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University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor’s TikTok assignment goes viral

Posted on: December 11th, 2019 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism student Ashley Watts created a TikTok video as an assignment in her J310: Social Media in Society class led by professor Brad Conaway, and it went viral.

“It has now been viewed by 7.4 million people, has 1.5 million likes, and has been shared 14,900 times,” Watts said. “Isn’t that crazy?”

You can view the TikTok video here or click the image below. 

Ashley Watts and family.

Ashley Watts and family.

We asked Conaway a little about the assignment and viral video.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the class you are teaching?

A. Journalism 310: Social Media in Society. The version I taught this semester was an online course… Each week, students were given articles, books, podcasts, movies, web videos, etc. to consume to do an assignment (either a quiz, essay, or something that specifically had to do with the lesson.) We tried to cover all of the latest, most important social media topics and themes. From shaming to privacy to influencers … We kept up all semesters with what was going on at Facebook the last few months.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the assignment you gave students?

A. The last section/unit was on “The Future of Social Media.” TikTok is an extremely popular app among under 20 year-olds (#1 most downloaded social media app worldwide last year), and the audience is growing up, and it is becoming a go-to place for digital marketing because of the demo and… well, it’s just fun – hypnotic and addictive.

The assignment was to watch “about an hour” of TikTok and then either make a video based on a current trend or write a paper about a current trend.

Brad Conaway

Brad Conaway

Q. What did this student do, in particular?

A. Produced a series of short, funny, sequential, videos staring her family that appeared as text messages on her phone… Used a great music sample from the app (Tricky by Run DMC) and delivered the message/punchline “Happy Thanksgiving.” Giving it a “now” angle that the app loves.

Q. The TikTok assignment went viral. Why do you think it went viral?

A. It was of the moment, with the Thanksgiving message (current)… The family is attractive and delivered the jokes like you’d want your own family to (relatable). It was funny in a goofy, corny way that kids love and relate to…. It wasn’t trying too hard to be cool. Mostly, the timing was impeccable… It gained a good following immediately, and apparently made it to the For You  page, (which is where content is featured and delivered to most users)… Then steady growth for a few days.

Provost Scholars make up more than 10% of our school for Fall 2019

Posted on: December 9th, 2019 by drwenger

The Provost Scholars Program recognizes and rewards talented Ole Miss students for their academic performance. The School of Journalism and New Media is delighted to say congratulations to approximately 200 Provost Scholars who are a part of our school this semester.

UM grad returns to discuss possible creation of Chair of Excellence in Investigative Reporting and Opinion Writing

Posted on: December 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

James Dickerson, head of the publishing company Sartoris Literary Group, recently visited the School of Journalism and New Media.

The 1968 University of Mississippi graduate came to discuss the possibility of creating a Chair of Excellence in Investigative Reporting and Opinion Writing with a focus on newspapers, magazines and books. Dickerson also discussed the creation of a James L. Dickerson Literary Trust, making an endowment for the chair.

James Dickerson

Jim Dickerson, author, journalist, musician, music historian, and alumnus of The University of Mississippi, holds up one of his music columns as he talks with students at lunch in the Overby Boardroom. Photo by Michael Fagans.

Dickerson has authored more than 30 books. He worked as a staff writer and editor at three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers—The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tennessee; the Clarion Ledger/Jackson Daily News of Jackson, Mississippi; and the Delta Democrat-Times of Greenville, Mississippi.

In the 1980s, he published and edited a national magazine titled Nine-O-One Network that made history by becoming the first magazine published in the South to obtain newsstand distribution in all 50 states and overseas in countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal.

The discussion stems from the success of his book Colonel Tom Parker: The Curious Life of Elvis Presley’s Eccentric Manager, an investigative biography.

Originally published in 2001 by Cooper Square Press, Dickerson purchased the book rights two years ago and republished it under his Sartoris imprint.

Dickerson met with staff and spoke during classes with journalism and IMC students.

IMC master’s student named Forbes 30 Under 30 scholar

Posted on: December 5th, 2019 by ldrucker

Ro Rhodes talks about her future with an inspiring brand of confidence that makes you believe she will succeed no matter what life throws at her.

The University of Mississippi master’s student in integrated marketing communications recently was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 scholar and invited to the Forbes Under 30 Summit. The elite program, held Oct. 27-30 in Detroit, included a star-studded speaker’s roll with tennis star Serena Williams, NBA star Kevin Durant, actress Olivia Munn, rapper 21 Savage and many more.

The event also included a community service day, music festival and breakout sessions with major figures from technology, entertainment, finance, fashion, food and philanthropy.

“To see other people who are just as eager and excited about what they are working in, and relate my story to them, was really cool,” Rhodes said. “A big takeaway was that you’re not the only one, so you need to be constantly working because there are other people all around the country trying to do whatever you’re doing.”

Ro Rhodes

Ro Rhodes

Rhodes noticed that many presenters and people she met had different stories and pathways to their success, which helped her understand more about what goes into climbing to the top.

“There are multiple ways to get to the end, but really seeing how many different paths you can take and still be someone in their field to look up to and appreciate is really cool,” Rhodes said. “It was just a really good experience to be around people like that.”

The program gives high-achieving students a well-rounded experience, said Laura Brusca, Forbes vice president of corporate communications.

“This program is designed to increase diversity and give entrepreneurial-minded, high-achieving students low-cost access to four days of programming that will help them think more broadly about social, economic and geopolitical issues impacting our world today,” Brusca said.

Rhodes, a Jersey City, New Jersey native, already has completed internships with the NFL and the NBA, and she dreams of being head of marketing for an NBA team one day.

She works as a graduate assistant in the UM Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. She deals mainly with the fan experience, helping shape the atmosphere at Ole Miss sporting events.

She believes the specialty will continue to grow, as venues find ways to compete with high-definition TV and the comfort of home to try to get people in the seats.

“I once realized none of my favorite sports experiences have been on the couch; they have always been there in the crowd and on the court,” Rhodes said.

Jason List, associate athletics director for marketing and fan experience, who supervises Rhodes, said what she brings to the team is not measurable.

“She’s the person you go to when you know something is going to be seen by 60,000 people and it has to be perfect,” List said. “But her contagious personality is her best quality. She makes the people around her better. You don’t find all that in a person her age very often.”

She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, where her dad, Rodrick Rhodes, was a basketball standout before transferring to the University of Southern California. He was selected by the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 1997 NBA draft, and his career also included stops with the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks.

Her father has been a huge influence on Rhodes’ life, but she doesn’t drop his name to get ahead. She worked at Ole Miss for seven months before one of her coworkers even found out that her dad played for the Grizzlies, his favorite NBA team.

“I’ve just never wanted anyone to think I got to where I am because of who he is,” she said. “I have done a great job of making my own pathway, but if it comes up, it fits in the story, but I try not to lead with that because I just want people to know I put in the hard work to get to where I am.”

Rodrick Rhodes’ relentless focus on pursuing his NBA dream is an inspiration to his daughter, she said. She realized her dad accomplished something only a tiny percentage of the population ever does – getting to play professional sports. Her mother, Sharnese Johnson, also taught her persistence and how to constantly try to get better, Rhodes said.

Though her dad’s shadow is large at Kentucky, Rhodes loved working there. And while she hails from the Garden State, she fits in around Southerners, she said. She knew when she was searching for graduate assistantships that she wanted to stay in the Southeastern Conference.

“I realized that Kentucky and Ole Miss have different traditions, but they definitely value tradition as a whole,” Rhodes said. “It is something that they hold dear.

“So when I found that out and did a little more research, it just kind of felt natural to come to Ole Miss. It all just flowed. I just knew this was the next step.”

She’s found her classes rewarding, as well as being at the table during meetings in athletics and seeing how decisions are made, why they are made and how they are carried out, she said. She is on track to graduate with her master’s degree in May.

Ole Miss has prepared her well for her career path, she said.

“I have had a great time at the university, and I’m sad that it’s drawing to a close, but I know that once you’re here, you’re always welcomed back,” Rhodes said. “I know Ole Miss will always hold a special place for me as the place where I did that final push into being a grownup and transitioned into being a working professional.

“Ole Miss has given me the tools to make that transition gracefully.”

This story was written by Michael Newsom of University Communications.

Column: Being part of a military family can be challenging and rewarding

Posted on: November 29th, 2019 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media journalism student Madisyn Bornfleth, 20, is a junior from Swansboro, North Carolina. When her family moved to Meridian, she learned about the University of Mississippi. She was determined to attend Arizona State University, since most of her friends did, but after touring Ole Miss with a friend, she became a Rebel.

Madisyn Bornfleth and family.

Madisyn Bornfleth and family.

Bornfleth came to college to study nursing, but decided to pursue writing, reading and sports. She is pursuing a career in sports journalism. She hopes to intern for ESPN or the SEC network. Her dream job is to become a sports sideline reporter for the NFL.

She plans on moving back to Arizona after graduation, but now, she’s seeking an internship. Read her column about growing up in a military family on OxfordStories.net.

Q & A with Matthew Hendley; 60 Minutes intern and News21 fellow

Posted on: November 27th, 2019 by ldrucker

Matthew Hendley, a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student, has been selected for News21, a national college journalism program that tackles one tough subject every year.

Hendley is a junior broadcast journalism major from Madison, Mississippi. He has worked as a NewsWatch Ole Miss anchor, play-by-play announcer for Rebel Radio and local government reporter at the Beat Reporter. In his freshman year, Hendley won first place in the Southeast Journalism Conference TV newscast anchoring competition.

We asked Hendley a few questions about the program and other journalism opportunities he has experienced through UM.

Q: In 2020, News21 will be examining violent crimes committed by juveniles across the country and how they are treated before, during and after incarceration. Do you think this will be an interesting topic to explore?

A: This project is going to be extremely interesting to dive into. I’ll be in a class for the entire spring semester dedicated solely to this topic. Nearly 53,000 youth are held in facilities away from home as a result of juvenile or criminal justice involvement on any given day. Though I’m still fresh on this topic, I think it will be fascinating to look deeper into the more serious crimes that juveniles commit, and how that affects their image in the eyes of the justice system, as well as society.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Q: Brittany Brown, another student who was enrolled in our program, worked with News21 recently. Have you had a chance to talk to her about her experience?

A: Brittany thinks very highly of the program. I think the experience was great for her, and the work she and her team produced is evidence of that. “Hate in America” (the name of the documentary Brown and her team produced) was excellent journalism. Brittany gave me tips for my application and even put in a good word. She and others made it a very smooth process.

Q: What led you to apply for the opportunity?

A. The school sends an application to the program on behalf of one student, so when Dr. Wenger asked me if I would consider applying, I jumped on the opportunity. I owe my gratitude to my advisors, mentors and deans. I feel very honored.

Q: What do you hope to gain from the experience?

A: It’ll be cool to be at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State. Chasing the story around the country will be fun. I look forward to working with a team of journalists from places vastly different than Mississippi. Dublin? British Columbia? That’s pretty awesome. I’m excited to see how we approach this project given our various backgrounds. My hope is that my lens continues to widen as I’m exposed to the experiences and difficulties of those involved in our investigation. The News21 teams in the past have produced impressive, award-winning works of journalism. I have faith that we’ll do the same.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Q: You are currently interning in New York with the long-running television news program “60 Minutes.” What has that experience been like?

A: “60 Minutes” is going well and just about to wrap up. It’s always interesting working in a news environment in the time we live in. Obviously, “60 Minutes” isn’t your typical newsroom. I’m observing and learning how to take it slow and really investigate a story through research and preparation. It is incredible to see how many elements are involved in creating what ends up going on air. The editorial eye here is world class, and I feel privileged that they even let me in the building.

News21’s participating universities include Butler University, DePauw University, Dublin City (Ireland) University, Elon University, Kent State University, Morgan State University, St. Bonaventure University, Syracuse University, University of British Columbia, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Mississippi, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. In addition, approximately a dozen ASU students will be part of the program.

Column: As a UM Ambassador, I helped new students realize Ole Miss is their home

Posted on: November 25th, 2019 by ldrucker

Check out IMC student Karly Caton’s journey to Ole Miss, where she became a UM Ambassador because she wanted to help other students feel welcome.

Caton, 21, is a senior from Virginia Beach, Virginia pursuing a bachelor’s degree in IMC with a minor in business and a specialization in public relations. She hopes to pursue a career in advertising.

Read her column on OxfordStories.net here.

Karly Caton

Karly Caton

 

‘The Velvet Ditch’ Gets Velvet Magazine: Ole Miss senior Alexi Alonso launches new fashion magazine

Posted on: November 21st, 2019 by ldrucker

Many students need all four years of their college experience to find their true passion.

But University of Mississippi senior Alexi Alonso has already found her calling and is knee-deep in turning her dreams into reality. The integrated marketing communications major from West Palm Beach, Florida, has started the university’s first-ever fashion magazine, called Velvet.

The publication connects to one of Oxford’s nicknames: “The Velvet Ditch,” meaning a place you can fall into and get comfortable. The magazine focuses on modern, trendy college students and will cover fashion, beauty, culture and lifestyle on campus and in town.

The Velvet team from the UM School of Journalism and New Media meets once a week to work on the magazine. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The Velvet team from the UM School of Journalism and New Media meets once a week to work on the magazine. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“I want it to go beyond just the university and really connect with the Oxford community,” said Alonso, who serves as editor-in-chief.

After taking graphic design and fashion promotion classes her junior year, Alonso was inspired to create a magazine that would do more than just showcase the trendy dressers around town. Once she graduates, the magazine will continue to be operated by the School of Journalism and New Media and the creative team she has assembled.

“I want it to have a lasting impact on the IMC department and to grow our fashion department,” Alonso said. “I also want it to be a magazine for students, by students.”

The online version of the magazine is set to launch in December, and Alonso plans to eventually develop a print version as well.

Alexi Alonso, a senior integrated marketing communications major, started Velvet, which launches in December. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Alexi Alonso, a senior integrated marketing communications major, started Velvet, which launches in December. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Alonso began acting on her ideas during the 2019 spring semester by putting her plans on paper and reaching out to as many professors as she could. Debora Wenger, assistant dean for partnerships and innovation and professor of journalism, saw potential in the idea and gave Alonso the support she needed to get the magazine on its feet.

“There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than seeing some of our students get excited about doing real work for real audiences,” Wenger said. “Alexi is taking everything she’s learned in our program and on her internships to create something that we both hope will have a lasting effect on our school and our university.”

Wenger helped arrange an interest meeting for the magazine in April, and the turnout far exceeded Alonso’s expectations. She has a team of 35 students who come together every week to combine their love for fashion with love for the university and to put into practice what they’ve learned at Ole Miss.

“My team is so dedicated and determined,” Alonso said. “We’re all on the same page all the time and it’s so amazing.”

She intends to stay involved with the magazine after she graduates in May. She hopes the university and her team will take the publication to the next level once she is gone.

Wenger shares confidence in the future of Velvet.

“I think the sky’s the limit for this magazine,” Wenger said. “All you have to do is look around the Grove on game day or on the Square on a Saturday night and you know we have plenty of fashionistas at Ole Miss.”

Alonso wants to incorporate stories about inspiring Ole Miss alumni into the magazine in the future, and whether she realizes it yet or not, she just might be one of those inspirations.

“Lots of people can get very enthusiastic about a project but aren’t willing to do the research, the organizing and the oversight that’s needed to make that project a success,” Wenger said. “Alexi is an entrepreneur at heart, and I just know she is going to be coming back to campus in five years to give speeches on how to succeed.”

This story was written by Caroline Cline for UM Communications.

Q & A with UM journalism students interning for 60 Minutes, Fortune magazine

Posted on: November 11th, 2019 by ldrucker

Two University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students are in New York this semester, taking classes and interning through the Semester in Journalism program operated by a journalism institute at The King’s College in NYC.

60 Minutes intern Matthew Hendley is a junior broadcast journalism major from Madison, Mississippi. He has worked as a NewsWatch Ole Miss anchor, play-by-play announcer for Rebel Radio and local government reporter at the Beat Reporter. In his freshman year, Matthew won first place in the Southeast Journalism Conference TV newscast anchoring competition.

Fortune magazine intern Hadley Hitson is a junior journalism and Spanish double-major from Mountain Brook, Alabama. She has worked as a Daily Mississippian writer and assistant news editor, an intern in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Public Affairs, and with the White House Internship Program in the Communications and Press Office.

The New York City Semester program partners with 37 universities.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Matthew Hendley

Tell us about your internship. What’s a typical day like?

I get in around 10 and take care of my intern duties – distributing papers to correspondents and producers, stocking the kitchen and refilling printers. Then I usually have an assignment once I get settled at my desk. It’s all about forming relationships with the producers. They give you simple tasks, and if you do it well, then they’ll give you more work. Eventually, they trust you with actual reporting – calling courtrooms, getting information, conducting research and aggregation – and you become an essential part of the story production. In my downtime, I work on story pitches and answer phone calls from viewers.

How are you using the skills you learned in your journalism classes and at the Student Media Center? 

Aside from learning to be a student of current events and fluent in news lingo, I use several other reporting tactics and journalistic techniques I learned from the SMC and in the classroom at Ole Miss: Whether it’s calling sources and knowing how to ask for what you want, thinking through and constructing complete story ideas, or simply interpreting news stories and research related to a story being investigated by 60 Minutes – these are all things I learned from working at NewsWatch and deciding to view daily life through a journalistic lens.

What’s the single most exciting or memorable thing that has happened to you so far during your internship?

Probably meeting and chatting with Anderson Cooper. Or getting coffee for Adam Sandler.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

What’s been your favorite assignment so far? 

We spent weeks pulling pictures and posts from alleged Russian operative Maria Butina’s Facebook pages. The producers ended up using several of the photos we pulled in the story that went to air. It’s great getting to see how our small, yet tedious work contributed greatly to such a big story.

What do you miss most about Ole Miss while you are away? 

Aside from football season, the community and atmosphere in Oxford, I miss reporting. For student journalists, we’re blessed with the curse of attending a school where there always seems to be something newsworthy happening. I miss being a part of those stories.

What advice would you give other students interested in the Semester in Journalism program? 

If you want to give New York a test run, do this program. You’ll learn from talented former journalists who’ll guide you if you need it. It might seem scary, but it’s really not all that crazy. Ole Miss students have really stood out in this program. Our journalism school puts us above the fold. I’d suggest applying for the internship you want in NYC rather than waiting to be placed in one by NYCJ. That’s how I landed 60 Minutes.

Anything else you’d like to tell us? 

A few days ago, I hopped on a 9-hour bus ride to Buffalo to chase a story for my religion reporting class. And that’s why I love it up here. There’s a gold mine of stories, and they’re all within reach. When it comes to a good story, sometimes you just gotta do it.

Hadley Hitson

Hadley Hitson

Hadley Hitson 

Tell us about your internship. What’s a typical day like?

No two days interning at Fortune Magazine have been the same. Whether I’m sitting in on editorial brainstorms, pitching my own articles to editors, doing research for Fortune‘s famous lists or working on the backend of the website to help publish content, I am getting the opportunity to do real work for a magazine with a readership of nearly 5 million people. So far, I have been published with an individual byline four times online and twice in print.

How are you using the skills you learned in your journalism classes and at the Student Media Center?

Nothing could have better prepared me for this internship than working for The Daily Mississippian. Thinking of creative story angles, writing articles on quick-turnaround deadlines and being able to work well with editors are just a few of the many skills the DM taught me that I use on a daily basis at Fortune.

What’s the single most exciting or memorable thing that has happened to you so far during your internship?

I don’t think anything can compare to the elation I felt seeing my byline printed in Fortune for the first time. The first week I started, I was able to help research and write for Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women International list, which appeared in the October issue of the magazine. Going to the newsstand to buy that issue and being able to retweet the article from Fortune‘s verified Twitter, those were my two favorite moments.

What’s been your favorite assignment so far? 

I was initially nervous about the fact that Fortune is a business magazine, but I have discovered so many business-related topics that I want to learn more about. For the November issue, I pitched an article about the current state of election security one year out from the 2020 vote, and somehow, my editor liked the idea. Writing that article and really digging into what officials and experts still think needs to change before next November was definitely my favorite assignment thus far.

What do you miss most about Ole Miss while you are away? 

Hands down, the two parts of Ole Miss that I miss the most are The Daily Mississippian and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. I love that I’m getting to cover national topics like election security, but I really do miss reporting on Oxford, especially with all of the news that has happened since I’ve been gone.

What advice would you give other students interested in the Semester in Journalism program? 

Apply! Even if you don’t think New York is the city for you, even if you’re worried about missing Oxford and your friends there, you should challenge yourself to learn by experience. The King’s College is almost the exact opposite of the University of Mississippi. It has less than a thousand students. It is located in the most populous city in the United States, and it is a Christian liberal arts school. NYCJ is the chance to experience and grow in this contrasting environment for one semester with the safety net of knowing you can return home to Ole Miss the next.

 

Integrated marketing communication master’s student selected as Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar

Posted on: November 6th, 2019 by ldrucker

Out of thousands of students around the world, integrated marketing communication master’s student Ro Rhodes was selected as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar.

This unique honor is given to high-achieving students who represent the entrepreneurial spirit of Forbes. Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholars are invited to attend the 2019 Forbes Under 30 Summit held Oct. 27-30 in Detroit, Michigan.

The Under 30 Summit features industry networking sessions, field trips in Detroit, a community service day, a music festival, and the chance to participate in sessions featuring some of the biggest names today in technology, entertainment, finance, fashion, food and philanthropy.

Highlighted speakers included Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Olivia Munn, 21 Savage, and many more.

“This program is designed to increase diversity and give entrepreneurial minded, high-achieving students low-cost access to four days of programming that will help them think more broadly about social, economic, and geo-political issues impacting our world today,” said Laura Brusca, Forbes’ vice president of corporate communications.

Brusca shared that scholars are chosen based on numerous criteria, including a written statement on how they represent the “Under 30” tenets of leadership and innovation.

Ro Rhodes answered the Graduate School’s questions in a brief interview.

Graduate School: How did it feel to be notified that you are a 30 Under 30 Scholar?

Ro Rhodes: I was really nervous because it had been some time since I had applied. Once I saw the email congratulating me, it was a huge relief. Then I immediately thought this is a huge honor and opportunity to represent not only myself but the university as well.

Graduate School: How did you hear about the Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholars program and did someone encourage you to apply?

Ro Rhodes: I am always looking for opportunities to participate in career development. So last year I actually came across the conference, but missed the deadline to apply, so I was hyper aware this year of the deadline. I wouldn’t say anyone specifically encouraged me to apply, but all of my mentors constantly encourage me to better and grow myself.

Graduate School: What experience are you most looking forward to as part of the Under 30 Summit?

Ro Rhodes: Any speakers within the sports world I am excited to hear speak, but more so Serena Williams. I think she is a huge role model for young women looking to accomplish dreams and goals.

Graduate School: What did you share about in your essay?

Ro Rhodes: I focused on my journey, where I see myself in the future, and the things I’m going to do to make a difference within my career field. I was very honest about all the help I received to get to where I am today and wanting to transform that knowledge to the young professionals who have ideas, but lack the guidance to execute their ideas.

Graduate School: Is there anything else you would like us to know about the Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholars program?

Ro Rhodes: I really am excited to learn from the great individuals, but also to share my current experiences at the University of Mississippi and how it has shaped me into a working professional I am proud of and still working on today.