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- Advertising Graduate Named Vista Bank's Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer -
By: Rachel Blevins
Kayla Currier was recently promoted to the position of chief marketing and innovation officer at Vista Bank in Dallas.
After graduating from Texas Tech, Currier (BA advertising, 2008) launched her career by turning an internship into a job and working as an account executive for an ad agency. She then began work as a marketing director for a local bank. She said she chose to work at Vista Bank because she saw it as a great organization that would advance her career.
"I joined Vista Bank due to growth opportunities, the vision of the company, and the values and characteristics of leaders within the organization," Currier said. "From company culture to employee benefits, Vista Bank is an excellent company to work for."
In her new role at Vista Bank, Currier said she is responsible for the development and implementation of the bank's brand and community relations strategy.
"Vista Bank has 13 locations in 11 different markets, and I oversee all of our marketing and public relations efforts," Currier said. "Ninety-five percent of our marketing is done in-house, and some of my responsibilities include website design and management, social media management, and creative strategy, design, production, and implementation for marketing bank products and services."
Currier credited the advertising internship she pursued her senior year at Texas Tech for helping her gain real-world experience that furthered her career.
"My internship has had a positive impact on my career path, and I would encourage current students to find an internship," Currier said. "There is so much value to being physically present and immersed into your field of study. The things you learn will be invaluable as you start down your career path."
Currier said she would advise current students to get to know their professors, to never stop learning, and to remember that everyone starts somewhere.
"Get your foot in the door, do what it takes, and work towards your dream job," Currier said. "Don't expect your diploma to be an end-all do-all, but pair your education with relentless hard work and determination, and you'll be on the path to success."
- Ashlyn Tubbs, EMC 2014, picked up a Regional Edward R. Murrow award from RTNDA on April 19! Her story Love and Order that aired on KCBD-TV will be up for a national Murrow later in the year! Here's a link to the story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE4jZNRd_VM
- Communication Studies Graduate's Self-Help Book Becomes Amazon Best Seller -
By: Rachel Blevins
Texas Tech graduate Joshua Evans is the author of "Enthusiastic YOU! Rediscover Your Passion & Energy: Tools For Success In Your Daily Life," a self-help book that reached best-seller status in two Amazon.com categories: business & leadership training and inner child.
After nearly a decade of working in sales in the oil and gas industry, Evans (BA communication studies, 2006) said he never planned on writing a book. However, after he started writing down his thoughts about helping people become more enthusiastic about their daily lives, his book began to come together.
"The whole book is really about helping people find their passion, find their excitement and become their most enthusiastic self," Evans said.
While working his regular job, and coaching and speaking at events on the side, Evans said he spent a total of three years writing the book, before he ran into a friend who was close friends with a publisher.
"I never considered myself an author," Evans said. "The words just came together, and the book became a supplementary tool for my coaching and speaking events."
Evans said he chose to attend Texas Tech because it was the university both of his parents attended. He said communication studies stood out to him as a major because it was broad and could be applied to a range of different careers.
When he learned his book would be published in November 2015, Evans said he quit his job in the oil and gas industry and devoted his career to motivational coaching and training.
"My goal is to help people develop their own motivation," Evans said. "I don't think anyone can motivate someone else. I think you have to learn how to motivate yourself."
- EMC Graduate Named Video Producer at St. Johns University -
A few weeks after receiving his bachelor's degree in electronic media & communication from Texas Tech in December 2015, Austin Wideman moved to Queens, N.Y., and joined the digital media team at St. Johns University as a video producer.
Wideman came across the job while searching online prior to graduation, and he said he was drawn to it because it would allow him to work on his video production skills while living in New York.
"I love the city, and I was just hoping for the best," Wideman said. "I flew up and had a final interview, which was my first time to be in New York, and then a few days later I found out that I got the job."
Wideman said that at his new job he will produce promotional content for the university, including marketing material and videos for the different colleges at St. Johns.
"I'm really excited," Wideman said. "The team here is really creative and really dynamic. It seems like they have a lot of cool work taking place within the marketing and communications department."
A native of Lubbock, Wideman said his passion is producing videos, and he devoted time to gaining experience through freelance work while a student at Texas Tech. His portfolio ranges from weddings and music videos to promotional videos for corporate and nonprofit clients.
"I've done a bit of extensive travel freelancing for nonprofits doing work over the past few years while at Texas Tech," Wideman said. "I got to see cities like Hong Kong, Istanbul, Delhi and Moscow, and they made me want to live in a big city."
Wideman also worked as the director of photography for "Between Earth and Sky: Stories from the Last Frontier," a documentary from Texas Tech Public Media that will be released in 2017. Filmed in Alaska during the summer of 2015, the film focuses on global warming and climate change.
Paul Hunton, the station manager for Texas Tech Public Media, was a producer, writer and co-director for the documentary. He described Wideman as a driven and talented professional who is passionate about his work.
"In the past year that I've known Austin he's shown to be a student who is prepared and passionate about his chosen career path," Hunton said. "Austin is mature beyond his years and has what can't be taught: a natural inclination on how to tell stories. Austin is an absolute professional, has a strong creative voice, and will one day be a premiere filmmaker."
Wideman encouraged current students to pursue a career in field they are passionate about, and to use the resources Texas Tech has to offer, whether it's taking advantage of the computer labs or renting out camera and video equipment.
"Start doing the work you're passionate about," Wideman said. "Even if it's just asking a friend if you can shoot their weddings for free, getting your work out there on social media to where people see that the quality is really important and it might lead to you being able to make money while you're still in school."
College of Media & Communication graduate Carly Smith recently accepted a position as a weekend weather anchor in Grand Junction, Colo.
Working at KJCT-TV and KKCO-TV, Smith (BA electronic media & communication, 2015) said she will cover weather over the weekend and work as a reporter during the week.
"I started January 4 and after about four days of training, I did the weather for the Friday noon show for KKCO," Smith said. "Then I did the weekend shows all by myself, and I had to cover for the chief meteorologist. That was exciting. It's great that they already trust me to do that."
Originally from Mansfield, Texas, Smith said Lubbock was the farthest west she had been before she moved to Grand Junction, and her new job marks the first time she has ever been to Colorado. She said she found the station over the summer while she was searching for weather-related broadcast jobs online.
"During the summer, I was applying for any weather job I saw on the Internet," Smith said. "I saw that there was a morning weather position at KKCO, but when I applied I never heard back from them. I assumed they didn't care, and I moved on with my life."
However, Smith said she received an email from the station's news director in November, asking if she was interested in a weekend weather anchor position instead, and she said she was happy to accept.
Smith began her time at Texas Tech as a geophysics major. During her junior year, she changed her major to electronic media & communication with a minor in atmospheric science to pursue a budding interest in TV meteorology.
In addition to interning with KCBD-TV in Lubbock for two and a half years, Smith said she gained experience as a student by working with CoMC's student-produced newscast, MCTV.
CoMC's media production manager, Josh Robinson, said Smith was the first student to anchor a weather segment on MCTV, after the newscast launched in 2008. He said Smith started out by doing live-shots outside the building and then when the studio was redesigned in 2014, she became the first student to anchor weather in studio for MCTV.
"I personally redesigned the TV studio in 2014 to include a weather wall due to Carly's involvement with the newscast. Up until then, we only had the main news set and the green screen behind it," Robinson said. "When Carly continued to show interest in doing weather, I designed the side set, bought a couple additional video monitors and some extra lighting to make it all happen."
Robinson described Smith as a unique student who set a high standard in the college, and he said he is glad she branched out and decided to try anchoring weather with MCTV.
"Carly is a smart, energetic and motivated individual who has the ability to do great things," Robinson said. "I'm really glad the management at KKCO recognized her abilities, and I think Grand Junction is just the first stop for her as she works her way up the ladder of the broadcast industry."
Smith said one of her favorite things about Texas Tech is that the professors are "top notch" and were always there to answer her questions.
"Even in December after I graduated I was asking Josh about finding a job and if he knew anything about KKCO," Smith said. "Students should take the time to get to know their professors because they want you to succeed. They also have connections that can help you find a job."
Smith said her advice for current students is to get as much experience as possible before they graduate and to stay persistent when searching for a job after graduation.
"The biggest advice I can give is to get experience, whether it's through your college program like MCTV or through interning at a station," Smith said. "Don't be afraid to intern at more than one place, because you'll get more connections that way, and connections in the media industry are really important. Also, don't give up on your job search. It's going to be tough at the beginning, but it will pay off!"
- Communication Studies graduate lands management job with top sports marketing firm -
Communication Studies graduate Marcus Pauda (BA, 2012) recently landed a dream job with Learfield Sports, which he described as one of the top collegiate sports marketing firms in the country.
"Learfield Sports is by far one of the most prestigious collegiate marketing firms in the country," Pauda said. "We represent over 125 collegiate athletic programs, and when a college trusts our company to come in and be its sports marketing arm for its athletics program, we send a team out and into the community, and we act as representatives of that athletics program."
Pauda said he started working for Learfield in July 2015 after he was one of two people chosen from the Learfield Sports Minority Academy initiative, which surveyed more than 100 minority applicants across the country.
"It was a huge honor and something I am really proud of," Pauda said. "Once the company hires you, they send you out to work for an athletics program somewhere across the country."
Although his dream destination is to work with Texas Tech on behalf of Learfield, Pauda said the company started him out with the New Mexico Lobos, where he will gain experience as a manager of business development working with the athletic department at the University of New Mexico.
"I work with my clients to make sure that every single one of them is taken care of in terms of fulfillment," Pauda said. "When I sign a company up to be a corporate partner of the athletics department, my job is to make sure that they're getting everything that they're paying for in their contract."
After earning his bachelor's degree in December 2012, Pauda started working on the sales team for Texas Tech Athletics. He said the year and a half he spent with Texas Tech Athletics taught him a lot about all of the less obvious work that goes on in sports marketing.
"People don't really understand how much work goes on behind the scenes," Pauda said. "It takes a strong team to get a stadium filled with people. I worked on the sales team in group sales, and I tried to get groups to come to all major sporting events."
In July 2014, Pauda said he took a job with the University of Miami as the account executive for corporate ticket sales for one year, where he sold club seating and suites to companies.
Looking back on his journey, Pauda said he would encourage students to gain as much experience as possible during college. He said studying abroad in Spain as an undergraduate student and interning with College Hotspots magazine gave him valuable experience that prepared him for his career.
"I don't think people realize how important internships are," Pauda said. "I interned with College Hotspots magazine, on the Texas Tech campus, and that's where I got a lot of my experience, from sales to marketing. My final ending title with the magazine was associate publisher."