring semester in the College of Media & Communication.
Intern Spotlight: Townes Donovan
By Burklee Berry
With the communication industry becoming more and more popular and highly competitive, students in the College of Media & Communication seek multiple internship opportunities to gain real-world experience and land their dream jobs upon graduation.
Townes Donovan, a junior advertising major from Austin, Texas, is following her dream career in the advertising industry. Donovan is currently interning this semester with GriffinWink, a Lubbock-based interactive advertising and digital agency.
Donovan knew landing an internship at an advertising agency early on would benefit her and help her reach her career goals, so she attended the career fair put on by CoMC during the fall semester.
Townes Donovan, junior Advertising major
“I saw that GriffinWink had a booth at the career fair, and I was able to introduce myself, as well as give them a copy of my resume'. They had a sheet on the table for people who would be interested in interning with them, so I put my name and email down. A few months later, I received an email from them about the internship opportunities they were searching to fill, and I ended up landing an interview for the spring semester,” Donovan said.
Donovan said that during her time at GriffinWink she has been able to get a feel for several different positions within the advertising field.
“I get to help with a little bit of everything. I help with research, the creative aspect, media planning, and creative brainstorms for clients. They always say you get out of it what you put into it. You have to be eager and ask people to give you assignments or be open to working on any projects at any time,” Donovan said.
Donovan added that the best part about having the internship is that she really gets to see what it's like out in the real world. She said that just learning about it in class isn't as helpful as actually being out there experiencing it for herself.
“It's been really beneficial to see how they work with clients, how they work with each other, and the overall environment of the agency. I've had a great opportunity to get a lot of hands-on experience, working closely with a smaller agency made up of only about 10 full-time employees,” Donovan said.
Donovan said her internship with GriffinWink has helped her work towards and move closer to her career goals. She said that the internship gives her the experience she needs and has helped her land another internship for the summer at The Richards Group, located in Dallas.
“My internship with GriffinWink is sort of a steppingstone to teach me what I couldn't lean in the classroom. I now know what to expect at a larger advertising agency, and I'm prepared for what's ahead,” Donovan said.
Donovan mentioned that internships have become almost a necessity. Having one or two internships before one goes to apply for a job will make one stand out.
“More and more people are getting into the media and communication field because of how rapidly communication is evolving and expanding,” Donovan said. “Apply for internships that interest you and gain as much knowledge and experience as you can.”
Get to Know Your Student Ambassador: Grace Diana
Grace Diana, junior Public Relations major
Grace Diana is a junior Public Relations major from San Antonio, Texas.
What do you love about the College of Media & Communication?
Texas Tech has challenged me in more ways than one, and I am so proud to be a part of the College of Media & Communication. No matter what area of media and communication you are interested in, the college fosters your strengths and prepares you for whatever your future endeavors may be.
What are you involved with in the college and around campus?
In the college, I've been involved with The Hub@TTU, the Dean's Student Council, and Student Ambassadors. On campus, I am a part of the Student Government Association, Pi Beta Phi Fraternity, Order of Omega, and Mortar Board.
What are your hobbies?
I really like hiking, traveling and anything outdoors.
What have you enjoyed most about being an ambassador?
I have enjoyed getting to know so many amazing students and faculty within the college.
What is your advice to prospective students?
My advice to all current and future students is to always challenge yourself. You never know what opportunities are behind those closed doors that you are afraid to open.
What is your favorite Texas Tech tradition?
Carol of Lights.
What is one fun fact about yourself?
I'm addicted to Einstein's Bagels.
What are your future career goals?
In the future, I would like to go to law school and then move to Washington, D.C.
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