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You might say IMC is in the DNA of this Germantown graduate

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by ldrucker
Integrated marketing communications is Arabella Hamm's DNA. With a mom who has worked as a brand strategist and a father who was a creative director, studying IMC came natural, but it took her a while to realize that she had been on an IMC career path since she was a teenager.

You might say that IMC is Arabella Hamm’s DNA.

With a mom who has worked as a brand strategist and a father who was a creative director, studying IMC came naturally, but it took Hamm a while to realize that she had been on an IMC career path since she was born.

“When I entered the University of Mississippi, and it was time to declare a major, I was left a little disappointed because I had watched so many people around me have this ‘Eureka!’ moment when discovering their career path,” Hamm said. “I waited for so long on an epiphany to come to me to let me know what I was meant to do, but this quick rush of a feeling never came. Instead, I came to more of a realization.”

The Germantown, Tennessee native said she was born into an IMC family. She is just one of the school’s 2022 graduates who shared her Journey to Commencement.

“My mother, the MBA in Economics, has been a brand strategist and principal on the agency side and held the title of chief marketing officer on the client-side of the equation,” she said. “My father began his career as a copywriter and speechwriter and has since been a producer, an editor, and a creative director.”

Hamm said her life has been surrounded by marketing, advertising, branding, sponsorships, and public relations.

“Before I could tie my shoes, I was on the set of photo, video, and TV shoots,” she said. “As a child, I sat on the ottoman in my father’s office, thumbing through stacks of Communication Arts, Print, and How magazines. Later, my mother had me arrange the volumes of Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and AdWeek in chronological order on her credenza.”

Integrated marketing communications is Lilly Hamm's DNA. With a mom who has worked as a brand strategist and a father who was a creative director, studying IMC came natural, but it took her a while to realize that she had been on an IMC career path since she was a teenager.

Over the years, Hamm said she checked media credentials, filled welcome bags, and served as a photographer at special events. In high school, she interned at a branding agency where she gathered travel data for a tourism client and used the information to create social media content.

“So, it was finally obvious to me,” she said. “I did not need a ‘lightbulb moment,’ because marketing has always been with me. It is in my DNA. I am wired for this program.

“Fast forward four years later, and I am set to receive my bachelor’s degree in integrated marketing communications. In retrospect, I cannot imagine it any other way.”

On campus, Hamm was a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Chi Omega Tau Sorority. In Honors College, she delved deep into her studies, introduced to subjects she would have never otherwise explored, she said.

Completing her Honors thesis was also valuable.

“The process of researching my subject, interviewing an amazing array of industry experts, working with my advisor, Dr. (Graham) Bodie to edit, revise and edit again has been the most simultaneously challenging and most enlightening experience to date,” she said. “As I answer these questions, I am completing and preparing to defend my thesis: Grabbing Consumers by the Ears: Exploring the Power of Branded Podcasts.”

Bodie said Arabella reached out to him in October of 2020 seeking a chair for her Honors thesis project.

“Her passion for podcasts was obvious at the time, and that enthusiasm only grew as we settled on a specific focus, the branded podcast,” he said. “It’s refreshing to work with students like Arabella who pose questions that don’t yet have answers and who work diligently to, not only find answers, but continue to ask interesting and field-shaping questions.

“Indeed, research is as much about asking useful questions as it is about putting forth answers, and Arabella gets that. She is already thinking like a graduate student, well on her way to making solid contributions to our understanding of IMC. The future of our field is strong with student-scholars like Arabella.”

Hamm said some of her favorite classes were IMC 304: Account Planning and IMC 455: IMC Campaigns.

“But my most interesting class that I will remember forever was Philosophy of Film with Dr. Timothy Yenter,” she said. “Towards the end of our class, we had the opportunity to travel to Columbia, Missouri to take part in the True/False Film Festival. This was my first-time studying film, and it was such a unique experience that I feel I would not be able to get anywhere else.”

After graduation, Hamm will be attending graduate school at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media to earn her Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication. She recently accepted a position as a graduate assistant for the Division of Diversity Community and Engagement at Ole Miss.

“I feel like sometimes it is easy to look around at the thousands of kids in college and think they are all living these perfect lives where they are having this fun college experience and doing so well in school,” she said. “But this assumption is usually incorrect. I think it’s okay to feel lost at times, and I wish someone had told me that sooner.”

Hamm said not everyone has everything planned out, and that’s OK. That’s what college is for.

“The beauty of a great college is that it is there to educate and inspire; to distract and open doors you had no idea even existed,” she said. “You just have to keep your eyes open and recognize opportunities when they present themselves. But whatever you do, do not give up because it looks like everyone else around you is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Chances are they are experiencing the same doubts and obstacles you are. They just don’t look like it on Instagram.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

Journalism is a family legacy for University of Mississippi grad, now New Orleans reporter and anchor

Posted on: March 17th, 2022 by ldrucker

There is no such thing as a typical day for Peyton LoCicero Trist, breaking news reporter and fill-in anchor at WGNO, an ABC affiliate in New Orleans. When her alarm goes off at 2:30 a.m. each morning, she never knows where the day is headed.

“I can be out talking about the Mardi Gras horses up for adoption and then have to run over and talk about a murder case that could be a possible serial killer,” said LoCicero Trist. Each day can require five to 10 live shots.

LoCicero Trist developed a love for journalism at an early age. Her mother worked as an anchor in Baton Rouge, her hometown, and some of her favorite childhood memories began with her mother waking her up in the early hours of the morning and taking her to the studio, where she saw the ins and outs of newsmaking.

Peyton LoCicero Trist on the set of WGNO. Submitted photo.

Peyton LoCicero Trist on the set of WGNO. Submitted photo.

Her days with her mother at the studio ended when her parents moved and started a business in Destin, Florida, right before she began middle school. While Hurricane Katrina made 2005 a bad year for most Louisianans and Southerners, it was a good year for LoCicero Trist.

“For me, it was such a blessing because I was struggling to make friends in Destin,” she said, “and all of the sudden, all these refugees came to my school, and they were feeling just as displaced as me.”

Carley Keyes, one of LoCicero Trist’s sorority sisters and friends, met her in college.

“She was so personal and bubbly,” said Keyes. “She always had a smile on her face and always seemed to find the good in everything.”

Today, she is known as “Positive P” by her coworkers. She has learned the hard way that someone within the station has to be willing to rally others. In challenging times, it is important to have a voice of reassurance.

Choosing the University of Mississippi was a no-brainer for LoCicero Trist. She attended Junior Preview Day and fell in love with the campus and Oxford culture. She served as an anchor for NewsWatch, the campus television station, and wrote for HottyToddy.com.

You can read LoCicero Trist’s full story at OxfordStories.net.

To learn more about the School of Journalism and New Media’s journalism and IMC programs, visit our website.

This story was written by Deja Errington for Oxford Stories.

University of Mississippi integrated marketing communications program turns 10

Posted on: December 5th, 2021 by ldrucker

Young program, one of university’s largest, thanks to passionate faculty and alumni

Scott Fiene remembers watching the first handful of integrated marketing communications students walk across the commencement stage in 2013, completely unaware that in less than a decade, he would be watching hundreds of IMC graduates cross the stage each year.

The University of Mississippi‘s IMC program began with 51 students in the School of Journalism and New Media in 2011, and has since boomed to just under 1,200 enrolled.

The unprecedented growth is thanks in large part to the passion of the faculty members and IMC professionals who take students out of the classroom and into the ever-changing world of marketing and communications.

Archive Photo: Sports marketing professional Scott Pederson talks to students in an IMC Sports Marketing intersession class in Farley Hall. Part of what has made the Ole Miss IMC program so successful in its first decade is the ability to bring passionate practitioners into the classroom. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Archive Photo: Sports marketing professional Scott Pederson talks to students in an IMC Sports Marketing intersession class in Farley Hall. Part of what has made the Ole Miss IMC program so successful in its first decade is the ability to bring passionate practitioners into the classroom. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services.Passion for the Work

Debora Wenger, interim dean of the journalism school, was the administrator tasked with being the “paper pusher,” as she describes it, shepherding the program through the creation and approval process, but she credits Fiene with being IMC’s greatest advocate and promoter on campus. Fiene was assistant dean of curriculum and assessment for the program during its unprecedented growth.

“Scott really nurtured it,” she said. “The program grew because of Scott’s passion and dedication. He has incredible enthusiasm for the program and his passion is infectious. Students would take his class and then switch majors because he made it so engaging for them.”

Fiene passes that credit on to the faculty the program has been able to assemble over the past decade.

“Our faculty really care and put students first,” Fiene said. “I don’t recall sitting down and saying, ‘This is how we’re going to grow, and this is the experience we’re going to deliver to these kids.’

“A lot of it is simply the attitudes of the people we hired who have had very successful careers and now want to teach because they have an absolute passion for this.”

Archive Photo: Students take notes during a lecture in Robin Street’s IMC 491 class. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Archive Photo: Students take notes during a lecture in Robin Street’s IMC 491 class. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services.

The passion for students is evident. Even on sabbatical, Fiene finds himself following his graduates as they enter the job market and move into leadership positions around the country.

Jackson Sepko, a senior IMC major from Collierville, Tennessee, first encountered the IMC faculty’s enthusiasm the spring before his freshman year. After his tweet about Ole Miss baseball went viral within the Ole Miss sports online community, he received a direct message from IMC professor Debbie Hall asking if he was an IMC major.

Sepko had already signed up to be an IMC major, but it was a series of continued positive, affirming and proactive interactions like the one he had on Twitter that gave him the confidence to pursue more and more competitive opportunities. During his freshman year, Hall encouraged Sepko to pursue a PGA internship reserved for juniors and seniors.

“Every single professional opportunity I’ve had has been because of an IMC professor,” Sepko said. “Once a professor understands a student’s passions, they plug them into the classes and experiences and introduce those students to the people who are doing it in the real world.”

This semester, Sepko is applying his IMC experience as a digital media marketing assistant for the Ole Miss Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Clare Combs, a 2021 IMC graduate from Austin, Texas, is a community manager at Likeable Media in New York. Combs recalled the way Hall, her professor and academic adviser, made her feel welcome on the first day of class. Running late, Combs rushed to class through the rain and then slipped and fell the moment she arrived in class.

“I was so embarrassed,” Combs said. “But Mrs. Hall immediately directed the class’s attention to herself so I could quietly make it to my seat. After class I thanked her, and she told me, ‘I never want my students to feel anything other than great in my class.’”

After that, Combs took one of Hall’s classes every semester and relied on Hall as a mentor and sounding board while looking for her first job after graduation.

Dennis Irwin teaches students. n 2011, the Integrated Marketing Communications program at #OleMiss began with 51 students. Today, the program is one of the largest at the university, with just under 1,200 students enrolled.

Dennis Irwin, associate director of marketing and brand strategy for the University of Mississippi, teaches students. In 2011, the Integrated Marketing Communications program at #OleMiss began with 51 students. Today, the program is one of the largest at the university, with just under 1,200 students enrolled.

Real-World Application

In its early days, the IMC program took a few plays out of the journalism school’s playbook. The faculty frequently invites successful practitioners to campus to expose students to real-world work while providing networking opportunities with the industry’s best.

Similarly, the faculty places an emphasis on turning classroom theory into practical application.

“We send students out to work with clients in the community,” Fiene said. “We’ve taught campaign classes and we partner with organizations in the community so our kids can put together a full IMC campaign and pitch to clients.”

IMC faculty members also encourage students to engage in the many media opportunities on campus, including the Student Media Center and the program-run HottyToddy.com, where many students get daily multimedia publishing experience.

“These students are very well-rounded – they learn writing, design, market research, campaign building,” Fiene said. “But it’s those real-life experiences students get that matter, so that when they get a degree it’s not just academic. It has real-world relevance.”

Bright Future

Jason Cain, who succeeds Fiene as the program’s leader, is excited about IMC because the future of business, media and communications is all intertwined.

Whether preparing for careers in advertising, journalism or PR, graduates are finding themselves more and more in integrated roles, Cain said.

“This is where the action is in a lot of ways,” he said. “While more traditional departments are grappling with how to address the future within their silos, IMC is ready-made for straddling all these different channels.

Cain, who joined the faculty in 2016 as an assistant professor of IMC, said he hopes to continue to emphasize the practical side of the program by bringing graduates back to campus so that students can see how they are using their degrees in a professional environment.

The program continues to expand its intersectional role, offering specializations in fashion, health communications, magazine publishing, media sales, public relations, social media, sports communications and promotions, and visual design.

“I think we have a good core group of faculty with a cool skill set,” Cain said. “I know that we can take a healthy program and start diving in a little deeper. We can take a decade of wisdom and filter that back into the course work.”

School of Journalism and New Media leaders establish University of Mississippi PRSSA Chapter

Posted on: November 22nd, 2021 by ldrucker

Undergraduate communications students gain access to extensive career resources, networking and scholarship opportunities

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), an organization for students interested in the public relations and communications fields, has added the University of Mississippi to its network of chapters worldwide.

Under the guidance of experienced faculty advisers, and in coordination with the local Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapter in Memphis, students will have opportunities to further their education, gain valuable career advice and experience, and access a variety of scholarships.

PRSSA has added a total of five new chapters in 2021.

“We’re thrilled to be able to expand our PRSSA footprint in New York and Mississippi,” said Linda Thomas Brooks, chief executive officer, PRSA, in a news release. The organization also added a chapter at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. “The communications profession continues to grow in importance, and skilled practitioners are in high demand at organizations and agencies worldwide. Preparing the next generation of leaders is a hallmark of PRSSA, and we look forward to working with these students to ensure they are ready to succeed in their future endeavors.”

Amanda Sams BradshawDr. Amanda Bradshaw, assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, will serve as faculty adviser to the University of Mississippi PRSSA chapter. She earned a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from West Virginia University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Alabama.

Professionally, she worked as the public relations manager of Preferred Medical Group, a multi-disciplinary, multi-location medical practice. Additionally, she served as director of sales and brand growth for Chick-fil-A in Lawton, Oklahoma. Simultaneously, she owned and operated a social media consulting firm before beginning her doctoral studies.

“We are excited to launch a PRSSA chapter at the state flagship institution, becoming part of an esteemed international organization,” Bradshaw said. “We are also thrilled to collaborate with the wonderful, talented public relations professionals at PRSA Memphis and look forward to learning from and working with them in the coming years. With more than 1,000 IMC majors, our student body is large, and we already have 25 enthusiastic student leaders signed up to serve on our executive board and lead our committees. We are ready to hit the ground running to build the University of Mississippi PRSSA to be the best that it can be.”

Bradshaw said UM has wanted to add a PRSSA chapter for a long time. Professors Debbie Hall and Robin Street have worked to launch a chapter, but the IMC curriculum had to evolve.

“We had to first develop a robust curriculum sequence of at least five public relations courses and additional supplemental courses in the field, which we have now done,” she said. “As we now have that curriculum in place, we qualify to have a chapter. So, we mailed off the 250+ page application to the headquarters in New York (an old-fashioned paper application in a FedEx box), and as they say, the rest is history.”

The University of Mississippi PRSSA chapter members.

The University of Mississippi PRSSA chapter members.

Bradshaw said PRSSA is connecting the school with an international network of chapters that forms the most recognized leading professional organization, serving the communications community.

“Students at the undergraduate and graduate levels have the opportunity to join our campus chapter,” Bradshaw said. “Students can get involved with and gain hands-on experience with social media, recruitment, onboarding, service/philanthropy, fundraising, awards, publicity, public relations content creation, high school outreach, event planning, and more.

“All of these line items look great on a resume for those wanting to enter communication fields. Additionally, students will be eligible to compete for both individual-level and chapter awards in exclusive PRSSA competitions.”

Bradshaw said PRSSA is based on three main pillars: 1) Enhance your education 2) Broaden your network 3) Launch your career.

“Our chapter plans to host monthly activities, bringing in top-notch guest speakers in various sectors of public relations and offering soft skills workshops, such as resume’ reviews and cover letter writing,” she said. “With a strong partnership in place with our sponsor chapter, PRSA Memphis, which is just an hour away, we feel confident that we have the resources and talent to mentor our students to help them map out their career paths and get to the next level in their careers.”

Bradshaw said they are planning a “field trip” to visit an agency in Memphis in the upcoming year and will work with both PRSA Memphis and the University of Memphis PRSSA chapter.

“In addition to strong mentorship locally and nationally, our student members will have the opportunity to travel to conferences, such as ICON– the international PRSA annual conference– to meet professionals in the industry from all over the world,” she said.

QR code

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Students who want to get involved can send an email to: olemissprssa@gmail.com.

The cost to join is $85 per year — $55 for national dues + $30 for local dues. They can pay both at this link: https://www.prsa.org/prssa/join-prssa and/or email the general email address for more questions.

Students can also use this QR code to fill out a brief survey of their interests to get involved with one of our committees and to potentially serve in a leadership role.

Interested students and faculty may also join the school’s LinkedIn group here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12583345/ The first main chapter meeting, an informational session, will be held on Jan. 25, 2022 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. More information will be provided later.

Bradshaw said PRSSA is not just for IMC students in the public relations specialization. It’s for anyone looking to develop their communication skills. If you’re majoring in any of the following, you may want to get involved: advertising, business administration and management, film and video, graphic design, journalism, marketing, political science, public and nonprofit administration, and more.

Talbert Fellows are an elite cohort at the UM School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: November 3rd, 2021 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media Talbert Fellows are journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) students from Mississippi and beyond who are part of an elite program launched last year.

Members include Carleigh Holt, Davan Reece, Emma Harrington, Grace Massengill, Lily Sweet King, Brittany Kohne, Virginia White, Travis Coopwood, Justice Rose, Chloe Calo, Kelby Zendejas, Rabria Moore, Erin Foley, Shayna Saragosa, Summer Keith, Brady Wood, Sahara Portlance, Zoe Keyes, Paleif Raspberry, David Ramsey, Julieanna Jackson, Ava Johnson and Layton Lawhead. We will be sharing their photos and stories on social media.

From left, Grace Massengill, Paleif Raspberry and Chloe Calo attend the latest Talbert Fellows meeting. They listened to a guest speaker who talked about a New York internship program.

From left, Grace Massengill, Paleif Raspberry and Chloe Calo attend the latest Talbert Fellows meeting. They listened to a guest speaker who talked about a New York internship program.

“We are really happy you have joined our school, because in order to be a member of the Talbert Fellows, you have to have shown something exceptional,” Dr. Debora Wenger, interim dean, said during the Talbert Fellows first meeting of the semester.

Dr. R. J. Morgan, instructional associate professor of journalism and director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association, said investing in the Talbert Fellows will be a good investment for the school.

“The other vision is that it would also give you the opportunity to invest in each other,” he said.

Talbert Fellows are selected based on a portfolio of their best work in journalism, integrated marketing communication, video, photography, and other media skills, rather than their GPA or ACT scores. Applicants submit work in the fall and follow the UM scholarship application process.

The Talbert Fellows program offers a scholarship, access to special events, personalized attention and coaching from faculty, among other perks.

“Students have a lot of choices when it comes to finding the right university, and we think the Talbert Fellows program might be just the little extra incentive some need to choose the School of Journalism and New Media,” Wenger said in an earlier interview. “From scholarship money to unique experiential learning opportunities to networking options, the students accepted to become Talbert Fellows will find themselves positioned to become future leaders in the fields of journalism and integrated marketing communications.”

There are many high school students across the country who are proving they are skilled thinkers and innovators at a young age, Morgan said.

“Students like that need to be honored, but more than that, they need to be challenged to reach their full potential,” he said. “This program will help us better identify those students from the outset so that once they arrive on campus, we can focus our best resources on pushing them to an elite level of success.”

The Talbert Fellows program is named after Samuel S. Talbert, Ph.D. The versatile administrator and author wrote three academic books on journalism, several plays and a column published in more than 100 newspapers. He chaired the UM Department of Journalism from 1951 until his death in 1972.

Talbert Fellows selections will follow the university’s annual calendar with new students notified in April and admitted each fall semester. New, transfer and current students are also eligible to apply. Awards are renewable for up to four years.

Applicants must submit a link to their online portfolios and the information required through the University of Mississippi scholarship application portal.

To learn more, contact Morgan at morgan@go.olemiss.edu.

Texas Monthly editor in chief inducted into Alumni Hall of Fame

Posted on: October 11th, 2021 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi journalism graduate was recently inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame. Dan Goodgame, who graduated from UM in 1975, is editor in chief of Texas Monthly, an award-winning magazine that has covered the Lone Star State for 48 years.

The Ole Miss Alumni Association recognized seven distinguished University of Mississippi alumni, including Goodgame and a former professor and campus administrator, with its highest annual awards as part of Homecoming 2021.

Alumni Hall of Fame inductees for 2021 are: Coolidge Ball (BRL 75), of Oxford; Dan Goodgame (BA 75), of San Antonio, Texas; Richard C. O’Ferrall Jr. (BBA 57), of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee; Michael H. Stewart (BA 75, MCJ 78), of Oxford; and Judy Trott (BSHPE 1961, MEd 64, EdD 72), of Oxford.

Ole Miss Alumni Association Names Distinguished Alumni for 2021

Since Goodgame took the helm of Texas Monthly in 2019, “the magazine has sharply increased its online audience and revenue; expanded its storytelling through podcasts, videos, books and live events; and optioned a dozen of its articles to Hollywood for development into movies and video series,” according to a UM news release.

Before joining Texas Monthly, Goodgame served as a vice president for Rackspace, a cloud computing company in San Antonio.

Dan Goodgame. Congratulations Dan Goodgame. University of Mississippi Distinguished Alumnus.

Dan Goodgame. Congratulations Dan Goodgame. University of Mississippi Distinguished Alumnus.

A Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author, Goodgame has interviewed and profiled leaders in many fields, including six U.S. presidents, Saddam Hussein, Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch and Tiger Woods, the UM news release reports. Goodgame served as editor in chief of Fortune Small Business, whose subscribers were 1 million owners of entrepreneurial companies.

He earlier worked for Time magazine as White House correspondent, Washington bureau chief and assistant managing editor. He is co-author of the book “Marching in Place,” about President George H.W. Bush.

Goodgame worked for the Miami Herald as Middle East correspondent in the early 1980s, covering the Israel-Lebanon and Iran-Iraq wars. He started his career as a crime reporter at the Tampa Tribune.

“Goodgame is a native of Pascagoula, where his parents worked at Ingalls Shipbuilding,” UM reports. “After graduating from Ole Miss, he earned an M.Phil. in international relations as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University. He played on the university golf team and rowed for his college.

“During the past 12 years, Goodgame has served on the boards of Texas Public Radio, the World Affairs Council, Medical Foundation and Sports Foundation. His wife, Marcia, a retired journalist and educator, works part-time for the San Antonio Book Festival. They have two sons, Clayton and Sam.”

Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors select alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their country, state or the university through good deeds, services or contributions that have perpetuated the good name of Ole Miss.

Read more about Goodgame and the other Hall of Fame inductees at this link.

University of Mississippi Internship Experience leads Ayers to New York City

Posted on: October 6th, 2021 by ldrucker

Memphis native Molly Ayers, 21, is a senior integrated marketing communications (IMC) major with a minor in general business. She recently gave a presentation during the University of Mississippi Internship Experience. We asked her a few questions about the event and her goals.

Q. What is the UM Internship Experience for those who don’t know? What story did you share about yourself during this event?

A: The Internship Experience is a preparatory class that provides a support system and resources to help with the internship search. For the first semester, we spent the majority of our time on resume work and LinkedIn. We researched the cities we aimed to work in and began compiling a list of possible companies to work for.

When applications opened up, the IE staff helped us with cover letters, interview prep and sent opportunities our way. It was actually Dr. Kristina Phillips who sent me the application for the internship I ended up getting. Additionally, the IE program already had housing picked out in each city, so it took a ton of pressure off me while I was working on my applications. I was the only student who chose NYC as a location, so I was a bit nervous about living up there for a couple of months on my own.

Dr. Laura Antonow, Gabby Coggin, and Dr. Phillips kept in constant contact with me as I was making decisions and planning my trip. Dr. Antonow stayed up in the city for several days to help me get adjusted, which was such a lifesaver.

Molly Ayers leans agains a brick wall.

Molly Ayers

Q. What have been some of your favorite journalism and IMC classes?

A. My favorite IMC class I’ve taken is 104 with Scott Fiene and 306 with Brad Conaway. As a freshman in IMC 104,  Scott Fiene introduced the concept of IMC to me in a way that made me absolutely sure this is the major I wanted to pursue.

IMC 306 with professor Conaway was about internet marketing. We used a social media marketing simulator all semester, and I consider it to be one of the most valuable projects in my college career so far. Jour 273 Creative Visual Thinking was by far my favorite in that department. Professor Joe Abide’s class gave me a completely new set of skills including design and Photoshop. His class is definitely the reason I still pay for an Adobe subscription two years later.

Q. What are your plans or goals for the future? Dream job?

A: When I graduate, I’d love to continue my work for GAPPA (Global Alliance of Partners for Pain Advocacy). I think they have such a strong, important mission and so much room to grow as an organization. Something I learned about myself this summer is that I love talking to people with unique stories and being able to share them. That being said, I think I’d consider promotional marketing for nonprofits my dream job. My goals for the future mostly involve traveling the world (which is where a remote job would be convenient) but eventually, I know I want to move to NYC.

UM School of Journalism and New Media grad student is covering Ole Miss sports for Sports Illustrated

Posted on: September 22nd, 2021 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate student is covering Ole Miss sports for Sports Illustrated magazine this semester.

John Gillespie, a native of Vardaman, said he heard about the job “through the grapevine.”

“Adjunct instructor Jeff Roberson, who I also consider a close friend, approached me about Sports Illustrated’s desire to relaunch their team website that had been dedicated to Ole Miss coverage,” Gillespie said. “The site had been dormant for about a year or so. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but then I had a conversation with my friend and classmate, Cameron Breeland, about the opening, and I thought, ‘Why not? Let’s reach out and see what they say.'”

John Gillespie

John Gillespie

Gillespie said there was a month-long process of establishing a business plan and a sales pitch to the editorial team at SI.

“But once all of those hurdles were cleared, we were up and running late last week, just in time for the Rebels’ football season-opener against Louisville,” he said “I have to give a special thanks to Matt Galatzan, a fellow Ole Miss alum, as well for helping me through this process and running the site alongside me. He also covers Texas and Texas A&M for SI, but being able to cover our alma mater for one of the nation’s premiere sports media brands is a pretty nice setup.”

Gillespie, a graduate of Vardaman High School, was valedictorian and star student of the class of 2016 with an ACT score of 34. He graduated from UM in the spring of 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a minor in southern studies. He is now in his second year in the Master’s of Arts in Journalism program with plans to graduate in May.

“I grew up infatuated with Ole Miss,” said Gillespie. “My parents are alums of the university, and I spent many a childhood day taking rides around the campus and watching Ole Miss sports on television or listening on the radio. From a young age, I always knew I wanted to attend Ole Miss just like my parents before me. When the time came to apply and send transcripts in my latter years of high school, I only sent my transcript to one place: here. I never looked back.”

Gillespie said he’s prepared to go “wherever God leads me” after graduation.

“Part of me has a desire to teach journalism at the university level while continuing to do sports writing and other forms of journalism,” he said, “but we’ll see what doors open up.

“I will say this, however: if God wants me to stay in Oxford, Mississippi, for the rest of my life, I am totally on board with that plan. There’s a certain magic and mystique to this place that creates some of the most fertile ground for writers in America, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professors offer student advice

Posted on: August 19th, 2021 by ldrucker

Students will be returning to the University of Mississippi campus in just a few days, and UM School of Journalism and New Media professors are sharing student advice for a successful semester. Much of it comes down to planning.

Rachel West, adjunct instructor of integrated marketing communications, said students should create a plan and schedule, and stick to it throughout the semester.

“Sounds so simple, but with so many classes being taught remotely for so long, it’s a change and a new routine for a lot of students who have not been in the habit of coming to class,” she said. “Budgeting time to find a place to park, walk to class, and so forth, is part of the process as well.”

Robin Street, a former senior lecture who is now an adjunct professor, said her best student advice is to always follow the public relations mantra of planning ahead.

“I suggest, especially in my online classes, that the student sit down with the syllabus, then enter all the important dates from it on his/her calendar,” she said. “My syllabus already has all the due dates for assignments, quizzes and exams. Then, they should go back a week so, and put on that calendar something like ‘Assignment due in seven days. That way, dates don’t sneak up on you.”

A graphic with Post It Notes that says Make Things Happen

Ellen Kellum, adjunct instructor of media design, said she learned in grad school that if she had several smaller deadlines built into projects, she would be much more successful.

“That was a huge factor in taming those procrastination tendencies we all have,” she said. “It made my work more polished and kept me a whole lot less stressed.”

Chris Canty Sparks, instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, said preparation is key.

“Be well prepared for each and every class,” she said. “Read. Be curious. Ask questions. ‘Luck favors the prepared,’ from Edna on ‘The Incredibles.'”

Kristie Alley Swain, associate professor of journalism, said don’t be shy about asking your professors lots of questions about assignments.

“The earlier the better after the assignment is given,” she said. “Also, share your preliminary drafts with professors to see if they can provide more guidance and other feedback before you turn it in for a grade.”

Mike Tonos, instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, advises students to turn in every assignment and avoid the automatic zero.

“Even a few points are better than none,” he said.

Michael Fagans, assistant professor of journalism, said it’s also important to take care of yourself physically and mentally during this time.

“Get outside,” he said. “Go for walks. Work on or find a new hobby.”

LaReeca Rucker, adjunct instructional assistant professor, said don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and ideas during class discussions.

“We live in a politically polarized world, but we should be able to share our ideas about news and media issues in classes that are about these topics even if we disagree,” she said. “Students are encouraged to share their thoughts when we discuss current events, as long as they do it respectfully.

“I welcome diverse opinions. I’m interested in getting to know each student, and I like hearing differing viewpoints. The world would be boring if we all thought the same way about every issue.”

Since many of the classes are writing classes, Rucker also advises students to think about the impact they can have with their work.

“Take your work and your words seriously,” she said. “You never know who you might touch in some small, yet important way through your writing.”

Debora Wenger, Ph.D., interim dean and professor, said make time to introduce yourself and communicate with your teachers.

“Come early or stay a few minutes late to say hello and to tell us something about you,” she said, “ — where you’re from, why you picked our school, what you’re looking forward to doing with your degree, or anything that helps us know you better.

“If you’re shy — send an email with similar details. And don’t forget to ask questions and engage with your instructors throughout the semester — we’re here to help you learn and grow.”

Integrated marketing communications student discusses her life and education journey during summer IMC class

Posted on: July 24th, 2021 by ldrucker

It won’t be long until students are back in classes at the University of Mississippi, but right now, summer classes are in session. Professor Mark Dolan’s IMC 205 class welcomed Nikki Daost last week, who discussed her education and career path in integrated marketing communications (IMC). This story was written by Paige Case, a student in Dolan’s class.

Nikki Daoust

Nikki Daoust

By Paige Case

Born in Quebec, raised in California, and now living in Mississippi, Nikki Daoust, a 23-year-old graduate student at The University of Mississippi,  has traveled her whole life.

“I travel a lot with my family. For birthdays and Christmas we go on trips and just do small gifts. Traveling together means more,” Daoust says.

While earning her integrated marketing and communications undergraduate degree at the University of Mississippi, Daoust studied abroad her junior year for six months in New Zealand. Although Daoust has traveled far and wide, she always finds her way back home to Oxford.

In New Zealand, she interned at All Heart NZ, a nonprofit organization, where she worked on branding and marketing. After her internship, she finished her undergraduate degree in 2020 and was ready to see where she would go next.

Then the pandemic hit and Daoust’s plans to travel were put on pause.

She voyaged off into a new kind of journey when she learned that Ole Miss is one of the few colleges offering a graduate IMC program. Furthering her knowledge of IMC led Daoust to explore the benefits of staying in Oxford by enrolling in the graduate program.

Her original plan was to graduate from Ole Miss and travel. She wanted to work for companies outside of Mississippi and even toyed with the idea of returning to have a temporary stay in New Zealand.

Although Daoust didn’t travel geographically, she explored different possibilities for her future by using the graduate program as her transportation to deepen her education.

The graduate program lets students dive in more on a specific area of their choosing within IMC and gives students the responsibility of being in charge of graphic design, writing, marketing, and more. It’s a two year program where students are able to work at any of the university’s departments or off campus.

“I interviewed for the School of Education, and they said they wanted a lot of videos and just ways to contact students and get involved and all that. Seems like there’s a lot of stuff for me to do here. I’ve always liked graphic design and just a way to be creative,” Daoust says.

Daoust took on the job of marketing and communications at the School of Education where she redesigned their magazine, revamped their website, put their interviews together with stories, and created an online toolbox for outlining how to market the university’s brand. With a 20-hour work week, Daoust primarily works on their graphic design, bringing out the passion she had when she was younger.

Although she was excited to start a new journey, that excitement came hand-in-hand with nervousness. “When I first got the job, I was really worried that I didn’t know anything about the School of Education or education as a whole. I’m not a teacher. I was kind of thinking that I was going to be jumping into something that was completely unknown to me, but everyone there is super friendly,” Daoust says.

Working on the School of Education’s magazine and website gave Daoust a chance to take hold of her creativity and apply it to marketing something she knew little about.

“It’s kind of nice being one of the only people in charge of marketing and communications because it gives me a little bit more creative freedom, and I just get to express myself, even though it’s limited to the university’s branding,” Daoust says.

In addition to the work she’s done on the magazine and website, she also helps contribute to the School of Education’s Instagram. “When I first started, we were trying to grow our social media presence,” Daoust explains.

She managed the Instagram account by posting on it and improving it based on the analytic data. “We have weekly meetings. We see if there’s an increase or decrease in what we’re posting,” Daoust says.

Daoust said some of the most enjoyable benefits about her work, which is primarily done on her computer, are the flexibility of deadlines and the ability to work at home with her beloved cat, Gertrude. While she works, she manages her coursework.

Daoust plans to graduate in 2022 with her masters in integrated marketing communications, which is sure to lead her on a new adventure. “I realized that there’s a lot more I need to learn, and I’m not really done with IMC yet,” Daoust says.

Paige Case

Paige Case

This story was written by Paige Case. The Madison, Mississippi native currently attends Jackson Preparatory School as a rising senior. She has worked on the yearbook staff throughout high school. She interned at Mississippi Magazine during June and gained hands-on experience. “This summer, I have learned a lot about Ole Miss’ School of Journalism and New Media by taking an integrated marketing communications 205 class throughout July,” she said. “I love learning about how photography, writing, and social media all interact with each other. Before taking this class, I didn’t know the difference between writing news stories and writing a paper. The School of Journalism and New Media has expanded my way of thinking to be more creative with my writing and has shown me all of the opportunities IMC can lead to. I have two older sisters who went to Ole Miss and I plan to attend Ole Miss when I graduate high school in 2022 and likely major in IMC.