Texas Tech University

Converging News

April 2016

In this issue of Converging News:

A Note from Our Career Counselor

Cameron Skoczlas
Cameron Skoczlas

Longer days and warmer weather mean summer is on its way. While we here in Lubbock have been enjoying spring-like weather since February, April brings more than just sunshine and daisies. The end of the semester is looming, and no one feels that more than our students. They are counting the days until final exams and graduation and a new job, or an internship or summer job. It's usually around this time that panicked students flock to the Center for Student Success, Outreach & Engagement.

As the College of Media & Communication's career counselor, I am the go-to person for all things career-related. Students come to me to help them find internships and jobs, resume critiques, mock interviews, cover letter writing, and general career counseling. Even though my services would benefit students early in the semester, inevitably, I receive the most interaction with students at the end of every semester. My hope is that every student leaves my office feeling confident in their abilities to not only find a career path, but to pursue opportunities that will lead them on that path.

When students come to my office asking about jobs and internships, I tell them to consider their personal interests and major and see where those intersect in the real world. Almost always, a student will then ask where there is an opportunity that fits that intersection. Unfortunately, I am not capable of telling them about every potential job or internship opportunity within their field.

That's where YOU come in. I am happy to share opportunities from any business in any location. If you own a business or work somewhere that is hiring, please send me those postings so I can promote them in the college. CoMC students and alum who subscribe receive a daily email full of job opportunities and career advice. Let me help you find some great Red Raiders to hire!

Thank you for your continued support of Texas Tech and the College of Media & Communication!

Cameron Skoczlas earned her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations degree in 2013 and Master of Arts in Mass Communications in 2015, both from the College of Media & Communication.

By Request: Texas Tech Hosts Fourth Annual Appathon


The 2016 Appathon Contestants
The 2016 Appathon Contestants

Android and iPhone users will soon have the opportunity to download Penguin, a new and innovative app created by the winners of Texas Tech's fourth annual Appathon.

Using the theme “By Request…,” electrical engineering major Derek Johnston, pre-engineering major Taylor Stubbs, and computer science major Lauren Finley created the app, originally named “Chubby Penguin,” to act as an icebreaker dating app.

Johnston said the group has continued to build the app since the competition in February, and they hope to launch it in late April.

“We wanted to think outside the box and come up with something that would be not just interesting in a technical way, but really fun for people to use,” Johnston said.

Randy Reddick, Ph.D., assistant dean for technology in the College of Media & Communication and an organizer of the event, said the app won the competition because it met the criteria in terms of fulfilling the user's specific request.

“The app was GPS enabled and allowed people who were looking for a date to find others nearby who are also looking for a date,” Reddick said. “In the eyes of the judges, the app both solved a problem related to the theme and had other uses.”

Kuhrt Cowan, CoMC's webmaster and another organizer of the event, said he encourages students to sign up for the competition because he sees it as a great way for them to gain experience and improve their skills.

Team working on an app

“This competition used real-world scenarios to challenge students to work efficiently, to communicate well, and to pull their own weight,” Cowan said. “It was awesome to see almost every team bring an app to the table in just 24 hours. The energy was great, everyone was having fun, and it was exciting to see what everyone came up with.”

The TTU Appathon began in 2013 and was inspired by a “Hackathon” held in London. Reddick said the competition challenges students to create a theme-based app within 24 hours.

The students have the choice as to whether they compete as individuals or as a team with up to three members. Reddick noted that all majors are welcome in the competition, and he said a “shout-out” is hosted prior to the event to give contestants a chance to network and form teams.

Two CoMC Professors Complete Inaugural Dean's Leadership Academy


The 2016 Appathon Contestants
Eric Rasmussen

College of Media & Communication professors Eric Rasmussen and Lea Hellmueller recently completed the inaugural Dean's Leadership Academy, introduced by CoMC Dean David Perlmutter.

Perlmutter said he created the program because when he started as an assistant professor, he wanted to learn more about the process of hiring, creating budgets, and planning. He wanted to give that opportunity to current professors within the college.

“As our college grows in size and tasks and the machinery of running a modern educational institution gets more and more complex, I thought it would be important for faculty to have the opportunity to learn more about the how, what, where and when of why we do things,” Perlmutter said. “I opened up enrollment to any full-time faculty member in our college.”

Hellmueller, an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism & Electronic Media, said she applied for the program because she hopes to own a global media research center one day, and she wanted to learn more about the leadership aspect going into it.

“My dream is to have my own global media research center,” Hellmueller said. “I want to have a team that conducts research on current and long-term global events like the refugee crisis, how it is covered in the media, and how the public responds.”

Rasmussen, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Relations, said he applied for the Dean's Leadership Academy because he wanted to learn why decisions are made in the college, to understand the factors that go into those decisions, and to learn how he can contribute.

“We met with Dean Perlmutter several times over a period of several weeks and learned first-hand from him about strategic planning, college metrics, hiring, budget processes, and fundraising, among other topics,” Rasmussen said.

The professors also met with the college's associate deans. Kevin Stoker, senior associate dean for CoMC, talked about topics such as annual reviews, student evaluations, and curriculum revisions. Glenn Cummins, associate dean for research, covered areas such as research methods and report analytics, project execution, and budgeting.

Coy Callison, associate dean for graduate studies, talked about how resources are distributed to the graduate program and leveraged to benefit students, faculty and the college. And Todd Chambers, associate dean for undergraduate affairs, discussed the missions of the Center of Advising and the Center for Student Success, Outreach & Engagement.

Lea Hellmueller
Lea Hellmueller

Perlmutter said the goal for the Dean's Leadership Academy is to add two faculty members each semester so that he and the associate deans are able to give them their full attention.

“Dr.s Rasmussen and Hellmueller were great to work with, very curious and perceptive,” Perlmutter said. “It helped me to learn more about what faculty may not know, assume or want to know more about.”

Hellmueller said she was really interested in the discussion on fundraising, and she learned a lot about the work the college's administrators put into being fair and equal with students and faculty.

“It's easy to tell someone they're doing a great job, but how do you communicate with someone who is not doing a great job?” Hellmueller said. “I learned about how to be fair with all of the people who work for you, and how to make changes to classes in this changing industry.”

Rasmussen said he learned a lot about all of the factors that go into making decisions within the college, and that CoMC's administrators do a lot to create an environment in which staff and faculty can thrive with their research and other responsibilities.

“I learned that there are things about myself that I can change in order to become a better colleague,” Rasmussen said. “I now have a greater appreciation for all the work that administration, staff, and my fellow faculty do to make our college a great place to work.”

Two Advertising Majors Accepted into Multicultural Advertising Intern Program


Marcos Palacios

College of Media & Communication students Marcos Palacios and Alexis Anderson were accepted into the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) for Summer 2016.

MAIP is a fellowship that selects students of multicultural backgrounds to participate in a 22-week talent development program with agencies, combining real-work experience with training and networking opportunities.

Palacios, a senior advertising major with a minor in general business, said he first heard about the program his freshman year during a recruitment meeting with Jake Quintanilla, a former MAIP Fellow and CoMC alumnus.

“At the time, being chosen for the program seemed so out of my reach, but I was an ambitious student and wanted to know more,” Palacios said. “Jake's experience seemed surreal and challenging, and I think it created a drive in me to try and achieve such a goal myself. After the meeting, I was determined to build my experience and earn a position, and that's what happened.”

Anderson, a senior advertising major from San Antonio, said she heard about MAIP from one of her professors in the Department of Advertising, Rebecca Ortiz, Ph.D.

“I wanted to apply because it seemed like a great opportunity to learn a lot about the advertising industry and to get some great hands-on experience in the field I want to work in once I graduate,” Anderson said. “Also, the fact that it was an internship geared towards multicultural students was something that was very interesting to me because I will have the opportunity to work with people from a variety of different backgrounds.”

Palacios said the application process was rigorous, and he went through multiple rounds where he was required to submit professional recommendations, an updated resume, and an application video.

Alexis Anderson
Alexis Anderson

After going through a video interview with a MAIP alumnus, Palacios said he learned that he was a finalist, and then waited to find out if he would be chosen by an agency.

“I patiently waited and hoped to be chosen by an agency for the summer,” Palacios said. “I kept a close eye on my email and screamed when I saw I had been picked by DigitasLBi in Chicago. I called my family and close friends, as they had been with me every step of the process. It was bliss.”

Anderson said that when she found out she was chosen to work as an account planning intern for 180 Los Angeles in Santa Monica, California, it felt like a dream come true, as it paired a job she has always wanted with a place she has always wanted to live.

“I am mainly looking forward to learning a lot about the advertising industry in itself,” Anderson said. “I want to learn from great professionals that are already in the industry while also learning from my peers. I think this internship will help me with my future career because the internship is in the exact field that I want to go into.”

A native of Lubbock, Palacios said he is looking forward to a change in culture while in Chicago. He also said he looks forward to working with clients such as Taco Bell, Whirlpool and Hermès.

“I think I'm most looking forward to the change in culture,” Palacios said. “Chicago will be terrifically different from Lubbock, and I'm excited to try it on. At the agency, I can't wait to really dig into work for global brands.”

Department of Public Relations Hosts Second Annual PR Showdown


2016 PR Showdown
2016 PR Showdown

The College of Media & Communication's Department of Public Relations hosted its second annual PR Showdown in Spring 2016, and the winning team was comprised of Ezra Chairez, Charles Bullard, Hoz Fierro, Laura Gonzalez, and Leslie Smith.

Jo Langston, professor of practice and chairman of the PR Showdown committee, said the competition started with 15 teams, and, after four challenges during the first week, it was narrowed down to the top three for a final challenge.

“I thought they did great,” Langston said. “The feedback that we got from the judges was that the teams that did well, were really, really good. The thing about the showdown is that not everybody is at the same level – you have sophomores and you have seniors.”

Ezra Chairez, a junior public relations major from Dumas, Texas, described winning the PR Showdown as a feeling that cannot be matched. He said that although the competition took place during a week where he had multiple exams, pushing through the pressure made the victory that much greater.

“My team and I put a lot of hours into each of the daily challenges we received, and it was rough, to say the least,” Chairez said. “Packing the showdown in with three exams in one week was tough, but there just comes a time in your college career where you really get a chance to separate yourself as someone who really has a passion for communication. This competition was one of those chances.”

Each of the four challenges during the first week had a theme such as PR writing, PR strategies, and social media. The teams were given points based on their rankings in each of the challenges, and the three teams with the highest totals of points advanced to the final round where they submitted a crisis management plan during a mock press conference.

Langston noted that while the winning team did not win any of the challenges during the first week, they stayed consistent and earned the points to advance to the final round. She also said all of the team's members are involved in student organizations such as Tech PR, and she believes that their experience in class set them up for success.

Charles Bullard, a senior public relations major from Bronx, New York, said that even though the competition was filled with sleepless nights, the PR Showdown was a great experience.

“I would definitely recommend everyone to participate at least once while they are in their undergraduate time here at Tech,” Bullard said. “It was a wonderful learning experience, and I had a great time with my team. I think it was very surreal because it was validation for all of the hard work we put in, especially because we did not win any competitions the previous week. It made this win even better.”

Hoz Fierro, a senior public relations major from Amarillo, Texas, said he would advise PR students to participate in the showdown because it will be a unique part of their college experience.

"Winning the competition was an unbelievable feeling,” Fierro said. “We put in so much work in order to put our best foot forward. Any student who is a PR major should do this competition because it provides an experience you can't get anywhere else.”

Laura Gonzalez, a senior public relations major from Amarillo, Texas, said that to her, winning the PR Showdown served as affirmation that hard work and perseverance at great lengths pays off. She said her team used everything they learned from previous PR classes, creativity and passion to win the competition.

2016 PR Showdown Team

“Surprisingly enough, our group invested great amounts of laughter into the PR Showdown,” Gonzalez said. “We did not allow the difficulty of the competition to restrain us and instead chose to adopt a different perspective to get us through each day.”

Leslie Smith, a senior public relations major from Snyder, Texas, said that after competing in the inaugural showdown last year, she came back this year with a vengeance.

“I participated in the Showdown last year and we did horrible! My team was a group of transfers, and we were very new to PR and Texas Tech,” Smith said. “It was good to be involved both years because we got a feel for PR challenges, and we could see the differences in the two competitions.”

As a result, Smith said her experiences with both PR Showdowns reinforced what she has learned in class during her time in CoMC.

Each of the members of the winning team received a ticket from Southwest Airlines to fly to the destination of their choice, along with accommodations for a “PR Salon” featuring prestigious Texas Tech alumni in Dallas.

Chairez said he is looking forward to choosing where to fly, and he described the opportunity to network with Texas Tech alumni in Dallas as invaluable.

“I would encourage students to participate next year because you get a chance to see and feel what it's like to work in PR in the real world,” Chairez said. “It's fast-paced, thought provoking, and stressful, but at the same time it's one of the best things you can do with your time if you're looking to further your insight of this unique field.”

Day in the Life: Josh Robinson


Josh Robinson sitting at his deskJosh typing on his computerJosh editing a MCTV episodeJosh and Laura Duclos sitting at a computerJosh and Laura editing an MCTV episodeJosh testing a camera flashJosh holding a boom microphoneJosh and Derrick GinterDerrick testing a cableJosh producing MCTVJosh helping look at a cameraJosh helping a student run the camerasJosh producing MCTV

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