In this issue of Converging News:
- Alicia Keene Joins Prestigious Honor Society
- Student Internship: Taylor Shofner
- Panel of Experts Share Post-Graduation Advice
Alicia Keene Joins Prestigious Honor Society
By Samantha Park, photos by David Vaughn
Journalism major Alicia Keene is one of the 50 new members of Texas Tech University’s national honor society, Mortar Board. Each spring, the organization recognizes upcoming college seniors at 229 campuses honoring their superior achievement in scholarship, leadership and service.
Originally from Kingwood, Texas, Keene said she is a born and raised Texan. Applying to most universities within the state, she said coming to Texas Tech just felt right.
“When I came to orientation, I fell in love with Tech,” Keene said. “It just felt like at home. I just felt it here.”
With a passion for journalism, Keene said the subject constantly keeps her on her toes when discovering and writing different stories.
“I’m a very curious person,” Keene said. “I feel like there is always a set answer to things and for journalism there really isn’t.”
After Keene decided to come to Texas Tech for the College of Media & Communication’s journalism program, she became aware of Mortar Board. She saw the honor society as a respected organization and knew many people applied to be a part of the honor society.
“I’ve heard about Mortar Board since I came to Tech,” Keene said. “I thought it would be an honor if I could try to get in.”
Keene described members of Mortar Board as well-rounded students at Texas Tech. She said acceptance into the organization is based on a candidate’s campus and community involvement, leadership qualities, and grade point average.
“I like to keep myself involved,” Keene said. “I have done quite a bit of stuff since I have been at Tech. I’m not that great at staying with one thing because I like to try everything.”
Alicia Keene accepts her award
A member of the Dean’s Council, Keene is also the secretary for Texas Tech’s Society of Professional Journalists. She is the communications director for her sorority, where she volunteers each semester with charities such as the Ronald McDonald house and CASA, the Court Appointed Special Advocates for children. She is a member of honor societies Rho Lambda and Order of Omega.
Throughout her college career, Keene said, professors within the College of Media & Communication have helped her get to where she is today. Aleesa Ross, Cam Stone, Jerry Hudson, and Robert Wernsman are just a few people who have influenced her during the past three years.
“I know I can go to them, and it’s not that I’m just one of their students,” Keene said. “They’re very willing to be there for me, and they care about their students. They want their students to succeed. It’s not getting a paycheck or their own research, they actually care about the students.”
After Keene graduates in May 2014, she plans to further her education and attend graduate school. Until then, she is excited to begin her membership with Mortar Board.
“It is an honor that they unanimously thought I was good enough to be selected,” Keene said. “I know it is prestigious and I don’t want to let that fall. I want to help keep it up there. I want to keep that level of prestige.”
Student Internship: Taylor Shofner
Video by Ben Jarvis and Blake Silverthorn
Panel of Experts Share Post-Graduation Advice
By Samantha Park, photos by David Vaughn
On March 6, Tech PR invited a panel of five experts from a variety of communication fields to discuss career development. Tech PR members joined the panel in discussion about resumes, cover letters, interviewing, internships and jobs, social media, and online branding.
Ashleigh Sawyer, vice president of RD Thomas Advertising Agency, said she was flattered to be a part of a panel with such respected contemporaries. With differing opinions on topics, she said a variety of information was provided for every type of student.
“You had panelists hammering the importance of everything from developing and guarding your social media presence to the best format for a resume,” Sawyer said, “and there were differing opinions among panelists on each of those. The students really got a good idea of how to tailor their approach depending on what career path they're pursuing.”
Lin Humphrey, digital marketing professional and social media expert, said he enjoyed seeing collaboration between the experts. He said he wanted to help students leverage online personal branding with social media resources.
Aleesa Ross, Lin Humphrey, Michelle Stephens and Chris Cook
“Focus on a strategy for online personal branding,” Humphrey said. “Spend the time to have a well-thought out LinkedIn profile and be consistent with your elevator speech. Your profile picture counts. Make sure it's taken by a professional photographer.”
Chris Cook, managing director of the Office of Communications and Marketing, said he enjoyed the interaction among the panel and hearing from students about their career goals. He said students today are learning new skills that benefit them in the job hunt.
“Today's student is getting caught up in the wave of new communication channels,” Cook said. “It's a changing landscape. Where today's students have an advantage is they are learning about and using many of these channels. Employers may be familiar with these changes, but they are looking for graduates to manage these channels for their companies.”
Aleesa Ross, director of the College of Media & Communication Career Center, said she loves speaking to student groups. She said hearing the discussion among the panelists helped her within her position in the college.
“I have to offer suggestions to students based on what industry professionals are looking for, so any chance I have to listen and learn from professionals in our fields of study, it is helpful to me,” Ross said. “I also liked the fact that students had a chance to ask questions and interact with the panel members after the meeting. It was a great networking opportunity for them.”
Michelle Stephens, director at Covenant Health, said she enjoyed the opportunity to help students. Stephens said students received a great amount of advice from each panelist during the discussion.
"I hope the main takeaway was to have a great attitude and be willing to learn in your internship," Stephens said. "Those interns who are eager to learn and willing to do anything and everything have the best internships, get the best references, and in turn, will likely get the best public relations jobs out there."