Texas Tech University

Converging News

July 2013

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In this issue of Converging News:

Texas Association of Broadcasters Awards Scholarships to Two Texas Tech Winners
By Lauren Glover, photos by David Vaughn and Melissa Wofford

The Texas Broadcast Education Foundation awards eight $2,000 scholarships a year, and two of those scholarships belong to Blake Silverthorn and Kierra Powell, both students in the Texas Tech College of Media & Communication.

Powell, a senior electronic media and communications major from Midland, Texas, had just returned from a trip to Houston when she found out the scholarship committee chose her.

Blake Silverthorn

Blake Silverthorn

"It was just the perfect ending to what had been a beautiful weekend," she said. "I had ruled out even being considered, so when I got that call, it just knocked me off my feet."

Silverthorn, an electronic media and communications major from Plano, Texas, said the call struck him speechless.

Silverthorn said the monetary award was not the only reason he was happy.

"I have received other scholarships, but to win one that is strictly something I want to do, that means a lot," Silverthorn said.

Both students were informed about the opportunity from Todd Chambers, Ph.D., chairperson of the Department of Journalism and Electronic Media.

"I really didn't think I stood much of a shot, but he kept saying all you can do is try, so I did," Powell said. "And here we are. I'm so thankful that he pushed me to try. I owe him a big thanks."

Powell and Silverthorn also took advantage of every opportunity the college had to offer.

As a freshman, Silverthorn started working to produce the Double T Insider, a student-produced Texas Tech sports show televised in Midland, Texas. Silverthorn, who had previous experience as a video editor with the Dallas Cowboys, jumped right in and became a director during his second semester.

Silverthorn returned to the Dallas Cowboys as an intern this summer, his fourth year interning for the team.

Kierra Powell

Kierra Powell

"They've seen me grow up and they watched me grow, and because of what I've done at Texas Tech, they have given me more projects to do," Silverthorn said.

Powell is the current news director for KTXT-FM, the college's student-run radio station, and KMAC-TV recently hired her as a producer.

Both students have big dreams as well. Silverthorn said he would like to work in sports video production, and Powell said she would like to host her own radio or television program and own a production company.

"I love very much the creative process of creating something from the ground up," Powell said. "I want to tell stories that people need to hear and that can change lives for the better. I want to make a difference with my life.

"When I tell that to most people they laugh or kind of blow it off because it seems too big of a dream, and it is," Powell said. "But I want to be able to look back and say, win or lose, I didn't back down. I don't want to play it safe."

To be eligible, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and be a current Texas Association of Broadcasters member or go to a member school. The application process includes an essay, recommendation letters, and a resume.


Minute to Mentor: Personal Brand
Video by Ben Jarvis

Electronic Media & Journalism Department Chairperson and Associate Professor Todd Chambers, Ph.D., takes a Minute to Mentor about building a personal brand and taking advantage of all of the opportunities at Texas Tech.


Head over heels in 'LUV'
By Wesley Metter, photos courtesy Adam Hernandez and Linda Rutherford

The "post-graduation blues" did not strike three December 2012 graduates, Adam Hernandez, Cody Hale, and Mary-Alex Smith, for these Red Raiders absolutely LUV their internships at Southwest Airlines. Hernandez, Hale and Smith are flying into new opportunities that offer them the most creative and fun-loving environment they all could have wanted.

Meet Adam:

Adam Hernandez

This devoted Texas Rangers fan and soon to be newlywed is the crew-scheduling intern during the Spring 2013 semester. He is responsible for numerous updates within the company as well as making effective power points.

"It's a lot of day-to-day stuff, and it encompasses a number of different tasks, but I am thankful to have the chance to be somewhat creative in the work I am given," Hernandez said.

Coming from the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication, Hernandez said he believes that he was well prepared for the "real world."

"The instructors and administrators taught me the importance of interviewing well and how to stretch my creative abilities. One thing I can be thankful for is the fact that Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication students are qualified and prepared for a wide variety of jobs and internships. So if anything, the College of Media & Communication prepared me by making me more marketable as a potential hire," Hernandez said.

Hernandez has been invited to join the Southwest Airlines team full-time after the spring semester. He said his innovative skills are used well and said he likes working in the creative environment that Southwest Airlines promotes.

Meet Cody:

Cody Hale

After being on the cycling team at Texas Tech University, this recent graduate traded in his bicycle for his Southwest Airlines wings. Hale spends his days interning for the production team of the flight operations segment at Southwest Airlines. He mostly assists in shooting and editing video, but also fulfills other production-related tasks.

Along with the internship, Hale has gathered up the motivation to study, and he recently took the GRE for his graduate school application. Like his roommate, Hernandez, Hale loves working for Southwest Airlines and is hopeful that he will be hired on full-time after his internship. If that does not work out, Hale said he would not mind a little more Lubbock in his life.

"I loved it there and would be excited to pursue the one-year master's program in the College of Media & Communication. After all, there's not many cities with the rolling green hills, beautiful skies, and calm ocean breezes like Lubbock offers," Hale jokes.

Besides his knack for sarcasm, Hale is extremely humbled by his internship at Southwest Airlines and encourages anyone that has any interest in a "fun job" to apply.

Meet Mary-Alex:

Mary-Alex Smith

Goal-oriented and a summertime young woman, Smith said she is happy to be living in a big city like Dallas, and she loves working for Southwest Airlines. This waterskiing fanatic enjoys the thrill of communicating with all the Southwest employees as a ground operations communication intern.

"Every Southwest employee you see, from when you enter the door at the airport, to when you step on the plane, it's my job to communicate with them," Smith said. Although, she believes it is a little intimidating sending out a daily newsletter, creating daily and weekly goals, and writing for the monthly publication From the Ground Up, Smith said she has a lot of fun because she gets to be creative.

Smith applied for this internship as a sophomore, but took some time to better prepare herself before getting the internship post-graduation. Smith said she gained a lot of knowledge from her Public Relations Graphics course, as well as her News Writing course, as daily and weekly duties include creating and writing digital slides. Extremely satisfied with her internship, Smith said, "Yes I am working, and yes I miss Tech and all of my friends, but I look forward to coming to work every day, and I am not sure how many other people can say that."

Meet Linda Rutherford:

Linda Rutherford

Fellow Red Raider, Rutherford has made her way to vice president of communication and strategic outreach for Southwest Airlines. Rutherford interacts with the three interns during intern one-on-one meetings. Company-wide, Southwest Airlines receives more than 10,000 applicants for internship positions, and this year Rutherford said they took 11 interns in the communications segment of the company.

"Our entire team depends on our interns to help provide supplemental staffing on our projects, event planning, and daily tasks," Rutherford said, regarding the interns' responsibility in the company. "We strongly believe that our interns are a crucial element of our staffing; they aren't making coffee."

Rutherford commented on the unique work environment that Southwest Airlines thrives upon, saying the heart of the airline is the people, and they work hard to create a working environment that is welcoming. Rutherford quoted from Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines' founder -- "We take the competition seriously, but we don't take ourselves too seriously."

Southwest Airlines always has been a well-recognized and successful company because of convenience, flexibility, and great staff members. Rutherford, Hernandez, Hale and Smith give a little extra insight to the reason why. Congratulations to these three interns on their post-graduation successes!


Tech PR Dallas Trip
Video by Ben Jarvis

Students of Tech PR visited public relations firms and College of Media & Communication Alumni in the Dallas area in order to see what it is like to work in the real world.

To learn more about Tech PR, click here.


PR Campaigns
By Lauren Glover, photo courtesy Autumn Shafer


Vermilion PR Team

From left: Sara Arnett, McKenzie Jordan, Emily Kaltman, Lauren Varghese, Charly Mayfield, and Cameron Skoczlas

On Jan. 16, they sat through their first day of Public Relations Campaigns. They had heard the horror stories, but they were hopeful. Most of them did not know each other, but by the end of the semester, Vermilion PR team members Sara Arnett, McKenzie Jordan, Emily Kaltman, Charly Mayfield, Cameron Skoczlas, and Lauren Varghese would win a real public relations account.

Public Relations Campaigns is a required course for all public relations majors and usually is taken during a student's last semester. Assistant Professor Autumn Shafer, Ph.D., teaches the capstone course and gives students the opportunity to work with a real client in three groups and produce a campaign for them.

The spring 2013 client, the Lewisville ISD Education Foundation, raises funds and organizes volunteers for the Lewisville Independent School District.

McKenzie Jordan, from Corsicana, Texas, said students did not choose their own groups. Instead, Dr. Shafer organized the teams based off student-provided strengths and weaknesses and group member preferences.

"I think everyone got into the right group where they needed to be," Jordan said. Lauren Varghese, from Plano, Texas, said she knew only one team member before the class.

"The rest were just girls that I had class with, I never talked to them before," Varghese said. "We ended up working really well together, and I enjoyed working with them a lot."

The newly formed group decided on a name first. They chose Vermilion PR.

"We started out as colors, and we were red," Jordan said. "A girl on our team was looking up synonyms of red, and that name stood out. It was bright."

Varghese said the campaign's goal was to raise community awareness about the LEF.

"They are a big deal for Lewisville ISD," Varghese said. "There wasn't a huge amount of people who knew about them like the parents and people outside of the school."

Once Vermilion PR formed as a group, they set to work performing situational analyses and researching the client.

Gathering information about the client was the biggest challenge because the client was not local. Jordan said the group performed online surveys to overcome the geographical challenge, which was good practice.

Emily Kaltman, from Cedar Park, Texas, said the most difficult night was the night before the first draft deadline. Vermilion PR met for 12 hours.

"Everyone in class the next day was a complete zombie, but I think it shows the work ethic our group had and the amount of work ethic you have to have to succeed in that class."

They were zombies, but they won the account.

"We were really happy with what we did, and we were glad LEF enjoyed what we had given them. We were really happy that we were able to help them." — Cameron Skoczlas

Cameron Skoczlas, a graduate student from Arlington, Texas, said Vermilion PR members started texting each other to congratulate everyone after they found out.

"We were really happy with what we did, and we were glad LEF enjoyed what we had given them," Skoczlas said. "We were really happy that we were able to help them."

Varghese said their work ethic helped them win.

"Every time we had something to turn in, we made sure we spent as much time as possible and made sure our information was the best information possible," Varghese said.

Vermilion PR stood out for other reasons as well. Skoczlas cited their consistent message of building relationships, while Jordan pointed to their multiple-platform campaign.

"We didn't just focus on social media or newspaper," Jordan said. "We did a lot of different things."

"I think that made us stand out to our client because they have a really diverse audience they are trying to reach because Lewisville is a huge district."

Kaltman said the most valuable aspect of PR Campaigns is the opportunity to interact with a real client.

"A lot of classes I took were hypothetical situations, but with campaigns it is real," Kaltman said. "You are working with a client, and you have to understand what they want and what works best for them. I think it was a really valuable experience."


Alumni Spotlight: Taylor Shofner
Video by Ben Jarvis

Recent advertising and electronic media & communications graduate, Taylor Shofner, talks about his new job at RD Thomas Advertising agency in Lubbock and gives some advice to students.

To learn more about TTASEM, Ad Team and our other student organizations, click here.

To learn more about The HUB@TTU, visit www.ttuhub.net.


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