- Intern Spotlight: Jessica Stark, RD Thomas
- Major Spotlight: Public Relations
- Professor Spotlight: Rebecca Ortiz, Ph.D.
- Get to Know Your Adviser Q & A: Don Ellis, Electronic Media & Communications
Intern Spotlight: Jessica Stark, RD Thomas
by Morgan Spruiell, photo by David Vaughn
Taking full advantage of opportunities and resources available within your college and university is one of the most crucial elements of success after graduation. Ask Jessica Stark, a senior advertising major from Borger, Texas, who recently landed a competitive position at one of Lubbock's' most prestigious advertising agencies, RD Thomas.
“I came to Tech three years ago; I transferred here from a community college, and I graduated with 20 hours [dual credit] from high school and then continued on [at a community college] for a year to get my basics,” Stark said.
With more high schools offering dual credit and AP testing for college credit, students are able to come in freshman year with classes already accounted for on their prospective degree plan. It's very important for students to bring their high school or community college transcript to Red Raider Orientation so an adviser can determine which classes are transferable to Texas Tech.
Stark said she started out in graphic design and realized that it was not for her, but she liked the selling aspect so she changed her major to advertising.
“I started talking to Aleesa Ross and I signed up for her email list, which is a daily email about what jobs and internships are available and just from that I was able to create a connection with her and she has really helped me out, especially within the past few months,” Stark said.
Aleesa Ross is the Media & Communication Career Center director and helps all students of all majors within the college, with jobs and internships.
Stark said, “I think the most important thing for students to do is to get involved with the activities here at Tech, joining organizations, really getting to know your teachers and the people who can help you out like advisers or Aleesa because they're the ones that know people outside of the college and they can really help you out.”
Students of the college have received many internships not only with the university or Lubbock, but around the country. Internships enable experience in a selected field and allow one to try specific positions to decide if it is possibly something they would like to do permanently.
“I'm the social media intern for the Office of Communication and Marketing at Texas Tech,” Stark said. “I first heard about it from a teacher from my retail advertising class and then I also heard about it from Aleesa's emails. So I just applied for it, had a few interviews and got the job.”
The intern said she monitors Texas Tech's social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Foursquare. She also looks at competitor sites to see what they are doing.
“We have to stay alert to see what people are posting to our pages and how people are talking about Tech with things like Kliff Kingsberry coming or the new basketball coach and things like the gas leak we had a few months ago,” she said. “You know we had to be on high alert to make sure everyone knew what was going on and that people were being safe about it.”
With only 24 hours in a day, it's hard to imagine how students so involved are able to juggle activities while staying on top of their school work and still be financially stable. “It is a paid internship, which was actually a nice little surprise for me and that does help out a lot. I got to make my own schedule for this internship, and they were very flexible because all of the interns are students at Tech and I mostly work in the mornings, Monday thru Friday and then I go to class and any other meetings I have,” Stark said.
With May graduation drawing near, many seniors are gathering their resumes, putting on their suits and interviewing for a potential position in the industry. “The experience I received from this internship has helped me get the job that I actually just accepted last week with an advertising agency here in Lubbock. I'm going to be doing the media buying for them and on a daily basis I'll be checking calendars and making sure media placements are going in as they should be. I'm going to be making sure the budget is correct for what the client wants and just make sure everything's on time,” Stark said.
“I've learned to have more confidence in myself and just know what I'm able to do and what I can do if I try hard enough,” Stark said.
With the extraordinary number of opportunities and resources available for all students in the College of Media & Communication, students should take advantage of them and benefit students in more ways than one.
Major Spotlight: Public Relations
by Morgan Spruiell, photo by David Vaughn
Public relations professionals cultivate society in many different ways. This broad career is not only essential in keeping the public informed on crucial topics but also valuable in establishing beneficial relationships. This yellow-brick road career has the potential to lead one on a fulfilling professional journey with infinite possibilities.
Trent Seltzer, Ph.D., public relations department chair since August 2011, said, “Relationships are based off communication. The old version of PR is very much one way communication at people and modern PR is much more about facilitating conversations between people. This occurs internally in an organization via employees, staff, and management, and externally between an organization and different stakeholder groups. So, we're kind of the bridge builders, negotiators, connectors, and facilitators of communication. It's not just talking at people now; it's more talking with people.”
The Public relations industry is fast evolving, and Seltzer said the major has the largest enrollment of students in the college. The 120-hour degree program will ensure students' knowledge in relationship management, strategic campaign development, traditional and new media practices, persuasive communication, and legal and ethical challenges.
Special topics courses are provided to allow students to study in-depth popular trends in the industry. In the past, classes have included Nonprofit Public Relations, Crisis Communication, Sports Public Relations, International Public Relations, Event Management, and Online and Digital Public Relations.
Once students acquire the necessary skills and tactics from prerequisite courses at the college, students gain experience through the capstone course Public Relations Campaigns. This course is required in order to graduate and allows students to work in account teams to research, develop and pitch their campaigns to actual clients. The projects provide students with knowledge and experience in the different aspects of a campaign. Students often cite their participation in the projects during their interviewing process with potential employers.
Kristin Wyllys, a senior public relations major from Austin, Texas, said, “I'm glad I'll have this experience before I go out into the real world. When I graduate in May, I want to get an internship at an agency to gain more experience with a wide variety of clients to see what I like. However, I have always loved sports like soccer and basketball, so my dream job would be to work for the NBA one day.”
Incoming freshmen are encouraged to join student organization groups. Public relations students founded Tech PR in 2007, and the group now meets once a month. Wyllys is also the president of Tech PR and said,” By bringing in guest speakers and going on our annual trip to Dallas to network with real professionals and Tech alumni, we help our members get a better insight into the world of public relations and also get them more involved within the college.”
Each student makes their college experience important, and often one gets back what he or she puts into his or her education.
“You have four years to experiment and figure out what you like and don't like, build some professional networks, and really just take advantage of the resources you have here,” Seltzer said.
by Stephanie Derkowski, photo by David Vaughn
One way students can get hands-on experience working in a television studio and running a newscast is to work for Media & Communication Television, or MCTV.
Located on the third floor of the College of Media & Communication building, MCTV is a television studio that broadcasts 2-5 minute newscasts everyday Monday through Thursday.
Josh Robinson, media production manager, supervises and works at MCTV. He said MCTV was once only an opportunity for journalism majors, but now that the show has its very own, newly renovated studio, the newscast is open to volunteers of all majors and classifications.
“Whether they are a freshman or a senior, it really doesn't matter to us. What we really want are people who are interested in how broadcast television works and want to learn how to put together a daily newscast,” Robinson said.
No matter what field of communication a student goes into, Robinson said, students benefit from understanding the way a news station works, and the experience will make a student more marketable for the future.
For instance, Robinson said, if a public relations student is writing a press release, and he or she is working in a news station, they will learn how the process works of getting a story from the press release to the air. Also, he said, an electronic media and communications student can benefit from working in a news station by understanding what goes on behind the camera. An advertising student can get a better idea of how spots run on the air.
“When you're working in communications, it doesn't matter whether your major is journalism, electronic media, advertising, or public relations, the simple fact is that the more you know about how the world of communications works, the more valuable you become,” Robinson said.
Kaitlyn Cennamo, senior journalism major from Keller, Texas, anchors MCTV once a week and said being a part of the newscast has helped her prepare for her future career. She said she uses the MCTV broadcasts that she participates in for her newsreel to present to potential employers.
Cennamo said working with MCTV is a good opportunity because a student can obtain years of experience in a newsroom during their time at college, and they can begin gaining the experience as a freshman or sophomore.
“MCTV and really all of the programs and opportunities that the College of Media & Communication have provided me have set me up for success after graduation.”
Professor Spotlight: Rebecca Ortiz, Ph.D.
by Stephanie Derkowski, photo by David Vaughn
Rebecca Ortiz, Ph.D.
Many will agree you learn the most about yourself when you are in college. You find out how well you are at waking yourself up for that 8 a.m. class, how you do living with other people besides your family, but most importantly, what your interests are and what you are most passionate about. This is the adventure Rebecca Ortiz, Ph.D., faced in her years as a student.
Ortiz is an assistant professor in the Department of Advertising in the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University. She earned her bachelor's degree in mass communications at Virginia Commonwealth University, her master's in media studies at Syracuse University, and her doctorate in mass communications with a focus in health communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ortiz said during her time as an undergraduate student and before going to master's school, she worked in many different aspects of the communications field to learn about what she was most passionate about.
“I started doing a whole bunch of internships and jobs,” Ortiz said, “because I knew I liked advertising and communication, but I wasn't really sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I wanted to try everything.”
Ortiz said she interned at a local news and radio station, worked for a newspaper, worked for an advertising agency, worked in marketing research, and worked as a psychology research assistant. From all of these experiences she discovered that she had an interest in research along with her love for writing and communicating with people.
From there, Ortiz said she went back to school as a graduate student and went on to earn her Ph.D.
Ortiz said she has been an assistant professor in the College of Media & Communication for almost one year, and she has taught classes to undergraduate and graduate students in the college. She said in the advertising department she teaches Account Planning, and she is scheduled to teach Media Planning next semester. She said she also has taught a special topics course, Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n Roll, and the Media Literacy class.
Finding new and creative ways to teach is enjoyable, Ortiz said, noting that she incorporates audio-visuals, real-world experiences, and open-class discussions.
“I remember sitting through those lectures where it was nearly impossible to keep your eyes open,” Ortiz said, “so that's what I probably enjoy the most is finding ways to make the classroom more fun.”
Ortiz conducts her own research to help others. She studies sexual health communication, which focuses on how to promote positive sexuality through media messages and interpersonal communication. Currently, she is working on a campaign about the HPV vaccine, and in the past, she has worked with topics concerning rape myths, suicide prevention, the H1N1 virus, for example. “I try to make my research applicable to people who can use it,” Ortiz said, “I really want to find out a way to use my research so that other people can really do something with it.”
Get to Know Your Adviser Q & A: Don Ellis, Electronic Media & Communication
photo by David Vaughn
In order to register for classes each semester one must pay a visit to his or her major specific adviser. This is beneficial for many reasons, but most of all, visiting with your adviser ensures that you're getting all the right information about your specific degree plan and know the requirements for graduation. Don Ellis has been the electronic media & communications adviser since August 2012. If this is your prospective major, check out his Q&A to get to know him a little better.
Where are you from?
Lubbock. Born and partially raised.
Where did you go to college?
My bachelor's degree is from Texas Tech University. Both of them are.
I have a bachelor's in electronic media and communications and a bachelor's in theater arts.
What is your favorite Texas Tech tradition?
You know, I don't think I have a favorite. I think all of the traditions at Texas Tech are very important and I hold all of those very dear to me. I consider Lubbock to be my home, although I was raised in different parts of the country, I've always come back to Lubbock.
What are your hobbies?
I read a lot. I don't have a lot of spare time now days but when I do, I like to go to the golf course.
What is your favorite part about advising?
Everything! I mean honestly, one of the best parts about advising, for me, is I've gone through this specific program that I'm advising for and I have a little more knowledge about the program itself than any other person. Because I've been through those classes, I know the professors well. Everything that this job is, I really do like. Not just advising students on what classes to take but just talking to students, faculty, and chairs of the department about common interests and what we can do, and what they can do as students.
What advice do you have for incoming Texas Tech students?
Be prepared. That's the best advice I have. When I say be prepared I don't specifically mean be prepared for advising because that's why we're here and we need to get you through. I mean be prepared for everything. It could be, be prepared for each of your classes, for the unexpected, just anything and everything.
Don likes listening to American rapper and musician Macklemore. This artist just released popular hit single: Thrift Shop.top