The College of Media & Communication has no shortage of students striving for excellence in numerous ways. From Dean's Student Ambassadors to active student organizations like RaiderComm, to those with perfect GPAs, the Media & Communication building is teeming with overachievers and future leaders.
Some students, however, represent all the above and more.
Brenna Hale, a senior communication studies major from Ozona, Texas, will represent CoMC at fall graduation as the college's banner bearer. The banner bearer is selected based on academic merit and extracurricular achievements, such as being a Dean's Student Ambassador (DSA) or partaking in student organizations — and Hale did both, all while maintaining a perfect GPA.
“It's gratifying,” Hale said about being named banner bearer. “I was lucky enough to find something to study that I really enjoy, so to wrap up and get to represent our college is a huge honor.”
Alongside her studies, Hale kept busy by getting involved in many extracurricular opportunity within the college. She worked at The Daily Toreador as a first-year apprentice and wrote weekly news stories before joining the Communication Studies Society (CSS). As a member of CSS, Hale was introduced to the DSAs, to which she applied and found herself traveling the state as a college ambassador.
“That's when I felt the most connected to things going on in the college,” Hale said. “I loved getting to travel and talk to small town students like me who also didn't even know that any of these great opportunities existed in the CoMC.”
Hale's most recent appointment came from the undergraduate affairs office, where she fostered outreach and engagement for prospective students and alumni. She also helped create and host CoMC Office Hours, a podcast meant to provide current and prospective students with all they need to know about life in the college.
Hale remains gracious and humble amidst her remarkable achievements, citing many faculty and staff who influenced her academic and professional goals.
“Emily Balke [former Manager of Student Success Initiatives] was so great,” Hale said. “She was my DSA advisor. I actually met her as a senior in high school during a recruitment event, but she eventually gave me that opportunity to be a DSA and really learn what some of my strengths were. She pushed us to be committed to and serve the college, and I wouldn't be where I am without that.”
Hale also had a special connection with Lisa Low, associate professor of practice in public relations.
“We were supposed to go to London on a study abroad, but COVID messed that up,” Hale said. “But I still got to take her class, and she was very engaging and encouraging to me because I had never put together a PR campaign before. It got to the point of us sending each other pictures of our sourdough bread during the lockdown.”
Hale will walk the stage with her fellow graduates on Saturday, Dec.11. With much reflection on her time as an undergraduate, she offered advice for current and future students.
“You have to find an organizational style that works for you,” she said. “Whether that's a physical planner, like me, or color-coding a Google calendar, you have to keep all your obligations lined up. But most importantly, be patient with yourself and the struggles you are going to face. I am a vastly different person than when I first started, and that's because there are so many developmental things taking place in college. But hopefully, they'll grow to serve you as a person.”