Dear CoMC Friends:
Dean David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
I am delighted to report to you a piece of wonderful breaking news: We just got word this week that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has approved our proposal for a new distance/online education master’s degree from our college in Strategic Communication and Innovation. The degree becomes official September 1, and students are already signing up. I know you have heard me over the last two years, since we conceived the idea for a MA that would be available to communication professionals anywhere, talk about its possibilities. Well, now we have been unleashed from the starting gate! We are ready to serve the many Red Raider alumni and others who want to advance their careers and their skill sets. I am very proud of the immense amount of work and dedication our faculty and staff team—led by Drs. Kristi Gilmore and Coy Callison—put into the effort. We are extremely grateful to TTU President M. Duane Nellis and Provost Lawrence Schovanec for their encouragement and investment. We all agreed that we were going to unveil a new degree to complement our already successful master’s programs based in Lubbock only if it featured the highest quality course materials, an accessible and interactive delivery system, and the most relevant, modern, and sophisticated curriculum. (Indeed, the prototype classes we have offered over the last year received great praise from the students who took them.) And, we know that when we bear our banners proudly across the digital globe, we have to maintain those same top standards now and in the future.
Learn more about the program here: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/comc/graduate/onlinemasters.php
David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean
CoMC Hosts Annual Communication Studies Awards Ceremony, Honor Society Induction
By Rachel Blevins
The Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication hosted its annual Communication Studies awards, along with induction ceremonies for the honor societies Kappa Tau Alpha and Lambda Pi Eta on May 6 to recognize students’ accomplishments.
Dr. Punyanunt-Carter congratulates a Communication Studies student during the recent awards ceremony.
Each year, the Department of Communication Studies gives awards to both undergraduate and graduate students to recognize their achievements in communication, debate, research, academics and service.
Narissra Punyanunt-Carter, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies, said that the faculty, staff and instructors come together to vote for the awards, and each award carries specific requirements.
“Speaking on behalf of the department, the department is only as good as the students in it,” Punyanunt-Carter said. “We want to recognize their accomplishments and achievements.”
Communication studies graduate students who were presented awards included the following: Jen Duckworth for the Vera L. Simpson Speech Communication Association Membership Award; Megan Mendiola for the Outstanding Research Award; Hilary Howard and Miles Kirk for the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award; Howard for the Outstanding Graduate Student Award; and Howard and Lauran Schaefer for the Outstanding Service Award.
Undergraduate students who were presented awards included the following: Caitlyn English, Campbell Roper and Robin Duffee for the Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Achievement Award; Andrew West for the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award; and Chelsea Carlton, Sabvina Cruz, Austin Tyson, Richelle Hair, Anita Morris and West for the Distinguished Undergraduate Service Award.
In addition to the awards, there were induction ceremonies for the national honor societies Kappa Tau Alpha, an honor society that recognizes academic excellence in journalism and mass communication, and Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association’s official honor society. Students with the highest grade point averages in their respective majors are eligible for membership, and if they accept the college’s invitation, they are then inducted, and receive certificates and tassels for graduation.
The newest inductees to Kappa Tau Alpha.
Members inducted into Lambda Pi Eta include Noelle Cavalier, Robin Duffee, Caitlyn English, Amber Jamerson, Brandon Jaramillo, Addison Kirk, Zachary W. Nguyen, Elizabeth Ureno, Andrew West and Marinda Wilson.
Kevin Stoker, Ph.D., professor and the senior associate dean of CoMC, is both a member of and the adviser for Kappa Tau Alpha. He said that he organizes the induction ceremony for KTA, which invites the top 10 percent of students from advertising, electronic media, journalism, media strategies and public relations.
This year, KTA inducted 19 new members including Sara Carden, Taylor Condit, Emily De Santos, Briana Genovese, Jenabeth Gunter, Dawit Haile, Daria Ivanova, Emily Jarrell, Georgia Kapusta, Elisabeth Kauffman, Thea McDonald, Selena Mendoza, Haley Ostrander, Katherine Parker, Sarah Schmidt, Blake Silverthorn, Tyler Smith, Mackenzie Thrasher and Cara Vandergriff.
CoMC graduate embarks on a journey at sea with The World Internship
By Rachel Blevins
Daysi Yeates, a spring 2015 graduate, is the newest Stage and Broadcast Intern with The World cruise ship.
Daysi Yeates, a spring 2015 graduate from the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication, was selected as the summer 2015Stage & Broadcast intern with The World, a private super yacht at sea.
Yeates said that as the Stage & Broadcast intern, she will gain experience in both production and editing by producing the yacht’s daily TV show and shooting and editing footage from the cruise.
“We have a daily show on board for the residents, and I will be filming and editing for the show, and then broadcasting it on the ship,” Yeates said. “Then, I will film any musicians, special guests or lecture programs on board.”
Yeates said that she first heard about the internship from one of the daily emails sent out by the Center for Success, Outreach & Engagement in CoMC. Yeates explained that when she received an email advertising an internship that would let her travel around the world, she was immediately intrigued.
“I saw the title ‘The World,’ and the first question it asked was if I wanted to travel the world, and that instantly caught my attention,” Yeates said. “I clicked on the description and I found out that it’s a ship that goes around the world for three months at a time – and you get paid!”
Aleesa Ross, M.Ed., and the director of the Center for Success, Outreach & Engagement, is in charge of sending out the daily emails. She said her notices include job, internship and career development-related information in order to ensure that students in CoMC are aware of opportunities.
“Our goal is to inform students about ways they can develop as professionals, learn about career possibilities, and identify current opportunities,” Ross said. “A lot of our information comes from alumni who reach out to the college, but we also do research daily to find possibilities that will benefit the students in the College of Media & Communication.”
Although a lot of work went into the application process for the internship, Yeates said that it all paid off in the end, and that she would highly recommend students taking the time to apply for internships that look interesting.
“Apply for the internship, even if you don’t feel like you’re fully qualified, because that’s how you get experience,” Yeates said.
When it came to colleges, Yeates admitted that Texas Tech was not her first choice, and she said that she initially planned on only staying for the first two years. However, once Yeates started taking classes, she said that she fell in love with the university.
“I found that I really enjoyed Texas Tech, and it gave me a lot of opportunities,” Yeates said. She explained that one of those opportunities was an internship with KTTZ-TV, Texas Tech’s Public Broadcasting station. Yeates was one of three interns working with the station in fall 2014 and in spring 2015.
Paul Hunton, KTTZ-TV’s production director, said that Yeates stood out because she was a hard worker and exhibited strengths in video editing and storytelling.
“Daysi took on many different projects and wore many different hats,” Hunton said. “She produced, she helped edit, she helped write, she helped with live events – she got a really wide variety of experience and she did really well.”
Yeates majored in electronic media & communication and is from Comfort, Texas.
CoMC Alumni Feature: Anna Schumann
By Rachel Blevins
Seven years after graduating from Texas Tech University with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science, Anna Schumann said she is living life to the fullest, and she credits the education she received at Texas Tech for helping her establish an ethical and responsible foundation to build her career on.
Schumann recently became the communications and marketing manager for the Association of Government Accountants near Washington, D.C., in the area of the country where she said she had always hoped to have a career.
A native of Houston, Schumann said she fell in love with Texas Tech the moment she set foot on campus during a tour, and she immediately knew it was the university for her.
“I started off in journalism and political science, switched my major a few times, and then ended up with degrees in both,” Schumann said.
After graduating from Texas Tech in May 2008, Schumann returned to Houston to work as a reporter for Houston Community Newspapers. She said she stayed with the company until December 2010, when she pursued a career in teaching journalism for a few months, and then began writing for the Consumer Media Network in July 2011.
In May 2013, Schumann said, she found herself at a crossroads – she wasn’t happy at her job, and previous trips to Washington, D.C., had her convinced that it was the place she truly wanted to live. She said she decided that when her apartment lease in Houston was up, she would move there. Just one day after Schumann made that resolution, her entire department was laid off at her job.
A summer of looking for jobs in the District of Columbia area resulted in Schumann becoming an editor for SmartBrief, a company that, among other services, produces about 250 publications compiling summaries of news stories for various clients.
“It was really cool, starting off as a reporter, and then five years later being an editor,” Schumann said.
As an editor at SmartBrief, Schumann supervised 13 publications, ranging from dailies to weeklies to monthlies. And in addition to making sure each story was grammatically correct, she also made sure each publication contained appropriate content for its audience.
Schumann made the move from SmartBrief to the Association of Government Accountants in May. After seven years of working in traditional journalism, she said she is now learning what it’s like to work on the opposite end of the spectrum.
“It could have been a much harder transition, but I’m glad that my experience in the field has helped me to know what journalists are looking for,” Schumann said.
In her new job at AGA, Schumann produces both the weekly email newsletter and any other emails that contain information for the association’s members, edits AGA collateral for events, and serves as the association’s press contact. She also writes and distributes news releases, helps manage social media, edits and writes website content to be user-friendly, and takes photos and notes at events.
Schumann’s advice to current students is to take every experience that comes their way – from classes to internships.
“You can never have too much experience,” Schumann said. “Think about the job you want out of college, and then think about the job that you want five years from then and 10 years from then. Look at job postings all the time. Find out what is required of the people who have the jobs that you want, and find out how you can gain those skills yourself.”
Department of Public Relations Hosts CAMPaign PRep Program For Local High School Students
By Rachel Blevins
A high school student looks through research during the half-day PR campaign boot camp.
In an effort to connect with local high school students, the Department of Public Relations hosted its first “CAMPaign PRep,” a one-day event held at the College of Media & Communication on June 19 for high school students enrolled in their schools’ DECA programs.
DECA, previously known as Delta Epsilon Chi and Distributive Education Clubs of America, is an organization with programs at both the high school and college levels that educate students in the areas of marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance and hospitality.
Casidy Delgado, a senior at Frenship High School, described DECA as a business organization where members compete in various events.
“Visiting Texas Tech has been a great experience,” Delgado said. “I want to go into public relations, and I was interested in learning more about presentations.”
Josh Starr, also a senior at Frenship High School, said that he joined the DECA program last year after he learned about it from a friend. Starr said that DECA has given him a desire to lead, a desire to improve his skills, and a desire to compete
with his classmates.
Dr. Rasmussen guides a local high school student through Adobe InDesign in a section of the camp devoted to creating campaign materials.
During the CAMPaign PRep program, students were split up into groups and given a situation with a problem. They had to come up with a solution for how they would fix that problem if it occurred in the real world, and they then had to present their strategies to a board of directors.
Senior Jordan Hogan and sophomore Kaylee Ellis, both from Coronado High School, agreed that while it was challenging to come up with goals, objectives and tactics during the competition, they prevailed and enjoyed their time overall at CoMC.
Following the competition, the high school students had the opportunity to mix and mingle with some CoMC public relations students over lunch. Senior public relations majors Lauren Moss and Cody DeRudder said they attended the event to give the DECA students advice about making the transition from high school to college and to tell them more about CoMC.
Kelly Kingston and Claire Thorson, both senior public relations majors, attended the event as part of their Public Relations Writing class. They said that although they never participated in the DECA program while they were in high school, they thought it sounded like a great opportunity for students looking to pursue careers in communications.
Russell Hill and Lynnette Moore, teachers and advisors for Coronado High School’s branch of DECA, started the program last year. Hill said he was a part of DECA when he was in high school, and he was eager to help his students learn more about real world business practices.
Moore said she wanted to incorporate a school program with a business organization, and she had always heard great things about DECA. Although it has been hard to recruit students for DECA, Moore said that Coronado’s team was lucky to have the opportunity to go to state this year, which she described as an “eye-opener for everyone.”
Dr. Gilmore coaches a small group of high school students through their practice pitch out in the hall before their presentation.
“I want our students to be successful, and to be able to communicate the way real humans communicate,” Moore said. “I think communication is really, really important, and I’m glad to see our students getting real world experience while they are still high school.”
Eric Rasmussen, Ph.D, assistant professor of public relations, said the department conducted the program for two main reasons.
“First, we want to give what we can—our time and our expertise—to area high school students and their teachers,” Rasmussen said. “Second, the students involved with the program are some of the best students in high school, and we wanted them to see that we offer exactly what they're looking for. Getting together with them just seemed like a perfect marriage.”
CoMC Holds First Student Start-Up Competition
By Rachel Blevins
College of Media & Communication students interested in becoming entrepreneurs had an opportunity to present their innovative ideas at the finale of the college’s first Student Start-Up competition on April 27.
Trent Seltzer, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Public Relations, said that he was very impressed with the ideas students presented at the competition, and he looks forward to watching the competition grow in the coming years.
Noelle Vela gets ready to pitch her app, Raza at the college's Student Startup Competition.
“I’m really excited about the Student Start-Up Competition and what it means for the program,” Seltzer said. “This year’s entries featured some really innovative ideas that spanned a lot of different media industries. The students generated some really interesting work and all of them are moving forward with their projects in some way.”
Geoffrey Graybeal, Ph.D., faculty advisor for the college’s Media Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group, organized the competition as an extension of one of the classes he regularly teaches. Graybeal said that MCOM 4325: Media Economics & Entrepreneurship, the capstone course for media strategies majors, challenges student teams to develop innovative media products and ideas.
“We've always fashioned it as a student version of ‘Shark Tank,’ the popular television show where startups pitch products before ‘shark’ investors,” Graybeal said. “Since the class is the capstone course for media strategies majors, students would come up with these great ideas and then graduate and nothing would come of the ideas.”
Graybeal explained that the Student Start-Up Competition was also created to open entrepreneurial opportunities up to all students in the college, not just media strategies majors, and to encourage interdisciplinary teams with students across the university, while creating internal competition that helps facilitate additional opportunities in entrepreneurship.
Seltzer described this year’s competition as a great foundation, which will contribute to the “budding media incubator” that is being developed within CoMC. He also said Graybeal has done an amazing job over the last year in moving the Media Strategies program forward and providing a greater emphasis on media entrepreneurship.
The grand prize in CoMC’s first Student Start-Up competition was awarded to graduate students Benjamin Jarvis and Abigail Arroyos for the creation of Chronovos, an online database that would feature interviews with individuals who experienced historical events such as World War II, in an attempt to preserve their accounts. As a grand prize winner, Arroyos will receive an opportunity to further develop the idea with one year of a master’s degree funding from CoMC. Jarvis has already completed a CoMC master’s degree.
Dr. Graybeal presents the winners of the Student Startup, Abigail Arroyos and Ben Jarvis, with their first place certificate.
The three runners-up included two teams and an individual: Carmen Askerneese, Anna Cordaro, Casey Smith and Garrett Wright with Develo, an online gaming community; Jessica Castro, Mikalah Knight, Olivia Sikora, Sarah Monroe and Wesley Metter with Chewsit, a food delivery service; and Noelle Vela with Raza, an app seeking to engage Hispanic high school students in politics.
Graybeal said that he is very happy with the results of the competition, and he has heard positive feedback from the participants. He also said he looks forward to see how it changes and improves in the future.
“Texas Tech and our college are committed to continuing to explore and expand opportunities in entrepreneurialism and entrepreneurship for our students, and that includes, but is not limited to, the Student Start-Up Competition,” Graybeal said. “I'm sure some aspects of the competition will change as we look to improve upon the experience, but yes, as far as I know, it'll continue next year and beyond.”