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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.”

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.

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.

Hitson Reports for America on the rural South for the Montgomery Advertiser

Posted on: September 28th, 2021 by ldrucker

We recently caught up with Hadley Hitson, former Daily Mississippian managing editor, to see where her career has taken her. Hitson, 22, graduated from UM last May earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minors in Spanish and digital media studies.

The Birmingham, Alabama native now resides in Montgomery, Alabama, covering the rural South and Black Belt communities for the Montgomery Advertiser. Her official title is “rural South reporter,” and she is a Report for America Corps member.

Q. Tell me a little about your career path after college and your current job and responsibilities? 

A. Report for America is a national service program that places journalists with local news outlets to cover under-served topics or communities, and after applying to the program while I was a senior at UM, I was matched with the Advertiser. Due to the collapse of local journalism over the past decade, news coverage has become limited in some of the poorest counties in the nation, including many in the Black Belt region. Report for America operates with the goal of filling these gaps in national coverage.

Through the program’s partnership with the Montgomery Advertiser, my job is to examine access to health care, education and other services while providing news coverage for these rural Alabama communities — not just about them.

Hadley Hitson stands in front of the Montgomery Advertiser sign.

Hadley Hitson stands in front of the Montgomery Advertiser sign.

Q. How did the UM School of Journalism and New Media help you prepare for the real world?

A. Apart from the basic skills of learning how to write a lead and structure a compelling article, the UM School of Journalism and New Media taught me how to think like a journalist. Starting my freshman year, my teachers and advisers encouraged me to ask questions beyond the obvious and carefully consider the context in which every story is framed.

I also worked at The Daily Mississippian for all four of my years at UM, which played a huge role in preparing me for the real world. I had a public audience reading my work, and I had very real deadlines to meet. Moreover, the DM showed me everything that a newsroom is about — pitching stories, defending angles and asking for help when you need it.

Q. What are your hopes for the future?

A. My hopes for the future are to continue providing news coverage to communities that need it and emphasizing the importance of Southern voices that often get lost in national media. I’m also looking forward to making UM (and the DM) proud. Hotty Toddy!

Thank you for joining us for the School of Journalism and New Media’s birthday event

Posted on: August 26th, 2021 by ldrucker

Thank you for joining us on Thursday for the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media’s birthday event.

This year, our school is celebrating its 75th Journalism and 10th IMC birthdays, and we hosted a welcome event Aug. 26 in front of Farley Hall.

Our Ambassadors helped organize the event that featured carnival games, prizes, a cornhole tournament, an involvement fair and CAKE!

If you missed the event, but you want to learn more about our journalism or integrated marketing communications (IMC) programs, email us at jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

We also encourage you to get involved with our student organizations on campus. And if you aren’t certain, but think you might be interested in journalism or IMC, take a class!

Carothers works as news producer at WMC Action News 5 in Memphis

Posted on: August 26th, 2021 by ldrucker

Malia Carothers, 23, is forging a path in the journalism world as a news producer working for WMC Action News 5 in Memphis. Carothers joined the broadcast journalism department in college and graduated from the University of Mississippi.

Since college, Carothers has worked as an associate producer for WTVA news and is now one of the producers for Channel 5 News. She lived in Mississippi all her life until moving to Memphis.

Q: What made you want to pursue a career in Broadcast Journalism?

A: I was in the yearbook club in high school. I have always been a media person. What sold me on going to the broadcast program at Ole Miss was that I went to a Future Farmers of America (convention) . . . I made it to nationals with one of my projects. They had a sit-down at this thing to broadcast for one of their channels, or something like that. I was like, “I like this,” so I decided to do journalism. And honesty, I only heard of two colleges at the time that offered journalism, and it was Mississippi State and Ole Miss, and between the two, Ole Miss had the better program.

Malia Carothers

Q: How did you become a producer. Had it always been in your plans to be a producer for news stations?

A: Well, honestly, (it’s) all a funny story on how I am a producer now. I just fell into this spot. I’m not going to lie to you; I just fell into it. So when I tell people that no one believes me, it’s like they say, “You’re lying, and this is what you are supposed to be doing.” But I asked Dean Jennifer Simmons of the School of Journalism at Ole Miss if she knew of any video production internships because we need internships for our program. I needed an internship, and she thought I was talking about news producing, which was not what I meant. I like editing, and I like documentaries and things of that nature, so I was looking for a video production internship, and I got in touch with Dean Debora Wenger. She mentioned to me about a producing internship with WTVA. I was interviewed for the spot, and based on the writing test that I took for WTVA for my internship, they asked would I like to be an associate producer instead of doing an internship, and I was like, “Yeah, of course. Why wouldn’t I want to do that?”

Q: Do you think being African American has any affect on your job ethic? Do you feel you have to work harder because you are African American?

A: No, I do not. I work for Action News 5 out of Memphis, and there are many black people working here. I don’t feel pressured by the color of my skin. My work ethic speaks for itself.

Q: How do you pick your stories? Do you bring diversity to the stories?

A: Yes, I always liked being around different people. (That) made me a better producer. It helps me stay grounded and neutral to tell the story. I have always talked and hung out with different types of diverse people. So I believe that being open and diverse helps me bring that in my stories. It all depends on what you know and how you can relate to certain stories that makes it a success.

Q: How do you think your productions have improved the quality of Action News 5 television station?

A: Yes, I am a critical and creative design person, so I brought in different visuals for our section. I also rework how the news goes for the news show. In the beginning, the station ranked at three, and now it is at a six, so I doubled the ratings. So I feel like I am making a difference because I bring in many visual elements, which is a big part. After all, your audience does not want to see the same things over and over.

Q: What type of experience do you have with working with the latest or most current news formatting software?

A: At Channel 5, we use a software called ENPS. It is updated regularly, and we normally don’t make changes to it. The station has been using it, and I don’t have to make any changes. So it’s a learned experience, and it doesn’t change. Each station or shop has different software.

Q: What type of changes can you make to scripts to improve your quality of newcasts?

A: Creative writing. The biggest challenge I have right now is creative writing. My writing is good, but for it to hit higher, I believe I need to be a little better at my creative writing to keep my newscast soaring and improving – playing on words and catching people’s eyes with your words, instead of just visual.

Malia Carothers

Malia Carothers

Q: Why do you think being the news producer at Action 5 is the right fit for you?

A: I wouldn’t necessarily say it is the right fit for me, but I do enjoy what I am doing. As I said, the job fell in my lap, so I decided to work hard and equip myself with this skill to get a job. I decided to keep working in production because I never really cared much about going out and reporting for one. I mean, I will, but I (would) rather be behind the scenes. Another reason is that you do not make that much money by reporting. So it fits with the skills that I have and what I want to do. I chose production because I like to control things, so being a producer, you have that type of control, and it just fits me better than reporting. I guess I like telling people what to do instead of doing it.

Q: As a producer have you done any stories that have been stressful or affected your life in a certain way?

A: No, not really. But only because I don’t think that I am the type of person who gets impacted or affected by things. I think it is how I grew up. Most things do not change my emotional state. It does to others, but It doesn’t stress me out or affect me.

Q: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

A: Well, my contract is for two years with Action 5. It will end the next year – 2022. I do not plan on staying. I have lived in Oxford all my life, and Memphis is only a skip and a hop away from Oxford, so I plan to move away. I want to experience other places, and I want to go beyond Memphis. I don’t plan to keep producing, but I would still like to be a regular producer if I do. I’m getting my master’s in marketing communications right now, and I want to get into marketing to become a business consultant to help people grow their business. Being a producer is equipping me to be prepared for my future business career. I want to be the best me.

Q: Do you have any advice for future journalism students who want to become producers?

A: Honestly, it’s God how I landed here. That’s all I can say. And even if I don’t like the job, I believe it is my drive – my drive to do my best and to work hard, that has brought me to where I am now. I always strive to get better even if I don’t like the job, and I am going to do my best to be the best. My main point is that you need to be a journalist before anything. When it comes to writing a story, whether you’re a reporter or a producer, I feel like you should never focus on any trends. If you want to be in this field, talk to more people, meet more people, doing this will help you to be more diverse, and write. You have to learn how to write because you will need the experience.

This story was written by student Nikki Marzette.

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media welcomes four new professors

Posted on: August 26th, 2021 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media has four new faces.

The faculty and staff has welcomed Dr. Amanda Sams Bradshaw, Ike Brunner, Brad Conaway and Dr. Marquita Smith to new positions.

Amanda Sams BradshawDr. Amanda Sams Bradshaw, assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, conducts research that focuses on how social network interactions impact maternal health decision-making, specifically childhood vaccine hesitancy. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Alabama, Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University, and Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Florida.

Her professional experience includes three years as the public relations manager of Preferred Medical Group, a multi-disciplinary, multi-location medical practice, where she rebranded the company, co-led a merger, wrote and produced 18 television commercials, and generated $875,000 in potential revenue.

She later held the role of director of sales and brand growth for Chick-fil-A in Lawton, Oklahoma, resulting in an outside sales increase of 600 percent over one year. Simultaneously, she owned and operated a social media consulting firm for more than two years before beginning her Ph.D.

Ike BrunnerIke Brunner, instructional assistant professor of social media and data analytics, is part of the IMC faculty specializing in social media, data analytics, and influencer marketing. He has over a decade of industry experience in market research and digital/social media marketing and has worked with all types of businesses, from local SMBs to top international global companies. He has expertise in digital marketing and social media training, strategy, research, and evaluation.

Ike received his Ph.D. in communication studies from Bowling Green State University and previously taught at Wright State University and Texas Tech University.

Brad ConawayBrad Conaway, instructional assistant professor of social media and data analytics, earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Texas – one in radio/TV/film and one in English literature, with a history minor. Following a 15+ career in television content producing, now he studies and specializes in emerging forms of digital communication, especially social media.

As a digital manager, he created a social media strategy that was named “Best in Company” in terms of “engagement” analytics. As the corporate digital content manager, Conaway led Raycom’s push to think “digital first” using social media.

Conaway has covered several events from a local shooting at a courthouse, the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia upon re-entry in 2003, and the morning of Super Bowl 45 in 2011 that blanketed Dallas for two days caused by a super freeze resulting in injuries. He was an Emmy nominee, Best Morning Newscast-Large Market and TAPB winner, and Best Morning Newscast-Large Market winner in 2010.

Marquita SmithMarquita Smith, Ed.D., is the assistant dean for graduate programs. Smith earned her doctorate from the University of Arkansas focusing on curriculum and instruction and faculty leadership. She believes graduate education is a privilege and opportunity for students to gain outstanding communication and research skills.

Her vision for the school’s graduate programs is for students to acquire advanced and enhanced knowledge of journalism and integrated marketing communications. The goal is for each degree program to provide a unique experience for those interested in professional practitioner development, media production expertise and leadership, or the generation of new knowledge in the field.

Smith has a background in journalism and has worked in various newsrooms in Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi and Virginia for 16 years. Her last newsroom position was the Virginia Beach bureau chief at The Virginian-Pilot.

In 2008, Smith went on leave from The Pilot to complete a Knight International Journalism Fellowship in Liberia. During her time in West Africa, she created a judicial and justice reporting network. Both networks continue to operate in the post-war country today. Smith, selected as a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana for the 2016-2017 academic year, is passionate about teaching and researching in West Africa.

In 2012, Smith, an associate professor, was named to the JournalismDegree.org list of Top 50 Journalism Professors. Prior to moving to Oxford, Smith served as the Communication and Fine Arts Division Chair and Coordinator of Diversity Relations at John Brown University. She is a past chair for AEJMC’s Commission on the Status of Minorities and a past member of the national organization’s board of directors. Her research interests focus on media development, public health communications and topics on diversity and inclusion.

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.

What’s Next? Journalism and IMC graduates tell us their next career moves

Posted on: July 14th, 2021 by ldrucker

Many of our recent University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduates are now embarking on a new adventure in their first job or internship. We will be sharing what’s next for them in a series this summer as they take on the #RealWorldRightNow.

Avery Sadler, 22, an integrated marketing communications (IMC) major with a minor in general business and psychology and a specialization in media sales, said she will be moving back home and working as an account executive for Goosehead Insurance in Westlake, Texas. “I hope to eventually work for a company in the travel industry, such as an airline or hotel, in a position such as an account planner or marketing researcher,” said Sadler, a Southlake, Texas native. “COVID has obviously pushed back this goal by practically shutting down the travel industry.”

Brady Craig, 23, an IMC major with a minor in general business and a specialization in sports promotions and communications, will be starting grad school in the fall at the University of Alabama. “I will be getting my masters in advertising and public relations,” said Craig, who is from Southaven, Mississippi. “I also will be joining Alabama Athletics to work with their marketing team, specifically with all things digital. My goal is to end up working with a professional team or at a college in their marketing department, or in a digital department. I have worked in sports the past three years, and I am so excited to see what the future holds.”

Kendall Twiddy, 21, an IMC major with a minor in business administration and a social media specialization, will be moving to Dallas to work as a marketing coordinator with Kimley Horn. “I will work on developing marketing proposals for the company’s public sector work,” said the Tega Cay, South Carolina native. “My goal is to eventually become the VP of marketing for a company and oversee all creative, logistical, and analytical aspects of the company’s marketing campaigns.”

Gray Thomas, 21, is an IMC major with a minor in business administration, who will be returning to Ole Miss in the fall to start law school. “I’m intrigued by international and comparative law,” said Thomas, from Collierville, Tennessee, “but we shall see what happens or changes in the next three years.”

Anna Catherine Ward, 21, said she plans to move to New York this summer (job still pending) and will be attending The New York School of Interior Design in the fall to pursue an associate’s degree in interior design. The IMC major with a minor in general business and art, who is from Baton Rouge, said she can’t wait to see what’s ahead.”

Mia Callicutt, 21, an IMC major with a minor in business from Roswell, Georgia, has accepted a remote job in Atlanta as the sales and marketing analyst at a cyber security and cyber compliance company called Defensestorm.

Olivia Schwab, 21, an IMC major and general business minor, from Pearl River, Louisiana, will be attending the University of Mississippi School of Law to pursue a joint JD/MBA in hopes of working as corporate counsel for a large company in the tourism sector one day (i.e. Southwest Airlines of Walt Disney World).

Eumetria Jones in front of Farley Hall

Eumetria Jones in front of Farley Hall

Eumetria Jones, 21, an IMC major and general business minor from Byhalia, Mississippi, has moved to Austin, Texas to work for YETI Coolers as their new social media coordinator. “My job is to complete social media  projects and contribute ideas for their social media strategy through tracking and analyzing their social media metrics and commentary,” she said. “YETI is a powerhouse of marketing and brand strategy, as they relay messages to their consumers in moving storytelling posts, shorts, stories and videos,” she said. “They’ve been named Most Innovative Companies of 2020 with amazing brand tactics and high quality gear. I can’t wait to get started.”

Savannah Hulme, an IMC major and general business minor with a social media specialization, works as the assistant property manager for Cambridge Station in Oxford. “I would love to work at the University of Mississippi one day in any department doing marketing/sales or event planning,” said the Dallas native.

 

What's Next logo for series

What’s Next logo for series

Sophia Cuozzo, 22, is a native of Orange, Connecticut, who plans on moving to San Diego at the start of July to start a new job at Burns International as a social media manager and executive assistant. “I am very excited,” she said. “I would love to continue to learn through my new job and, hopefully, be given more opportunities to grow with my degree. Cuozzo is an integrated marketing communications (IMC) major with a minor in business administration and public relations.

Clinton native Sarah Kane, 23, will continue growing her photography business on the side and move home to serve in ministry. “I am planning on continuing my education by attending Bible school and focusing in worship ministry,” she said. “I would love to one day be a worship pastor and write music and lead worship at a church. I would also love to help younger, growing worship leaders better their skills in serving the Lord. Kane is an IMC major with a minor in general business.

Knoxville native Kate Albritton, 21, will be moving to Nashville to further her education at Vanderbilt University and pursue a Master of Marketing Degree. “I would like to work in marketing for a financial services or healthcare company,” said Albritton, an IMC major with a minor in business administration.

Julia Peoples

Julia Peoples

Julia Peoples, 21, a native of Puckett, Mississippi, will be attending Yale Law School as a member of the class of 2024. “I hope to one day enter legal academia,” said Peoples, an IMC major with minors in general business and political science. Read Julia’s story in our Journey to Commencement series.

Corinth native Austin Newcomb, 22, will be staying in Oxford. “After receiving acceptance in LSU, Auburn, Alabama, John Hopkins, Ole Miss, and UChicago, I decided to further my education at Ole Miss for graduate school in Education – Clinical Mental Health Counseling to become a licensed therapist,” he said. “I would like to open up my own private practice after gaining experience in the public and private sector of clinical mental health. I plan to open up a private practice with other therapists as well as estheticians to create a business for the mind and body.” Newcomb is an IMC major with minors in general business and gender studies.

Biloxi native Sofia Cooper, 22, will serve as a missionary for two years with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. “I hope to pursue a career in social media marketing within the sustainability sector,” she said. “I’d love to work for a sustainability advising company that helps other businesses reduce their carbon footprint.” Cooper is an IMC major with a minor in general business.

Allison Schultz, 22, who is from Mokena, Illinois, will be working for Otis Elevator Company as a sales trainee in Lombard, Illinois. “I hope to become a successful account manager and have my own sales territory,” said Schultz, who is majoring in IMC with a minor in general business.

Brandon native Tyler McDowell, 22, will be moving to London for the summer for an internship at a PR firm. “I want to find a job abroad that will make me happy,” said McDowell, a broadcast journalism major with a minor in cinema.

Texas native Dayna Drake, 21, who studied journalism and general business, will be working over the summer at Pillar4 Media as an editorial intern. She’ll be editing content for their sites and making all things publication-ready while incorporating SEO practices. After the summer, she will return to Oxford to attend graduate school earning a master’s in professional journalism.

“I want to see how far I can go in the world of journalism,” she said. “Right now, my ultimate dream is to be a television anchor for a major news network. My career goal is to make my name known as someone who helped the public trust the news platform and helped lose the idea of ‘fake news’ surrounding the field of journalism.”

St. Louis native Nick Weaver, 22, studied integrated marketing communications and public policy leadership. He will begin law school at Saint Louis University this fall.

Nick Weaver

Nick Weaver

“This summer, I will be marrying my fiancé and moving back to my hometown,” he said. “I would like to continue studying communications law and hopefully become a judge one day.”

Flora, Mississippi native Tyler White, 22, who studied integrated marketing communications and general business, will continue to grow his custom apparel company Tee-Whites and begin law school at the University of Mississippi.

“I would like to practice law for a few years and then get a job in the C-suite of a big tech company,” he said. “CMO or CEO would be great.”

Tyler White

Tyler White

Reese Colaluca, 20, a native of Allen, Texas, studied general business and earned a social media specialization. She will be attending graduate school to earn her master’s in integrated marketing communications (IMC).

“I hope to one day be able to work for Coca-Cola as a marketing executive in Atlanta, Georgia,” she said.

Southaven native Katlyn Tidwell, 22, studied IMC and business administration. She will be attending graduate school to earn her master’s in IMC.

“My dream job is to one day work for Cosmopolitan in New York City,” she said.

UM School of Journalism and New Media IMC team wins second place in student advertising competition

Posted on: May 6th, 2021 by ldrucker

It’s a match to remember. A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

The UM team created an integrated campaign for Tinder.  The campaign challenged young adults to use Tinder by asking a simple question,  “What are U thirsty for?”

“The campaign objective was to expand the perception of Tinder as predominately a ‘hook-up’ app and reposition it as a lifestyle app for 18 & 19-year-olds where any type of relationship is possible – finding a new friend, roommate, dinner/coffee companion, just someone to talk to, or hooking up,” said Christina Canty Sparks, instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

The National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) is the premier college advertising competition that provides more than 2,000 college students the real-world experience of creating a strategic advertising/marketing/media campaign for a corporate client. Students develop a marketing plan and then pitch their work to advertising professionals at the district, semi-final and national levels.

The NSAC tasked AAF college chapter teams to develop an integrated marketing campaign in response to a real-world marketing challenge facing Tinder, according to a news release. Introduced on a college campus in 2012, Tinder has become an app popular with 18–24-year-old GenZers, who make up more than half of its members.

“As we think about the evolving landscape of how people meet and connect, our team wanted to put our brand in the hands of the generation really living it,” said Nicole Parlapiano, vice president of marketing-North America at Tinder, in a news release. “College students are uniquely impacted by the societal shifts resulting from the pandemic and are particularly qualified to advise on how advertisers should speak to them as their core audience. We’re excited to see how the NSAC students approach our business, and we want to support this generation as they build their careers and portfolios as marketers.”

Teams representing nearly 150 colleges and universities competed in district competitions in April and are eventually narrowed to the top eight national finalists. The finalists will pitch their campaign directly to Tinder to compete for the national title in June 2021.

UM students competing included Ty Brown, Yasmine Brown, Jamiesen Cobb, Kelly Corley, Taylor Dancer, Ella McIlvain, Tavia Moore, Natalie Pruitt, Margaret Rice, Sela Ricketts, Elyse Schneider, Taylor Smith, Jaznia Tate, Avery Watson and Jack Zook.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

Memphis native Jamisen Cobb, 20, is an IMC sophomore minoring in business on a computer science track.

“As one of the youngest students in the class, this was a very eye-opening experience to me,” she said. “I was able to gain teamwork and future job experience. I was a part of the creative team where our responsibility was to design and execute campaigns and creative strategies to encourage our target audience of 18-19-year-olds to download Tinder.

“I would have to say my biggest takeaway was learning to work together on a high level. In this class, I can honestly say that I felt as if I was in the real world at a marketing job. Being that I am only a sophomore, I will definitely be taking this class again my junior and senior year. I would recommend this class to anyone looking for work experience in the marketing world.”

Knoxville native Natalie Pruitt, 21, is an IMC business major. Pruitt, Ricketts and Corley designed the campaign template and creative materials submitted for judging.

“I learned the importance of collaboration and teamwork,” she said. “It is so important in competitions like this to make sure you are doing your part to contribute to the team and pull your own weight. This makes the entire process move much smoother and creates a more impactful end result.”

Madison, Mississippi native Margaret Rice, 22, is an IMC major.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

“The NSAC competition gave me my first realistic glance into what it looks like working for an agency,” she said. “Having to gather data, create, and present a campaign all in under 12 weeks was challenging, but so rewarding when the result was as successful as it was.”

Florence, Mississippi Kelly Corley, 20, is an IMC major and general business minor.

“I learned the value of teamwork and made great memories and new friends because of this competition,” she said.

Indianola native Yasmine Brown, 21, is a double major in IMC and public policy leadership with a double minor in general business and journalism.

“The biggest thing I learned from participating in the competition is the essence of teamwork and dedication,” she said. “I learned how to actively collaborate with my teammates and voice concerns or opinions I did not necessarily agree with to meet in the middle and create something unique, such as our campaign, ‘What Are U Thirsty For?’

“The competition required a lot of long, sleepless nights, but the team also found out that our most creative ideas came during those moments. Lastly, I found a new passion in life. I found something that I for sure would like to pursue as a career choice.

“This class/competition is definitely one of the most memorable experiences in all my time as an IMC student, and I will never forget the relationships I have made. Special “Thanks” to Professor Sparks for being the best teacher and a guiding light for my teammates and I during and outside of the competition.”

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

Madison Mississippi Taylor Dancer, 22, is an IMC major and general business major. Dancer competed last year on the Adobe campaign and again this year with Tinder. The ‘Thirsty’ campaign idea originated with her. She was also offered a position with Mad Genius Agency in Jackson, Mississippi upon graduation. She said the agency owner was very familiar with the AAF NSAC, and that was a key factor in her hiring process.

“I decided to compete in the National Student Advertising Competition again this year because I believe it gives students good agency-like experience,” Dancer said. “The competition taught me a lot about my strengths in this field and taught me how to work effectively on a team.

“Another reason I decided to compete in AAF is because I wanted to leave my mark on the university,” she said. “Whenever Professor Sparks said she wanted us to beat Alabama and LSU in this competition, I made this a personal goal as well. I want the IMC program here to stand out nationally because we have some talented professors and students that deserve more recognition.”

Midland, Texas Avery Watson, 23, is an IMC major with a business minor and a double emphasis in visual design and social media.

“Participating in this competition taught me how the process of creating a campaign can be challenging, yet extremely fulfilling,” Watson said. “After this competition, I feel better prepared to go out into the working world of advertising and marketing. I can confidently say this competition will help me be successful in my future endeavors.”

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC team recently won second place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition.

Jaznia Tate, 22, is an IMC major with a specialization in social media, public relations, fashion promotion in media and a minor in general business.

“I learned how fast past the marketing industry is and also what to expect when account planning and building campaigns,” she said. “It was a tedious and challenging competition course, but it was incredibly rewarding. I learned so much from this class that I know, in the future, will be helpful for me in my career endeavors.”

Tavia Moore was one of the presenters for the UM team. She was an integral part of developing and presenting the promotional and media plan.

Senior IMC major Ty Brown led the research for the campaign and was selected for the AAF 2021 Campus to Corporate Internship Program. The AAF partners with corporate members to create exclusive internship opportunities for exceptional AAF College Chapter members.

The program is intended to provide students with a real-world, hands-on experience, gain a deeper understanding of the advertising industry and provide top talent to our partner organizations. Students selected get to apply for competitive paid positions at top companies like Clear Channel Outdoor, Giant Spoon, Kindred, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, OMD, RPA, Tinder and more.

“Tinder is a well-known brand to most all of our college students, and having to evaluate it from a business perspective (adds) a new and exciting challenge to their advertising curriculum,” said AAF President/CEO Steve Pacheco in a news release. “The opportunity to deeply engage with and pitch a campaign to a brand that millions of people use every day is not an experience these students can get outside of this program.”

For more information about the National Student Advertising Competition, please visit aaf.org/nsac.