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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.

Kappa Tau Alpha chapter announces class of 2020 and 2021 initiates

Posted on: May 5th, 2021 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media Kappa Tau Alpha chapter has announced its Class of 2020 and 2021 initiates.

Both groups were honored at initiation ceremonies during graduation. The KTA top undergraduate award was given to Nigel Dent. The faculty honoree was Alysia Steele, associate professor of journalism.

Only the top 10 percent of senior and junior journalism and IMC students are invited to join the society. Graduate students are also invited. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required.

Award

The Greek letters Kappa Tau Alpha stand for knowledge, truth and accuracy. There are no better words to describe the goals of journalism.

The society was founded at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1910 and now has 99 campus chapters. Kathleen Wickham is the chapter advisor.

Kappa Tau Alpha is a college honor society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication, according to the organization website.

Membership must be earned by excellence in academic work at one of the colleges and universities that have chapters. Selection for membership is a mark of highest distinction and honor.

2021 New members

Seniors 

Danielle Angelo

Kaylee Crafton

Danya Drake

Lauren Kate Drewry

Sage McNamara

Madeline Quon

Sarah Tonos

Ansley Wood

Hayden Wiggs

Juniors 

Mary Boyte

Grace Bynum

Anne Clark Harvey

Inductees from 2020 (Inducted as juniors, now seniors) 

Kailee Ayers

Alexandra Barfield

Anna Borgen

Nigel Dent

Asia Harden

Matthew Hendley

Avary Hewlett

Gavin Norton

Julia Peoples

Olivia Schwab

Jackson Sepko

Reagan Stone

Mason Scioneaux

Tyler White

Lauren Wilson

Inductees from 2020 who have graduated 

Callahan Basil

Payten Coale

Cathryn Crawford

Andrew Gardner

Katherine Johnson

Virginia Monssor

Alexander Norris

Austin Parker

McKenzie Richmond

Hannah Rom

Meredith Sills

Nicholas Weaver

Hannah Williamson

Meet some of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media’s outstanding 2021 graduates

Posted on: May 1st, 2021 by ldrucker

Journey to Commencement

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media congratulates the Class of 2021. Here are a few profiles of some of our outstanding graduates. The students shared thoughts on what drew them to UM, what they learned on their Journey to Commencement, their favorite classes and professors, and their future plans.

Their collective advice for future students is to make the most of your four years of college because it’s over quickly, and don’t wait until you graduate to begin building your resume. 

By LaReeca Rucker

Eumetria Jones in front of Farley Hall

Memphis native Eumetria Jones is an IMC major who has moved to Austin, Texas to work as the new social media coordinator for YETI Coolers with hopes of learning more about marketing from top branding companies so she can create her own consulting business.

Jones said she chose the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media because she was offered a scholarship that paid for all of her studies.

“I’ve always wanted to help people,” she said, “and this degree offered me the most comfortable, yet wide variety of career paths . . .

“I know how far you can go in life and also where you can be limited if you don’t try to reach out beyond, which has motivated me to push past any limitations or standards that others have set for me.”

UM also offered Jones distance from home, but not too far, so she could spread her wings and explore new avenues of school and life, but also go home for a Sunday dinner, she said.

“Teachers like Debbie Woodrick Hall introduced me to PR, and I have been in love ever since . . . ,” she said. “Rachel West was an example of a teacher . . . who will never let you fail yourself. Chris Sparks has prepared me so well for an actual (marketing) campaign . . . Dean (Jennifer) Simmons has gone above and beyond to help me with my degree plan and after graduation transition.”

Jones said the school has helped her build confidence and offered ways to express herself.

“I have stopped being scared of writing and have had the ability to strengthen and showcase these abilities,” she said. “I have learned how to communicate effectively across different audiences.”

Her advice: “Use you college professors, faculty, administration to get the experience you need for your next steps,” she said. “College is only four years, and you have to use them wisely so make sure you make connections that you can rely on from people who want to support you and have your best interest at heart.

“Because in life, the saying is very true, ‘It is not what you know, but who you know!’ Truly, the staff and faculty at the school is who you need to know!”

Hadley Hitson

Birmingham native Hadley Hitson is a journalism major with minors in digital media studies and Spanish who attended Mountain Brook High School before becoming a student at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.

“Experts in Southern journalism like Curtis Wilkie and Cynthia Joyce have helped me build a steady foundation for my reporting based in ethics, curiosity, empathy and storytelling during my four years at the University of Mississippi,” she said. “Learning from professor Wilkie and professor Charles Overby in their special topics classes and from professor Joyce in her advanced reporting class shaped my understanding of good journalism.”

Hitson said she would not have had the opportunities to intern at places like Fortune magazine, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the White House without having worked at The Daily Mississippian.

Rising from a staff reporter all the way up to managing editor has been the most rewarding experience of her college career, she said.

“I’ve reported on activism in the Oxford community, the causes and effects of record breaking voter registration in Lafayette County, and the state of election security in the South, among other topics,” she said. “With these stories, I was able to win fourth place for Best News Writer in The South and develop great clips for my portfolio.”

Hitson said her career goal is to be a well-respected politics and government reporter — whether that’s for a local paper or national publication.

“During my last semester at the university, I’ve been able to do freelance reporting for Fortune magazine, and I hope to continue freelancing for major outlets post-graduation while pursuing external publication for my honors college thesis ‘Moving the monument: The University of Mississippi’s decades-long journey to relocate its Confederate monument,'” she said.

Her advice for other students is to “stay critical and ask as many questions as you can. I love this university, and in order to keep it progressing, we, as journalists, have to hold Ole Miss and ourselves accountable to UM values.”

Tyler White

Flora native Tyler White is an integrated marketing communications major with a minor in general business and a specialization in social media.

During his freshman and sophomore year, he attended Southwest Mississippi Community College, where he played baseball and was the student body president.

“While in college, I’ve definitely learned the importance of consistency and hard work,” White said. “There are a lot of good brands and experienced workers, but those that put in the most work and don’t give up when speed bumps come their way are the ones that will succeed.

“If you are doing what everyone else is doing, you will get the results everyone else is getting. To be the best, you have to work like the best.

“Whatever I do, I want the best. When I played baseball, I didn’t want to be a catcher; I wanted to be THE catcher. This same principle applies to everything I do in life.”

White plans to attend law school in the fall.

Tyler White

Read Tyler's Story

In an internet age when it’s easy to open shop online and create your own business without a brick and mortar store, Tyler White, an integrated marketing communications major from the small town of Flora in Madison County, Mississippi, is on track to make $100,000 in sales from his custom apparel company TeeWhites this year.

Julia Peoples

Julia Peoples was valedictorian of Puckett High School in Puckett, Mississippi before enrolling in the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.

The integrated marketing communications major who minored in general business and political science will be attending Yale Law School as a member of the class of 2024.

“My time at the university has been a period of growth and reflection,” she said. “Some of my favorite classes have been ones that push me to challenge myself and think outside of my comfort zone, like Communications Law, Research for IMC, and Creative Visual Thinking.

“I will always be grateful for Professor Sparks in the School of Journalism and New Media, who taught me so much about communicating and connecting with people and has always believed in me. The greatest lessons I have learned throughout this journey are trusting myself and asking for help when needed.”

Her advice: “Enjoy the ride. The past four years have been a roller coaster, but a beautiful one nonetheless.”

Asia Harden

Greenville, Mississippi native Asia Harden, an integrated marketing communications student at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, plans to attend the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City and pursue a career in editorial publishing or publicity.

She said she chose to become an IMC major because it gave her the freedom to explore writing, marketing, public relations, and graphic design without feeling boxed in.

Harden, who has a minor in Spanish, studied abroad in Granada, Spain for the fall semester in 2019, one of the highlights of her college experience.

“The courses I’ve liked the most have always been the ones that challenged me or stretched my worldview,” she said.

Harden said the greatest impact the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media has had on her has been through the Student Media Center and her work with the Ole Miss yearbook.

“I’ve been one of its writers since freshman year, and this past year, I served as only the second African American editor-in-chief of the publication,” she said. “I’ve grown not only as a storyteller, but also as a leader and young professional through my work with the yearbook. My involvement in such a beloved publication has brought me lots of joy throughout my college experience.”

Her advice: “Be yourself, and chase after your own dreams, not anyone else’s. We only get one life, so it only seems fair to honor it by constantly learning, growing, and living up to our fullest potential. Whether you want to be a lawyer, news anchor, publicist or English teacher, live life on your own terms. And be kind to those around you; the world is full of enough hate as it is.”

Asia Harden in Granada, Spain

Read Asia's Story

Asia Harden, a graduating IMC senior and The Ole Miss yearbook Editor-in-Chief, has been selected for the prestigious Columbia Publishing Course, a six-week summer program in New York City. The program prepares students for entry-level jobs in book, magazine and digital publishing through lectures and workshops.

Matthew Hendley

Matthew Hendley, a Madison, Mississippi native, attended St. Joseph Catholic School before enrolling in the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.

He was drawn to the journalism program at UM and the campus television station, NewsWatch. He studied broadcast journalism with a minor in political science. 

“My time at UM has been the most outrageous four years of my life,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the opportunities offered at the J-school, I would have never landed an internship with the longest running primetime TV news show (60 Minutes), nor would I have been able to join a UFO cult for a day at the same exact time. 

“The outlets the journalism program (has) took me everywhere I wanted to go – at the desk at NewsWatch Ole Miss, on the ground telling stories in Holly Springs, and even in opposite corners of the country with two consecutive internships in New York City and Phoenix.”

After graduation, Hendley plans to move to Nashville with his band Happy Landing to pursue music while working part time in media and marketing at a non-profit called Shower Up that serves the homeless community by parking mobile shower trucks in public places. 

Matthew Hendley playing guitar.

Read Matthew's Story

Matthew Hendley is always looking for new ways to tell stories – whether that means researching and reporting, being an activist or fronting his band, Happy Landing.

Julia James

Mandeville, Louisiana native Julia James, who studied public policy leadership and journalism, will begin an investigative reporting internship with Mississippi Today after graduation.

“I am extremely excited to be working with and learning from this team of thoughtful and influential journalists,” she said. “I am considering going to graduate school to study data, media, and society issues or going to law school in a few years, but I am excited to first work and gain professional experience.”

James said her experience in the summer Lott Leadership Institute and the personal recruiting she received helped her imagine a future for herself in Oxford and attracted her to the University of Mississippi.

“My last four years held unprecedented challenges globally and personally,” she said. “I feel particularly grateful for the way professors have supported and encouraged me through these events, specifically Vanessa Gregory, Cynthia Joyce and Ellen Meacham.”

James said the most thought-provoking and enlightening courses she took at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media were Writing with Voice (with Professor Gregory) and the Presidency and the Press (with Charles Overby and Curtis Wilkie).

“Writing with Voice helped me expand my understanding of what journalism could be, past rigid AP-wire type stories, giving much more humanity and depth to my storytelling,” she said. “Presidency and the Press really was just so fun, retelling me the history I was familiar with from the perspective of the journalists who lived it.”

Advanced Reporting (with Professor Joyce) was more practical, but it made me do the work of being a journalist in a regular and consistent way, which helped me build confidence in myself and my abilities.”

Her advice: “Be intentional about the stories you choose. It’s hard to make every project be the penultimate project, but just the sheer act of doing your homework can introduce you to unique people and opportunities that can expand your community if you choose wisely.”

Abbey Edmonson

Tupelo native Abbey Edmonson was drawn to the University of Mississippi because it was more of a traditional college experience, and she liked the Sally McDonnel Barksdale Honors College. She also loved Oxford and its artistic history.

The editorial journalism major with minors in English and creative writing earned a specialization in social media.

“My time at UM has offered me so much more than I expected,” she said. “Through my time here, I’ve gained a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities as a writer and journalist.”

One of her favorite courses was Editorial Cartooning with Marshall Ramsey.

“Ramsey is one of the greats, and I was extremely lucky to be able to take his class,” he said. “I have ancestors who were successful editorial cartoonists back in the day, so taking that class was personally really fulfilling to me.”

She also enjoyed classes with professor Cynthia Joyce.

“I took two classes with professor Joyce: Media Ethics and Advanced Reporting,” she said. “Both of those classes taught me skills that I’m going to keep with me in both my professional and personal life.

“I learned that it is okay to ask uncomfortable questions, and it is okay to write about something important, even – or maybe especially – if it makes you uncomfortable.”

Edmonson will soon step down from the job she has held the past two years as Invitation Magazine’s editorial assistant so she can attend graduate school.

“I hope to one day continue to climb the ladder in the magazine and/or publishing industries,” she said. “In the meantime, I’ve been accepted into both Columbia University’s M.S. in Journalism program and Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD’s) M.F.A. in Writing program, and I’ve decided I’m going to SCAD in Atlanta starting this September.”

Edmonson said she hopes to use her time in Atlanta to grow her network and hone her writing skills across multiple forms of media.

“The UM School of Journalism and New Media is here to help its students and offer opportunities for growth,” she said. “I urge other students to take advantage of those outside-of-the-classroom opportunities.

“During my time here, I participated in Lens Collective 2019, took a class in New Orleans and interviewed the mayor, traveled to the Mississippi Coast to write about climate change, connected with people who gave me my dream internship and eventual job, and so much more.”

Edmonson said you can learn a lot in the classroom, but you also gain valuable insight when you get real life experience outside of the classroom.

“When a professor suggests you should apply for something, do it,” she said. “All of those extra hours put into your college experience are the elements that build you up as a journalist and as a person.”

Abbey Edmonson rides in a boat during a recent journalism project that explored climate change in Mississippi. The photo was taken by Billy Schuerman.

Read Abbey's Story

The great-great-granddaughter of a Pulitzer Prize-winning Memphis cartoonist is forging her own path in the journalism world.Tupelo native Abbey Edmonson’s great-great-grandfather and great-grandfather, J. P. Alley and Cal Alley, were editorial cartoonists for the Memphis Commercial Appeal during the early to mid-20th century. J. P. Alley was the first cartoonist at the Appeal, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1923.

UM School of Journalism and New Media IMC graduate to participate in Columbia Publishing Course

Posted on: April 23rd, 2021 by ldrucker

Asia Harden, a graduating IMC senior and The Ole Miss yearbook Editor-in-Chief, has been selected for the prestigious Columbia Publishing Course, a six-week summer program in New York City. The program prepares students for entry-level jobs in book, magazine and digital publishing through lectures and workshops.

Harden, from Greenville, was recently named a Taylor Medalist and inducted into the Hall of Fame. She said she applied to the Columbia program because she’s always been obsessed with books and their ability to take her to another world or experience. In addition to her yearbook leadership and involvement in several campus organizations, Harden works part-time at Square Books Jr.

“Getting a degree from the School of Journalism and New Media has further solidified my admiration for storytelling,” Harden said. “The publishing industry seems like a perfect career path for me. I wanted to learn as much about it as I can, which led me to the Columbia Publishing Course. It is a great opportunity to try to get some insight and determine if it is the right fit for me moving forward.”

Asia Harden

Asia Harden

Now in its 74th year, The Columbia Publishing Course is widely regarded as the gold standard of publishing training courses. Begun at Radcliffe College in 1947, it moved in 2001 to Columbia University in New York City. Many who have attended the course have gone on to great success, including as CEOs, publishers and literary agents. Participants were recently notified that because of concerns about COVID-19, this summer’s program will be at least partially virtual.

“I am delighted to welcome Asia into our course, because of everything she has accomplished at the University of Mississippi and because she clearly has a publishing career ahead of her,” said Shaye Areheart, director of The Columbia Publishing Course. “I look forward to helping guide her into a first job after the course and to watching her achieve her dreams.”

Asia Harden in Granada, Spain

Asia Harden in Granada, Spain

Arehart said that Harden is “highly motivated and took the right steps to achieve her dream of working in publishing.”

“She is a beautiful and thoughtful writer, has an excellent academic record and has demonstrated through her various endeavors, both on and off campus, a deep curiosity, not only about books, but also about social and political issues.”

Harden’s career goal: A job in New York City with a children’s book publisher in either editorial or publicity for young adult titles.

Two School of Journalism and New Media IMC students named 2021 UM Hall of Fame inductees

Posted on: April 12th, 2021 by ldrucker

Two University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC students have been named 2021 UM Hall of Fame inductees.

IMC majors Asia Harden and Cade Slaughter were among 10 students who received the honor.

 

Asia Harden

Asia Harden

An integrated marketing communications major, Harden has served as an orientation coordinator, vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and member of the Columns Society. The Greenville, Mississippi native also has been involved with RebelTHON, the Big Event and several civic organizations. Her most memorable experience was a semester abroad in Granada, Spain. Harden has worked with The Ole Miss yearbook for four years and serves as only the second African American editor-in-chief of the publication.

 

Cade Slaughter

Cade Slaughter

Slaughter is a dual public policy leadership and integrated marketing communications major. His leadership at Ole Miss has included Columns Society president, Associated Student Body co-principal of First Year Experience and Student Activities Association co-director of pageants. The Hattiesburg native also welcomed potential and incoming students through his roles as an Ole Miss Ambassador, orientation leader and orientation coordinator. Serving as co-director for the Big Event was one of many ways he focused on serving the community. Slaughter was also voted Mr. Ole Miss.

Inductees were selected by a committee in accordance with policy developed by the Associated Student Body. Selections are based on outstanding contributions in all aspects of campus life.

Hall of Fame inductees Asia Harden and Cade Slaughter

Hall of Fame inductees Asia Harden and Cade Slaughter

This year’s Hall of Fame members are Shelby D’Amico, Harrison McKinnis and Robert Wasson, all of Madison; Victoria Green, of Canton; Swetha Manivannan, of Collierville, Tennessee; Joshua Mannery, of Jackson; Gianna Schuetz, of Huntsville, Alabama; and Slaughter and Madison Thornton, both of Hattiesburg. All are members of the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

“The 2021 Hall of Fame class will hold the distinction of completing 25% of their junior years and 100% of their senior years in the midst of a global pandemic that forced the university to change virtually every aspect of our operations, including academic, leadership and service opportunities in which each of these students have excelled,” said Brent Marsh, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students.

“Undeterred by COVID-19’s challenges, these students continued to lead and serve the university community with grace, skill and tenacity. These inductees continue the legacy of Hall of Fame members who left indelible marks at this institution.”

An in-person ceremony was held Friday (April 9) at The Pavilion at Ole Miss in accordance with university COVID-19 protocols.

To read the full story and more about the other inductees, click this link.

Ethiopia Airlines employee shares unique story about becoming part of University of Mississippi IMC master’s program

Posted on: March 30th, 2021 by ldrucker

The School of Journalism and Media at the University of Mississippi has long had a global reach, but the story behind one integrated marketing communications graduate (IMC) student’s journey to the school is unique.

Zebiba Miftah Nassir is an advertising and sales promotion manager with Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline in Africa. As the second child and only daughter of six, Nassir said she was raised in a humble Muslim family of community leaders and mentors.

“I grew up in a community with a lot of love and encouragement that nothing could hinder me from achieving my dreams and ambition,” she said.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts with Great Distinction in Language and Literature and a minor in history from Addis Ababa University before joining Ethiopian Airlines in 1996.

“The main reason why I joined the airline is because of the love I have for the brand and my aspiration to join a leading enterprise,” she said. “As a flagship airline, Ethiopian Airlines has the love and admiration of most of Ethiopians. So, I fell in love with the brand during my childhood.

Zebiba Nassir picture

Zebiba Nassir

“Whenever I saw how highly the public regarded the company, employees of all status, their service buses routing in the city, ads, as well as the aircrafts with the ‘three color feather,’ I would say to myself, ‘I have to join this company.’ Even after 24 years of service, my love and passion hasn’t changed.”

Nassir said Ethiopian Airlines continuously adapts to be competitive. In 2018, leaders of the airline began talking with UM School of Journalism and New Media administrators about creating an opportunity to train the airline’s marketing force with a vision to instill enhanced and cutting-edge IMC skills in key personnel. The following year, the airline established an IMC division to create synergy within the marketing departments and created a pathway for employees to earn a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications at UM.

“I explored the opportunity that was announced in the company and decided to be among the first students to join the IMC program,” she said. “I met the selection criteria and succeeded with the best performance on the entrance exam.”

Associate Professor Robert Magee said Nassir has consistently been an engaged student and a sharp critical thinker.

Zebiba Miftah Nassir

Zebiba Miftah Nassir

“I can understand why the airline values her in her executive role,” he said. “I believe her strong experience in advertising and sales enables her to make the most of the graduate program in IMC.”

Nassir said the UM School of Journalism and New Media’s master’s program equips students with comprehensive knowledge of the elements of integrated marketing communications and guides them to understand what it takes to be a self-sufficient account planner. The master’s program has several courses focused on consumer research and insights, effective graphic design, storytelling, and communication strategies, among other areas of focus.

“One of the important aspects of marketing I grasped from this class that has stuck with me is that marketing experts should first study what the consumer is looking for or the problem to produce the solution (product/service),” she said. “Then, they should communicate the brand’s message to the target audience with a unified/consistent message across all touchpoints (‘outside-in approach’).”

The school’s interim dean, Professor Deb Wenger, said the partnership with Ethiopian Airlines has been extraordinarily beneficial to the IMC master’s program.

“We have been delighted with the caliber of students enrolled through this relationship,” Wenger said. “Mrs. Nassir is one good example of the airline’s standard of excellence for its personnel. The fact that we can share the expertise of our faculty with the employees of such an outstanding and innovative global enterprise expands our reach and influence, and helps us further our mission to lead and excel in the education of a diverse body of students.”

Nassir said she has tried to apply what she has learned in the IMC master’s program on the job. One example of an extensive IMC campaign is the airline’s “Go Digital Campaign” to promote a mobile app for an end-to-end digital travel option. She said her team executed a successful campaign and received a rewarding result with one million users of the mobile app.

“In general, the program has helped me a lot in gaining insight in relation to managing different campaigns,” she said. “I am already applying most of the lessons to our ongoing IMC campaigns. I will keep on implementing these new IMC concepts and techniques so that my company can continue to have result-oriented integrated marketing campaigns that have real time and tangible outcomes.”

Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs Marquita Smith commended Mrs. Nassir for managing her full-time work schedule with the demands of family and distance learning.

“Zebiba is one of our top online students, and she’s an example of how new knowledge can translate into every day success stories,” Smith said. “It is my hope that Zebiba will inspire other working professionals, especially African women, to continue their educations.”

Nassir is a student in the school’s online IMC master’s degree program. The program is currently enrolling students for the 2021-2022 academic year and will be accepting applications through July 31. Visit https://gradschool.olemiss.edu/apply-now/ for more information about the admissions process.

COVID-19 pandemic leads University of Mississippi IMC student to build Blonde Boomerang business

Posted on: March 21st, 2021 by ldrucker

Online shopping has become more popular because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s one reason Kylie Cockrell, a junior Integrated Marketing Communications major, launched her online boutique Blonde Boomerang in January.

There, you can find an organized assortment of turtlenecks, sweater vests, corduroy pants, and even a pink metallic puffer coat. While shopping at Blonde Boomerang, you get a sense of what fashion means to Cockrell.

Cockrell, a Madison, Mississippi native, decided to create an online boutique after working at Arco Avenue, a clothing boutique in Ridgeland near her hometown. During the first few years, she worked the floor, styled customers, paid bills and made purchases, later managing the store. After Cockrell learned what it was like to run a small business, she created the online boutique.

Kylie Cockrell

Kylie Cockrell

Cockrell is on the creative team of Square Magazine at the University of Mississippi. Part of her role is to help with planning and designing photo shoots for the website and social media accounts, and to figure out innovative ways to make each photo shoot unique, whether that is the shoot location or the hair and makeup for the models that correlate with a specific article written by the editorial team.

Being able to incorporate what she has learned from her involvement at Square Magazine and through her IMC fashion promotion and merchandising specialization led Cockrell to create the business.

“I didn’t really know anyone else in college who had started a business or who I could turn to for advice,” she said.

Her previous boss, Katie Miller, at Arco Avenue helped.

When it comes to everyday fashion, Cockrell said her go-to outfit is a pair of straight-legged, light washed jeans, a white button-up shirt and a pair of orange Nike Air Force Ones.

“Those are my prized possession,” she said excitedly.

Cockrell used the time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic to pursue her dream. That allowed her to complete all the necessary business tasks. This involved getting sales permits and tax licenses that took many months. Then Cockrell realized she needed a name for her boutique.

“My mom was actually the one to come up with the name,” she said.

In an Australian Aboriginal language, “Kylie” translates to “boomerang.” Cockrell’s mom, Vicki Welch, thought this would be an innovative business name since Cockrell has blonde hair. Before she knew it, Blonde Boomerang was born, and on Jan. 24, Cockrell officially launched her online boutique.

Welch has supported her in creating Blonde Boomerang. She has seen all the hard work Kylie puts into developing her business.

“She did everything,” Welch said.

From making important phone calls to designing the website and choosing inventory, Cockrell took charge. Welch knew customers would fall in love with Cockrell’s unique sense of style.

“Throughout this whole process, I have seen Kylie become so independent,” she said.

Kylie Cockrell and some of her merchandise.

Kylie Cockrell and some of her merchandise.

Welch said this is the perfect time and age to get involved with something you are passionate about, and to not be afraid to fail while doing so.

“I know she has what it takes to make this business go further,” Welch said.

Cockrell said, “There were so many times I second-guessed myself.”

However, she adopted Miller’s motto, “You never know until you just go for it.”

Although Cockrell was nervous about launching her boutique, she was excited when someone from Connecticut purchased an item from Blonde Boomerang.

“It’s the little things like that that remind me of how glad I am to have started my business,” said Cockrell. “It definitely makes my day.”

As a full-time student taking 18 hours of classes, being involved with Square Magazine, and running an online business, Cockrell said it has taken a lot of self-discipline to stay on top of her everyday tasks.

“The business staying up and running relies solely on me,” she said.

If you are a student who aspires to create your own business, it is important to stay confident and true to yourself. Whatever you are passionate about, make it happen, said Cockrell.

“The more work you put into something you are passionate about, the more benefits you will get in return,” she said. “Once you make that commitment to yourself, you are already one step further towards your goal…You can only go up from there.”

Cockrell aspires to open a physical location for Blonde Boomerang.

“Make it from the ground up, and gradually it will become what you want it to be,” she said.


This story was written by Cloi Bryan for Oxford Stories.

Are you a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student who has created their own business? If so, we want to hear from you. Click this link to share your business story. 

Click this link to learn more about our undergraduate and graduate programs in IMC and Journalism.

What is IMC or Integrated Marketing Communications? Learn more about our bachelor’s and master’s programs

Posted on: March 20th, 2021 by ldrucker

What is Integrated Marketing Communications?

If you are trying to decide on an educational career path, why not choose a versatile major that is important in every field of business?

Experience the dynamic field of IMC at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media. It’s where marketing meets creativity in a future-focused, real-world curriculum.

IMC is about crafting communication across all forms of media to shape brands and influence behaviors.

You can earn a bachelor’s degree and/or a master’s degree in IMC at UM.

Click here to learn more about the IMC bachelor’s degree program, and to apply.

Click here to learn more about the IMC master’s degree program, and to apply.

Rather than focus on one thing, why not choose a major that allows you to do everything?

 

A picture of different forms of media

A picture of different forms of media