Virginia Hamilton Conference Registration Opens

Registration is now open for the 33rd annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth, featuring Pat Mora, award-winning Latina author of poetry, nonfiction and children's books; Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times best-selling author of fiction for children and young adults, centered on the lives of modern-day American Indians; and Don Tate, award-winning author and critically acclaimed illustrator.

The conference will take place at Kent State University on April 6 and 7, 2017. For more information and links to registration, visit the Conference website.

GROUP RATES ARE AVAILABLE; contact the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at continuinged@kent.edu or 330-672-3100 for details.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Before he graduated in December 2022, digital media production alumnus Sam Teyssier had already racked up some impressive credits: He’d worked on television shows including “American Rust” and “A League of Their Own” (among others), as well as Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award winner “Cha Cha Real Smooth.” These experiences — which he began seeking out in his hometown of Pittsburgh during the summer of 2021 — have prepared him for post-graduation life.

Teyssier, ‘22, first joined sets as an extra so he could make connections for the roles he was trying to get: COVID safety assistant, and eventually, grip — someone who assists with cameras and lighting. 

“I was a COVID safety assistant on the first season of ‘American Rust’ in the summer of last year,” Teyssier said. “Before that I was an extra and that’s how I got to know people and that was the whole plan.”

His job as a COVID safety assistant involved having to make sure everyone on set was following social distancing guidelines, wearing masks and other COVID-19 workplace policies. He said it often made him out to be the “bad guy,” but gave him experience on sets nonetheless. .

“You have to do it your way so that you have a job once COVID is over,” he said. “Your bosses don’t really care how the job is completed, they just want (COVID-19) to be over with.”

That experience prepared him to take on the vital role of grip.

“Nothing would really get done without grips, everything is kind of integral on set,” Teyssier said. “There’s some departments (that) are not as essential but I really think grips are essential, and it’s hard too — the name doesn’t give it justice.”

Christopher Knoblock, lecturer in the School of Media and Journalism, described Teyssier as a “relatively quiet student,” who got moving fast in the digital media production program.

“I would say that he has positioned himself, at his young age, better than most of any of the other students I’ve seen at this university,” Knoblock said. “I’m very impressed with how he has just really gone for it.”

Other credits on Teyssier’s resume include “The Mayor of Kingstown” and “The Chair,” both of which were also filmed in Pittsburgh.

“He positioned himself so well that when he started working as a grip, after that he began to accrue the hours you need to join a union as a grip,” Knoblock said. “When you join a union, there are so many different departments that you need to specialize in for that union.”

Teyssier submitted his papers to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E) union in October 2022 — something that would allow him to continue receiving more industry credentials. 

While his union papers were being submitted, Teyssier worked on his senior project, which consisted of a three-part narrative podcast series focused around student stories. He said he balanced a lot of his time between classes in Kent and working in Pittsburgh, but he maintained his grades and everything worked out.

Teyssier said he felt accomplished in his work. He created a four-part audio project close to triple of the required length. Although his background is on sets and creating audio, he’s considering a career in script-writing for video games.

“I really see that as an emerging field,” he said. “It’s already like three times more profitable and I feel like more companies are going to keep investing, so I think there’s going to be a lot more opportunities like this.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Before he graduated in December 2022, digital media production alumnus Sam Teyssier had already racked up some impressive credits: He’d worked on television shows including “American Rust” and “A League of Their Own” (among others), as well as Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award winner “Cha Cha Real Smooth.” These experiences — which he began seeking out in his hometown of Pittsburgh during the summer of 2021 — have prepared him for post-graduation life.

Teyssier, ‘22, first joined sets as an extra so he could make connections for the roles he was trying to get: COVID safety assistant, and eventually, grip — someone who assists with cameras and lighting. 

“I was a COVID safety assistant on the first season of ‘American Rust’ in the summer of last year,” Teyssier said. “Before that I was an extra and that’s how I got to know people and that was the whole plan.”

His job as a COVID safety assistant involved having to make sure everyone on set was following social distancing guidelines, wearing masks and other COVID-19 workplace policies. He said it often made him out to be the “bad guy,” but gave him experience on sets nonetheless. .

“You have to do it your way so that you have a job once COVID is over,” he said. “Your bosses don’t really care how the job is completed, they just want (COVID-19) to be over with.”

That experience prepared him to take on the vital role of grip.

“Nothing would really get done without grips, everything is kind of integral on set,” Teyssier said. “There’s some departments (that) are not as essential but I really think grips are essential, and it’s hard too — the name doesn’t give it justice.”

Christopher Knoblock, lecturer in the School of Media and Journalism, described Teyssier as a “relatively quiet student,” who got moving fast in the digital media production program.

“I would say that he has positioned himself, at his young age, better than most of any of the other students I’ve seen at this university,” Knoblock said. “I’m very impressed with how he has just really gone for it.”

Other credits on Teyssier’s resume include “The Mayor of Kingstown” and “The Chair,” both of which were also filmed in Pittsburgh.

“He positioned himself so well that when he started working as a grip, after that he began to accrue the hours you need to join a union as a grip,” Knoblock said. “When you join a union, there are so many different departments that you need to specialize in for that union.”

Teyssier submitted his papers to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E) union in October 2022 — something that would allow him to continue receiving more industry credentials. 

While his union papers were being submitted, Teyssier worked on his senior project, which consisted of a three-part narrative podcast series focused around student stories. He said he balanced a lot of his time between classes in Kent and working in Pittsburgh, but he maintained his grades and everything worked out.

Teyssier said he felt accomplished in his work. He created a four-part audio project close to triple of the required length. Although his background is on sets and creating audio, he’s considering a career in script-writing for video games.

“I really see that as an emerging field,” he said. “It’s already like three times more profitable and I feel like more companies are going to keep investing, so I think there’s going to be a lot more opportunities like this.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Before he graduated in December 2022, digital media production alumnus Sam Teyssier had already racked up some impressive credits: He’d worked on television shows including “American Rust” and “A League of Their Own” (among others), as well as Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award winner “Cha Cha Real Smooth.” These experiences — which he began seeking out in his hometown of Pittsburgh during the summer of 2021 — have prepared him for post-graduation life.

Teyssier, ‘22, first joined sets as an extra so he could make connections for the roles he was trying to get: COVID safety assistant, and eventually, grip — someone who assists with cameras and lighting. 

“I was a COVID safety assistant on the first season of ‘American Rust’ in the summer of last year,” Teyssier said. “Before that I was an extra and that’s how I got to know people and that was the whole plan.”

His job as a COVID safety assistant involved having to make sure everyone on set was following social distancing guidelines, wearing masks and other COVID-19 workplace policies. He said it often made him out to be the “bad guy,” but gave him experience on sets nonetheless. .

“You have to do it your way so that you have a job once COVID is over,” he said. “Your bosses don’t really care how the job is completed, they just want (COVID-19) to be over with.”

That experience prepared him to take on the vital role of grip.

“Nothing would really get done without grips, everything is kind of integral on set,” Teyssier said. “There’s some departments (that) are not as essential but I really think grips are essential, and it’s hard too — the name doesn’t give it justice.”

Christopher Knoblock, lecturer in the School of Media and Journalism, described Teyssier as a “relatively quiet student,” who got moving fast in the digital media production program.

“I would say that he has positioned himself, at his young age, better than most of any of the other students I’ve seen at this university,” Knoblock said. “I’m very impressed with how he has just really gone for it.”

Other credits on Teyssier’s resume include “The Mayor of Kingstown” and “The Chair,” both of which were also filmed in Pittsburgh.

“He positioned himself so well that when he started working as a grip, after that he began to accrue the hours you need to join a union as a grip,” Knoblock said. “When you join a union, there are so many different departments that you need to specialize in for that union.”

Teyssier submitted his papers to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E) union in October 2022 — something that would allow him to continue receiving more industry credentials. 

While his union papers were being submitted, Teyssier worked on his senior project, which consisted of a three-part narrative podcast series focused around student stories. He said he balanced a lot of his time between classes in Kent and working in Pittsburgh, but he maintained his grades and everything worked out.

Teyssier said he felt accomplished in his work. He created a four-part audio project close to triple of the required length. Although his background is on sets and creating audio, he’s considering a career in script-writing for video games.

“I really see that as an emerging field,” he said. “It’s already like three times more profitable and I feel like more companies are going to keep investing, so I think there’s going to be a lot more opportunities like this.”

Monday, January 23, 2023
Gordon Headshot

Laura Gordon, '87, had such a fulfilling experience as a Kent State University student, that she now gives back so that others may find their way to the types of relationships and encounters that helped set her on her path.

When her adult children — one recently graduated and one still in college — were looking at schools, she encouraged them to “dig deep” into their majors and find those relationships and activities that the university offered.

“I really experienced that myself with my professors,” Gordon said. “Tim Smith ... and Carl Schierhorn were both so supportive in helping me find my path and get out into the world.”

And beyond her own family, she supports today's Kent State School of Media and Journalism students in their pursuits through a scholarship in her parents' names.

“The scholarship that I pay into allowed me to do something that didn’t require an enormous commitment but still allowed me to feel connected and to feel like I was giving back,” she said.

After she graduated from Kent State, Gordon pursued healthcare journalism, transitioned to public relations, and now advocates for pediatric research in the nonprofit world.

“I was a journalist for about 10 years and then Edelman recruited me to run their editorial division, and that’s how I decided to make the leap into PR,” she said. “I did that element for 22 years, and when I left I was running the healthcare practice at the Washington office.”

Gordon said she wanted a change after feeling like she “had done it all.” To encounter a new challenge, she began researching healthcare jobs.

“I was connected to a recruiter, and they had this job opening for a new nonprofit group (that) just formed about a year before I joined it,” Gordon said. “It had been created by a multidisciplinary group of healthcare leaders and they were all concerned about the delays in pediatric research.”

The delays often experienced are betwen the time a drug comes to market for an adult, Gordon said, the time it takes for the FDA to do studies in children for the same drug. The process can often take a decade. The Institute for Advanced Clinical Trials for Children, according to its website, serves "as a neutral and independent organization on behalf of children everywhere, bringing a dedicated voice to the advancement of new medicines and devices needed now and in the future." 

“This nonprofit’s whole goal was to help pharma companies accelerate their studies in an efficient, but also of course, regulatory manner,” Gordon said. “I knew a lot about pediatric research and clinical trials already. For me, the new learning was really more about the business side of things.”

Gordon had a myriad of experiences after attending Kent State, but while she was a student, she and another student were responsible for founding what’s now known as the university’s general interest magazine, The Burr.

Formerly known as The Chestnut Burr, the university’s yearbook, Gordon and fellow journalism student Thomas Lewis, petitioned the university to turn The Chestnut Burr into The Burr Magazine.

“It really gave me great experience in working within the structure of the university (and) really understanding, ‘How do you navigate that?’” she said. “But what we realized was that it was such a big university that no one really cared about the yearbook anymore.”

Gordon said they felt it was their job to tell that story and help people understand why they wanted to make such a big change.

“We made sure the first issue was almost a kind of gift back to the leadership of the university by having a little fun with it and showing that this magazine was something that was really going to be good for the university,” she said.

Kent State is known for accepting the most students from different backgrounds, and Gordon said she noticed and appreciated this.

“I think it’s really important to give back when you’ve experienced such valuable support so it’s always been really important to me to be part of that,” she said.

Monday, January 23, 2023
Gordon Headshot

Laura Gordon, '87, had such a fulfilling experience as a Kent State University student, that she now gives back so that others may find their way to the types of relationships and encounters that helped set her on her path.

When her adult children — one recently graduated and one still in college — were looking at schools, she encouraged them to “dig deep” into their majors and find those relationships and activities that the university offered.

“I really experienced that myself with my professors,” Gordon said. “Tim Smith ... and Carl Schierhorn were both so supportive in helping me find my path and get out into the world.”

And beyond her own family, she supports today's Kent State School of Media and Journalism students in their pursuits through a scholarship in her parents' names.

“The scholarship that I pay into allowed me to do something that didn’t require an enormous commitment but still allowed me to feel connected and to feel like I was giving back,” she said.

After she graduated from Kent State, Gordon pursued healthcare journalism, transitioned to public relations, and now advocates for pediatric research in the nonprofit world.

“I was a journalist for about 10 years and then Edelman recruited me to run their editorial division, and that’s how I decided to make the leap into PR,” she said. “I did that element for 22 years, and when I left I was running the healthcare practice at the Washington office.”

Gordon said she wanted a change after feeling like she “had done it all.” To encounter a new challenge, she began researching healthcare jobs.

“I was connected to a recruiter, and they had this job opening for a new nonprofit group (that) just formed about a year before I joined it,” Gordon said. “It had been created by a multidisciplinary group of healthcare leaders and they were all concerned about the delays in pediatric research.”

The delays often experienced are betwen the time a drug comes to market for an adult, Gordon said, the time it takes for the FDA to do studies in children for the same drug. The process can often take a decade. The Institute for Advanced Clinical Trials for Children, according to its website, serves "as a neutral and independent organization on behalf of children everywhere, bringing a dedicated voice to the advancement of new medicines and devices needed now and in the future." 

“This nonprofit’s whole goal was to help pharma companies accelerate their studies in an efficient, but also of course, regulatory manner,” Gordon said. “I knew a lot about pediatric research and clinical trials already. For me, the new learning was really more about the business side of things.”

Gordon had a myriad of experiences after attending Kent State, but while she was a student, she and another student were responsible for founding what’s now known as the university’s general interest magazine, The Burr.

Formerly known as The Chestnut Burr, the university’s yearbook, Gordon and fellow journalism student Thomas Lewis, petitioned the university to turn The Chestnut Burr into The Burr Magazine.

“It really gave me great experience in working within the structure of the university (and) really understanding, ‘How do you navigate that?’” she said. “But what we realized was that it was such a big university that no one really cared about the yearbook anymore.”

Gordon said they felt it was their job to tell that story and help people understand why they wanted to make such a big change.

“We made sure the first issue was almost a kind of gift back to the leadership of the university by having a little fun with it and showing that this magazine was something that was really going to be good for the university,” she said.

Kent State is known for accepting the most students from different backgrounds, and Gordon said she noticed and appreciated this.

“I think it’s really important to give back when you’ve experienced such valuable support so it’s always been really important to me to be part of that,” she said.

Monday, January 23, 2023
Gordon Headshot

Laura Gordon, '87, had such a fulfilling experience as a Kent State University student, that she now gives back so that others may find their way to the types of relationships and encounters that helped set her on her path.

When her adult children — one recently graduated and one still in college — were looking at schools, she encouraged them to “dig deep” into their majors and find those relationships and activities that the university offered.

“I really experienced that myself with my professors,” Gordon said. “Tim Smith ... and Carl Schierhorn were both so supportive in helping me find my path and get out into the world.”

And beyond her own family, she supports today's Kent State School of Media and Journalism students in their pursuits through a scholarship in her parents' names.

“The scholarship that I pay into allowed me to do something that didn’t require an enormous commitment but still allowed me to feel connected and to feel like I was giving back,” she said.

After she graduated from Kent State, Gordon pursued healthcare journalism, transitioned to public relations, and now advocates for pediatric research in the nonprofit world.

“I was a journalist for about 10 years and then Edelman recruited me to run their editorial division, and that’s how I decided to make the leap into PR,” she said. “I did that element for 22 years, and when I left I was running the healthcare practice at the Washington office.”

Gordon said she wanted a change after feeling like she “had done it all.” To encounter a new challenge, she began researching healthcare jobs.

“I was connected to a recruiter, and they had this job opening for a new nonprofit group (that) just formed about a year before I joined it,” Gordon said. “It had been created by a multidisciplinary group of healthcare leaders and they were all concerned about the delays in pediatric research.”

The delays often experienced are betwen the time a drug comes to market for an adult, Gordon said, the time it takes for the FDA to do studies in children for the same drug. The process can often take a decade. The Institute for Advanced Clinical Trials for Children, according to its website, serves "as a neutral and independent organization on behalf of children everywhere, bringing a dedicated voice to the advancement of new medicines and devices needed now and in the future." 

“This nonprofit’s whole goal was to help pharma companies accelerate their studies in an efficient, but also of course, regulatory manner,” Gordon said. “I knew a lot about pediatric research and clinical trials already. For me, the new learning was really more about the business side of things.”

Gordon had a myriad of experiences after attending Kent State, but while she was a student, she and another student were responsible for founding what’s now known as the university’s general interest magazine, The Burr.

Formerly known as The Chestnut Burr, the university’s yearbook, Gordon and fellow journalism student Thomas Lewis, petitioned the university to turn The Chestnut Burr into The Burr Magazine.

“It really gave me great experience in working within the structure of the university (and) really understanding, ‘How do you navigate that?’” she said. “But what we realized was that it was such a big university that no one really cared about the yearbook anymore.”

Gordon said they felt it was their job to tell that story and help people understand why they wanted to make such a big change.

“We made sure the first issue was almost a kind of gift back to the leadership of the university by having a little fun with it and showing that this magazine was something that was really going to be good for the university,” she said.

Kent State is known for accepting the most students from different backgrounds, and Gordon said she noticed and appreciated this.

“I think it’s really important to give back when you’ve experienced such valuable support so it’s always been really important to me to be part of that,” she said.

Monday, January 23, 2023

In March 2021, Lacy Starling, '02, got a call from a community organization in northern Kentucky looking for a CEO for a start-up news organization. 

They knew Starling only for her business background; after earning her Bachelor of Science in journalism from Kent State University, she went on to earn her M.B.A. For 20 years, she had been an entrepreneur. 

"‘We want to start a news organization for northern Kentucky and we need a CEO,’” Starling remembers them saying. “They had no idea that I had a journalism degree, they just knew that I was an entrepreneur.”

Starling says that phone call was her “full-circle moment” to re-enter the journalism world. Today, she oversees all editorial operations for the LINK Media LLC,  a solutions-focused independent media organization in northern Kentucky. She is focused on making sure the news organizations cover things in ways they haven't been covered before in the region.

“My job is to make sure that the organization runs well, that we meet our mission, follow our guiding principles and that we are a high-integrity independent news organization that does both digital and print,” she said. 

With a lot to prove and not a lot of time to work on it, Starling said she immediately started to acquire editorial responsibilities and work with other companies and the team that brought her in.

“The one guy was just like, ‘You don’t know anything about this,’ and begrudgingly about six months in, he had to admit I was actually a pretty good journalist,” she said. “I just (have to) remind myself of all that, and ask people smarter than I am for help when I had sticky situations or ethical questions.”

Starling said she accredits her love for journalism to Kent State and the School of Media and Journalism (MDJ) specifically. As a former businesswoman, and currently teacher and CEO, she said she recognizes the quality of a journalism program and how MDJ prepared her and others for the journalism field.

Her own college experience was a bit unconventional. She was a dual enrollment student during her senior year of high school and took classes at Kent State Stark. She then studied journalism for two years at Ohio University, returned to the Stark Campus, and finally, completed her senior year at the Kent Campus.

Because the Stark Campus didn’t have many opportunities for her to get involved in student media, she wrote for the Canton Repository, and got involved with The Kent Stater during her senior year in Kent.

“It was unusual only doing one year on main campus but it was great,” she said. “I really enjoyed all of the journalism classes I got to take and the professors I got to work with while I was there.”

Today, as she hires people right out of college journalism programs, she says she appreciates the fact that her professors expected her to act as a professional reporter and get real sources for class assignments.

“I really appreciate the fact that Kent State was very rigorous in that training,” Starling said. “I also really appreciated the First Amendment classes I took there … I think that’s really important, especially in this day and age.”

Monday, January 23, 2023

In March 2021, Lacy Starling, '02, got a call from a community organization in northern Kentucky looking for a CEO for a start-up news organization. 

They knew Starling only for her business background; after earning her Bachelor of Science in journalism from Kent State University, she went on to earn her M.B.A. For 20 years, she had been an entrepreneur. 

"‘We want to start a news organization for northern Kentucky and we need a CEO,’” Starling remembers them saying. “They had no idea that I had a journalism degree, they just knew that I was an entrepreneur.”

Starling says that phone call was her “full-circle moment” to re-enter the journalism world. Today, she oversees all editorial operations for the LINK Media LLC,  a solutions-focused independent media organization in northern Kentucky. She is focused on making sure the news organizations cover things in ways they haven't been covered before in the region.

“My job is to make sure that the organization runs well, that we meet our mission, follow our guiding principles and that we are a high-integrity independent news organization that does both digital and print,” she said. 

With a lot to prove and not a lot of time to work on it, Starling said she immediately started to acquire editorial responsibilities and work with other companies and the team that brought her in.

“The one guy was just like, ‘You don’t know anything about this,’ and begrudgingly about six months in, he had to admit I was actually a pretty good journalist,” she said. “I just (have to) remind myself of all that, and ask people smarter than I am for help when I had sticky situations or ethical questions.”

Starling said she accredits her love for journalism to Kent State and the School of Media and Journalism (MDJ) specifically. As a former businesswoman, and currently teacher and CEO, she said she recognizes the quality of a journalism program and how MDJ prepared her and others for the journalism field.

Her own college experience was a bit unconventional. She was a dual enrollment student during her senior year of high school and took classes at Kent State Stark. She then studied journalism for two years at Ohio University, returned to the Stark Campus, and finally, completed her senior year at the Kent Campus.

Because the Stark Campus didn’t have many opportunities for her to get involved in student media, she wrote for the Canton Repository, and got involved with The Kent Stater during her senior year in Kent.

“It was unusual only doing one year on main campus but it was great,” she said. “I really enjoyed all of the journalism classes I got to take and the professors I got to work with while I was there.”

Today, as she hires people right out of college journalism programs, she says she appreciates the fact that her professors expected her to act as a professional reporter and get real sources for class assignments.

“I really appreciate the fact that Kent State was very rigorous in that training,” Starling said. “I also really appreciated the First Amendment classes I took there … I think that’s really important, especially in this day and age.”

Monday, January 23, 2023

In March 2021, Lacy Starling, '02, got a call from a community organization in northern Kentucky looking for a CEO for a start-up news organization. 

They knew Starling only for her business background; after earning her Bachelor of Science in journalism from Kent State University, she went on to earn her M.B.A. For 20 years, she had been an entrepreneur. 

"‘We want to start a news organization for northern Kentucky and we need a CEO,’” Starling remembers them saying. “They had no idea that I had a journalism degree, they just knew that I was an entrepreneur.”

Starling says that phone call was her “full-circle moment” to re-enter the journalism world. Today, she oversees all editorial operations for the LINK Media LLC,  a solutions-focused independent media organization in northern Kentucky. She is focused on making sure the news organizations cover things in ways they haven't been covered before in the region.

“My job is to make sure that the organization runs well, that we meet our mission, follow our guiding principles and that we are a high-integrity independent news organization that does both digital and print,” she said. 

With a lot to prove and not a lot of time to work on it, Starling said she immediately started to acquire editorial responsibilities and work with other companies and the team that brought her in.

“The one guy was just like, ‘You don’t know anything about this,’ and begrudgingly about six months in, he had to admit I was actually a pretty good journalist,” she said. “I just (have to) remind myself of all that, and ask people smarter than I am for help when I had sticky situations or ethical questions.”

Starling said she accredits her love for journalism to Kent State and the School of Media and Journalism (MDJ) specifically. As a former businesswoman, and currently teacher and CEO, she said she recognizes the quality of a journalism program and how MDJ prepared her and others for the journalism field.

Her own college experience was a bit unconventional. She was a dual enrollment student during her senior year of high school and took classes at Kent State Stark. She then studied journalism for two years at Ohio University, returned to the Stark Campus, and finally, completed her senior year at the Kent Campus.

Because the Stark Campus didn’t have many opportunities for her to get involved in student media, she wrote for the Canton Repository, and got involved with The Kent Stater during her senior year in Kent.

“It was unusual only doing one year on main campus but it was great,” she said. “I really enjoyed all of the journalism classes I got to take and the professors I got to work with while I was there.”

Today, as she hires people right out of college journalism programs, she says she appreciates the fact that her professors expected her to act as a professional reporter and get real sources for class assignments.

“I really appreciate the fact that Kent State was very rigorous in that training,” Starling said. “I also really appreciated the First Amendment classes I took there … I think that’s really important, especially in this day and age.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the playing field in early January while experiencing a cardiac episode, “it was one of those massive situations that cause us to rethink the role of sports in society,” according to Kent State Associate Professor JD Ponder.

Ponder, who has studied sports, communication and society, is teaching Sports Communication in the School of Communication Studies this semester and recently reflected about what football fans — and the rest of America — saw unfold during and following the Jan. 2, 2023, NFL game.

In terms of communication, it’s been “a mix of good and bad,” he says.

One example of “the bad,” he says, was the NFL’s response in real time. In every class, Ponder instills upon his students that in the absence of communication, mixed messages, misinformation and misinterpretation can percolate — and that’s much of what we saw from the NFL’s initial response.

“There was a lot of confusion on the telecast about what was going on,” he said, as analysts and commentators predicted whether the game would be canceled. When it ultimately was, confusion unfolded as to whether coaches or the NFL were behind this decision.

“But that confusion that was manifest in the sports arena, that’s a really good example of poor communication happening,” he says.

“… And since there’s a mixed message, it lends itself to misinterpretation. As an organization, you never want to give that opportunity for misinterpretation. You always want to control the narrative.”

Sports communicators in particular, Ponder says, need to be prepared to handle crises in front of millions of eyes — and often.

“The majority of sports crises that we see happen in front of the fans, and that’s a very unique thing,” he says. “Rarely do you ever see millions of people watching a crisis occur in real time that’s affecting another (type of) organization, but sports are one of those areas where this regularly occurs.”

In Sports Communication, Ponder teaches a multi-step process for managing a sports crisis — and much of that involves having a solid playbook in place so that when a crisis happens, communicators and leaders know what to do. Based on what he saw unfold, Ponder says it doesn’t look like the NFL or broadcast media were following any sort of playbook.

On the flip side, Ponder says the communication from the Buffalo Bills surrounding Hamlin’s condition has been particularly well done. It’s a lesson his students can learn about practicing empathy and sensitivity as communicators when dealing with a crisis.

“(The Bills) have been respectful of Damar’s wishes and Damar’s family’s wishes — the right to privacy as well,” he says. “… You have to negotiate with Damar and Damar’s family, ‘Hey, what do you want to talk about? What do you want to keep back?’ … And that takes thought and caring and empathy when you’re having those discussions.”

The power of communication to do good in the world has also been on display, Ponder says, as on social media, fans quickly shared Hamlin’s charity, The Chasing M Foundation, and raised more than $8 million for a community toy drive. 

As sports leaders, communicators and media learn from this instance, Ponder says he expects to see more emphasis on health issues and preparation to talk about them.

“I think there should be more training about how announcers should deal with these situations and what the protocols should be,” he says. “They should always have medical experts on first … allowing experts that spot to be called in to talk about these things.”

Monday, December 12, 2022

Misinformation has permeated conversations across all walks of life. And in the Taylor Hall Gallery at Kent State University this winter, visitors can see misinformation exposed in a new, visually interesting way.

It’s all thanks to a collaboration between Associate Professors Sanda Katila of Visual Communication Design and J.D. Ponder of Communication Studies, who both explored misinformation with their classes during the Fall 2022 semester.

Design students in Katila’s class, Glyphix Research Laboratory, studied the intersection of language, image and lies while researching a specific instance of misinformation, ranging from the war in Ukraine, causes like recycling and body image, to historical events. They then designed a gallery exhibit wall, showcasing their research and calling out the misinformation.

But Katila knew her students would need more than just design expertise to pull this project off in a meaningful way. So she reached out to Ponder, who was teaching Media, War and Propaganda in Communication Studies. Katila and her students attended several of his lectures, and the students interacted with one another, learning how each discipline (design and communication) deals with misinformation differently, and where common themes intersect.

The design students’ final projects are on display in the Taylor Hall Gallery from Dec. 13, 2022, through Feb. 3, 2023. On the walls, visitors will see misinformation called out in a way that Ponder says he has not seen before: through visualizations and design.

Wall

Historically, fact checking and calling out misinformation tends to fall flat, Ponder says, because it is done strictly through text. It can be repetitive and difficult to compete with the “exciting” tactics and language companies and politicians use to push misinformation.

“And what you see (in this gallery) is a very visually interesting way of combatting misinformation,” Ponder said. “I’ve actually not seen this in practice, so I’m really excited to see how it works out. Because including a richer form of correction, where there’s visual images, there’s identification of particular tactics — that stuff, theoretically, should be a better correction than what currently is the standard practice.”

One of the most important things Katila worked with her students on to get to these final, dynamic visualizations, was compressing information.

“We talked about how having more information is not always useful to people and that when you try to show too much, people don't understand any of it. They walk away with no message,” she said. “So how much do you show? What do you show? What will people be able to absorb? How much research do you show?”

And interestingly, Katila said, it was one of Ponder’s lectures about propaganda surrounding the McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit of 1992, that drove the point about succinct storytelling home for her design students. They kept going back to that conversation as they crafted their final designs.

“The students were amazing,” Ponder said. “In class, they asked questions, they brought up examples, (and the design students) engaged and pushed my students a lot. It was so much fun to have them there because they were doing research on their own individual types of misinformation and disinformation that is happening in the United States and the world right now.”

Student hangs art
Kristyn Hibbett, '23
Monday, November 28, 2022

Public relations major Kristyn Hibbett, ‘23, recently earned a scholarship to attend a national summit on diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations in Chicago.  

The 2022 Plank Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit and Milestones in Mentoring Gala took place on Nov. 3, 2022, and Hibbett was one of 18 scholarship recipients from across the country who attended.  

There, she got to network with public relations corporations, companies and executives. She also attended four sessions that focused on the progression of public relations and how far the industry has come in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Hibbett said she learned many things at the summit, but one of her main takeaways was the reminder to always be an advocate for herself in all aspects: as a woman, as an African American, as a human being. She stressed the importance of advocating for others as well.  

“It means nothing if you get somebody of minority or somebody of color in a job, but you're not taking into consideration what they have to say,” she said. “This is a reminder to continue to be a voice in the positions that I’m in, and to speak up for those who really don’t feel as if they can speak up for themselves.” 

Hibbett shared that her own cultural identity includes being a woman, African American, a member of Gen Z, a Christian and more. Over the summer, she completed an internship at Adidas’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., and found that she was able to contribute ideas in brainstorming sessions, “because I was able to fully show up and be confident in who I am as an individual.” 

Image
Kristyn Hibbett, '23 (third from left), attended a national DEI summit focused on public relations

She would one day like to be a director of communications for an NBA team, and by doing that, break glass ceilings and be a role model and representation for females and African Americans. 

“There are so many different brands in the world, when it comes to public relations, you can’t cater to the brand one type of way... because there's such a diverse background in people, brands, and organizations, you need diversity within the public relations,” Hibbett said. “It can be hard to relate to a company or relate to a brand or a person if you don't have something in common.” 

Kristyn Hibbett, '23
Monday, November 28, 2022

Public relations major Kristyn Hibbett, ‘23, recently earned a scholarship to attend a national summit on diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations in Chicago.  

The 2022 Plank Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit and Milestones in Mentoring Gala took place on Nov. 3, 2022, and Hibbett was one of 18 scholarship recipients from across the country who attended.  

There, she got to network with public relations corporations, companies and executives. She also attended four sessions that focused on the progression of public relations and how far the industry has come in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Hibbett said she learned many things at the summit, but one of her main takeaways was the reminder to always be an advocate for herself in all aspects: as a woman, as an African American, as a human being. She stressed the importance of advocating for others as well.  

“It means nothing if you get somebody of minority or somebody of color in a job, but you're not taking into consideration what they have to say,” she said. “This is a reminder to continue to be a voice in the positions that I’m in, and to speak up for those who really don’t feel as if they can speak up for themselves.” 

Hibbett shared that her own cultural identity includes being a woman, African American, a member of Gen Z, a Christian and more. Over the summer, she completed an internship at Adidas’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., and found that she was able to contribute ideas in brainstorming sessions, “because I was able to fully show up and be confident in who I am as an individual.” 

Image
Kristyn Hibbett, '23 (third from left), attended a national DEI summit focused on public relations

She would one day like to be a director of communications for an NBA team, and by doing that, break glass ceilings and be a role model and representation for females and African Americans. 

“There are so many different brands in the world, when it comes to public relations, you can’t cater to the brand one type of way... because there's such a diverse background in people, brands, and organizations, you need diversity within the public relations,” Hibbett said. “It can be hard to relate to a company or relate to a brand or a person if you don't have something in common.” 

Kristyn Hibbett, '23
Monday, November 28, 2022

Public relations major Kristyn Hibbett, ‘23, recently earned a scholarship to attend a national summit on diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations in Chicago.  

The 2022 Plank Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit and Milestones in Mentoring Gala took place on Nov. 3, 2022, and Hibbett was one of 18 scholarship recipients from across the country who attended.  

There, she got to network with public relations corporations, companies and executives. She also attended four sessions that focused on the progression of public relations and how far the industry has come in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Hibbett said she learned many things at the summit, but one of her main takeaways was the reminder to always be an advocate for herself in all aspects: as a woman, as an African American, as a human being. She stressed the importance of advocating for others as well.  

“It means nothing if you get somebody of minority or somebody of color in a job, but you're not taking into consideration what they have to say,” she said. “This is a reminder to continue to be a voice in the positions that I’m in, and to speak up for those who really don’t feel as if they can speak up for themselves.” 

Hibbett shared that her own cultural identity includes being a woman, African American, a member of Gen Z, a Christian and more. Over the summer, she completed an internship at Adidas’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., and found that she was able to contribute ideas in brainstorming sessions, “because I was able to fully show up and be confident in who I am as an individual.” 

Image
Kristyn Hibbett, '23 (third from left), attended a national DEI summit focused on public relations

She would one day like to be a director of communications for an NBA team, and by doing that, break glass ceilings and be a role model and representation for females and African Americans. 

“There are so many different brands in the world, when it comes to public relations, you can’t cater to the brand one type of way... because there's such a diverse background in people, brands, and organizations, you need diversity within the public relations,” Hibbett said. “It can be hard to relate to a company or relate to a brand or a person if you don't have something in common.” 

Kristyn Hibbett, '23
Monday, November 28, 2022

Public relations major Kristyn Hibbett, ‘23, recently earned a scholarship to attend a national summit on diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations in Chicago.  

The 2022 Plank Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit and Milestones in Mentoring Gala took place on Nov. 3, 2022, and Hibbett was one of 18 scholarship recipients from across the country who attended.  

There, she got to network with public relations corporations, companies and executives. She also attended four sessions that focused on the progression of public relations and how far the industry has come in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Hibbett said she learned many things at the summit, but one of her main takeaways was the reminder to always be an advocate for herself in all aspects: as a woman, as an African American, as a human being. She stressed the importance of advocating for others as well.  

“It means nothing if you get somebody of minority or somebody of color in a job, but you're not taking into consideration what they have to say,” she said. “This is a reminder to continue to be a voice in the positions that I’m in, and to speak up for those who really don’t feel as if they can speak up for themselves.” 

Hibbett shared that her own cultural identity includes being a woman, African American, a member of Gen Z, a Christian and more. Over the summer, she completed an internship at Adidas’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., and found that she was able to contribute ideas in brainstorming sessions, “because I was able to fully show up and be confident in who I am as an individual.” 

Image
Kristyn Hibbett, '23 (third from left), attended a national DEI summit focused on public relations

She would one day like to be a director of communications for an NBA team, and by doing that, break glass ceilings and be a role model and representation for females and African Americans. 

“There are so many different brands in the world, when it comes to public relations, you can’t cater to the brand one type of way... because there's such a diverse background in people, brands, and organizations, you need diversity within the public relations,” Hibbett said. “It can be hard to relate to a company or relate to a brand or a person if you don't have something in common.” 

Kristyn Hibbett, '23
Monday, November 28, 2022

Public relations major Kristyn Hibbett, ‘23, recently earned a scholarship to attend a national summit on diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations in Chicago.  

The 2022 Plank Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit and Milestones in Mentoring Gala took place on Nov. 3, 2022, and Hibbett was one of 18 scholarship recipients from across the country who attended.  

There, she got to network with public relations corporations, companies and executives. She also attended four sessions that focused on the progression of public relations and how far the industry has come in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Hibbett said she learned many things at the summit, but one of her main takeaways was the reminder to always be an advocate for herself in all aspects: as a woman, as an African American, as a human being. She stressed the importance of advocating for others as well.  

“It means nothing if you get somebody of minority or somebody of color in a job, but you're not taking into consideration what they have to say,” she said. “This is a reminder to continue to be a voice in the positions that I’m in, and to speak up for those who really don’t feel as if they can speak up for themselves.” 

Hibbett shared that her own cultural identity includes being a woman, African American, a member of Gen Z, a Christian and more. Over the summer, she completed an internship at Adidas’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., and found that she was able to contribute ideas in brainstorming sessions, “because I was able to fully show up and be confident in who I am as an individual.” 

Image
Kristyn Hibbett, '23 (third from left), attended a national DEI summit focused on public relations

She would one day like to be a director of communications for an NBA team, and by doing that, break glass ceilings and be a role model and representation for females and African Americans. 

“There are so many different brands in the world, when it comes to public relations, you can’t cater to the brand one type of way... because there's such a diverse background in people, brands, and organizations, you need diversity within the public relations,” Hibbett said. “It can be hard to relate to a company or relate to a brand or a person if you don't have something in common.” 

Kristyn Hibbett, '23
Monday, November 28, 2022

Public relations major Kristyn Hibbett, ‘23, recently earned a scholarship to attend a national summit on diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations in Chicago.  

The 2022 Plank Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit and Milestones in Mentoring Gala took place on Nov. 3, 2022, and Hibbett was one of 18 scholarship recipients from across the country who attended.  

There, she got to network with public relations corporations, companies and executives. She also attended four sessions that focused on the progression of public relations and how far the industry has come in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Hibbett said she learned many things at the summit, but one of her main takeaways was the reminder to always be an advocate for herself in all aspects: as a woman, as an African American, as a human being. She stressed the importance of advocating for others as well.  

“It means nothing if you get somebody of minority or somebody of color in a job, but you're not taking into consideration what they have to say,” she said. “This is a reminder to continue to be a voice in the positions that I’m in, and to speak up for those who really don’t feel as if they can speak up for themselves.” 

Hibbett shared that her own cultural identity includes being a woman, African American, a member of Gen Z, a Christian and more. Over the summer, she completed an internship at Adidas’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., and found that she was able to contribute ideas in brainstorming sessions, “because I was able to fully show up and be confident in who I am as an individual.” 

Image
Kristyn Hibbett, '23 (third from left), attended a national DEI summit focused on public relations

She would one day like to be a director of communications for an NBA team, and by doing that, break glass ceilings and be a role model and representation for females and African Americans. 

“There are so many different brands in the world, when it comes to public relations, you can’t cater to the brand one type of way... because there's such a diverse background in people, brands, and organizations, you need diversity within the public relations,” Hibbett said. “It can be hard to relate to a company or relate to a brand or a person if you don't have something in common.” 

Kristyn Hibbett, '23
Monday, November 28, 2022

Public relations major Kristyn Hibbett, ‘23, recently earned a scholarship to attend a national summit on diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations in Chicago.  

The 2022 Plank Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit and Milestones in Mentoring Gala took place on Nov. 3, 2022, and Hibbett was one of 18 scholarship recipients from across the country who attended.  

There, she got to network with public relations corporations, companies and executives. She also attended four sessions that focused on the progression of public relations and how far the industry has come in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Hibbett said she learned many things at the summit, but one of her main takeaways was the reminder to always be an advocate for herself in all aspects: as a woman, as an African American, as a human being. She stressed the importance of advocating for others as well.  

“It means nothing if you get somebody of minority or somebody of color in a job, but you're not taking into consideration what they have to say,” she said. “This is a reminder to continue to be a voice in the positions that I’m in, and to speak up for those who really don’t feel as if they can speak up for themselves.” 

Hibbett shared that her own cultural identity includes being a woman, African American, a member of Gen Z, a Christian and more. Over the summer, she completed an internship at Adidas’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., and found that she was able to contribute ideas in brainstorming sessions, “because I was able to fully show up and be confident in who I am as an individual.” 

Image
Kristyn Hibbett, '23 (third from left), attended a national DEI summit focused on public relations

She would one day like to be a director of communications for an NBA team, and by doing that, break glass ceilings and be a role model and representation for females and African Americans. 

“There are so many different brands in the world, when it comes to public relations, you can’t cater to the brand one type of way... because there's such a diverse background in people, brands, and organizations, you need diversity within the public relations,” Hibbett said. “It can be hard to relate to a company or relate to a brand or a person if you don't have something in common.” 

Kristyn Hibbett, '23
Monday, November 28, 2022

Public relations major Kristyn Hibbett, ‘23, recently earned a scholarship to attend a national summit on diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations in Chicago.  

The 2022 Plank Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit and Milestones in Mentoring Gala took place on Nov. 3, 2022, and Hibbett was one of 18 scholarship recipients from across the country who attended.  

There, she got to network with public relations corporations, companies and executives. She also attended four sessions that focused on the progression of public relations and how far the industry has come in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Hibbett said she learned many things at the summit, but one of her main takeaways was the reminder to always be an advocate for herself in all aspects: as a woman, as an African American, as a human being. She stressed the importance of advocating for others as well.  

“It means nothing if you get somebody of minority or somebody of color in a job, but you're not taking into consideration what they have to say,” she said. “This is a reminder to continue to be a voice in the positions that I’m in, and to speak up for those who really don’t feel as if they can speak up for themselves.” 

Hibbett shared that her own cultural identity includes being a woman, African American, a member of Gen Z, a Christian and more. Over the summer, she completed an internship at Adidas’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., and found that she was able to contribute ideas in brainstorming sessions, “because I was able to fully show up and be confident in who I am as an individual.” 

Image
Kristyn Hibbett, '23 (third from left), attended a national DEI summit focused on public relations

She would one day like to be a director of communications for an NBA team, and by doing that, break glass ceilings and be a role model and representation for females and African Americans. 

“There are so many different brands in the world, when it comes to public relations, you can’t cater to the brand one type of way... because there's such a diverse background in people, brands, and organizations, you need diversity within the public relations,” Hibbett said. “It can be hard to relate to a company or relate to a brand or a person if you don't have something in common.” 

Kristyn Hibbett, '23
Monday, November 28, 2022

Public relations major Kristyn Hibbett, ‘23, recently earned a scholarship to attend a national summit on diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations in Chicago.  

The 2022 Plank Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit and Milestones in Mentoring Gala took place on Nov. 3, 2022, and Hibbett was one of 18 scholarship recipients from across the country who attended.  

There, she got to network with public relations corporations, companies and executives. She also attended four sessions that focused on the progression of public relations and how far the industry has come in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Hibbett said she learned many things at the summit, but one of her main takeaways was the reminder to always be an advocate for herself in all aspects: as a woman, as an African American, as a human being. She stressed the importance of advocating for others as well.  

“It means nothing if you get somebody of minority or somebody of color in a job, but you're not taking into consideration what they have to say,” she said. “This is a reminder to continue to be a voice in the positions that I’m in, and to speak up for those who really don’t feel as if they can speak up for themselves.” 

Hibbett shared that her own cultural identity includes being a woman, African American, a member of Gen Z, a Christian and more. Over the summer, she completed an internship at Adidas’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., and found that she was able to contribute ideas in brainstorming sessions, “because I was able to fully show up and be confident in who I am as an individual.” 

Image
Kristyn Hibbett, '23 (third from left), attended a national DEI summit focused on public relations

She would one day like to be a director of communications for an NBA team, and by doing that, break glass ceilings and be a role model and representation for females and African Americans. 

“There are so many different brands in the world, when it comes to public relations, you can’t cater to the brand one type of way... because there's such a diverse background in people, brands, and organizations, you need diversity within the public relations,” Hibbett said. “It can be hard to relate to a company or relate to a brand or a person if you don't have something in common.” 

Alumna Brandi Neloms
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Ten years ago, if someone had asked Brandi Neloms, ‘09, where she’d be in 2022, she would have responded that she was on her way to sitting next to journalist/anchor Romona Robinson in a Cleveland newsroom.  

Neloms attended the 2008 Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Lecture and Awards Program which celebrates media diversity, where Robinson was honored, and was inspired by her accomplishments.

Today, the public relations alumna is a senior business development manager in Amazon’s Special Projects organization. She says her position gives her the “privilege of working on big ideas and initiatives that are aimed at bettering the world.”

With 13 years of experience in strategic communication roles, she says she’s developed quite a bit of business acumen. Whether she was trying to understand her clients better or working to become a better leader at an in-house company, she found her experience guided her.

“I always found that my effectiveness as a communicator and marketer was better when backed by strategic business skills,” Neloms said.

These skills include organizational knowledge, ability to navigate ambiguity, financial literacy and market awareness.

“These skills and my experience as entrepreneur and intrapreneur, allowed me to reply with a quick ‘yes’ when approached about a business development role that aligned with many of my passions and proficiencies,” she said.

 

Image
Brandi Neloms, '09, speaking on panel

McKinsey & Company’s “Women in the Workplace 2022” study found that Black women are less likely to feel supported by their managers or have strong allies on their team. As a Black woman in business, Neloms agrees and has had to overcome challenges that others in her field may not have.

“It’s important for women to hold leadership roles in corporate and social spaces because there is truth to the phrase ‘representation matters,’” Neloms said. “Sometimes, you need to see something to know that it’s possible to attain and surpass it.”

Neloms added, “juggling traits like being competent and confident with also being likable — especially at the intersection of race and gender as a Black woman — can be exhausting. I’ve simply decided to no longer be tired.” 

In addition to their job responsibilities, Neloms says Black leaders have the opportunity to use their authority to cultivate an office culture with greater empathy, greater acceptance and greater innovation.

“Black men and women in leadership positions represent huge strides in closing the wealth gap and dismantling systemic inequities embedded in the structure of organizations,” she said. 

Neloms says she finds inspiration in places and moments that bring her joy and peace — such as reading a good book, standing on top of a mountain after a hike or sipping coffee with her grandma on Saturday mornings.

Her love of coffee and passion for racial equity unite in her role as Chief Strategy Officer and co-owner of Sipping Black Only, a business dedicated to driving equity for Black founders in the beverage industry.  Recently, Sipping Black Only provided 1,124 cases of water from a Black-owned brand to Jackson, Mississippi, residents who were living through a water crisis during summer 2022. The business pledges 5 percent of its annual profits to be given as a cash grant to an emerging Black beverage brand owner who exhibits the potential to grow into a sustaining brand.

“We’ve launched this grant to provide financial assistance, increased exposure and long-term support for Black-owned small businesses,” Neloms said.

Thinking back to her time as a Kent State undergraduate, Neloms says her academic and personal achievements led her to build a solid foundation to enter the workforce.

In 2009, she was one of seven students who won a Public Relations Society of America East Central District Diamond Award for their work on a public service campaign with Donate Life Ohio. 

The campaign promoted the need for organ donation, and this hit home for Neloms.

“My paternal grandfather passed away in 2006. At the time of his passing, he needed a kidney transplant,” she said. “Working on that campaign, and winning both the competition and the PRSA award, just three years later honored his life and legacy.”

She remains grateful for that experience and for everything else her Kent State education provided her.

“In addition to business philosophies and industry knowledge, I learned valuable hard and soft skills,” Neloms says. “Even still, the best part of my time at Kent State is the network of peers and professors that I am fortunate to call friends and mentors today.”

Alumna Brandi Neloms
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Ten years ago, if someone had asked Brandi Neloms, ‘09, where she’d be in 2022, she would have responded that she was on her way to sitting next to journalist/anchor Romona Robinson in a Cleveland newsroom.  

Neloms attended the 2008 Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Lecture and Awards Program which celebrates media diversity, where Robinson was honored, and was inspired by her accomplishments.

Today, the public relations alumna is a senior business development manager in Amazon’s Special Projects organization. She says her position gives her the “privilege of working on big ideas and initiatives that are aimed at bettering the world.”

With 13 years of experience in strategic communication roles, she says she’s developed quite a bit of business acumen. Whether she was trying to understand her clients better or working to become a better leader at an in-house company, she found her experience guided her.

“I always found that my effectiveness as a communicator and marketer was better when backed by strategic business skills,” Neloms said.

These skills include organizational knowledge, ability to navigate ambiguity, financial literacy and market awareness.

“These skills and my experience as entrepreneur and intrapreneur, allowed me to reply with a quick ‘yes’ when approached about a business development role that aligned with many of my passions and proficiencies,” she said.

 

Image
Brandi Neloms, '09, speaking on panel

McKinsey & Company’s “Women in the Workplace 2022” study found that Black women are less likely to feel supported by their managers or have strong allies on their team. As a Black woman in business, Neloms agrees and has had to overcome challenges that others in her field may not have.

“It’s important for women to hold leadership roles in corporate and social spaces because there is truth to the phrase ‘representation matters,’” Neloms said. “Sometimes, you need to see something to know that it’s possible to attain and surpass it.”

Neloms added, “juggling traits like being competent and confident with also being likable — especially at the intersection of race and gender as a Black woman — can be exhausting. I’ve simply decided to no longer be tired.” 

In addition to their job responsibilities, Neloms says Black leaders have the opportunity to use their authority to cultivate an office culture with greater empathy, greater acceptance and greater innovation.

“Black men and women in leadership positions represent huge strides in closing the wealth gap and dismantling systemic inequities embedded in the structure of organizations,” she said. 

Neloms says she finds inspiration in places and moments that bring her joy and peace — such as reading a good book, standing on top of a mountain after a hike or sipping coffee with her grandma on Saturday mornings.

Her love of coffee and passion for racial equity unite in her role as Chief Strategy Officer and co-owner of Sipping Black Only, a business dedicated to driving equity for Black founders in the beverage industry.  Recently, Sipping Black Only provided 1,124 cases of water from a Black-owned brand to Jackson, Mississippi, residents who were living through a water crisis during summer 2022. The business pledges 5 percent of its annual profits to be given as a cash grant to an emerging Black beverage brand owner who exhibits the potential to grow into a sustaining brand.

“We’ve launched this grant to provide financial assistance, increased exposure and long-term support for Black-owned small businesses,” Neloms said.

Thinking back to her time as a Kent State undergraduate, Neloms says her academic and personal achievements led her to build a solid foundation to enter the workforce.

In 2009, she was one of seven students who won a Public Relations Society of America East Central District Diamond Award for their work on a public service campaign with Donate Life Ohio. 

The campaign promoted the need for organ donation, and this hit home for Neloms.

“My paternal grandfather passed away in 2006. At the time of his passing, he needed a kidney transplant,” she said. “Working on that campaign, and winning both the competition and the PRSA award, just three years later honored his life and legacy.”

She remains grateful for that experience and for everything else her Kent State education provided her.

“In addition to business philosophies and industry knowledge, I learned valuable hard and soft skills,” Neloms says. “Even still, the best part of my time at Kent State is the network of peers and professors that I am fortunate to call friends and mentors today.”

Alumna Brandi Neloms
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Ten years ago, if someone had asked Brandi Neloms, ‘09, where she’d be in 2022, she would have responded that she was on her way to sitting next to journalist/anchor Romona Robinson in a Cleveland newsroom.  

Neloms attended the 2008 Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Lecture and Awards Program which celebrates media diversity, where Robinson was honored, and was inspired by her accomplishments.

Today, the public relations alumna is a senior business development manager in Amazon’s Special Projects organization. She says her position gives her the “privilege of working on big ideas and initiatives that are aimed at bettering the world.”

With 13 years of experience in strategic communication roles, she says she’s developed quite a bit of business acumen. Whether she was trying to understand her clients better or working to become a better leader at an in-house company, she found her experience guided her.

“I always found that my effectiveness as a communicator and marketer was better when backed by strategic business skills,” Neloms said.

These skills include organizational knowledge, ability to navigate ambiguity, financial literacy and market awareness.

“These skills and my experience as entrepreneur and intrapreneur, allowed me to reply with a quick ‘yes’ when approached about a business development role that aligned with many of my passions and proficiencies,” she said.

 

Image
Brandi Neloms, '09, speaking on panel

McKinsey & Company’s “Women in the Workplace 2022” study found that Black women are less likely to feel supported by their managers or have strong allies on their team. As a Black woman in business, Neloms agrees and has had to overcome challenges that others in her field may not have.

“It’s important for women to hold leadership roles in corporate and social spaces because there is truth to the phrase ‘representation matters,’” Neloms said. “Sometimes, you need to see something to know that it’s possible to attain and surpass it.”

Neloms added, “juggling traits like being competent and confident with also being likable — especially at the intersection of race and gender as a Black woman — can be exhausting. I’ve simply decided to no longer be tired.” 

In addition to their job responsibilities, Neloms says Black leaders have the opportunity to use their authority to cultivate an office culture with greater empathy, greater acceptance and greater innovation.

“Black men and women in leadership positions represent huge strides in closing the wealth gap and dismantling systemic inequities embedded in the structure of organizations,” she said. 

Neloms says she finds inspiration in places and moments that bring her joy and peace — such as reading a good book, standing on top of a mountain after a hike or sipping coffee with her grandma on Saturday mornings.

Her love of coffee and passion for racial equity unite in her role as Chief Strategy Officer and co-owner of Sipping Black Only, a business dedicated to driving equity for Black founders in the beverage industry.  Recently, Sipping Black Only provided 1,124 cases of water from a Black-owned brand to Jackson, Mississippi, residents who were living through a water crisis during summer 2022. The business pledges 5 percent of its annual profits to be given as a cash grant to an emerging Black beverage brand owner who exhibits the potential to grow into a sustaining brand.

“We’ve launched this grant to provide financial assistance, increased exposure and long-term support for Black-owned small businesses,” Neloms said.

Thinking back to her time as a Kent State undergraduate, Neloms says her academic and personal achievements led her to build a solid foundation to enter the workforce.

In 2009, she was one of seven students who won a Public Relations Society of America East Central District Diamond Award for their work on a public service campaign with Donate Life Ohio. 

The campaign promoted the need for organ donation, and this hit home for Neloms.

“My paternal grandfather passed away in 2006. At the time of his passing, he needed a kidney transplant,” she said. “Working on that campaign, and winning both the competition and the PRSA award, just three years later honored his life and legacy.”

She remains grateful for that experience and for everything else her Kent State education provided her.

“In addition to business philosophies and industry knowledge, I learned valuable hard and soft skills,” Neloms says. “Even still, the best part of my time at Kent State is the network of peers and professors that I am fortunate to call friends and mentors today.”

Alumna Brandi Neloms
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Ten years ago, if someone had asked Brandi Neloms, ‘09, where she’d be in 2022, she would have responded that she was on her way to sitting next to journalist/anchor Romona Robinson in a Cleveland newsroom.  

Neloms attended the 2008 Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Lecture and Awards Program which celebrates media diversity, where Robinson was honored, and was inspired by her accomplishments.

Today, the public relations alumna is a senior business development manager in Amazon’s Special Projects organization. She says her position gives her the “privilege of working on big ideas and initiatives that are aimed at bettering the world.”

With 13 years of experience in strategic communication roles, she says she’s developed quite a bit of business acumen. Whether she was trying to understand her clients better or working to become a better leader at an in-house company, she found her experience guided her.

“I always found that my effectiveness as a communicator and marketer was better when backed by strategic business skills,” Neloms said.

These skills include organizational knowledge, ability to navigate ambiguity, financial literacy and market awareness.

“These skills and my experience as entrepreneur and intrapreneur, allowed me to reply with a quick ‘yes’ when approached about a business development role that aligned with many of my passions and proficiencies,” she said.

 

Image
Brandi Neloms, '09, speaking on panel

McKinsey & Company’s “Women in the Workplace 2022” study found that Black women are less likely to feel supported by their managers or have strong allies on their team. As a Black woman in business, Neloms agrees and has had to overcome challenges that others in her field may not have.

“It’s important for women to hold leadership roles in corporate and social spaces because there is truth to the phrase ‘representation matters,’” Neloms said. “Sometimes, you need to see something to know that it’s possible to attain and surpass it.”

Neloms added, “juggling traits like being competent and confident with also being likable — especially at the intersection of race and gender as a Black woman — can be exhausting. I’ve simply decided to no longer be tired.” 

In addition to their job responsibilities, Neloms says Black leaders have the opportunity to use their authority to cultivate an office culture with greater empathy, greater acceptance and greater innovation.

“Black men and women in leadership positions represent huge strides in closing the wealth gap and dismantling systemic inequities embedded in the structure of organizations,” she said. 

Neloms says she finds inspiration in places and moments that bring her joy and peace — such as reading a good book, standing on top of a mountain after a hike or sipping coffee with her grandma on Saturday mornings.

Her love of coffee and passion for racial equity unite in her role as Chief Strategy Officer and co-owner of Sipping Black Only, a business dedicated to driving equity for Black founders in the beverage industry.  Recently, Sipping Black Only provided 1,124 cases of water from a Black-owned brand to Jackson, Mississippi, residents who were living through a water crisis during summer 2022. The business pledges 5 percent of its annual profits to be given as a cash grant to an emerging Black beverage brand owner who exhibits the potential to grow into a sustaining brand.

“We’ve launched this grant to provide financial assistance, increased exposure and long-term support for Black-owned small businesses,” Neloms said.

Thinking back to her time as a Kent State undergraduate, Neloms says her academic and personal achievements led her to build a solid foundation to enter the workforce.

In 2009, she was one of seven students who won a Public Relations Society of America East Central District Diamond Award for their work on a public service campaign with Donate Life Ohio. 

The campaign promoted the need for organ donation, and this hit home for Neloms.

“My paternal grandfather passed away in 2006. At the time of his passing, he needed a kidney transplant,” she said. “Working on that campaign, and winning both the competition and the PRSA award, just three years later honored his life and legacy.”

She remains grateful for that experience and for everything else her Kent State education provided her.

“In addition to business philosophies and industry knowledge, I learned valuable hard and soft skills,” Neloms says. “Even still, the best part of my time at Kent State is the network of peers and professors that I am fortunate to call friends and mentors today.”

Alumna Brandi Neloms
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Ten years ago, if someone had asked Brandi Neloms, ‘09, where she’d be in 2022, she would have responded that she was on her way to sitting next to journalist/anchor Romona Robinson in a Cleveland newsroom.  

Neloms attended the 2008 Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Lecture and Awards Program which celebrates media diversity, where Robinson was honored, and was inspired by her accomplishments.

Today, the public relations alumna is a senior business development manager in Amazon’s Special Projects organization. She says her position gives her the “privilege of working on big ideas and initiatives that are aimed at bettering the world.”

With 13 years of experience in strategic communication roles, she says she’s developed quite a bit of business acumen. Whether she was trying to understand her clients better or working to become a better leader at an in-house company, she found her experience guided her.

“I always found that my effectiveness as a communicator and marketer was better when backed by strategic business skills,” Neloms said.

These skills include organizational knowledge, ability to navigate ambiguity, financial literacy and market awareness.

“These skills and my experience as entrepreneur and intrapreneur, allowed me to reply with a quick ‘yes’ when approached about a business development role that aligned with many of my passions and proficiencies,” she said.

 

Image
Brandi Neloms, '09, speaking on panel

McKinsey & Company’s “Women in the Workplace 2022” study found that Black women are less likely to feel supported by their managers or have strong allies on their team. As a Black woman in business, Neloms agrees and has had to overcome challenges that others in her field may not have.

“It’s important for women to hold leadership roles in corporate and social spaces because there is truth to the phrase ‘representation matters,’” Neloms said. “Sometimes, you need to see something to know that it’s possible to attain and surpass it.”

Neloms added, “juggling traits like being competent and confident with also being likable — especially at the intersection of race and gender as a Black woman — can be exhausting. I’ve simply decided to no longer be tired.” 

In addition to their job responsibilities, Neloms says Black leaders have the opportunity to use their authority to cultivate an office culture with greater empathy, greater acceptance and greater innovation.

“Black men and women in leadership positions represent huge strides in closing the wealth gap and dismantling systemic inequities embedded in the structure of organizations,” she said. 

Neloms says she finds inspiration in places and moments that bring her joy and peace — such as reading a good book, standing on top of a mountain after a hike or sipping coffee with her grandma on Saturday mornings.

Her love of coffee and passion for racial equity unite in her role as Chief Strategy Officer and co-owner of Sipping Black Only, a business dedicated to driving equity for Black founders in the beverage industry.  Recently, Sipping Black Only provided 1,124 cases of water from a Black-owned brand to Jackson, Mississippi, residents who were living through a water crisis during summer 2022. The business pledges 5 percent of its annual profits to be given as a cash grant to an emerging Black beverage brand owner who exhibits the potential to grow into a sustaining brand.

“We’ve launched this grant to provide financial assistance, increased exposure and long-term support for Black-owned small businesses,” Neloms said.

Thinking back to her time as a Kent State undergraduate, Neloms says her academic and personal achievements led her to build a solid foundation to enter the workforce.

In 2009, she was one of seven students who won a Public Relations Society of America East Central District Diamond Award for their work on a public service campaign with Donate Life Ohio. 

The campaign promoted the need for organ donation, and this hit home for Neloms.

“My paternal grandfather passed away in 2006. At the time of his passing, he needed a kidney transplant,” she said. “Working on that campaign, and winning both the competition and the PRSA award, just three years later honored his life and legacy.”

She remains grateful for that experience and for everything else her Kent State education provided her.

“In addition to business philosophies and industry knowledge, I learned valuable hard and soft skills,” Neloms says. “Even still, the best part of my time at Kent State is the network of peers and professors that I am fortunate to call friends and mentors today.”

Alumna Brandi Neloms
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Ten years ago, if someone had asked Brandi Neloms, ‘09, where she’d be in 2022, she would have responded that she was on her way to sitting next to journalist/anchor Romona Robinson in a Cleveland newsroom.  

Neloms attended the 2008 Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Lecture and Awards Program which celebrates media diversity, where Robinson was honored, and was inspired by her accomplishments.

Today, the public relations alumna is a senior business development manager in Amazon’s Special Projects organization. She says her position gives her the “privilege of working on big ideas and initiatives that are aimed at bettering the world.”

With 13 years of experience in strategic communication roles, she says she’s developed quite a bit of business acumen. Whether she was trying to understand her clients better or working to become a better leader at an in-house company, she found her experience guided her.

“I always found that my effectiveness as a communicator and marketer was better when backed by strategic business skills,” Neloms said.

These skills include organizational knowledge, ability to navigate ambiguity, financial literacy and market awareness.

“These skills and my experience as entrepreneur and intrapreneur, allowed me to reply with a quick ‘yes’ when approached about a business development role that aligned with many of my passions and proficiencies,” she said.

 

Image
Brandi Neloms, '09, speaking on panel

McKinsey & Company’s “Women in the Workplace 2022” study found that Black women are less likely to feel supported by their managers or have strong allies on their team. As a Black woman in business, Neloms agrees and has had to overcome challenges that others in her field may not have.

“It’s important for women to hold leadership roles in corporate and social spaces because there is truth to the phrase ‘representation matters,’” Neloms said. “Sometimes, you need to see something to know that it’s possible to attain and surpass it.”

Neloms added, “juggling traits like being competent and confident with also being likable — especially at the intersection of race and gender as a Black woman — can be exhausting. I’ve simply decided to no longer be tired.” 

In addition to their job responsibilities, Neloms says Black leaders have the opportunity to use their authority to cultivate an office culture with greater empathy, greater acceptance and greater innovation.

“Black men and women in leadership positions represent huge strides in closing the wealth gap and dismantling systemic inequities embedded in the structure of organizations,” she said. 

Neloms says she finds inspiration in places and moments that bring her joy and peace — such as reading a good book, standing on top of a mountain after a hike or sipping coffee with her grandma on Saturday mornings.

Her love of coffee and passion for racial equity unite in her role as Chief Strategy Officer and co-owner of Sipping Black Only, a business dedicated to driving equity for Black founders in the beverage industry.  Recently, Sipping Black Only provided 1,124 cases of water from a Black-owned brand to Jackson, Mississippi, residents who were living through a water crisis during summer 2022. The business pledges 5 percent of its annual profits to be given as a cash grant to an emerging Black beverage brand owner who exhibits the potential to grow into a sustaining brand.

“We’ve launched this grant to provide financial assistance, increased exposure and long-term support for Black-owned small businesses,” Neloms said.

Thinking back to her time as a Kent State undergraduate, Neloms says her academic and personal achievements led her to build a solid foundation to enter the workforce.

In 2009, she was one of seven students who won a Public Relations Society of America East Central District Diamond Award for their work on a public service campaign with Donate Life Ohio. 

The campaign promoted the need for organ donation, and this hit home for Neloms.

“My paternal grandfather passed away in 2006. At the time of his passing, he needed a kidney transplant,” she said. “Working on that campaign, and winning both the competition and the PRSA award, just three years later honored his life and legacy.”

She remains grateful for that experience and for everything else her Kent State education provided her.

“In addition to business philosophies and industry knowledge, I learned valuable hard and soft skills,” Neloms says. “Even still, the best part of my time at Kent State is the network of peers and professors that I am fortunate to call friends and mentors today.”

Eric Garner, a teacher who survived the Parkland school shooting, spoke with Kent State journalism students about covering stories with empathy
Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Eric Garner, a teacher who was able to shield his students from harm during the 2018 Parkland, Florida, high school shooting, urged journalism and media students to cover tragedies with empathy during an interactive discussion at the May 4 Visitors Center Reflection Gallery on Oct. 25. 

Garner, the TV production teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School where the 2018 massacre occurred, has been credited for having a calm demeanor while shielding 54 students for more than an hour as the gunman killed 17 people and wounded several others. He was named the MSD teacher of the year in 2021-22. 

“You have to have empathy,” said Garner, who spoke virtually to a packed room of students. “If you haven’t taken a nonverbal communication (course) this is a great time to take it because you have to be able to read the room. It comes down to intuition and experience. You’re probably going to make mistakes.” 

First-year student Ella Katona said the interactive discussion with Garner was an extremely important experience. 

“We really didn’t talk about school shootings in high school,” said Katona, a journalism major from Pittsburgh. “This discussion will help us open our eyes to how professional journalists should be more empathetic.” 

Kent State students listen as Eric Garner describes the Parkland shooting tragedy.

Stephanie D. Smith, associate professor in the School of Media and Journalism, said there are lessons to be learned from the experiences of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students and faculty. 

"Tragically, school shootings have become a frightening part of the American educational experience. Students, parents, teachers and administrators are only too aware that schools are especially vulnerable,” said Smith, who also teaches in the School of Communication Studies and the College of Communication and Information (CCI). “As media consumers, we have come to expect breaking news about school shootings on what seems like a weekly basis. But what happens when the media leave the scene — when the shootings are no longer part of headline news? How do students, parents, teachers, staff and administrators move forward? What can every school learn from the tragic experiences of schools like Marjory Stoneman Douglas and its brave students and teachers?" 

The event was hosted by the College of Communication and Information’s media advocacy minor program and the School of Communication Studies “because there are unique and essential considerations for student media in these situations,” said Smith, a faculty coordinator for the media advocacy minor. 

She gave the following examples of considerations for student media:  

  • How do student journalists cover terrible news when it happens in their schools and to their peers?   
  • What happens when students and student journalists become activists for gun control? Can they maintain journalistic objectivity?  And should we expect them to?  

“These are some of the questions we believe are worth exploring, especially here at Kent State, since we understand only too well the multigenerational impact of school shootings,” Smith said. “Kent State's own history is also why the May 4 Visitors Center is co-sponsoring this event with CCI."

Eric Garner, a teacher who survived the Parkland school shooting, spoke of the student advocacy after the tragedy.

Bailey Fair, a first-year digital media major, said interacting with Garner had a great impact on her.  

“I thought this was going to just be another sad story,” said Fair, a Butler County, Pennsylvania, resident. “But hearing someone who was there was a lot more impactful.”  
 
For more information about the College of Communications and Information, go to https://www.kent.edu/cci.

For more information about the School of Communication Studies, go to https://www.kent.edu/comm

For information about the May 4 Visitors Center, go to https://www.kent.edu/may4visitorscenter.  

Eric Garner, a teacher who survived the Parkland school shooting, spoke with Kent State journalism students about covering stories with empathy
Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Eric Garner, a teacher who was able to shield his students from harm during the 2018 Parkland, Florida, high school shooting, urged journalism and media students to cover tragedies with empathy during an interactive discussion at the May 4 Visitors Center Reflection Gallery on Oct. 25. 

Garner, the TV production teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School where the 2018 massacre occurred, has been credited for having a calm demeanor while shielding 54 students for more than an hour as the gunman killed 17 people and wounded several others. He was named the MSD teacher of the year in 2021-22. 

“You have to have empathy,” said Garner, who spoke virtually to a packed room of students. “If you haven’t taken a nonverbal communication (course) this is a great time to take it because you have to be able to read the room. It comes down to intuition and experience. You’re probably going to make mistakes.” 

First-year student Ella Katona said the interactive discussion with Garner was an extremely important experience. 

“We really didn’t talk about school shootings in high school,” said Katona, a journalism major from Pittsburgh. “This discussion will help us open our eyes to how professional journalists should be more empathetic.” 

Kent State students listen as Eric Garner describes the Parkland shooting tragedy.

Stephanie D. Smith, associate professor in the School of Media and Journalism, said there are lessons to be learned from the experiences of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students and faculty. 

"Tragically, school shootings have become a frightening part of the American educational experience. Students, parents, teachers and administrators are only too aware that schools are especially vulnerable,” said Smith, who also teaches in the School of Communication Studies and the College of Communication and Information (CCI). “As media consumers, we have come to expect breaking news about school shootings on what seems like a weekly basis. But what happens when the media leave the scene — when the shootings are no longer part of headline news? How do students, parents, teachers, staff and administrators move forward? What can every school learn from the tragic experiences of schools like Marjory Stoneman Douglas and its brave students and teachers?" 

The event was hosted by the College of Communication and Information’s media advocacy minor program and the School of Communication Studies “because there are unique and essential considerations for student media in these situations,” said Smith, a faculty coordinator for the media advocacy minor. 

She gave the following examples of considerations for student media:  

  • How do student journalists cover terrible news when it happens in their schools and to their peers?   
  • What happens when students and student journalists become activists for gun control? Can they maintain journalistic objectivity?  And should we expect them to?  

“These are some of the questions we believe are worth exploring, especially here at Kent State, since we understand only too well the multigenerational impact of school shootings,” Smith said. “Kent State's own history is also why the May 4 Visitors Center is co-sponsoring this event with CCI."

Eric Garner, a teacher who survived the Parkland school shooting, spoke of the student advocacy after the tragedy.

Bailey Fair, a first-year digital media major, said interacting with Garner had a great impact on her.  

“I thought this was going to just be another sad story,” said Fair, a Butler County, Pennsylvania, resident. “But hearing someone who was there was a lot more impactful.”  
 
For more information about the College of Communications and Information, go to https://www.kent.edu/cci.

For more information about the School of Communication Studies, go to https://www.kent.edu/comm

For information about the May 4 Visitors Center, go to https://www.kent.edu/may4visitorscenter.  

Eric Garner, a teacher who survived the Parkland school shooting, spoke with Kent State journalism students about covering stories with empathy
Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Eric Garner, a teacher who was able to shield his students from harm during the 2018 Parkland, Florida, high school shooting, urged journalism and media students to cover tragedies with empathy during an interactive discussion at the May 4 Visitors Center Reflection Gallery on Oct. 25. 

Garner, the TV production teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School where the 2018 massacre occurred, has been credited for having a calm demeanor while shielding 54 students for more than an hour as the gunman killed 17 people and wounded several others. He was named the MSD teacher of the year in 2021-22. 

“You have to have empathy,” said Garner, who spoke virtually to a packed room of students. “If you haven’t taken a nonverbal communication (course) this is a great time to take it because you have to be able to read the room. It comes down to intuition and experience. You’re probably going to make mistakes.” 

First-year student Ella Katona said the interactive discussion with Garner was an extremely important experience. 

“We really didn’t talk about school shootings in high school,” said Katona, a journalism major from Pittsburgh. “This discussion will help us open our eyes to how professional journalists should be more empathetic.” 

Kent State students listen as Eric Garner describes the Parkland shooting tragedy.

Stephanie D. Smith, associate professor in the School of Media and Journalism, said there are lessons to be learned from the experiences of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students and faculty. 

"Tragically, school shootings have become a frightening part of the American educational experience. Students, parents, teachers and administrators are only too aware that schools are especially vulnerable,” said Smith, who also teaches in the School of Communication Studies and the College of Communication and Information (CCI). “As media consumers, we have come to expect breaking news about school shootings on what seems like a weekly basis. But what happens when the media leave the scene — when the shootings are no longer part of headline news? How do students, parents, teachers, staff and administrators move forward? What can every school learn from the tragic experiences of schools like Marjory Stoneman Douglas and its brave students and teachers?" 

The event was hosted by the College of Communication and Information’s media advocacy minor program and the School of Communication Studies “because there are unique and essential considerations for student media in these situations,” said Smith, a faculty coordinator for the media advocacy minor. 

She gave the following examples of considerations for student media:  

  • How do student journalists cover terrible news when it happens in their schools and to their peers?   
  • What happens when students and student journalists become activists for gun control? Can they maintain journalistic objectivity?  And should we expect them to?  

“These are some of the questions we believe are worth exploring, especially here at Kent State, since we understand only too well the multigenerational impact of school shootings,” Smith said. “Kent State's own history is also why the May 4 Visitors Center is co-sponsoring this event with CCI."

Eric Garner, a teacher who survived the Parkland school shooting, spoke of the student advocacy after the tragedy.

Bailey Fair, a first-year digital media major, said interacting with Garner had a great impact on her.  

“I thought this was going to just be another sad story,” said Fair, a Butler County, Pennsylvania, resident. “But hearing someone who was there was a lot more impactful.”  
 
For more information about the College of Communications and Information, go to https://www.kent.edu/cci.

For more information about the School of Communication Studies, go to https://www.kent.edu/comm

For information about the May 4 Visitors Center, go to https://www.kent.edu/may4visitorscenter.  

Connie Schultz header
Monday, October 17, 2022

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz, who began teaching as a professional-in-residence in the School of Media and Journalism in 2015, will depart that role at the end of Spring 2023.

Schultz, a USA Today columnist and author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Daughters of Erietown, will be joining Denison University’s newly established program in journalism in August 2023 as Professor of Practice. Previously Schultz had served as Denison’s Andrew W. Mellon Storyteller-in-Residence and received an honorary degree from the university in the spring of 2022.

“My seven years of teaching at the journalism school that launched my career has been a dream come true,” Schultz said. “The time spent with our students and dedicated faculty has changed me forever, in all the best ways. I am looking forward to this next phase of my career, but that does not mean I am leaving Kent State behind. I will always be a loyal alumnus and look forward to returning often in support of the School of Media and Journalism. There can be only one home for this journalist's heart, and it will always be Kent State.”

In addition to teaching opinion writing, feature writing and ethics at Kent State, Schultz was a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate from 2007 until 2021 when she joined USA Today where she continues to write a weekly column. It was also during her years teaching at Kent State that she completed her debut novel The Daughters of Erietown, a multi-generational family saga set in a fictional working-class northeastern Ohio town.

“I have always admired Connie’s deep commitment to journalism and telling meaningful and important stories,” said Amy Reynolds, Dean of the College of Communication and Information. “She is an advocate for civil discourse. She is a talented writer, no matter the form. What I appreciate most, though, about Connie is her dedication to and mentorship of students. She knows how to empower and inspire them to find their voice. Her legacy at Kent State endures as both an alumnus and a professor.

“Students say that Connie ‘challenged me to think with every interaction’ and ‘she welcomed different opinions and... respected all of us.... She really cared about helping us learn.’ 

“I am grateful Connie will continue to engage with CCI and MDJ for summer programs and workshops for students. I wish her all the best at Denison.”

Jacqueline Marino
Friday, August 26, 2022

Kent State journalism Professor Jacqueline Marino spent her fall 2021 sabbatical learning the techniques of audio storytelling. While developing new skills, she reported on the rural doctor shortage in America for WKSU.

The piece she produced, “The Rural Doctor Is In,” is now the winner of two national journalism awards:

Read and Listen to the Story                                                 

The Murrow Awards are among the most prestigious in news; they recognize local and national news stories that uphold a code of ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance of journalism as a service to the community. PMJA is an association representing public media journalists in the U.S.; each year, its awards recognize the best of local public radio news in a wide array of categories.

“The Rural Doctor Is In” is a 15-minute audio story that aired on WKSU in October 2021 and was picked up by other public radio stations in Ohio. Marino also produced a companion digital story, accompanied by photography, data visualization and supporting digital documents. The story was produced and mixed by Jon Nungesser and edited by Andrew Meyer.

As she reported on the story, Marino spent two days in Columbia County with a family physician to understand the current issues surrounding rural doctors in Northeast Ohio.

“There are not enough healthcare providers in rural areas because the way the healthcare system is, it sort of favors more heavily populated areas,” Marino said. “So, we wanted to look at what was happening in rural areas where you don’t have the access to healthcare that you have in a Cleveland, or an Akron, or Cincinnati.”

It was important for her to be immersed in her environment while reporting in this new format, she said.

 “When we’re writing, we can interview people about what the environment was like for them. But with audio storytelling, you have to be there because you have to capture it.”


 

Jacqueline Marino
Friday, August 26, 2022

Kent State journalism Professor Jacqueline Marino spent her fall 2021 sabbatical learning the techniques of audio storytelling. While developing new skills, she reported on the rural doctor shortage in America for WKSU.

The piece she produced, “The Rural Doctor Is In,” is now the winner of two national journalism awards:

Read and Listen to the Story                                                 

The Murrow Awards are among the most prestigious in news; they recognize local and national news stories that uphold a code of ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance of journalism as a service to the community. PMJA is an association representing public media journalists in the U.S.; each year, its awards recognize the best of local public radio news in a wide array of categories.

“The Rural Doctor Is In” is a 15-minute audio story that aired on WKSU in October 2021 and was picked up by other public radio stations in Ohio. Marino also produced a companion digital story, accompanied by photography, data visualization and supporting digital documents. The story was produced and mixed by Jon Nungesser and edited by Andrew Meyer.

As she reported on the story, Marino spent two days in Columbia County with a family physician to understand the current issues surrounding rural doctors in Northeast Ohio.

“There are not enough healthcare providers in rural areas because the way the healthcare system is, it sort of favors more heavily populated areas,” Marino said. “So, we wanted to look at what was happening in rural areas where you don’t have the access to healthcare that you have in a Cleveland, or an Akron, or Cincinnati.”

It was important for her to be immersed in her environment while reporting in this new format, she said.

 “When we’re writing, we can interview people about what the environment was like for them. But with audio storytelling, you have to be there because you have to capture it.”


 

Jacqueline Marino
Friday, August 26, 2022

Kent State journalism Professor Jacqueline Marino spent her fall 2021 sabbatical learning the techniques of audio storytelling. While developing new skills, she reported on the rural doctor shortage in America for WKSU.

The piece she produced, “The Rural Doctor Is In,” is now the winner of two national journalism awards:

Read and Listen to the Story                                                 

The Murrow Awards are among the most prestigious in news; they recognize local and national news stories that uphold a code of ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance of journalism as a service to the community. PMJA is an association representing public media journalists in the U.S.; each year, its awards recognize the best of local public radio news in a wide array of categories.

“The Rural Doctor Is In” is a 15-minute audio story that aired on WKSU in October 2021 and was picked up by other public radio stations in Ohio. Marino also produced a companion digital story, accompanied by photography, data visualization and supporting digital documents. The story was produced and mixed by Jon Nungesser and edited by Andrew Meyer.

As she reported on the story, Marino spent two days in Columbia County with a family physician to understand the current issues surrounding rural doctors in Northeast Ohio.

“There are not enough healthcare providers in rural areas because the way the healthcare system is, it sort of favors more heavily populated areas,” Marino said. “So, we wanted to look at what was happening in rural areas where you don’t have the access to healthcare that you have in a Cleveland, or an Akron, or Cincinnati.”

It was important for her to be immersed in her environment while reporting in this new format, she said.

 “When we’re writing, we can interview people about what the environment was like for them. But with audio storytelling, you have to be there because you have to capture it.”


 

Aimee Crane in front of NASA globe , Aimee Crane in front of Orion Spaceship , Aimee Crane posing with Snoopy in his new spacesuit with Artemis I mission patch
Friday, August 26, 2022

Aimee Crane (Visual Communication Design - BFA ’09, MFA ’12) has the distinction of being the Kent State graduate whose work might just go the farthest. The farthest away from the Earth, that is. Currently the Artemis Brand Manager for NASA, Crane designed the mission patch for the Artemis I Mission which will accompany the Orion spacecraft on its orbit around the moon. The two-hour launch window for the mission opens at 8:33 a.m. EDT on Monday, August 29. Viewers can watch the livestream here. We recently spoke with her about her own voyage from Kent State to NASA.

CCI: Tell us about the career trajectory that's led you to where you are.

Aimee Crane: I earned my undergraduate and graduate degrees both in VCD. I didn’t even apply or look anywhere else. Through The Tannery, this wonderful graduate studio we had, I met someone who had recently interned at NASA Glenn in Cleveland. And that was fascinating to me. I've always been really, really obsessed with space and NASA since I was younger. So I thought, How in the world can I get involved? 

It turned out NASA Glenn Research Center was looking for more interns the summer I graduated, so the timing was great. They needed somebody who could develop communication strategies, provide graphic design expertise for exhibits and build 3D environmental visuals– exactly what I studied for my graduate experience. By networking there as an intern, I found a contractor providing design work for NASA Glenn, and less than a week after my internship ended, I was hired to work on NASA projects for the Orion spacecraft team. I stayed with that communications team through various contracts for about eight years, then was asked in March of 2020 to join the Artemis Communications team at NASA HQ. 

CCI: What is the Artemis program?

AC: Artemis I is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions and will do what has never been done before, launching the Orion spacecraft which will fly farther into space than any ship for humans has ever flown and stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station. Human exploration at the moon under Artemis will enable us to learn more about our universe through scientific discoveries and inspire the next generation of explorers. With these missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon and establish the first long-term presence on the moon. Then we will take the next giant leap—sending the first astronauts to Mars.

CCI: Why go to the moon first? Why not try to go directly to Mars?

AC: Exploring the Moon leads to new discoveries and returns incredible value to humanity. It also establishes American leadership and strategic presence while also inspiring a new generation by building careers in STEM. By exploring the Moon, we help advance civilization by revolutionizing science and technology and creating opportunity and economic growth. Artemis missions have many science and technology objectives. By going to the Moon ahead of traveling to Mars, we are able to prove various technologies and capabilities before sending humans to Mars. 

CCI: Tell us about your work with the Artemis program.

AC: My job consists of providing strategic communication plans, solving messaging challenges through impactful graphic design solutions and participating in outreach opportunities to museums, schools and the general public. My position as a communicator is to talk about the Artemis Missions, how exciting they are and how they are advancing humanity, as well as NASA’s international partnerships to build a future in deep space exploration. I create infographics and robust slide presentations to explain the Artemis missions, as well as work with teams across the agency and internationally to promote and amplify the Artemis brand. Also, I designed the Artemis I mission patch which has been incredible to see everywhere as we celebrate this first Artemis mission in the series. 

Artemis I Mission Patch designed by VCD grad Aimee Crane

CCI: That must be exciting to see your work everywhere.

AC: It is! It’s super exciting!

CCI: How did courses in VCD play a role in your design of the patch and in your career?

AC: Not a day goes by that I don't use the skills and experiences I gained from the VCD program. The patch design, the communication plans I lead and produce and all of the strategic Artemis brand logistics and coordination for NASA is a direct result from my VCD classes and experience at Kent State University.

From studying corporate and brand identity with Professor David Middleton, to Professor Ken Visocky O’Grady’s design research classes and Professor Joan Inderhees’ design courses, they were all just incredible. Professor Bob Kelemen taught me so much in Type High Letterpress, especially about being sensitive to typography and more importantly, how to work an idea and problem solve. All of my graduate courses and associated professors were instrumental in helping me earn various leadership positions throughout my career path. 

CCI: Were there other experiences at Kent State that influenced your path?

AC: Oh absolutely. I was one of the founding students at the start of The Tannery, what’s now IdeaBase and that was an awesome experience. Working with client relationships, with teams and individual projects in a studio environment. All these multidisciplinary groups, including students studying advertising, marketing, communication, helped me gain all different kinds of skill sets that have helped me at NASA. Before the Tannery, I was involved with VCD’s Glyphix Studio. This experience laid the groundwork for my passion for working on multidisciplinary teams creating successful solutions for our clients. 

CCI: And what kind of experiences have you had with the public doing this kind of work?

AC: It’s been really great. I’m translating all this wonderful technology and science concepts and messages to the public so they’ll be engaged and excited and understand what's happening at NASA. One thing that surprises me, is when I tell people I work at NASA they often cannot believe I work there as a designer. They think NASA, you must be super smart, like a rocket scientist. Have you been in outer space? Are you an astronaut? And when I tell them what I do, they're absolutely blown away. 

One year, I went to Houston Comicpalooza, a state version of Comic-Con, and we actually had an astronaut on our panel. And we each talked about our careers and things that we were working on at NASA. After the talk, I was mobbed with people of all ages who wanted to hear about art and design at NASA. I was right next to the astronaut who has actually been in outer space, but they wanted to talk to me! Students from all over, said, Well, I love to draw. I love design. I love game design. Is there an actual spot for me at NASA? And I said, “Absolutely.”

Franklin Hall serves as home of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State.
Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Every business, non-profit and entrepreneur needs technical expertise to connect with the world. To meet that need, Kent State University is now accepting applications for its new graduate program in Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT). The Master of Science degree program, officially launching in Fall 2022, is offered within the College of Communication and Information’s School of Emerging Media and Technology.

The application deadline for Fall 2022 admission is August 15, 2022.

In this new graduate program, students can “tech up” their passions and skills in areas like communication, project management, education and training, design and data, preparing them to work at the intersection of technology and society. Students will select one of five interdisciplinary pathways to further customize their studies:

  • Data Analytics/Coding
  • Social Scientific Research
  • Applied Communication, Information and Strategy
  • Applied Creative Technology
  • Training and Development Technology.

Meanwhile, the program’s STEM foundation includes training in skills like creative coding, web application development, data organization and analysis, emerging media storytelling, digital strategy, project management, and training and development technologies. 

Career opportunities in these areas are expected to grow rapidly through 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Web Developers & Digital Designers: 13% growth; Software, App Developers: 22% growth; Computer Systems Analysts: 7% growth; Computer & Information Research Scientists: 22% growth, IT Project Managers: 11% growth.

"Our new Master of Science program will teach students cross-cutting skills that will transfer across the future of job opportunities in the converged field of emerging media and technology,” says School Director Michael Beam, Ph.D.. “We developed this program with the support of employers and educators across our region. The interdisciplinarity of the EMAT MS provides students flexibility to personalize their coursework from across strong programs at Kent State.”

Core classes for the Fall 2022 semester will be offered on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings on the Kent Campus. Elective courses can be taken online or on-campus. The program can be completed in 12, 16 or 24 months, making it perfect for working professionals or graduates who have just earned their bachelor’s degree.

Admissions requirements can be found on the program’s website. The M.S. in Emerging Media and Technology is considered a STEM degree, and therefore does qualify for the 24-month STEM extension on Optional Practical Training (OPT).

The School of Emerging Media and Technology is a cutting-edge interdisciplinary school within Kent State’s College of Communication and Information, designed to train tomorrow’s digital leaders. It was known as the School of Digital Sciences until Fall 2020. The Master of Science degree was approved by the Kent State Board of Trustees in December 2021 and by the Ohio Department of Education in spring 2022.

Franklin Hall serves as home of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State.
Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Every business, non-profit and entrepreneur needs technical expertise to connect with the world. To meet that need, Kent State University is now accepting applications for its new graduate program in Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT). The Master of Science degree program, officially launching in Fall 2022, is offered within the College of Communication and Information’s School of Emerging Media and Technology.

The application deadline for Fall 2022 admission is August 15, 2022.

In this new graduate program, students can “tech up” their passions and skills in areas like communication, project management, education and training, design and data, preparing them to work at the intersection of technology and society. Students will select one of five interdisciplinary pathways to further customize their studies:

  • Data Analytics/Coding
  • Social Scientific Research
  • Applied Communication, Information and Strategy
  • Applied Creative Technology
  • Training and Development Technology.

Meanwhile, the program’s STEM foundation includes training in skills like creative coding, web application development, data organization and analysis, emerging media storytelling, digital strategy, project management, and training and development technologies. 

Career opportunities in these areas are expected to grow rapidly through 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Web Developers & Digital Designers: 13% growth; Software, App Developers: 22% growth; Computer Systems Analysts: 7% growth; Computer & Information Research Scientists: 22% growth, IT Project Managers: 11% growth.

"Our new Master of Science program will teach students cross-cutting skills that will transfer across the future of job opportunities in the converged field of emerging media and technology,” says School Director Michael Beam, Ph.D.. “We developed this program with the support of employers and educators across our region. The interdisciplinarity of the EMAT MS provides students flexibility to personalize their coursework from across strong programs at Kent State.”

Core classes for the Fall 2022 semester will be offered on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings on the Kent Campus. Elective courses can be taken online or on-campus. The program can be completed in 12, 16 or 24 months, making it perfect for working professionals or graduates who have just earned their bachelor’s degree.

Admissions requirements can be found on the program’s website. The M.S. in Emerging Media and Technology is considered a STEM degree, and therefore does qualify for the 24-month STEM extension on Optional Practical Training (OPT).

The School of Emerging Media and Technology is a cutting-edge interdisciplinary school within Kent State’s College of Communication and Information, designed to train tomorrow’s digital leaders. It was known as the School of Digital Sciences until Fall 2020. The Master of Science degree was approved by the Kent State Board of Trustees in December 2021 and by the Ohio Department of Education in spring 2022.

Franklin Hall serves as home of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State.
Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Every business, non-profit and entrepreneur needs technical expertise to connect with the world. To meet that need, Kent State University is now accepting applications for its new graduate program in Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT). The Master of Science degree program, officially launching in Fall 2022, is offered within the College of Communication and Information’s School of Emerging Media and Technology.

The application deadline for Fall 2022 admission is August 15, 2022.

In this new graduate program, students can “tech up” their passions and skills in areas like communication, project management, education and training, design and data, preparing them to work at the intersection of technology and society. Students will select one of five interdisciplinary pathways to further customize their studies:

  • Data Analytics/Coding
  • Social Scientific Research
  • Applied Communication, Information and Strategy
  • Applied Creative Technology
  • Training and Development Technology.

Meanwhile, the program’s STEM foundation includes training in skills like creative coding, web application development, data organization and analysis, emerging media storytelling, digital strategy, project management, and training and development technologies. 

Career opportunities in these areas are expected to grow rapidly through 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Web Developers & Digital Designers: 13% growth; Software, App Developers: 22% growth; Computer Systems Analysts: 7% growth; Computer & Information Research Scientists: 22% growth, IT Project Managers: 11% growth.

"Our new Master of Science program will teach students cross-cutting skills that will transfer across the future of job opportunities in the converged field of emerging media and technology,” says School Director Michael Beam, Ph.D.. “We developed this program with the support of employers and educators across our region. The interdisciplinarity of the EMAT MS provides students flexibility to personalize their coursework from across strong programs at Kent State.”

Core classes for the Fall 2022 semester will be offered on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings on the Kent Campus. Elective courses can be taken online or on-campus. The program can be completed in 12, 16 or 24 months, making it perfect for working professionals or graduates who have just earned their bachelor’s degree.

Admissions requirements can be found on the program’s website. The M.S. in Emerging Media and Technology is considered a STEM degree, and therefore does qualify for the 24-month STEM extension on Optional Practical Training (OPT).

The School of Emerging Media and Technology is a cutting-edge interdisciplinary school within Kent State’s College of Communication and Information, designed to train tomorrow’s digital leaders. It was known as the School of Digital Sciences until Fall 2020. The Master of Science degree was approved by the Kent State Board of Trustees in December 2021 and by the Ohio Department of Education in spring 2022.

Franklin Hall serves as home of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State.
Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Every business, non-profit and entrepreneur needs technical expertise to connect with the world. To meet that need, Kent State University is now accepting applications for its new graduate program in Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT). The Master of Science degree program, officially launching in Fall 2022, is offered within the College of Communication and Information’s School of Emerging Media and Technology.

The application deadline for Fall 2022 admission is August 15, 2022.

In this new graduate program, students can “tech up” their passions and skills in areas like communication, project management, education and training, design and data, preparing them to work at the intersection of technology and society. Students will select one of five interdisciplinary pathways to further customize their studies:

  • Data Analytics/Coding
  • Social Scientific Research
  • Applied Communication, Information and Strategy
  • Applied Creative Technology
  • Training and Development Technology.

Meanwhile, the program’s STEM foundation includes training in skills like creative coding, web application development, data organization and analysis, emerging media storytelling, digital strategy, project management, and training and development technologies. 

Career opportunities in these areas are expected to grow rapidly through 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Web Developers & Digital Designers: 13% growth; Software, App Developers: 22% growth; Computer Systems Analysts: 7% growth; Computer & Information Research Scientists: 22% growth, IT Project Managers: 11% growth.

"Our new Master of Science program will teach students cross-cutting skills that will transfer across the future of job opportunities in the converged field of emerging media and technology,” says School Director Michael Beam, Ph.D.. “We developed this program with the support of employers and educators across our region. The interdisciplinarity of the EMAT MS provides students flexibility to personalize their coursework from across strong programs at Kent State.”

Core classes for the Fall 2022 semester will be offered on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings on the Kent Campus. Elective courses can be taken online or on-campus. The program can be completed in 12, 16 or 24 months, making it perfect for working professionals or graduates who have just earned their bachelor’s degree.

Admissions requirements can be found on the program’s website. The M.S. in Emerging Media and Technology is considered a STEM degree, and therefore does qualify for the 24-month STEM extension on Optional Practical Training (OPT).

The School of Emerging Media and Technology is a cutting-edge interdisciplinary school within Kent State’s College of Communication and Information, designed to train tomorrow’s digital leaders. It was known as the School of Digital Sciences until Fall 2020. The Master of Science degree was approved by the Kent State Board of Trustees in December 2021 and by the Ohio Department of Education in spring 2022.

Dana White and Chris Knoblock , Chris Knoblock and Dana White at film festivals
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Dana White and Chris Knoblock are Kent State’s film dynamic duo. Throughout their past few years of teaching at Kent State, the couple has created an environment for students to experiment with filmmaking in a way that allows them to find their passion in the industry.

After moving from New York City to Los Angeles as actors, the two wanted to get their hands on the camera and editing process to start making their own movies. Since starting their work behind the camera, Knoblock has cultivated an extensive resume as Director of Photography and White has done a lot of work in editing for network television.

White, an assistant professor, was hired as a full-time faculty member in Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism in 2018, in the midst of wrapping up the duo’s 2018 film “In the Orchard,” which tells the tale of two different people’s stories of grief and trauma and how they find hope within each other. Knoblock continued to work as a Director of Photography before joining his wife at Kent State, as lecturer, the next year. That was the same year White received a grant to work on the short film “Turning Blue.”

“Turning Blue” documents the relationship between a mother and a daughter leading up to the mother’s death and is based the death of White’s mother. Since its premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival in 2021, it has been an official selection in eight festivals across the nation and one in the United Kingdom. It won Best Short Film at the New York Indie Shorts Awards. Most recently, the couple recently made a trip to California for the Sonoma International Film Festival with “Turning Blue.”

“It’s been an incredible artistic journey for us and a very painful and difficult one at times,” White said. “But an important story to tell because one of the things that Chris and I have learned on the film festival circuit is that we are not alone in this story, and many people have gone through this and have seen their loved ones out of the world.”

White and Knoblock found it helpful to their grief process to create this short film, as they portrayed the loss of this important figure in their lives in an artistic way.

 “It’s that universal thing that everybody goes through that nobody really wants to talk about,” Knoblock said. “Dana, what she did, was she took this pain and she turned it into art.”

At Kent State, White is also the founder and advisor for the Female Filmmakers Initiative (FFI). In a male-dominated industry, she says it’s important to encourage young women to find their voice.

“One of the things that happened to me when I first got here, was I saw the potential of so many of the wonderful, young female film artists here, and I felt they needed a community,” she said. “Part of what FFI is all about is creating a female-film culture here at Kent State, which I think is really, really important.”

With their knowledge and years of experience in the industry, White and Knoblock can provide Digital Media Production majors with insight and lessons they otherwise wouldn’t get until entering the industry themselves. They continuously encourage students to explore new avenues of creativity through a perspective of shared understanding of the struggle of beginning a career in the film industry.

“We both come here from the private sector, and we come here as independent filmmakers,” Knoblock said.

“We bring in a wealth of experience. … For me, when I was teaching safety class, I could tell them from personal experience, instances where producers and other people are putting our lives at risk — and what do you do in those situations? How do you respond in those situations, and how do you say no in situations?”

White and Knoblock are in pre-production for their next film “Involuntary,” which they plan to start shooting at the end of June.

“I think that for us, it’s all about taking risks,” White said. “Chris and I are risk-takers in our artistic work — that’s how we get better. We understand that it’s really important for students to have a voice, because that’s why we started making films, so that we could have a voice, and that we had something that we wanted to say.”

Dana White and Chris Knoblock , Chris Knoblock and Dana White at film festivals
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Dana White and Chris Knoblock are Kent State’s film dynamic duo. Throughout their past few years of teaching at Kent State, the couple has created an environment for students to experiment with filmmaking in a way that allows them to find their passion in the industry.

After moving from New York City to Los Angeles as actors, the two wanted to get their hands on the camera and editing process to start making their own movies. Since starting their work behind the camera, Knoblock has cultivated an extensive resume as Director of Photography and White has done a lot of work in editing for network television.

White, an assistant professor, was hired as a full-time faculty member in Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism in 2018, in the midst of wrapping up the duo’s 2018 film “In the Orchard,” which tells the tale of two different people’s stories of grief and trauma and how they find hope within each other. Knoblock continued to work as a Director of Photography before joining his wife at Kent State, as lecturer, the next year. That was the same year White received a grant to work on the short film “Turning Blue.”

“Turning Blue” documents the relationship between a mother and a daughter leading up to the mother’s death and is based the death of White’s mother. Since its premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival in 2021, it has been an official selection in eight festivals across the nation and one in the United Kingdom. It won Best Short Film at the New York Indie Shorts Awards. Most recently, the couple recently made a trip to California for the Sonoma International Film Festival with “Turning Blue.”

“It’s been an incredible artistic journey for us and a very painful and difficult one at times,” White said. “But an important story to tell because one of the things that Chris and I have learned on the film festival circuit is that we are not alone in this story, and many people have gone through this and have seen their loved ones out of the world.”

White and Knoblock found it helpful to their grief process to create this short film, as they portrayed the loss of this important figure in their lives in an artistic way.

 “It’s that universal thing that everybody goes through that nobody really wants to talk about,” Knoblock said. “Dana, what she did, was she took this pain and she turned it into art.”

At Kent State, White is also the founder and advisor for the Female Filmmakers Initiative (FFI). In a male-dominated industry, she says it’s important to encourage young women to find their voice.

“One of the things that happened to me when I first got here, was I saw the potential of so many of the wonderful, young female film artists here, and I felt they needed a community,” she said. “Part of what FFI is all about is creating a female-film culture here at Kent State, which I think is really, really important.”

With their knowledge and years of experience in the industry, White and Knoblock can provide Digital Media Production majors with insight and lessons they otherwise wouldn’t get until entering the industry themselves. They continuously encourage students to explore new avenues of creativity through a perspective of shared understanding of the struggle of beginning a career in the film industry.

“We both come here from the private sector, and we come here as independent filmmakers,” Knoblock said.

“We bring in a wealth of experience. … For me, when I was teaching safety class, I could tell them from personal experience, instances where producers and other people are putting our lives at risk — and what do you do in those situations? How do you respond in those situations, and how do you say no in situations?”

White and Knoblock are in pre-production for their next film “Involuntary,” which they plan to start shooting at the end of June.

“I think that for us, it’s all about taking risks,” White said. “Chris and I are risk-takers in our artistic work — that’s how we get better. We understand that it’s really important for students to have a voice, because that’s why we started making films, so that we could have a voice, and that we had something that we wanted to say.”

Dana White and Chris Knoblock , Chris Knoblock and Dana White at film festivals
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Dana White and Chris Knoblock are Kent State’s film dynamic duo. Throughout their past few years of teaching at Kent State, the couple has created an environment for students to experiment with filmmaking in a way that allows them to find their passion in the industry.

After moving from New York City to Los Angeles as actors, the two wanted to get their hands on the camera and editing process to start making their own movies. Since starting their work behind the camera, Knoblock has cultivated an extensive resume as Director of Photography and White has done a lot of work in editing for network television.

White, an assistant professor, was hired as a full-time faculty member in Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism in 2018, in the midst of wrapping up the duo’s 2018 film “In the Orchard,” which tells the tale of two different people’s stories of grief and trauma and how they find hope within each other. Knoblock continued to work as a Director of Photography before joining his wife at Kent State, as lecturer, the next year. That was the same year White received a grant to work on the short film “Turning Blue.”

“Turning Blue” documents the relationship between a mother and a daughter leading up to the mother’s death and is based the death of White’s mother. Since its premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival in 2021, it has been an official selection in eight festivals across the nation and one in the United Kingdom. It won Best Short Film at the New York Indie Shorts Awards. Most recently, the couple recently made a trip to California for the Sonoma International Film Festival with “Turning Blue.”

“It’s been an incredible artistic journey for us and a very painful and difficult one at times,” White said. “But an important story to tell because one of the things that Chris and I have learned on the film festival circuit is that we are not alone in this story, and many people have gone through this and have seen their loved ones out of the world.”

White and Knoblock found it helpful to their grief process to create this short film, as they portrayed the loss of this important figure in their lives in an artistic way.

 “It’s that universal thing that everybody goes through that nobody really wants to talk about,” Knoblock said. “Dana, what she did, was she took this pain and she turned it into art.”

At Kent State, White is also the founder and advisor for the Female Filmmakers Initiative (FFI). In a male-dominated industry, she says it’s important to encourage young women to find their voice.

“One of the things that happened to me when I first got here, was I saw the potential of so many of the wonderful, young female film artists here, and I felt they needed a community,” she said. “Part of what FFI is all about is creating a female-film culture here at Kent State, which I think is really, really important.”

With their knowledge and years of experience in the industry, White and Knoblock can provide Digital Media Production majors with insight and lessons they otherwise wouldn’t get until entering the industry themselves. They continuously encourage students to explore new avenues of creativity through a perspective of shared understanding of the struggle of beginning a career in the film industry.

“We both come here from the private sector, and we come here as independent filmmakers,” Knoblock said.

“We bring in a wealth of experience. … For me, when I was teaching safety class, I could tell them from personal experience, instances where producers and other people are putting our lives at risk — and what do you do in those situations? How do you respond in those situations, and how do you say no in situations?”

White and Knoblock are in pre-production for their next film “Involuntary,” which they plan to start shooting at the end of June.

“I think that for us, it’s all about taking risks,” White said. “Chris and I are risk-takers in our artistic work — that’s how we get better. We understand that it’s really important for students to have a voice, because that’s why we started making films, so that we could have a voice, and that we had something that we wanted to say.”

Dana White and Chris Knoblock , Chris Knoblock and Dana White at film festivals
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Dana White and Chris Knoblock are Kent State’s film dynamic duo. Throughout their past few years of teaching at Kent State, the couple has created an environment for students to experiment with filmmaking in a way that allows them to find their passion in the industry.

After moving from New York City to Los Angeles as actors, the two wanted to get their hands on the camera and editing process to start making their own movies. Since starting their work behind the camera, Knoblock has cultivated an extensive resume as Director of Photography and White has done a lot of work in editing for network television.

White, an assistant professor, was hired as a full-time faculty member in Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism in 2018, in the midst of wrapping up the duo’s 2018 film “In the Orchard,” which tells the tale of two different people’s stories of grief and trauma and how they find hope within each other. Knoblock continued to work as a Director of Photography before joining his wife at Kent State, as lecturer, the next year. That was the same year White received a grant to work on the short film “Turning Blue.”

“Turning Blue” documents the relationship between a mother and a daughter leading up to the mother’s death and is based the death of White’s mother. Since its premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival in 2021, it has been an official selection in eight festivals across the nation and one in the United Kingdom. It won Best Short Film at the New York Indie Shorts Awards. Most recently, the couple recently made a trip to California for the Sonoma International Film Festival with “Turning Blue.”

“It’s been an incredible artistic journey for us and a very painful and difficult one at times,” White said. “But an important story to tell because one of the things that Chris and I have learned on the film festival circuit is that we are not alone in this story, and many people have gone through this and have seen their loved ones out of the world.”

White and Knoblock found it helpful to their grief process to create this short film, as they portrayed the loss of this important figure in their lives in an artistic way.

 “It’s that universal thing that everybody goes through that nobody really wants to talk about,” Knoblock said. “Dana, what she did, was she took this pain and she turned it into art.”

At Kent State, White is also the founder and advisor for the Female Filmmakers Initiative (FFI). In a male-dominated industry, she says it’s important to encourage young women to find their voice.

“One of the things that happened to me when I first got here, was I saw the potential of so many of the wonderful, young female film artists here, and I felt they needed a community,” she said. “Part of what FFI is all about is creating a female-film culture here at Kent State, which I think is really, really important.”

With their knowledge and years of experience in the industry, White and Knoblock can provide Digital Media Production majors with insight and lessons they otherwise wouldn’t get until entering the industry themselves. They continuously encourage students to explore new avenues of creativity through a perspective of shared understanding of the struggle of beginning a career in the film industry.

“We both come here from the private sector, and we come here as independent filmmakers,” Knoblock said.

“We bring in a wealth of experience. … For me, when I was teaching safety class, I could tell them from personal experience, instances where producers and other people are putting our lives at risk — and what do you do in those situations? How do you respond in those situations, and how do you say no in situations?”

White and Knoblock are in pre-production for their next film “Involuntary,” which they plan to start shooting at the end of June.

“I think that for us, it’s all about taking risks,” White said. “Chris and I are risk-takers in our artistic work — that’s how we get better. We understand that it’s really important for students to have a voice, because that’s why we started making films, so that we could have a voice, and that we had something that we wanted to say.”

Dana White and Chris Knoblock , Chris Knoblock and Dana White at film festivals
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Dana White and Chris Knoblock are Kent State’s film dynamic duo. Throughout their past few years of teaching at Kent State, the couple has created an environment for students to experiment with filmmaking in a way that allows them to find their passion in the industry.

After moving from New York City to Los Angeles as actors, the two wanted to get their hands on the camera and editing process to start making their own movies. Since starting their work behind the camera, Knoblock has cultivated an extensive resume as Director of Photography and White has done a lot of work in editing for network television.

White, an assistant professor, was hired as a full-time faculty member in Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism in 2018, in the midst of wrapping up the duo’s 2018 film “In the Orchard,” which tells the tale of two different people’s stories of grief and trauma and how they find hope within each other. Knoblock continued to work as a Director of Photography before joining his wife at Kent State, as lecturer, the next year. That was the same year White received a grant to work on the short film “Turning Blue.”

“Turning Blue” documents the relationship between a mother and a daughter leading up to the mother’s death and is based the death of White’s mother. Since its premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival in 2021, it has been an official selection in eight festivals across the nation and one in the United Kingdom. It won Best Short Film at the New York Indie Shorts Awards. Most recently, the couple recently made a trip to California for the Sonoma International Film Festival with “Turning Blue.”

“It’s been an incredible artistic journey for us and a very painful and difficult one at times,” White said. “But an important story to tell because one of the things that Chris and I have learned on the film festival circuit is that we are not alone in this story, and many people have gone through this and have seen their loved ones out of the world.”

White and Knoblock found it helpful to their grief process to create this short film, as they portrayed the loss of this important figure in their lives in an artistic way.

 “It’s that universal thing that everybody goes through that nobody really wants to talk about,” Knoblock said. “Dana, what she did, was she took this pain and she turned it into art.”

At Kent State, White is also the founder and advisor for the Female Filmmakers Initiative (FFI). In a male-dominated industry, she says it’s important to encourage young women to find their voice.

“One of the things that happened to me when I first got here, was I saw the potential of so many of the wonderful, young female film artists here, and I felt they needed a community,” she said. “Part of what FFI is all about is creating a female-film culture here at Kent State, which I think is really, really important.”

With their knowledge and years of experience in the industry, White and Knoblock can provide Digital Media Production majors with insight and lessons they otherwise wouldn’t get until entering the industry themselves. They continuously encourage students to explore new avenues of creativity through a perspective of shared understanding of the struggle of beginning a career in the film industry.

“We both come here from the private sector, and we come here as independent filmmakers,” Knoblock said.

“We bring in a wealth of experience. … For me, when I was teaching safety class, I could tell them from personal experience, instances where producers and other people are putting our lives at risk — and what do you do in those situations? How do you respond in those situations, and how do you say no in situations?”

White and Knoblock are in pre-production for their next film “Involuntary,” which they plan to start shooting at the end of June.

“I think that for us, it’s all about taking risks,” White said. “Chris and I are risk-takers in our artistic work — that’s how we get better. We understand that it’s really important for students to have a voice, because that’s why we started making films, so that we could have a voice, and that we had something that we wanted to say.”

Student Presenting , Portrait , collage of photos , Professor presenting
Thursday, May 19, 2022

Last summer, as the Taliban took over Afghanistan, many Afghans fled the country. Some landed in Akron, where a network of volunteers and government, nonprofit and educational organizations were waiting. Akron has one of the largest refugee resettlement programs in Ohio. Their goal is to help new arrivals find not just a haven, but a home in Akron.

During the spring 2022 semester, 16 journalism students in the Advanced Magazine Writing class, taught by Professor Jacqueline Marino, went to Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, where immigrants from more than a dozen nations work and live.

Read the stories on The Resettlement Project Website

They found many stories there.

Through these pieces and more, the students reflect one collective, always-evolving story of resettlement in Akron. 

The refugee resettlement process can take years. Those who aren’t in the community themselves may have no idea a refugee is working the register at their gas station, handling their orders at the Amazon fulfillment center or packaging their chicken at a nearby factory – all while trying to attend English classes and find transportation, affordable housing and healthcare.

Student Presenting , Portrait , collage of photos , Professor presenting
Thursday, May 19, 2022

Last summer, as the Taliban took over Afghanistan, many Afghans fled the country. Some landed in Akron, where a network of volunteers and government, nonprofit and educational organizations were waiting. Akron has one of the largest refugee resettlement programs in Ohio. Their goal is to help new arrivals find not just a haven, but a home in Akron.

During the spring 2022 semester, 16 journalism students in the Advanced Magazine Writing class, taught by Professor Jacqueline Marino, went to Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, where immigrants from more than a dozen nations work and live.

Read the stories on The Resettlement Project Website

They found many stories there.

Through these pieces and more, the students reflect one collective, always-evolving story of resettlement in Akron. 

The refugee resettlement process can take years. Those who aren’t in the community themselves may have no idea a refugee is working the register at their gas station, handling their orders at the Amazon fulfillment center or packaging their chicken at a nearby factory – all while trying to attend English classes and find transportation, affordable housing and healthcare.

Student Presenting , Portrait , collage of photos , Professor presenting
Thursday, May 19, 2022

Last summer, as the Taliban took over Afghanistan, many Afghans fled the country. Some landed in Akron, where a network of volunteers and government, nonprofit and educational organizations were waiting. Akron has one of the largest refugee resettlement programs in Ohio. Their goal is to help new arrivals find not just a haven, but a home in Akron.

During the spring 2022 semester, 16 journalism students in the Advanced Magazine Writing class, taught by Professor Jacqueline Marino, went to Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, where immigrants from more than a dozen nations work and live.

Read the stories on The Resettlement Project Website

They found many stories there.

Through these pieces and more, the students reflect one collective, always-evolving story of resettlement in Akron. 

The refugee resettlement process can take years. Those who aren’t in the community themselves may have no idea a refugee is working the register at their gas station, handling their orders at the Amazon fulfillment center or packaging their chicken at a nearby factory – all while trying to attend English classes and find transportation, affordable housing and healthcare.

Student Presenting , Portrait , collage of photos , Professor presenting
Thursday, May 19, 2022

Last summer, as the Taliban took over Afghanistan, many Afghans fled the country. Some landed in Akron, where a network of volunteers and government, nonprofit and educational organizations were waiting. Akron has one of the largest refugee resettlement programs in Ohio. Their goal is to help new arrivals find not just a haven, but a home in Akron.

During the spring 2022 semester, 16 journalism students in the Advanced Magazine Writing class, taught by Professor Jacqueline Marino, went to Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, where immigrants from more than a dozen nations work and live.

Read the stories on The Resettlement Project Website

They found many stories there.

Through these pieces and more, the students reflect one collective, always-evolving story of resettlement in Akron. 

The refugee resettlement process can take years. Those who aren’t in the community themselves may have no idea a refugee is working the register at their gas station, handling their orders at the Amazon fulfillment center or packaging their chicken at a nearby factory – all while trying to attend English classes and find transportation, affordable housing and healthcare.

Ben Vrobel , Ben Vrobel
Friday, May 13, 2022

Esports has transformed online gaming into a spectator sport — and a 2021 report projects the industry will be worth $3.5 billion by 2025.

As the industry rapidly grows, so too, are job opportunities. From marketing and promotion, to streaming and tournament administration, to game design and graphic arts, to writing and content creation, job opportunities in Esports grew 5 percent from 2020-21.

At Kent State University, where collegiate Esports were established in 2018, the program is closely connected with the College of Communication and Information whose majors — including Emerging Media and Technology, Visual Communication Design, Public Relations and Digital Media Production — prepare students for jobs in this growing industry.

 

Ben Vrobel, ’23, public relations major and varsity player for Kent State Esports’s Rocket League team, is one student who hopes to pursue a career in Esports after graduation. In addition to competing on Kent State’s team, he maintains a student job with the team, working at the intersection of Esports and communication.

He credits courses in the School of Media and Journalism like Digital Public Relations and Digital Analytics for preparing him for the type of work he does in the job — primarily cultivating the team’s presence on social media, including Twitch, Instagram and Twitter.

“Gaming as an industry is already giant, and Esports is growing immensely,” Vrobel says. “Being able to get into organizations in the early stages can really help you advance in a career quickly, and Esports is still in the early stages of becoming a booming industry.”

Ben Vrobel , Ben Vrobel
Friday, May 13, 2022

Esports has transformed online gaming into a spectator sport — and a 2021 report projects the industry will be worth $3.5 billion by 2025.

As the industry rapidly grows, so too, are job opportunities. From marketing and promotion, to streaming and tournament administration, to game design and graphic arts, to writing and content creation, job opportunities in Esports grew 5 percent from 2020-21.

At Kent State University, where collegiate Esports were established in 2018, the program is closely connected with the College of Communication and Information whose majors — including Emerging Media and Technology, Visual Communication Design, Public Relations and Digital Media Production — prepare students for jobs in this growing industry.

 

Ben Vrobel, ’23, public relations major and varsity player for Kent State Esports’s Rocket League team, is one student who hopes to pursue a career in Esports after graduation. In addition to competing on Kent State’s team, he maintains a student job with the team, working at the intersection of Esports and communication.

He credits courses in the School of Media and Journalism like Digital Public Relations and Digital Analytics for preparing him for the type of work he does in the job — primarily cultivating the team’s presence on social media, including Twitch, Instagram and Twitter.

“Gaming as an industry is already giant, and Esports is growing immensely,” Vrobel says. “Being able to get into organizations in the early stages can really help you advance in a career quickly, and Esports is still in the early stages of becoming a booming industry.”

Ben Vrobel , Ben Vrobel
Friday, May 13, 2022

Esports has transformed online gaming into a spectator sport — and a 2021 report projects the industry will be worth $3.5 billion by 2025.

As the industry rapidly grows, so too, are job opportunities. From marketing and promotion, to streaming and tournament administration, to game design and graphic arts, to writing and content creation, job opportunities in Esports grew 5 percent from 2020-21.

At Kent State University, where collegiate Esports were established in 2018, the program is closely connected with the College of Communication and Information whose majors — including Emerging Media and Technology, Visual Communication Design, Public Relations and Digital Media Production — prepare students for jobs in this growing industry.

 

Ben Vrobel, ’23, public relations major and varsity player for Kent State Esports’s Rocket League team, is one student who hopes to pursue a career in Esports after graduation. In addition to competing on Kent State’s team, he maintains a student job with the team, working at the intersection of Esports and communication.

He credits courses in the School of Media and Journalism like Digital Public Relations and Digital Analytics for preparing him for the type of work he does in the job — primarily cultivating the team’s presence on social media, including Twitch, Instagram and Twitter.

“Gaming as an industry is already giant, and Esports is growing immensely,” Vrobel says. “Being able to get into organizations in the early stages can really help you advance in a career quickly, and Esports is still in the early stages of becoming a booming industry.”

Ben Vrobel , Ben Vrobel
Friday, May 13, 2022

Esports has transformed online gaming into a spectator sport — and a 2021 report projects the industry will be worth $3.5 billion by 2025.

As the industry rapidly grows, so too, are job opportunities. From marketing and promotion, to streaming and tournament administration, to game design and graphic arts, to writing and content creation, job opportunities in Esports grew 5 percent from 2020-21.

At Kent State University, where collegiate Esports were established in 2018, the program is closely connected with the College of Communication and Information whose majors — including Emerging Media and Technology, Visual Communication Design, Public Relations and Digital Media Production — prepare students for jobs in this growing industry.

 

Ben Vrobel, ’23, public relations major and varsity player for Kent State Esports’s Rocket League team, is one student who hopes to pursue a career in Esports after graduation. In addition to competing on Kent State’s team, he maintains a student job with the team, working at the intersection of Esports and communication.

He credits courses in the School of Media and Journalism like Digital Public Relations and Digital Analytics for preparing him for the type of work he does in the job — primarily cultivating the team’s presence on social media, including Twitch, Instagram and Twitter.

“Gaming as an industry is already giant, and Esports is growing immensely,” Vrobel says. “Being able to get into organizations in the early stages can really help you advance in a career quickly, and Esports is still in the early stages of becoming a booming industry.”

Ben Vrobel , Ben Vrobel
Friday, May 13, 2022

Esports has transformed online gaming into a spectator sport — and a 2021 report projects the industry will be worth $3.5 billion by 2025.

As the industry rapidly grows, so too, are job opportunities. From marketing and promotion, to streaming and tournament administration, to game design and graphic arts, to writing and content creation, job opportunities in Esports grew 5 percent from 2020-21.

At Kent State University, where collegiate Esports were established in 2018, the program is closely connected with the College of Communication and Information whose majors — including Emerging Media and Technology, Visual Communication Design, Public Relations and Digital Media Production — prepare students for jobs in this growing industry.

 

Ben Vrobel, ’23, public relations major and varsity player for Kent State Esports’s Rocket League team, is one student who hopes to pursue a career in Esports after graduation. In addition to competing on Kent State’s team, he maintains a student job with the team, working at the intersection of Esports and communication.

He credits courses in the School of Media and Journalism like Digital Public Relations and Digital Analytics for preparing him for the type of work he does in the job — primarily cultivating the team’s presence on social media, including Twitch, Instagram and Twitter.

“Gaming as an industry is already giant, and Esports is growing immensely,” Vrobel says. “Being able to get into organizations in the early stages can really help you advance in a career quickly, and Esports is still in the early stages of becoming a booming industry.”

Ben Vrobel , Ben Vrobel
Friday, May 13, 2022

Esports has transformed online gaming into a spectator sport — and a 2021 report projects the industry will be worth $3.5 billion by 2025.

As the industry rapidly grows, so too, are job opportunities. From marketing and promotion, to streaming and tournament administration, to game design and graphic arts, to writing and content creation, job opportunities in Esports grew 5 percent from 2020-21.

At Kent State University, where collegiate Esports were established in 2018, the program is closely connected with the College of Communication and Information whose majors — including Emerging Media and Technology, Visual Communication Design, Public Relations and Digital Media Production — prepare students for jobs in this growing industry.

 

Ben Vrobel, ’23, public relations major and varsity player for Kent State Esports’s Rocket League team, is one student who hopes to pursue a career in Esports after graduation. In addition to competing on Kent State’s team, he maintains a student job with the team, working at the intersection of Esports and communication.

He credits courses in the School of Media and Journalism like Digital Public Relations and Digital Analytics for preparing him for the type of work he does in the job — primarily cultivating the team’s presence on social media, including Twitch, Instagram and Twitter.

“Gaming as an industry is already giant, and Esports is growing immensely,” Vrobel says. “Being able to get into organizations in the early stages can really help you advance in a career quickly, and Esports is still in the early stages of becoming a booming industry.”

Photos of research team
Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a lot of intersection between communication and public health.

A team of researchers from Kent State University became inspired to take a closer look at communication as it relates to COVID-19 and vaccine hesitancy in March 2021. The research, conducted by faculty from the College of Communication and Information and the College of Public Health, examines family communication patterns and parents’ intentions to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. 

“The project was about family communication patterns to see if there’s differences in how vaccines and COVID-19 are discussed,” said Nichole Egbert, Ph.D., Professor in the School of Communication Studies and lead researcher. "Not even just that, but controversial issues in general.”

The rest of the research team included: Michael Beam, Ph.D., Director, School of Emerging Media and Technology; Mina Choi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Communication Studies; Tara Smith, Ph.D., Professor, College of Public Health; and Ying Zhu, graduate student, School of Communication Studies.

The team’s findings show that different family conversation patterns result in different likelihoods of parents vaccinating their children.

“Families are cultures, just like anything else, and the idea behind the theory that we’re using is that the family of origin —where you come from — creates a shared meaning and culture, which you kind of live with as a filter,” Egbert said.

The research team examined parents’ likelihood to vaccinate their children through the lens of two different forms of family communication: conversation orientation and conformity orientation. 

Conversation orientation is simply how you talk about new ideas within a family. Those higher in this orientation are more comfortable discussing differing viewpoints, are more flexible and less reactive. The team found that families within this orientation generally correlated with a greater parental knowledge of COVID-19.  Parents were more supportive of vaccines and were therefore more likely to vaccinate their children. 

On the flip side, families with a high conformity orientation share their attitudes and beliefs very strongly, and everyone in the family tends to believe in the same things. Families higher in this orientation tend to be more prone to anxiety, and there is more perceived harm from disagreeing with other’s viewpoints. 

For this group, the findings weren’t so clear cut. In families where the parents expect questioning from their children about their values and beliefs, yet still expect parental respect, the parents were found to be more knowledgeable of COVID-19 and were more supportive of vaccinating children. In families where parents expect to be in control and that children will follow their values and beliefs, parents tended to be less knowledgeable on COVID-19 and less supportive of vaccinating children.

The team concluded that it would be beneficial for public health officials to create tailored vaccine messaging for families, depending on where they fall on conversation scales.

“We need to talk about how we can sort of use this information to create better messages to families … and how you can tailor messages,” Egbert said, “because interpersonal channels are a lot more powerful than media messages.”

When the team began brainstorming their research, vaccines were not available yet for children. 

“It wasn’t totally clear how the world was going to respond to the vaccine,” Beam said, “and as social scientists we were all very excited to gather data to help better understand how vaccine uptake, especially in the concept of families, would happen.”

For some members of the research team, this topic hit close to home.

“I’m a parent, and this was an angst-ridden time of parenting,” Egbert said. “It was just a constant roller coaster of decisions and messages, and I wanted to make more sense of it.”

This research was sponsored by the CCI Research and Creativity Fund. The team will be presenting its findings to the International Communication Association conference in Paris on May 28, 2022. 

Recognizing Media Diversity
Friday, May 06, 2022

Each year, the School of Media and Journalism’s Diversity and Globalization (D&G) Committee recognizes students and their work with The Robert G. McGruder Student Award for Diversity, in honor of the late Robert G McGruder, a 1963 Kent State University graduate, and a trail-blazing journalist.

“We had 11 nominations for The 2021 Student Award for Diversity,” said Luke Armour, associate professor in the School of Media and Journalism and co-chair of the D&G Committee. “That’s the most we’ve had since we started this five years ago. And that’s great news.” 

Students and alumni were awarded this year by the committee for their work that promotes diversity and celebrates different cultures.

Angela Molina, B.S. ‘19, MPA ‘21, was recognized as the first-place recipient of the award for her article, “Looking forward to a Queer-Friendly Future.” Molina received $500 for her recognition.

Cheryl Ann Lambert, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Media and Journalism, graduate coordinator, and member of the D&G Committee, recognized the article and the importance of discussing the message Molina shared.

“‘Looking Forward to a Queer-Friendly Future’ shares a vital, necessary contemporary message,” Lambert said. “It is well written, thoughtful, and offers a detailed focus on how the current and past administrations have a real-world impact on members of the LGBTQ community. The article goes on to discuss all marginalized communities through that lens. The broad social, political, and cultural implications addressed are tied together to not only inspire readers, but to motivate each of us to take action however we can.”

Molina’s inspiration for this article evolved in response to what was happening at the time.

“At that point, we were one year into the pandemic,” Molina stated. “We had the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, and the turbulence of the election later that year.”

Being editor-in-chief for Fusion magazine at the time, Molina recognized that something had to be done. 

A lot of protections the LGBTQ+ community once had were rolled back during Trump’s administration in 2017. Although Biden won the most recent presidential election, there is still a lot of work to get done, she said.

“For example, LGBTQ+ people face higher rates of housing insecurity,” Molina said. “But the situation is doubly worse for disabled LGBTQ+ people who may lack access to housing that accommodates their disability.”

Molina wants readers to understand that it is more about doing something rather than simply realizing an interconnection between social issues.

“I can't fix systemic homophobia and transphobia, but I can provide some form of mutual aid to my LGBTQ+ siblings,” Molina said. “I can't fix the world, but I can make life easier for someone.”

Yulani Rodgers, BS ‘20, Khalil Thompson, BS ‘21, Amber Cocchilo, XAS 22, Olivia Brown, BA, ‘21 and Ashley Johnson, BS ‘21, received special recognition for their efforts with “Akron Civic Duty,” a 360, interactive website tour of the Akron Civic Theatre.

These five students worked together in a course called Reframing Experience, an interdisciplinary capstone course that focused on redefining experiences co-taught by Assistant Professor Abraham Avnisan of the Schools of Media and Journalism and Emerging Media & Technology, J.R. Campbell, executive director of the Design Innovation Initiative and Bobby Selvaggio, associate professor and director of Jazz Studies in the School of Music.

“The Akron Civic Duty team worked with the Civic Theater and became interested in using the Theater’s story to think about the history of racial justice in Akron,” Avnisan said. “This was a very strong project created by a wonderful team of passionate and committed students that engages with issues of diversity, inclusion and social justice in a new and unusual way.”

This website included a mixture of text, audio and visual elements to tell the stories of the arts and why we need to make them more accessible. 

“This team project makes innovative use of emerging technologies to tell an important and timely story about the history of culture, diversity and equity in Akron, Ohio,” Armour said.

Rodgers acted as the team's project manager where she served as the liaison between the group and the client. 

“It was through extensive research of the theatre and the history of Akron, along with guidance from our professors that the idea for Akron Civic Duty came about,” Rodgers said.

Cocchiola’s role in the project was creating video content and researching software to create the tour. She worked on image content and setting up the content for the virtual reality tour. 

Cocchiola took pride in this project for the unmatched experience, her team’s diversity, and the team’s ability to overcome any challenges they ran into which set them apart and gave them recognition for their hard work. 

“The importance of this project to me was working in a group with unique perspectives,” Cocchiola said. “We each brought something to the table that allowed us to create a well-rounded perspective on race relations in Akron through the lens of the Akron Civic Theatre. I know that I learned the most from working with my teammates.”

The team split $250 awarded by the College of Communication and Information. 

“We are so proud of the passion, commitment and dedication these students demonstrated over the course of the semester,” Avnisan said, “and we know that this honor is well-deserved.”

To learn more about McGruder, his legacy and the Distinguished Lecture and Awards Program in his honor, visit www.kent.edu/mdj/robert-g-mcgruder-distinguished-lecture-and-awards-pro…;

Stories Connecting Generations , Student working on exhibit , Student working on exhibit , Glyphix Exhibit in progress
Thursday, May 05, 2022

During the Spring 2022 semester, Visual Communication Design students in the Glyphix Design Research Lab have been working on an intergenerational research project combining storytelling and design.  

For the Stories Connecting Generations project, young adult VCD students were paired with one older adult. The two individuals engaged in weekly conversations virtually for up to eight weeks. Through their conversations, life stories, memories and wisdom were shared. In some cases, even friendships were formed.  

Through listening and reflecting on these conversations, VCD students created designs to communicate and share the life stories and experiences of their older peers. The final projects will be on display in the Taylor Hall Gallery from May 6 to Sept. 15, 2022. An opening reception will take place Friday, May 6 from 4-6 p.m.

VCD Associate Professor Jessica Barness taught the course this semester. As she was preparing for the project, she ended up forming a collaboration with Manacy Pai, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology.  

While developing the idea for her research lab, Barness was inspired to have students visually communicate conversations and bring them to life.  

“In summer 2021, I reached out to Professor Barness,” Pai said, “and shared with her my vision for this project. I am a social gerontologist and so, I am constantly in search of ways to connect persons of diverse generations.” 

After realizing their ideas aligned, Pai became a close collaborator on the project. Through connections with senior centers in local communities, Pai got in touch with several older adults who volunteered to share their stories with VCD students.  

Through facilitating and observing the student’s experiences in the research lab, Barness has identified at least one key takeaway for students: wisdom.  

“The thing that kept coming out of this was, we found that our older adult partners in the communities were imparting wisdom to our students on a weekly basis,” Barness said.  

The group realized about halfway through the semester that the idea of wisdom would be their overarching theme. Many of the pieces on display are inspired by wisdom students received from their older adult partners.  

“The designs that came out of these conversations range quite a bit. Some are more interactive or participatory in nature, and some are just very visual,” Barness said.  

Transitioning from the conversation to design phase of the project was a challenge for students. In this process, Barness recognized that it would be difficult, if not nearly impossible, for students to capture the various dimensions of somebody’s life. She instead helped students identify different words, phrases or small ideas that later evolved into their final designs.  

“It was nice to hear my partner say that everything in her life worked out, and it was the way it was supposed to be. This class was very fun putting together an exhibit and sharing personal stories,” said VCD graduate student and adjunct instructor Maria Ahmad. 

While this research lab provided VCD students an opportunity to design more pieces, Barness hopes students are walking away with a deeper meaning, understanding and perspective on life as they grow older.  

“Through some of the stories that emerged, students realized it’s not like you just quit doing things when you hit a certain age. You’re active, you’re social, you’re having fun, you’re developing new hobbies, new friendships and more. I’m hoping the students are walking away with the idea that they’re kind of designing their own lives,” Barness said.  

Stories Connecting Generations , Student working on exhibit , Student working on exhibit , Glyphix Exhibit in progress
Thursday, May 05, 2022

During the Spring 2022 semester, Visual Communication Design students in the Glyphix Design Research Lab have been working on an intergenerational research project combining storytelling and design.  

For the Stories Connecting Generations project, young adult VCD students were paired with one older adult. The two individuals engaged in weekly conversations virtually for up to eight weeks. Through their conversations, life stories, memories and wisdom were shared. In some cases, even friendships were formed.  

Through listening and reflecting on these conversations, VCD students created designs to communicate and share the life stories and experiences of their older peers. The final projects will be on display in the Taylor Hall Gallery from May 6 to Sept. 15, 2022. An opening reception will take place Friday, May 6 from 4-6 p.m.

VCD Associate Professor Jessica Barness taught the course this semester. As she was preparing for the project, she ended up forming a collaboration with Manacy Pai, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology.  

While developing the idea for her research lab, Barness was inspired to have students visually communicate conversations and bring them to life.  

“In summer 2021, I reached out to Professor Barness,” Pai said, “and shared with her my vision for this project. I am a social gerontologist and so, I am constantly in search of ways to connect persons of diverse generations.” 

After realizing their ideas aligned, Pai became a close collaborator on the project. Through connections with senior centers in local communities, Pai got in touch with several older adults who volunteered to share their stories with VCD students.  

Through facilitating and observing the student’s experiences in the research lab, Barness has identified at least one key takeaway for students: wisdom.  

“The thing that kept coming out of this was, we found that our older adult partners in the communities were imparting wisdom to our students on a weekly basis,” Barness said.  

The group realized about halfway through the semester that the idea of wisdom would be their overarching theme. Many of the pieces on display are inspired by wisdom students received from their older adult partners.  

“The designs that came out of these conversations range quite a bit. Some are more interactive or participatory in nature, and some are just very visual,” Barness said.  

Transitioning from the conversation to design phase of the project was a challenge for students. In this process, Barness recognized that it would be difficult, if not nearly impossible, for students to capture the various dimensions of somebody’s life. She instead helped students identify different words, phrases or small ideas that later evolved into their final designs.  

“It was nice to hear my partner say that everything in her life worked out, and it was the way it was supposed to be. This class was very fun putting together an exhibit and sharing personal stories,” said VCD graduate student and adjunct instructor Maria Ahmad. 

While this research lab provided VCD students an opportunity to design more pieces, Barness hopes students are walking away with a deeper meaning, understanding and perspective on life as they grow older.  

“Through some of the stories that emerged, students realized it’s not like you just quit doing things when you hit a certain age. You’re active, you’re social, you’re having fun, you’re developing new hobbies, new friendships and more. I’m hoping the students are walking away with the idea that they’re kind of designing their own lives,” Barness said.  

Stories Connecting Generations , Student working on exhibit , Student working on exhibit , Glyphix Exhibit in progress
Thursday, May 05, 2022

During the Spring 2022 semester, Visual Communication Design students in the Glyphix Design Research Lab have been working on an intergenerational research project combining storytelling and design.  

For the Stories Connecting Generations project, young adult VCD students were paired with one older adult. The two individuals engaged in weekly conversations virtually for up to eight weeks. Through their conversations, life stories, memories and wisdom were shared. In some cases, even friendships were formed.  

Through listening and reflecting on these conversations, VCD students created designs to communicate and share the life stories and experiences of their older peers. The final projects will be on display in the Taylor Hall Gallery from May 6 to Sept. 15, 2022. An opening reception will take place Friday, May 6 from 4-6 p.m.

VCD Associate Professor Jessica Barness taught the course this semester. As she was preparing for the project, she ended up forming a collaboration with Manacy Pai, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology.  

While developing the idea for her research lab, Barness was inspired to have students visually communicate conversations and bring them to life.  

“In summer 2021, I reached out to Professor Barness,” Pai said, “and shared with her my vision for this project. I am a social gerontologist and so, I am constantly in search of ways to connect persons of diverse generations.” 

After realizing their ideas aligned, Pai became a close collaborator on the project. Through connections with senior centers in local communities, Pai got in touch with several older adults who volunteered to share their stories with VCD students.  

Through facilitating and observing the student’s experiences in the research lab, Barness has identified at least one key takeaway for students: wisdom.  

“The thing that kept coming out of this was, we found that our older adult partners in the communities were imparting wisdom to our students on a weekly basis,” Barness said.  

The group realized about halfway through the semester that the idea of wisdom would be their overarching theme. Many of the pieces on display are inspired by wisdom students received from their older adult partners.  

“The designs that came out of these conversations range quite a bit. Some are more interactive or participatory in nature, and some are just very visual,” Barness said.  

Transitioning from the conversation to design phase of the project was a challenge for students. In this process, Barness recognized that it would be difficult, if not nearly impossible, for students to capture the various dimensions of somebody’s life. She instead helped students identify different words, phrases or small ideas that later evolved into their final designs.  

“It was nice to hear my partner say that everything in her life worked out, and it was the way it was supposed to be. This class was very fun putting together an exhibit and sharing personal stories,” said VCD graduate student and adjunct instructor Maria Ahmad. 

While this research lab provided VCD students an opportunity to design more pieces, Barness hopes students are walking away with a deeper meaning, understanding and perspective on life as they grow older.  

“Through some of the stories that emerged, students realized it’s not like you just quit doing things when you hit a certain age. You’re active, you’re social, you’re having fun, you’re developing new hobbies, new friendships and more. I’m hoping the students are walking away with the idea that they’re kind of designing their own lives,” Barness said.  

Students next to library lit up red , Erase Lymphoma painted on rock , Erase Lymphoma t-shirts
Monday, May 02, 2022

Two teams of Kent State Media and Journalism students are being honored nationally for their work building public relations campaigns for Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF).

Throughout the Spring 2022 semester, the students participated in the National Bateman Case Study Competition, hosted by the Public Relations Student Society of America. Out of more than 50 entries, both teams of Kent State students earned honorable mentions for their work. This is the ninth time in 10 years that a Kent State team has been recognized among the top tier of submissions for this competition.

Each year, the Bateman competition calls upon student teams to research, plan, implement and evaluate a public relations plan for a real client.

Maddy Haberberger, ’22, a member of the Bateman Blue team, reflected on her team being honored for their E.R.A.S.E. Lymphoma campaign.

“Being a part of Bateman Blue was such an incredible experience — we got to plan and implement a real public relations campaign with real impact for a client that meant a lot to our team members personally,” she said. “To see it make an impact on our campus and to have it be recognized by PRSSA is such an honor, and I'm so grateful I got to be a part of it.”

Members of Bateman Blue included: Haberberger (journalism major); Jordyn Forkell, '22 (fashion merchandising major); and public relations majors Eve Krejci, '23Chloe Zofchak, '23; and Yarilis Sotomayor, '22.

Austin Monigold, ’22, a member of the other team, Bateman Gold, said he feels humbled to be recognized for his team’s B.E.A.T. Lymphoma campaign. Looking back at the start of the campaign, “we saw a great challenge that seemed overwhelming,” he said.

“In the face of it, we leaned on each other to share ideas and do the work that would eventually propel us to our honorable mention recognition,” Monigold continued. “We are so humbled and thrilled to have received this great honor. We were able to complete work for an amazing nonprofit organization providing support and doing life-saving research in the Lymphoma Research Foundation. We have made friendships that will last for a long time, and we were able to do it while completing work that will benefit our careers.”

Members of Bateman Gold included: Monigold, Emily King, '23; Tamra McMillion, '23; Morgan Cummings, '23 (all public relations majors); and Maggie Werren, '23 (communication studies major).

Faculty advisor and Professor Stefanie Moore says she is more than proud to see the hard work from both Bateman teams recognized. 

 “Both teams implemented strategic, creative and realistic campaigns to raise awareness about lymphoma and the Lymphoma Research Foundation,” Moore said. “The students poured their hearts into their work, and it paid off. Bateman students not only learned how to research, plan, implement and evaluate a public relations campaign, but they also learned a lot about themselves and how to effectively work as part of a team.” 

2022 Canfora Activism Scholar Winner and Alan Canfora
Monday, May 02, 2022

Kent State University has awarded the Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship for 2022-2023 to activist and incoming Kent State student Sophia Swengel from York Suburban High School in York, PA.

The Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship celebrates Canfora’s life, his Kent State experience and the importance of social justice and advocacy to society. On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State demonstrators, killing four students and wounding nine, including Canfora. He was a tireless leader in the fight to protect and publicize the legacy of May 4. 

Swengel impressed the scholarship committee with her essay which was well written, convincing and passionate about May 4 and its continued meaning. The events of May 4 and the activism that surrounded it are part of what motivated her to apply to Kent State University, and her plans upon arrival in the fall include joining the May 4 Task Force. "It is a way," Swengel wrote in her application essay, "to let my voice be heard for a cause that means the world to me."

She went on to write about the "tireless activism" of survivors and current Kent State students who are involved with May 4:  "I find it incredibly inspiring that both people who were there on that day, such as the late Alan Canfora, and people born decades after that day are able to unite to raise awareness and fight for the truth. It sickens me that critical thinking skills and free speech, which were both put under attack on May 4 when critically minded students were placed under crosshairs, continue to be threatened at all structural levels of our society." 
 
In her high school in York, PA, Swengel is a member of the Model United Nations Club where her activism shines. "It is up to those who still hold those values of rationality and determination, no matter their age or origin," she wrote, "to keep our human rights intact and stand up to those who attempt to tear them away."
 
Her high school social studies teacher and Model UN Club advisor wrote of her:  "Sophia continues to pursue helping others in York Suburban’s Model United Nations Club as well as tackling real world issues such as climate change, social reform, and crisis management. These are all issues that Sophia has had to address at the various conferences we have attended and have been handled with the utmost respect and precision." Sophia serves as the club’s charity and fundraising chair.
 
"[W]e found in Sophia an intensity of purpose that reminded us of Alan," the committee noted in their consideration. When told she had been awarded the scholarship, Swengel had this to say: "As someone who cares deeply about keeping the memory of May 4 alive, earning this scholarship is a true honor. Receiving it encourages me to keep applying myself and to keep following in the footsteps of those who paved new ground before me."

Michael Solomon, a 1974 Kent State graduate, established the Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship in December 2020 to honor Canfora’s life and legacy. This scholarship provides up to two years of renewable support to a Kent Campus incoming first year or transfer student who has a demonstrated interest in social justice and advocacy and a demonstrated commitment of care and compassion toward others. 

Donations to the scholarship fund in Canfora’s name may be made via the Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship page. For more information about this year’s May 4 Commemoration, visit the May 4 website.
 

A student visits the new May 4 exhibit from the Wick Poetry Center in the Kent State Student Center
Thursday, April 21, 2022

A new interactive exhibit from the Wick Poetry Center that encourages visitors to explore the history of student protest through the Kent State shootings, has opened in the Kent Student Center as part of May 4 commemoration activities.

The exhibit, Armed With Our Voices, seeks to show the grave consequences that result when communication collapses. The exhibit uses present-day issues of political polarization, divided communities and school violence to explore the themes of peace and conflict.  

The goal of the exhibit is to connect the current generation to the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University, so that they can learn what happened and why it matters, said David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center.

“The whole idea was to relate the legacy of May 4 to social justice and ongoing struggles today,” Hassler said.

The exhibit – there are two identical models – debuted two years ago at the National Council of Social Studies Conference in Austin, Texas, Hassler said. From there, the exhibits were scheduled to be on display at the Cathedral of St. John Divine in New York City, the Ohio Supreme Court in Columbus and other locales before debuting at Kent State for the 50th commemoration of the May 4 shootings in 2020.

After the initial showing in Texas, however, the pandemic intervened and further displays of the exhibit were put on hold until now, he said.

Hassler said the initial reaction to the exhibit at the Austin conference was overwhelmingly positive and he is hoping that pandemic conditions will permit the exhibit to begin traveling again.

Smaller pop-up versions of the exhibit will be installed at Kent State’s Stark and Geauga campuses and the Twinsburg Academic Center in the coming weeks, he said.

Hassler said the entire Wick center staff worked on the project, along with the May 4 Visitor’s Center staff, and Stephanie Smith, associate professor in the College of Communication and Information’s School of Media and Journalism.

All the May 4 information was curated in a way to make the historical event relevant to our present moment in time, including new information added to reflect the ongoing war in the Ukraine, Hassler explained.

The exhibit features articles, photographs and video screens for a digital “listening wall,” on which visitors can listen to the commentary of others, hear oral histories and view archival videos.

The listening wall then prompts each visitor to produce a creative writing response using words they reflected upon from the listening wall, to consider the issues of equality, justice and human rights from past and present and how they are deeply connected.

A student uses Wick Poetry Center interactive exhibit for May 4, "Armed With Our Voices."
The creative writing is then archived into a repository of creative writing and poetry on the exhibit’s website. Hassler said numerous writing submissions already had been made in just a few days since the exhibit opened in the student center.

The exhibit’s content also is adaptable to reflect issues pertinent to the cities where it visits.

Getting visitors to engage with the listening wall and produce a creative writing response can be challenging.

“It’s a tricky thing to get people to know it’s something they can do,” Hassler said.

During May 4 events, Hassler said the Wick center is hoping to station its interns as student ambassadors at the exhibit to encourage others to participate and show them how the exhibit works.

The exhibit was made possible by a $90,000 grant from the Knight Foundation in 2019, as well as contributions from Michael Solomon, former Kent State national trustee and longtime supporter of May 4 efforts.

In addition, the exhibit’s accompanying website offers different lesson plans for educators to access and use as teaching tools in their classrooms.

The exhibit will remain in the student center through the end of the semester, or longer, Hassler said.

To learn more about the events marking this year’s commemoration, visit https://www.kent.edu/may-4-1970/commemoration.

A student visits the new May 4 exhibit from the Wick Poetry Center in the Kent State Student Center
Thursday, April 21, 2022

A new interactive exhibit from the Wick Poetry Center that encourages visitors to explore the history of student protest through the Kent State shootings, has opened in the Kent Student Center as part of May 4 commemoration activities.

The exhibit, Armed With Our Voices, seeks to show the grave consequences that result when communication collapses. The exhibit uses present-day issues of political polarization, divided communities and school violence to explore the themes of peace and conflict.  

The goal of the exhibit is to connect the current generation to the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University, so that they can learn what happened and why it matters, said David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center.

“The whole idea was to relate the legacy of May 4 to social justice and ongoing struggles today,” Hassler said.

The exhibit – there are two identical models – debuted two years ago at the National Council of Social Studies Conference in Austin, Texas, Hassler said. From there, the exhibits were scheduled to be on display at the Cathedral of St. John Divine in New York City, the Ohio Supreme Court in Columbus and other locales before debuting at Kent State for the 50th commemoration of the May 4 shootings in 2020.

After the initial showing in Texas, however, the pandemic intervened and further displays of the exhibit were put on hold until now, he said.

Hassler said the initial reaction to the exhibit at the Austin conference was overwhelmingly positive and he is hoping that pandemic conditions will permit the exhibit to begin traveling again.

Smaller pop-up versions of the exhibit will be installed at Kent State’s Stark and Geauga campuses and the Twinsburg Academic Center in the coming weeks, he said.

Hassler said the entire Wick center staff worked on the project, along with the May 4 Visitor’s Center staff, and Stephanie Smith, associate professor in the College of Communication and Information’s School of Media and Journalism.

All the May 4 information was curated in a way to make the historical event relevant to our present moment in time, including new information added to reflect the ongoing war in the Ukraine, Hassler explained.

The exhibit features articles, photographs and video screens for a digital “listening wall,” on which visitors can listen to the commentary of others, hear oral histories and view archival videos.

The listening wall then prompts each visitor to produce a creative writing response using words they reflected upon from the listening wall, to consider the issues of equality, justice and human rights from past and present and how they are deeply connected.

A student uses Wick Poetry Center interactive exhibit for May 4, "Armed With Our Voices."
The creative writing is then archived into a repository of creative writing and poetry on the exhibit’s website. Hassler said numerous writing submissions already had been made in just a few days since the exhibit opened in the student center.

The exhibit’s content also is adaptable to reflect issues pertinent to the cities where it visits.

Getting visitors to engage with the listening wall and produce a creative writing response can be challenging.

“It’s a tricky thing to get people to know it’s something they can do,” Hassler said.

During May 4 events, Hassler said the Wick center is hoping to station its interns as student ambassadors at the exhibit to encourage others to participate and show them how the exhibit works.

The exhibit was made possible by a $90,000 grant from the Knight Foundation in 2019, as well as contributions from Michael Solomon, former Kent State national trustee and longtime supporter of May 4 efforts.

In addition, the exhibit’s accompanying website offers different lesson plans for educators to access and use as teaching tools in their classrooms.

The exhibit will remain in the student center through the end of the semester, or longer, Hassler said.

To learn more about the events marking this year’s commemoration, visit https://www.kent.edu/may-4-1970/commemoration.

A student visits the new May 4 exhibit from the Wick Poetry Center in the Kent State Student Center
Thursday, April 21, 2022

A new interactive exhibit from the Wick Poetry Center that encourages visitors to explore the history of student protest through the Kent State shootings, has opened in the Kent Student Center as part of May 4 commemoration activities.

The exhibit, Armed With Our Voices, seeks to show the grave consequences that result when communication collapses. The exhibit uses present-day issues of political polarization, divided communities and school violence to explore the themes of peace and conflict.  

The goal of the exhibit is to connect the current generation to the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University, so that they can learn what happened and why it matters, said David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center.

“The whole idea was to relate the legacy of May 4 to social justice and ongoing struggles today,” Hassler said.

The exhibit – there are two identical models – debuted two years ago at the National Council of Social Studies Conference in Austin, Texas, Hassler said. From there, the exhibits were scheduled to be on display at the Cathedral of St. John Divine in New York City, the Ohio Supreme Court in Columbus and other locales before debuting at Kent State for the 50th commemoration of the May 4 shootings in 2020.

After the initial showing in Texas, however, the pandemic intervened and further displays of the exhibit were put on hold until now, he said.

Hassler said the initial reaction to the exhibit at the Austin conference was overwhelmingly positive and he is hoping that pandemic conditions will permit the exhibit to begin traveling again.

Smaller pop-up versions of the exhibit will be installed at Kent State’s Stark and Geauga campuses and the Twinsburg Academic Center in the coming weeks, he said.

Hassler said the entire Wick center staff worked on the project, along with the May 4 Visitor’s Center staff, and Stephanie Smith, associate professor in the College of Communication and Information’s School of Media and Journalism.

All the May 4 information was curated in a way to make the historical event relevant to our present moment in time, including new information added to reflect the ongoing war in the Ukraine, Hassler explained.

The exhibit features articles, photographs and video screens for a digital “listening wall,” on which visitors can listen to the commentary of others, hear oral histories and view archival videos.

The listening wall then prompts each visitor to produce a creative writing response using words they reflected upon from the listening wall, to consider the issues of equality, justice and human rights from past and present and how they are deeply connected.

A student uses Wick Poetry Center interactive exhibit for May 4, "Armed With Our Voices."
The creative writing is then archived into a repository of creative writing and poetry on the exhibit’s website. Hassler said numerous writing submissions already had been made in just a few days since the exhibit opened in the student center.

The exhibit’s content also is adaptable to reflect issues pertinent to the cities where it visits.

Getting visitors to engage with the listening wall and produce a creative writing response can be challenging.

“It’s a tricky thing to get people to know it’s something they can do,” Hassler said.

During May 4 events, Hassler said the Wick center is hoping to station its interns as student ambassadors at the exhibit to encourage others to participate and show them how the exhibit works.

The exhibit was made possible by a $90,000 grant from the Knight Foundation in 2019, as well as contributions from Michael Solomon, former Kent State national trustee and longtime supporter of May 4 efforts.

In addition, the exhibit’s accompanying website offers different lesson plans for educators to access and use as teaching tools in their classrooms.

The exhibit will remain in the student center through the end of the semester, or longer, Hassler said.

To learn more about the events marking this year’s commemoration, visit https://www.kent.edu/may-4-1970/commemoration.

Collage of readin
Friday, April 15, 2022

The School of Communication Studies recently hosted a Read-In, drawing a crowd of students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members, who gathered to draw attention and speak out about book bans and challenges happening across the nation.

Participants read excerpts from these books and more:  "Farenheit 451," "The Hate U Give," "To Kill a Mockingbird" "Persepolis," "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," "The 1619 Project," "Looking for Alaska," "The Kite Runner," "The Things They Carried," the Harry Potter series and many other contemporary and classic titles.

Communication Studies Director Paul Haridakis opened the event by discussing historic and legal perspectives on book banning and why speaking out matters.

 

 

Abe Avnisan sets up exhibit , Design Innovation Crew sets up exhibit , Exhibit in DI Hub , Exhibit Set-Up , Abe Avnisan exhibit set up
Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Assistant Professor Abraham Avnisan is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is found at the intersection of image, text and code, often centering on culture and justice. He teaches on the faculty of the School of Media and Journalism and the School of Emerging Media and Technology at Kent State. His latest artistic development, created in collaboration with Dan Paz and currently on display at the Kent State Design Innovation Hub, examines the incarceration business in the United States, specifically related to youth incarceration.

“the seeing machine as 440,918,749 points – the view from the Ingham County Youth Detention Center, Lansing, Michigan.” is a 28.5 foot-long and 44-inches tall panoramic image that theoretically places the viewer inside the youth detention center.

“Essentially, you’re walking into the center of the image, which is the perspective you would have from the center of the facility looking out,” Avnisan said.

“But that’s an impossible perspective because we weren’t able to go inside of the fence. So, it’s a kind of illusion that’s very meaningful, because you’re thinking about being on the inside versus being on the outside, what you can know and what you cannot know about the experiences of these people.”

The exhibit image was created by using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, which scans an area with a laser and gathers the image by the amount of time it takes for the laser’s reflection to return to the receiver. Avnisan has centered his work around this technology for the past five years. The scan was then developed into a gigapixel panoramic image using software developed by Avnisan, and fully put together with the help of Design Innovation Hub team and student employees.

Alongside the illusion the exhibit creates, Avnisan says it also appeals to the panopticon design of many prisons — a watch tower in the center of the cell facility in which a guard can watch all prisoners at all times.

“The idea is that prisoners don’t know if they’re being watched, but they could be being watched at any time,” Avnisan said. “So it’s the psychology of surveillance and of discipline, which obviously has many, many resonances in the contemporary digital landscape of constant surveillance.”

The full exhibit premiered at Michigan State University and will travel to Tennessee and Seattle for future showings. Avnisan’s piece was on display at Kent State's Design Innovation Hub during the month of April.

“We want to invite viewers to think about something that’s often invisible unless you have a direct connection to the carceral system,” Avnisan said. “I think for those people who do have a direct connection to the carceral system, we want to make their concerns more visible, make them feel like people care.

It’s not only making what’s invisible visible, but it’s also an invitation to really grapple with what it means to incarcerate youth, to think critically about the school-to-prison pipeline, to think critically about the larger systemic structures rooted in white supremacy that are such an integral part of the prison industrial complex, including the youth incarceration component.”

Avnisan teaches in the Schools of Emerging Media and Technology, and Media and Journalism, within the College of Communication and Information. This piece is a window into a different type of storytelling. An artistic piece like this, he said, complements news stories about incarceration that are meant to educate and inform people through accurate reporting and narratives. 

“What we’re trying to do is create an aesthetic experience that moves people in an emotional and intellectual way,” he said. “We want people to feel this in their bodies. ... There’s something deeper, there’s something more embodied, that can happen in the space of art.”

Abe Avnisan sets up exhibit , Design Innovation Crew sets up exhibit , Exhibit in DI Hub , Exhibit Set-Up , Abe Avnisan exhibit set up
Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Assistant Professor Abraham Avnisan is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is found at the intersection of image, text and code, often centering on culture and justice. He teaches on the faculty of the School of Media and Journalism and the School of Emerging Media and Technology at Kent State. His latest artistic development, created in collaboration with Dan Paz and currently on display at the Kent State Design Innovation Hub, examines the incarceration business in the United States, specifically related to youth incarceration.

“the seeing machine as 440,918,749 points – the view from the Ingham County Youth Detention Center, Lansing, Michigan.” is a 28.5 foot-long and 44-inches tall panoramic image that theoretically places the viewer inside the youth detention center.

“Essentially, you’re walking into the center of the image, which is the perspective you would have from the center of the facility looking out,” Avnisan said.

“But that’s an impossible perspective because we weren’t able to go inside of the fence. So, it’s a kind of illusion that’s very meaningful, because you’re thinking about being on the inside versus being on the outside, what you can know and what you cannot know about the experiences of these people.”

The exhibit image was created by using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, which scans an area with a laser and gathers the image by the amount of time it takes for the laser’s reflection to return to the receiver. Avnisan has centered his work around this technology for the past five years. The scan was then developed into a gigapixel panoramic image using software developed by Avnisan, and fully put together with the help of Design Innovation Hub team and student employees.

Alongside the illusion the exhibit creates, Avnisan says it also appeals to the panopticon design of many prisons — a watch tower in the center of the cell facility in which a guard can watch all prisoners at all times.

“The idea is that prisoners don’t know if they’re being watched, but they could be being watched at any time,” Avnisan said. “So it’s the psychology of surveillance and of discipline, which obviously has many, many resonances in the contemporary digital landscape of constant surveillance.”

The full exhibit premiered at Michigan State University and will travel to Tennessee and Seattle for future showings. Avnisan’s piece was on display at Kent State's Design Innovation Hub during the month of April.

“We want to invite viewers to think about something that’s often invisible unless you have a direct connection to the carceral system,” Avnisan said. “I think for those people who do have a direct connection to the carceral system, we want to make their concerns more visible, make them feel like people care.

It’s not only making what’s invisible visible, but it’s also an invitation to really grapple with what it means to incarcerate youth, to think critically about the school-to-prison pipeline, to think critically about the larger systemic structures rooted in white supremacy that are such an integral part of the prison industrial complex, including the youth incarceration component.”

Avnisan teaches in the Schools of Emerging Media and Technology, and Media and Journalism, within the College of Communication and Information. This piece is a window into a different type of storytelling. An artistic piece like this, he said, complements news stories about incarceration that are meant to educate and inform people through accurate reporting and narratives. 

“What we’re trying to do is create an aesthetic experience that moves people in an emotional and intellectual way,” he said. “We want people to feel this in their bodies. ... There’s something deeper, there’s something more embodied, that can happen in the space of art.”

Abe Avnisan sets up exhibit , Design Innovation Crew sets up exhibit , Exhibit in DI Hub , Exhibit Set-Up , Abe Avnisan exhibit set up
Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Assistant Professor Abraham Avnisan is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is found at the intersection of image, text and code, often centering on culture and justice. He teaches on the faculty of the School of Media and Journalism and the School of Emerging Media and Technology at Kent State. His latest artistic development, created in collaboration with Dan Paz and currently on display at the Kent State Design Innovation Hub, examines the incarceration business in the United States, specifically related to youth incarceration.

“the seeing machine as 440,918,749 points – the view from the Ingham County Youth Detention Center, Lansing, Michigan.” is a 28.5 foot-long and 44-inches tall panoramic image that theoretically places the viewer inside the youth detention center.

“Essentially, you’re walking into the center of the image, which is the perspective you would have from the center of the facility looking out,” Avnisan said.

“But that’s an impossible perspective because we weren’t able to go inside of the fence. So, it’s a kind of illusion that’s very meaningful, because you’re thinking about being on the inside versus being on the outside, what you can know and what you cannot know about the experiences of these people.”

The exhibit image was created by using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, which scans an area with a laser and gathers the image by the amount of time it takes for the laser’s reflection to return to the receiver. Avnisan has centered his work around this technology for the past five years. The scan was then developed into a gigapixel panoramic image using software developed by Avnisan, and fully put together with the help of Design Innovation Hub team and student employees.

Alongside the illusion the exhibit creates, Avnisan says it also appeals to the panopticon design of many prisons — a watch tower in the center of the cell facility in which a guard can watch all prisoners at all times.

“The idea is that prisoners don’t know if they’re being watched, but they could be being watched at any time,” Avnisan said. “So it’s the psychology of surveillance and of discipline, which obviously has many, many resonances in the contemporary digital landscape of constant surveillance.”

The full exhibit premiered at Michigan State University and will travel to Tennessee and Seattle for future showings. Avnisan’s piece was on display at Kent State's Design Innovation Hub during the month of April.

“We want to invite viewers to think about something that’s often invisible unless you have a direct connection to the carceral system,” Avnisan said. “I think for those people who do have a direct connection to the carceral system, we want to make their concerns more visible, make them feel like people care.

It’s not only making what’s invisible visible, but it’s also an invitation to really grapple with what it means to incarcerate youth, to think critically about the school-to-prison pipeline, to think critically about the larger systemic structures rooted in white supremacy that are such an integral part of the prison industrial complex, including the youth incarceration component.”

Avnisan teaches in the Schools of Emerging Media and Technology, and Media and Journalism, within the College of Communication and Information. This piece is a window into a different type of storytelling. An artistic piece like this, he said, complements news stories about incarceration that are meant to educate and inform people through accurate reporting and narratives. 

“What we’re trying to do is create an aesthetic experience that moves people in an emotional and intellectual way,” he said. “We want people to feel this in their bodies. ... There’s something deeper, there’s something more embodied, that can happen in the space of art.”

Abe Avnisan sets up exhibit , Design Innovation Crew sets up exhibit , Exhibit in DI Hub , Exhibit Set-Up , Abe Avnisan exhibit set up
Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Assistant Professor Abraham Avnisan is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is found at the intersection of image, text and code, often centering on culture and justice. He teaches on the faculty of the School of Media and Journalism and the School of Emerging Media and Technology at Kent State. His latest artistic development, created in collaboration with Dan Paz and currently on display at the Kent State Design Innovation Hub, examines the incarceration business in the United States, specifically related to youth incarceration.

“the seeing machine as 440,918,749 points – the view from the Ingham County Youth Detention Center, Lansing, Michigan.” is a 28.5 foot-long and 44-inches tall panoramic image that theoretically places the viewer inside the youth detention center.

“Essentially, you’re walking into the center of the image, which is the perspective you would have from the center of the facility looking out,” Avnisan said.

“But that’s an impossible perspective because we weren’t able to go inside of the fence. So, it’s a kind of illusion that’s very meaningful, because you’re thinking about being on the inside versus being on the outside, what you can know and what you cannot know about the experiences of these people.”

The exhibit image was created by using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, which scans an area with a laser and gathers the image by the amount of time it takes for the laser’s reflection to return to the receiver. Avnisan has centered his work around this technology for the past five years. The scan was then developed into a gigapixel panoramic image using software developed by Avnisan, and fully put together with the help of Design Innovation Hub team and student employees.

Alongside the illusion the exhibit creates, Avnisan says it also appeals to the panopticon design of many prisons — a watch tower in the center of the cell facility in which a guard can watch all prisoners at all times.

“The idea is that prisoners don’t know if they’re being watched, but they could be being watched at any time,” Avnisan said. “So it’s the psychology of surveillance and of discipline, which obviously has many, many resonances in the contemporary digital landscape of constant surveillance.”

The full exhibit premiered at Michigan State University and will travel to Tennessee and Seattle for future showings. Avnisan’s piece was on display at Kent State's Design Innovation Hub during the month of April.

“We want to invite viewers to think about something that’s often invisible unless you have a direct connection to the carceral system,” Avnisan said. “I think for those people who do have a direct connection to the carceral system, we want to make their concerns more visible, make them feel like people care.

It’s not only making what’s invisible visible, but it’s also an invitation to really grapple with what it means to incarcerate youth, to think critically about the school-to-prison pipeline, to think critically about the larger systemic structures rooted in white supremacy that are such an integral part of the prison industrial complex, including the youth incarceration component.”

Avnisan teaches in the Schools of Emerging Media and Technology, and Media and Journalism, within the College of Communication and Information. This piece is a window into a different type of storytelling. An artistic piece like this, he said, complements news stories about incarceration that are meant to educate and inform people through accurate reporting and narratives. 

“What we’re trying to do is create an aesthetic experience that moves people in an emotional and intellectual way,” he said. “We want people to feel this in their bodies. ... There’s something deeper, there’s something more embodied, that can happen in the space of art.”

Photo of Megan Carrasco
Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Megan Carrasco's journey to law school, and now as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Arizona Supreme Court, began at Kent State University with her major in Communication Studies.  

“Law is very much communication based; you never have to do just one thing in law,” Carrasco said. 

After graduating in 2016, Carrasco, an Honors student, who minored in Public Relations and Spanish, spent time working and thinking about what she truly wanted to do before going back to graduate school. She ultimately decided the law school process and courses fascinated her, so she began law school at Arizona State University in 2018 and graduated with her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 2021.  

The summer after graduation, Carrasco took the bar examination and received the second highest score in the state of Arizona — a great honor.  

During her time in law school, Carrasco focused on learning about all her options and getting as much experience as possible by doing multiple externships and networking.  

“My key focus when I got to law school was to learn all the different types of lawyers and to figure out the kind of lawyer I wanted to be,” Carrasco said.  

These experiences led her to her current position as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Arizona Supreme Court where she assists a justice with cases. This is one of two clerkships Carrasco will complete. After she finishes her term later this year, she will transition to clerking at the District Court for the District of Arizona. Carrasco will then join Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. at their headquarters in Phoenix.  

Carrasco believes the School of Communication Studies gave her a great foundation for law school, with relevant coursework and supportive faculty. By learning skills such as persuasive speaking, writing, critical thinking and oral advocacy, Carrasco felt prepared to pursue this career path.  

“High Impact Professional Speaking taught me a lot for law school. Having to record my speeches and watch them back as part of my own feedback helped me remove filler words while speaking which was incredibly helpful,” Carrasco said.  

For students interested in law school, Carrasco advises students to talk to those who have practiced law and make connections. She also recommends continuing to network and build relationships with teaching assistants and upper-class students while in law school.  

“It’s never too late to attend law school and pursue a career in law," Carrasco said. 

Something she ended up enjoying the most about law school was how everyone was at a different place in their life, yet still going after a career they were passionate for — just like her.  

Connect

Kent State alumna Megan Carrasco is open to connecting with current students about the law school admissions process and her experience through LinkedIn.

Students next to library lit up red , Erase Lymphoma painted on rock , Erase Lymphoma t-shirts , Erase Lymphoma t-shirts
Thursday, March 10, 2022

Teams of Kent State Media and Journalism students have been spreading awareness and education about lymphoma this spring as part of a national public relations competition. 

The National Bateman Case Study Competition is an opportunity for public relations students to gain experience implementing a full public relations campaign with their PRSSA Chapter. For the 2022 campaign, National PRSSA challenged students to build a campaign surrounding the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF), a non-profit that has a dual mission: “to eradicate lymphoma – by funding innovative research – and serve those touched by this disease – by sharing research and treatment insights directly with the lymphoma community through national education programs and resources."  

Two teams of students from the PRSSA Kent Chapter (Bateman Blue and Bateman Gold) are participating in the 2022 competition, advised by Professor Stefanie Moore. The Bateman teams implemented their campaigns from Feb. 7-March 11, 2022. After the implementation period, students will spend time analyzing their results and building casebooks. Both teams will submit their final casebooks at the end of March and will receive results later this year.  

Journalism major Maddy Haberberger, ‘22, a member of the Bateman Blue team, says her team has been focused on reaching the Kent State community, local medical students and local businesses in downtown Kent. 

Research conducted among these audiences helped develop Bateman Blue’s “E.R.A.S.E. Lymphoma” campaign, focusing on Education, Research, Awareness, and Support to Eradicate the disease. 

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t scare people, but that they understood that this disease is serious, and that it’s possible for anyone to be affected by it,” Haberberger said. “We also wanted to get the community involved and inspire people to take care of themselves and understand how simple it is to take that pledge and spread the word.” 

Public relations major and Bateman Gold team member Austin Monigold, ‘22, says his team has been focusing on educating Kent State students and the community to develop their B.E.A.T. Lymphoma campaign, an acronym for “Build Community, Educate, Advocate, and Treat Lymphoma.” 

“Our campaign is tackling these goals by showing the Kent State community the importance of understanding lymphoma in young adults and its relevance to college students, so we can connect them with the client as a resource in those times of need when they arise,” Monigold said. 

When creating tactics to support their campaigns, the teams went through an intense creative process to see their missions come to life. 

“(Bateman Gold) cultivated a group environment where no idea was a bad idea. We wanted to allow for a full range of collaboration between all of us, so we could each make our mark on this campaign in our own way," Monigold said. "I think this helped us pull together some solid tactics because we were always supportive and hoping for each other’s ideas to find success."  

The team’s tactics included very public displays of the campaign’s mission on the Kent State campus.  

“We have success in broadening parts of our campaign to a wider overall audience because the Kent community is always so supportive of Kent State, and they meshed well when it came to interacting with those tactics,” Monigold said.

Image
Library lit up red for lymphoma awareness

One of Monigold’s team’s main tactics is “Light it Red for Lymphoma,” where the team arranged for the Kent State Library to be lit up in red in support of lymphoma research each night during the week of March 7, 2022, as a core part of their “B.E.A.T. Lymphoma Week.”  

“The ‘Light it Red’ campaign is something that the client has used before, and we saw the Kent State University Library as a perfect canvas for this LRF tactic to take shape through the lens of our community," Monigold said. "The library is a staple of our campus, and we believe lighting it red is a great way to bring Kent State and our client together.” 

Haberberger’s team, Bateman Blue, focused strongly on medical students and partnered with organizations like the Committee for Student Clinical Research at NEOMED in Rootstown, Ohio. There, they hosted an event to educate students about LRF and motivate them to sign their pledge to erase lymphoma. 

The team also partnered with the Public Health Student Alliance to host a “Medical Drama Trivia Night,”. The team saw more than a 50 percent increase in knowledge of LRF from attendees after this event. 

Through both teams’ tactics, they revisit common goals to educate and inform individuals about lymphoma and the LRF.  

“It’s important that people, especially people our age, understand the severity and prevalence of lymphoma, and that if we or someone we know ever ends up in that frightening position that there is an incredible organization out there who is ready to help,” Haberberger said.  

Students next to library lit up red , Erase Lymphoma painted on rock , Erase Lymphoma t-shirts , Erase Lymphoma t-shirts
Thursday, March 10, 2022

Teams of Kent State Media and Journalism students have been spreading awareness and education about lymphoma this spring as part of a national public relations competition. 

The National Bateman Case Study Competition is an opportunity for public relations students to gain experience implementing a full public relations campaign with their PRSSA Chapter. For the 2022 campaign, National PRSSA challenged students to build a campaign surrounding the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF), a non-profit that has a dual mission: “to eradicate lymphoma – by funding innovative research – and serve those touched by this disease – by sharing research and treatment insights directly with the lymphoma community through national education programs and resources."  

Two teams of students from the PRSSA Kent Chapter (Bateman Blue and Bateman Gold) are participating in the 2022 competition, advised by Professor Stefanie Moore. The Bateman teams implemented their campaigns from Feb. 7-March 11, 2022. After the implementation period, students will spend time analyzing their results and building casebooks. Both teams will submit their final casebooks at the end of March and will receive results later this year.  

Journalism major Maddy Haberberger, ‘22, a member of the Bateman Blue team, says her team has been focused on reaching the Kent State community, local medical students and local businesses in downtown Kent. 

Research conducted among these audiences helped develop Bateman Blue’s “E.R.A.S.E. Lymphoma” campaign, focusing on Education, Research, Awareness, and Support to Eradicate the disease. 

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t scare people, but that they understood that this disease is serious, and that it’s possible for anyone to be affected by it,” Haberberger said. “We also wanted to get the community involved and inspire people to take care of themselves and understand how simple it is to take that pledge and spread the word.” 

Public relations major and Bateman Gold team member Austin Monigold, ‘22, says his team has been focusing on educating Kent State students and the community to develop their B.E.A.T. Lymphoma campaign, an acronym for “Build Community, Educate, Advocate, and Treat Lymphoma.” 

“Our campaign is tackling these goals by showing the Kent State community the importance of understanding lymphoma in young adults and its relevance to college students, so we can connect them with the client as a resource in those times of need when they arise,” Monigold said. 

When creating tactics to support their campaigns, the teams went through an intense creative process to see their missions come to life. 

“(Bateman Gold) cultivated a group environment where no idea was a bad idea. We wanted to allow for a full range of collaboration between all of us, so we could each make our mark on this campaign in our own way," Monigold said. "I think this helped us pull together some solid tactics because we were always supportive and hoping for each other’s ideas to find success."  

The team’s tactics included very public displays of the campaign’s mission on the Kent State campus.  

“We have success in broadening parts of our campaign to a wider overall audience because the Kent community is always so supportive of Kent State, and they meshed well when it came to interacting with those tactics,” Monigold said.

Image
Library lit up red for lymphoma awareness

One of Monigold’s team’s main tactics is “Light it Red for Lymphoma,” where the team arranged for the Kent State Library to be lit up in red in support of lymphoma research each night during the week of March 7, 2022, as a core part of their “B.E.A.T. Lymphoma Week.”  

“The ‘Light it Red’ campaign is something that the client has used before, and we saw the Kent State University Library as a perfect canvas for this LRF tactic to take shape through the lens of our community," Monigold said. "The library is a staple of our campus, and we believe lighting it red is a great way to bring Kent State and our client together.” 

Haberberger’s team, Bateman Blue, focused strongly on medical students and partnered with organizations like the Committee for Student Clinical Research at NEOMED in Rootstown, Ohio. There, they hosted an event to educate students about LRF and motivate them to sign their pledge to erase lymphoma. 

The team also partnered with the Public Health Student Alliance to host a “Medical Drama Trivia Night,”. The team saw more than a 50 percent increase in knowledge of LRF from attendees after this event. 

Through both teams’ tactics, they revisit common goals to educate and inform individuals about lymphoma and the LRF.  

“It’s important that people, especially people our age, understand the severity and prevalence of lymphoma, and that if we or someone we know ever ends up in that frightening position that there is an incredible organization out there who is ready to help,” Haberberger said.  

Students next to library lit up red , Erase Lymphoma painted on rock , Erase Lymphoma t-shirts , Erase Lymphoma t-shirts
Thursday, March 10, 2022

Teams of Kent State Media and Journalism students have been spreading awareness and education about lymphoma this spring as part of a national public relations competition. 

The National Bateman Case Study Competition is an opportunity for public relations students to gain experience implementing a full public relations campaign with their PRSSA Chapter. For the 2022 campaign, National PRSSA challenged students to build a campaign surrounding the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF), a non-profit that has a dual mission: “to eradicate lymphoma – by funding innovative research – and serve those touched by this disease – by sharing research and treatment insights directly with the lymphoma community through national education programs and resources."  

Two teams of students from the PRSSA Kent Chapter (Bateman Blue and Bateman Gold) are participating in the 2022 competition, advised by Professor Stefanie Moore. The Bateman teams implemented their campaigns from Feb. 7-March 11, 2022. After the implementation period, students will spend time analyzing their results and building casebooks. Both teams will submit their final casebooks at the end of March and will receive results later this year.  

Journalism major Maddy Haberberger, ‘22, a member of the Bateman Blue team, says her team has been focused on reaching the Kent State community, local medical students and local businesses in downtown Kent. 

Research conducted among these audiences helped develop Bateman Blue’s “E.R.A.S.E. Lymphoma” campaign, focusing on Education, Research, Awareness, and Support to Eradicate the disease. 

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t scare people, but that they understood that this disease is serious, and that it’s possible for anyone to be affected by it,” Haberberger said. “We also wanted to get the community involved and inspire people to take care of themselves and understand how simple it is to take that pledge and spread the word.” 

Public relations major and Bateman Gold team member Austin Monigold, ‘22, says his team has been focusing on educating Kent State students and the community to develop their B.E.A.T. Lymphoma campaign, an acronym for “Build Community, Educate, Advocate, and Treat Lymphoma.” 

“Our campaign is tackling these goals by showing the Kent State community the importance of understanding lymphoma in young adults and its relevance to college students, so we can connect them with the client as a resource in those times of need when they arise,” Monigold said. 

When creating tactics to support their campaigns, the teams went through an intense creative process to see their missions come to life. 

“(Bateman Gold) cultivated a group environment where no idea was a bad idea. We wanted to allow for a full range of collaboration between all of us, so we could each make our mark on this campaign in our own way," Monigold said. "I think this helped us pull together some solid tactics because we were always supportive and hoping for each other’s ideas to find success."  

The team’s tactics included very public displays of the campaign’s mission on the Kent State campus.  

“We have success in broadening parts of our campaign to a wider overall audience because the Kent community is always so supportive of Kent State, and they meshed well when it came to interacting with those tactics,” Monigold said.

Image
Library lit up red for lymphoma awareness

One of Monigold’s team’s main tactics is “Light it Red for Lymphoma,” where the team arranged for the Kent State Library to be lit up in red in support of lymphoma research each night during the week of March 7, 2022, as a core part of their “B.E.A.T. Lymphoma Week.”  

“The ‘Light it Red’ campaign is something that the client has used before, and we saw the Kent State University Library as a perfect canvas for this LRF tactic to take shape through the lens of our community," Monigold said. "The library is a staple of our campus, and we believe lighting it red is a great way to bring Kent State and our client together.” 

Haberberger’s team, Bateman Blue, focused strongly on medical students and partnered with organizations like the Committee for Student Clinical Research at NEOMED in Rootstown, Ohio. There, they hosted an event to educate students about LRF and motivate them to sign their pledge to erase lymphoma. 

The team also partnered with the Public Health Student Alliance to host a “Medical Drama Trivia Night,”. The team saw more than a 50 percent increase in knowledge of LRF from attendees after this event. 

Through both teams’ tactics, they revisit common goals to educate and inform individuals about lymphoma and the LRF.  

“It’s important that people, especially people our age, understand the severity and prevalence of lymphoma, and that if we or someone we know ever ends up in that frightening position that there is an incredible organization out there who is ready to help,” Haberberger said.  

Emerging Media and Technology students honored at Hudson City Council meeting , Snapshots of HCTV App
Tuesday, March 08, 2022

A group of four students enrolled in Professional-in-Residence Adam Stephens’ Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT) Interdisciplinary Projects course recently gained valuable professional experience and public acknowledgement for developing a mobile progressive web application.  

The team worked together during the Fall 2021 semester to create an application for Hudson Community TV (HCTV). The project was conducted in partnership with IdeaBase, and Director Kristin Dowling helped mentor the team while they were working with the client.  

“Working on this project in a collaborative team environment drove the innovation we achieved with the project. We were able to quickly bounce ideas off each other and build on each other’s ideas to create a great product for the client,” said Ethan Hancock, an EMAT senior.

HCTV and the city of Hudson, Ohio launched the app publicly in January and honored the students at its February City Council meeting. A resolution honoring the team’s work was adopted, recognizing the city’s satisfaction with the team’s hard work and final application.  

At the February meeting, Hancock delivered remarks, saying, “It’s so important that student developers and designers are able to work on real world projects that get used by so many people. I hope this project serves as a shining example of our ability.” 

Also at the Council meeting, EMAT Director Michael Beam, Ph.D., a Hudson resident who has served on the HCTV Advisory Board noted the Board’s long-standing desire to make the app and programming more accessible on mobile devices.  

“It’s been a delight to work with the HCTV and city staff on this project. The HCTV Advisory Board gave wonderful feedback to our students,” he said. “I’d just like to acknowledge our students for the really polished and wonderful application they built. I’d encourage all residents of Hudson and HCTV viewers to check it out.” 

One of the most exciting parts about this project for the participating students was the opportunity to work in a professional environment and with a real client during their undergraduate career.  

“Working in a professional setting was a great experience to have. This was the only class I had that we got to engage and work with a client. I now feel more prepared to work with clients in the future,” senior Erica Hewitt said.  

Participating in this course and project gave the students a memorable experience and allowed them to further develop various skills such as problem solving.  

In reflecting on the project Hancock said, “As we worked, the project evolved naturally based on their needs and what technology was available for them, and that experience was a welcome deviation from the norm of academic projects where the requirements are laid out from the start. Being able to practice problem solving skills as these changes presented new challenges will help in the future while working in industry.” 

Emerging Media and Technology students honored at Hudson City Council meeting , Snapshots of HCTV App
Tuesday, March 08, 2022

A group of four students enrolled in Professional-in-Residence Adam Stephens’ Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT) Interdisciplinary Projects course recently gained valuable professional experience and public acknowledgement for developing a mobile progressive web application.  

The team worked together during the Fall 2021 semester to create an application for Hudson Community TV (HCTV). The project was conducted in partnership with IdeaBase, and Director Kristin Dowling helped mentor the team while they were working with the client.  

“Working on this project in a collaborative team environment drove the innovation we achieved with the project. We were able to quickly bounce ideas off each other and build on each other’s ideas to create a great product for the client,” said Ethan Hancock, an EMAT senior.

HCTV and the city of Hudson, Ohio launched the app publicly in January and honored the students at its February City Council meeting. A resolution honoring the team’s work was adopted, recognizing the city’s satisfaction with the team’s hard work and final application.  

At the February meeting, Hancock delivered remarks, saying, “It’s so important that student developers and designers are able to work on real world projects that get used by so many people. I hope this project serves as a shining example of our ability.” 

Also at the Council meeting, EMAT Director Michael Beam, Ph.D., a Hudson resident who has served on the HCTV Advisory Board noted the Board’s long-standing desire to make the app and programming more accessible on mobile devices.  

“It’s been a delight to work with the HCTV and city staff on this project. The HCTV Advisory Board gave wonderful feedback to our students,” he said. “I’d just like to acknowledge our students for the really polished and wonderful application they built. I’d encourage all residents of Hudson and HCTV viewers to check it out.” 

One of the most exciting parts about this project for the participating students was the opportunity to work in a professional environment and with a real client during their undergraduate career.  

“Working in a professional setting was a great experience to have. This was the only class I had that we got to engage and work with a client. I now feel more prepared to work with clients in the future,” senior Erica Hewitt said.  

Participating in this course and project gave the students a memorable experience and allowed them to further develop various skills such as problem solving.  

In reflecting on the project Hancock said, “As we worked, the project evolved naturally based on their needs and what technology was available for them, and that experience was a welcome deviation from the norm of academic projects where the requirements are laid out from the start. Being able to practice problem solving skills as these changes presented new challenges will help in the future while working in industry.” 

Emerging Media and Technology students honored at Hudson City Council meeting , Snapshots of HCTV App
Tuesday, March 08, 2022

A group of four students enrolled in Professional-in-Residence Adam Stephens’ Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT) Interdisciplinary Projects course recently gained valuable professional experience and public acknowledgement for developing a mobile progressive web application.  

The team worked together during the Fall 2021 semester to create an application for Hudson Community TV (HCTV). The project was conducted in partnership with IdeaBase, and Director Kristin Dowling helped mentor the team while they were working with the client.  

“Working on this project in a collaborative team environment drove the innovation we achieved with the project. We were able to quickly bounce ideas off each other and build on each other’s ideas to create a great product for the client,” said Ethan Hancock, an EMAT senior.

HCTV and the city of Hudson, Ohio launched the app publicly in January and honored the students at its February City Council meeting. A resolution honoring the team’s work was adopted, recognizing the city’s satisfaction with the team’s hard work and final application.  

At the February meeting, Hancock delivered remarks, saying, “It’s so important that student developers and designers are able to work on real world projects that get used by so many people. I hope this project serves as a shining example of our ability.” 

Also at the Council meeting, EMAT Director Michael Beam, Ph.D., a Hudson resident who has served on the HCTV Advisory Board noted the Board’s long-standing desire to make the app and programming more accessible on mobile devices.  

“It’s been a delight to work with the HCTV and city staff on this project. The HCTV Advisory Board gave wonderful feedback to our students,” he said. “I’d just like to acknowledge our students for the really polished and wonderful application they built. I’d encourage all residents of Hudson and HCTV viewers to check it out.” 

One of the most exciting parts about this project for the participating students was the opportunity to work in a professional environment and with a real client during their undergraduate career.  

“Working in a professional setting was a great experience to have. This was the only class I had that we got to engage and work with a client. I now feel more prepared to work with clients in the future,” senior Erica Hewitt said.  

Participating in this course and project gave the students a memorable experience and allowed them to further develop various skills such as problem solving.  

In reflecting on the project Hancock said, “As we worked, the project evolved naturally based on their needs and what technology was available for them, and that experience was a welcome deviation from the norm of academic projects where the requirements are laid out from the start. Being able to practice problem solving skills as these changes presented new challenges will help in the future while working in industry.” 

Emerging Media and Technology students honored at Hudson City Council meeting , Snapshots of HCTV App
Tuesday, March 08, 2022

A group of four students enrolled in Professional-in-Residence Adam Stephens’ Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT) Interdisciplinary Projects course recently gained valuable professional experience and public acknowledgement for developing a mobile progressive web application.  

The team worked together during the Fall 2021 semester to create an application for Hudson Community TV (HCTV). The project was conducted in partnership with IdeaBase, and Director Kristin Dowling helped mentor the team while they were working with the client.  

“Working on this project in a collaborative team environment drove the innovation we achieved with the project. We were able to quickly bounce ideas off each other and build on each other’s ideas to create a great product for the client,” said Ethan Hancock, an EMAT senior.

HCTV and the city of Hudson, Ohio launched the app publicly in January and honored the students at its February City Council meeting. A resolution honoring the team’s work was adopted, recognizing the city’s satisfaction with the team’s hard work and final application.  

At the February meeting, Hancock delivered remarks, saying, “It’s so important that student developers and designers are able to work on real world projects that get used by so many people. I hope this project serves as a shining example of our ability.” 

Also at the Council meeting, EMAT Director Michael Beam, Ph.D., a Hudson resident who has served on the HCTV Advisory Board noted the Board’s long-standing desire to make the app and programming more accessible on mobile devices.  

“It’s been a delight to work with the HCTV and city staff on this project. The HCTV Advisory Board gave wonderful feedback to our students,” he said. “I’d just like to acknowledge our students for the really polished and wonderful application they built. I’d encourage all residents of Hudson and HCTV viewers to check it out.” 

One of the most exciting parts about this project for the participating students was the opportunity to work in a professional environment and with a real client during their undergraduate career.  

“Working in a professional setting was a great experience to have. This was the only class I had that we got to engage and work with a client. I now feel more prepared to work with clients in the future,” senior Erica Hewitt said.  

Participating in this course and project gave the students a memorable experience and allowed them to further develop various skills such as problem solving.  

In reflecting on the project Hancock said, “As we worked, the project evolved naturally based on their needs and what technology was available for them, and that experience was a welcome deviation from the norm of academic projects where the requirements are laid out from the start. Being able to practice problem solving skills as these changes presented new challenges will help in the future while working in industry.” 

Emerging Media and Technology students honored at Hudson City Council meeting , Snapshots of HCTV App
Tuesday, March 08, 2022

A group of four students enrolled in Professional-in-Residence Adam Stephens’ Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT) Interdisciplinary Projects course recently gained valuable professional experience and public acknowledgement for developing a mobile progressive web application.  

The team worked together during the Fall 2021 semester to create an application for Hudson Community TV (HCTV). The project was conducted in partnership with IdeaBase, and Director Kristin Dowling helped mentor the team while they were working with the client.  

“Working on this project in a collaborative team environment drove the innovation we achieved with the project. We were able to quickly bounce ideas off each other and build on each other’s ideas to create a great product for the client,” said Ethan Hancock, an EMAT senior.

HCTV and the city of Hudson, Ohio launched the app publicly in January and honored the students at its February City Council meeting. A resolution honoring the team’s work was adopted, recognizing the city’s satisfaction with the team’s hard work and final application.  

At the February meeting, Hancock delivered remarks, saying, “It’s so important that student developers and designers are able to work on real world projects that get used by so many people. I hope this project serves as a shining example of our ability.” 

Also at the Council meeting, EMAT Director Michael Beam, Ph.D., a Hudson resident who has served on the HCTV Advisory Board noted the Board’s long-standing desire to make the app and programming more accessible on mobile devices.  

“It’s been a delight to work with the HCTV and city staff on this project. The HCTV Advisory Board gave wonderful feedback to our students,” he said. “I’d just like to acknowledge our students for the really polished and wonderful application they built. I’d encourage all residents of Hudson and HCTV viewers to check it out.” 

One of the most exciting parts about this project for the participating students was the opportunity to work in a professional environment and with a real client during their undergraduate career.  

“Working in a professional setting was a great experience to have. This was the only class I had that we got to engage and work with a client. I now feel more prepared to work with clients in the future,” senior Erica Hewitt said.  

Participating in this course and project gave the students a memorable experience and allowed them to further develop various skills such as problem solving.  

In reflecting on the project Hancock said, “As we worked, the project evolved naturally based on their needs and what technology was available for them, and that experience was a welcome deviation from the norm of academic projects where the requirements are laid out from the start. Being able to practice problem solving skills as these changes presented new challenges will help in the future while working in industry.” 

Zaria Johnson
Monday, March 07, 2022

In the United States, only about five percent of journalists are Black or African-American, according to Zippia.com. 

Zaria Johnson, senior journalism major at Kent State University, is making history as the first Black female editor-in-chief of the Kent Stater and KentWired.com She is a fierce advocate for representation in Kent State Student Media and beyond.  

Working with professor and newsroom adviser, Susan Kirkman Zake, Johnson has been involved with the Kent Stater since her sophomore year, where she held the position of assigning editor.

“I did not think I was ready to be in charge because I have never held that position before,” Johnson said. “I felt like I wasn’t qualified for the job.” 

Johnson overcame that fear with the encouragement from Zake, who urged her to take on the editor role. She went on to intern for The Land, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on neighborhoods in the Cleveland area.  

She focused on environmental concerns in the area and interviewed people living in the neighborhoods. Johnson said it amazed her how little she really knew about the issues and events held in the place she has lived in her entire life. 

Read more about her internship

“I have never known what is going on, and it was great to hear what people had to say to give them a voice,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she wants to focus on human rights journalism after college, fighting for equality for women, people of color and more basic rights. She is very passionate and advocates for the Black community and Black journalists. 

Johnson knew she wanted to write about the injustices in the world after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. She was only 12 at the time. 

“I remember seeing him on TV and thinking he looks like me, looks like my cousins, looks like my uncles, and for the first time I am seeing injustice unfold in front of my eyes,” Johnson said. 

Johnson wants others to recognize the difficulties people of color may face growing up in predominately White areas. 

“As the first Black female editor-in-chief of the Kent Stater, I want to be that representation for other Black children or Black girls,” Johnson said. “I want to be the inspiration and break down the barriers to show them that someone has already done the hard stuff before.” 

As her time in college is coming to an end, Johnson leaves with advice for future journalists. 

“Admit when you need help and ask questions,” Johnson said. “Not only in journalism but in life too, it is okay to not know everything.” 

Zaria Johnson
Monday, March 07, 2022

In the United States, only about five percent of journalists are Black or African-American, according to Zippia.com. 

Zaria Johnson, senior journalism major at Kent State University, is making history as the first Black female editor-in-chief of the Kent Stater and KentWired.com She is a fierce advocate for representation in Kent State Student Media and beyond.  

Working with professor and newsroom adviser, Susan Kirkman Zake, Johnson has been involved with the Kent Stater since her sophomore year, where she held the position of assigning editor.

“I did not think I was ready to be in charge because I have never held that position before,” Johnson said. “I felt like I wasn’t qualified for the job.” 

Johnson overcame that fear with the encouragement from Zake, who urged her to take on the editor role. She went on to intern for The Land, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on neighborhoods in the Cleveland area.  

She focused on environmental concerns in the area and interviewed people living in the neighborhoods. Johnson said it amazed her how little she really knew about the issues and events held in the place she has lived in her entire life. 

Read more about her internship

“I have never known what is going on, and it was great to hear what people had to say to give them a voice,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she wants to focus on human rights journalism after college, fighting for equality for women, people of color and more basic rights. She is very passionate and advocates for the Black community and Black journalists. 

Johnson knew she wanted to write about the injustices in the world after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. She was only 12 at the time. 

“I remember seeing him on TV and thinking he looks like me, looks like my cousins, looks like my uncles, and for the first time I am seeing injustice unfold in front of my eyes,” Johnson said. 

Johnson wants others to recognize the difficulties people of color may face growing up in predominately White areas. 

“As the first Black female editor-in-chief of the Kent Stater, I want to be that representation for other Black children or Black girls,” Johnson said. “I want to be the inspiration and break down the barriers to show them that someone has already done the hard stuff before.” 

As her time in college is coming to an end, Johnson leaves with advice for future journalists. 

“Admit when you need help and ask questions,” Johnson said. “Not only in journalism but in life too, it is okay to not know everything.” 

Zaria Johnson
Monday, March 07, 2022

In the United States, only about five percent of journalists are Black or African-American, according to Zippia.com. 

Zaria Johnson, senior journalism major at Kent State University, is making history as the first Black female editor-in-chief of the Kent Stater and KentWired.com She is a fierce advocate for representation in Kent State Student Media and beyond.  

Working with professor and newsroom adviser, Susan Kirkman Zake, Johnson has been involved with the Kent Stater since her sophomore year, where she held the position of assigning editor.

“I did not think I was ready to be in charge because I have never held that position before,” Johnson said. “I felt like I wasn’t qualified for the job.” 

Johnson overcame that fear with the encouragement from Zake, who urged her to take on the editor role. She went on to intern for The Land, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on neighborhoods in the Cleveland area.  

She focused on environmental concerns in the area and interviewed people living in the neighborhoods. Johnson said it amazed her how little she really knew about the issues and events held in the place she has lived in her entire life. 

Read more about her internship

“I have never known what is going on, and it was great to hear what people had to say to give them a voice,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she wants to focus on human rights journalism after college, fighting for equality for women, people of color and more basic rights. She is very passionate and advocates for the Black community and Black journalists. 

Johnson knew she wanted to write about the injustices in the world after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. She was only 12 at the time. 

“I remember seeing him on TV and thinking he looks like me, looks like my cousins, looks like my uncles, and for the first time I am seeing injustice unfold in front of my eyes,” Johnson said. 

Johnson wants others to recognize the difficulties people of color may face growing up in predominately White areas. 

“As the first Black female editor-in-chief of the Kent Stater, I want to be that representation for other Black children or Black girls,” Johnson said. “I want to be the inspiration and break down the barriers to show them that someone has already done the hard stuff before.” 

As her time in college is coming to an end, Johnson leaves with advice for future journalists. 

“Admit when you need help and ask questions,” Johnson said. “Not only in journalism but in life too, it is okay to not know everything.” 

Zaria Johnson
Monday, March 07, 2022

In the United States, only about five percent of journalists are Black or African-American, according to Zippia.com. 

Zaria Johnson, senior journalism major at Kent State University, is making history as the first Black female editor-in-chief of the Kent Stater and KentWired.com She is a fierce advocate for representation in Kent State Student Media and beyond.  

Working with professor and newsroom adviser, Susan Kirkman Zake, Johnson has been involved with the Kent Stater since her sophomore year, where she held the position of assigning editor.

“I did not think I was ready to be in charge because I have never held that position before,” Johnson said. “I felt like I wasn’t qualified for the job.” 

Johnson overcame that fear with the encouragement from Zake, who urged her to take on the editor role. She went on to intern for The Land, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on neighborhoods in the Cleveland area.  

She focused on environmental concerns in the area and interviewed people living in the neighborhoods. Johnson said it amazed her how little she really knew about the issues and events held in the place she has lived in her entire life. 

Read more about her internship

“I have never known what is going on, and it was great to hear what people had to say to give them a voice,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she wants to focus on human rights journalism after college, fighting for equality for women, people of color and more basic rights. She is very passionate and advocates for the Black community and Black journalists. 

Johnson knew she wanted to write about the injustices in the world after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. She was only 12 at the time. 

“I remember seeing him on TV and thinking he looks like me, looks like my cousins, looks like my uncles, and for the first time I am seeing injustice unfold in front of my eyes,” Johnson said. 

Johnson wants others to recognize the difficulties people of color may face growing up in predominately White areas. 

“As the first Black female editor-in-chief of the Kent Stater, I want to be that representation for other Black children or Black girls,” Johnson said. “I want to be the inspiration and break down the barriers to show them that someone has already done the hard stuff before.” 

As her time in college is coming to an end, Johnson leaves with advice for future journalists. 

“Admit when you need help and ask questions,” Johnson said. “Not only in journalism but in life too, it is okay to not know everything.” 

Anna Huntsman interviews Cleveland Clinic ICU physicians , Erin Simonek at anchor  desk , Madison Tromler anchoring for WFMJ
Monday, February 28, 2022

For recent journalism graduates, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped their entry into the news industry. Three Kent State University graduates, Madison Tromler, ‘20, Erin Simonek, ’20 and Anna Huntsman, ’19, discuss their work.

In both broadcast and radio media, these alumni have focused much of their reporting on the pandemic, mostly with a Northeast Ohio angle — not just on case numbers or other statistics, but also on the effects on the economy, businesses and the healthcare industry.

“Especially in the beginning, there was almost always a tie between every story I would cover and the connection it has to COVID in some way,” said Tromler, a news reporter and 6 p.m. anchor at 21 WFMJ in Youngstown.

“It was our job to keep up with this fluid situation that seemingly felt like it was changing every day, and make sure we are providing clear context of all the information out there in order to make it understandable for our viewers.” 

Tromler has reported news on the vaccine and mistrust in it, conferences with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the pandemic's impact on healthcare workers and more.

Simonek, who also works at WFMJ as an 11 p.m. weekday anchor and nightside reporter, says around 80 percent of employees worked remotely at the station when she started in May 2020. At this time, she was averaging at about three COVID-related stories a week. Now, she says it’s about two a month.

“I always worked in-person, so I had more weight on my shoulders as the ‘boots on the ground’ reporter,” Simonek said. “I started as a general assignment MMJ (multimedia journalist) at the station, meaning I find my own sources, shoot my own interviews and video, write scripts, edit my content and write my web stories daily.”

She says it’s thanks to her Kent State education that she was able to succeed as a reporter in this constantly changing public health crisis.

“When I started reporting for WFMJ, I couldn’t tell you one aspect of my daily work routine I did not previously learn from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism,” Simonek said. “My reporting style continues to evolve, but the foundation I took away from Kent allowed me to start my position with confidence.”

Image
Anna Huntsman
Huntsman says her education and involvement in Kent State Student Media taught her how to report in fast-paced environments, like when she started reporting on the pandemic at Ideastream Public Media.

“As a health reporter, I have been at the front seat of COVID-19 coverage for nearly two years,” Hunstman said. “I’ve covered the vaccine rollout, the variants, the omicron surge and everything in between. My reporting is almost entirely local, meaning Northeast Ohio and surrounding regions, but some of my stories also aired nationally on NPR.”

In December 2021, Ideastream was invited to the intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic's main campus to report on the high number of COVID-19 patients checked in. Hunstman had the chance to interview staff at the hospital when every bed was occupied.

“This is almost unheard of, as there are many privacy and safety concerns about inviting media into an ICU,” Hunstman said.

“That is how we knew the situation was unlike any other point in the pandemic. This was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my reporting career – and life.”

These alumni have spent the early years of their career covering news that has affected everyone. They are responsible for relaying accurate, scientific information to ensure that the public is kept safe and aware of the pandemic’s effect of the world around us.

“Society seems to have gotten impatient with the media continuing to report about pandemic updates, but a lot of journalists are burnt out reporting on COVID-19 as well,’ Simonek said. “At the end of the day, it’s our job and it’s our industry’s responsibility to continue to inform and provide updates.”

Anna Huntsman interviews Cleveland Clinic ICU physicians , Erin Simonek at anchor  desk , Madison Tromler anchoring for WFMJ
Monday, February 28, 2022

For recent journalism graduates, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped their entry into the news industry. Three Kent State University graduates, Madison Tromler, ‘20, Erin Simonek, ’20 and Anna Huntsman, ’19, discuss their work.

In both broadcast and radio media, these alumni have focused much of their reporting on the pandemic, mostly with a Northeast Ohio angle — not just on case numbers or other statistics, but also on the effects on the economy, businesses and the healthcare industry.

“Especially in the beginning, there was almost always a tie between every story I would cover and the connection it has to COVID in some way,” said Tromler, a news reporter and 6 p.m. anchor at 21 WFMJ in Youngstown.

“It was our job to keep up with this fluid situation that seemingly felt like it was changing every day, and make sure we are providing clear context of all the information out there in order to make it understandable for our viewers.” 

Tromler has reported news on the vaccine and mistrust in it, conferences with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the pandemic's impact on healthcare workers and more.

Simonek, who also works at WFMJ as an 11 p.m. weekday anchor and nightside reporter, says around 80 percent of employees worked remotely at the station when she started in May 2020. At this time, she was averaging at about three COVID-related stories a week. Now, she says it’s about two a month.

“I always worked in-person, so I had more weight on my shoulders as the ‘boots on the ground’ reporter,” Simonek said. “I started as a general assignment MMJ (multimedia journalist) at the station, meaning I find my own sources, shoot my own interviews and video, write scripts, edit my content and write my web stories daily.”

She says it’s thanks to her Kent State education that she was able to succeed as a reporter in this constantly changing public health crisis.

“When I started reporting for WFMJ, I couldn’t tell you one aspect of my daily work routine I did not previously learn from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism,” Simonek said. “My reporting style continues to evolve, but the foundation I took away from Kent allowed me to start my position with confidence.”

Image
Anna Huntsman
Huntsman says her education and involvement in Kent State Student Media taught her how to report in fast-paced environments, like when she started reporting on the pandemic at Ideastream Public Media.

“As a health reporter, I have been at the front seat of COVID-19 coverage for nearly two years,” Hunstman said. “I’ve covered the vaccine rollout, the variants, the omicron surge and everything in between. My reporting is almost entirely local, meaning Northeast Ohio and surrounding regions, but some of my stories also aired nationally on NPR.”

In December 2021, Ideastream was invited to the intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic's main campus to report on the high number of COVID-19 patients checked in. Hunstman had the chance to interview staff at the hospital when every bed was occupied.

“This is almost unheard of, as there are many privacy and safety concerns about inviting media into an ICU,” Hunstman said.

“That is how we knew the situation was unlike any other point in the pandemic. This was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my reporting career – and life.”

These alumni have spent the early years of their career covering news that has affected everyone. They are responsible for relaying accurate, scientific information to ensure that the public is kept safe and aware of the pandemic’s effect of the world around us.

“Society seems to have gotten impatient with the media continuing to report about pandemic updates, but a lot of journalists are burnt out reporting on COVID-19 as well,’ Simonek said. “At the end of the day, it’s our job and it’s our industry’s responsibility to continue to inform and provide updates.”

Anna Huntsman interviews Cleveland Clinic ICU physicians , Erin Simonek at anchor  desk , Madison Tromler anchoring for WFMJ
Monday, February 28, 2022

For recent journalism graduates, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped their entry into the news industry. Three Kent State University graduates, Madison Tromler, ‘20, Erin Simonek, ’20 and Anna Huntsman, ’19, discuss their work.

In both broadcast and radio media, these alumni have focused much of their reporting on the pandemic, mostly with a Northeast Ohio angle — not just on case numbers or other statistics, but also on the effects on the economy, businesses and the healthcare industry.

“Especially in the beginning, there was almost always a tie between every story I would cover and the connection it has to COVID in some way,” said Tromler, a news reporter and 6 p.m. anchor at 21 WFMJ in Youngstown.

“It was our job to keep up with this fluid situation that seemingly felt like it was changing every day, and make sure we are providing clear context of all the information out there in order to make it understandable for our viewers.” 

Tromler has reported news on the vaccine and mistrust in it, conferences with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the pandemic's impact on healthcare workers and more.

Simonek, who also works at WFMJ as an 11 p.m. weekday anchor and nightside reporter, says around 80 percent of employees worked remotely at the station when she started in May 2020. At this time, she was averaging at about three COVID-related stories a week. Now, she says it’s about two a month.

“I always worked in-person, so I had more weight on my shoulders as the ‘boots on the ground’ reporter,” Simonek said. “I started as a general assignment MMJ (multimedia journalist) at the station, meaning I find my own sources, shoot my own interviews and video, write scripts, edit my content and write my web stories daily.”

She says it’s thanks to her Kent State education that she was able to succeed as a reporter in this constantly changing public health crisis.

“When I started reporting for WFMJ, I couldn’t tell you one aspect of my daily work routine I did not previously learn from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism,” Simonek said. “My reporting style continues to evolve, but the foundation I took away from Kent allowed me to start my position with confidence.”

Image
Anna Huntsman
Huntsman says her education and involvement in Kent State Student Media taught her how to report in fast-paced environments, like when she started reporting on the pandemic at Ideastream Public Media.

“As a health reporter, I have been at the front seat of COVID-19 coverage for nearly two years,” Hunstman said. “I’ve covered the vaccine rollout, the variants, the omicron surge and everything in between. My reporting is almost entirely local, meaning Northeast Ohio and surrounding regions, but some of my stories also aired nationally on NPR.”

In December 2021, Ideastream was invited to the intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic's main campus to report on the high number of COVID-19 patients checked in. Hunstman had the chance to interview staff at the hospital when every bed was occupied.

“This is almost unheard of, as there are many privacy and safety concerns about inviting media into an ICU,” Hunstman said.

“That is how we knew the situation was unlike any other point in the pandemic. This was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my reporting career – and life.”

These alumni have spent the early years of their career covering news that has affected everyone. They are responsible for relaying accurate, scientific information to ensure that the public is kept safe and aware of the pandemic’s effect of the world around us.

“Society seems to have gotten impatient with the media continuing to report about pandemic updates, but a lot of journalists are burnt out reporting on COVID-19 as well,’ Simonek said. “At the end of the day, it’s our job and it’s our industry’s responsibility to continue to inform and provide updates.”

Anna Huntsman interviews Cleveland Clinic ICU physicians , Erin Simonek at anchor  desk , Madison Tromler anchoring for WFMJ
Monday, February 28, 2022

For recent journalism graduates, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped their entry into the news industry. Three Kent State University graduates, Madison Tromler, ‘20, Erin Simonek, ’20 and Anna Huntsman, ’19, discuss their work.

In both broadcast and radio media, these alumni have focused much of their reporting on the pandemic, mostly with a Northeast Ohio angle — not just on case numbers or other statistics, but also on the effects on the economy, businesses and the healthcare industry.

“Especially in the beginning, there was almost always a tie between every story I would cover and the connection it has to COVID in some way,” said Tromler, a news reporter and 6 p.m. anchor at 21 WFMJ in Youngstown.

“It was our job to keep up with this fluid situation that seemingly felt like it was changing every day, and make sure we are providing clear context of all the information out there in order to make it understandable for our viewers.” 

Tromler has reported news on the vaccine and mistrust in it, conferences with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the pandemic's impact on healthcare workers and more.

Simonek, who also works at WFMJ as an 11 p.m. weekday anchor and nightside reporter, says around 80 percent of employees worked remotely at the station when she started in May 2020. At this time, she was averaging at about three COVID-related stories a week. Now, she says it’s about two a month.

“I always worked in-person, so I had more weight on my shoulders as the ‘boots on the ground’ reporter,” Simonek said. “I started as a general assignment MMJ (multimedia journalist) at the station, meaning I find my own sources, shoot my own interviews and video, write scripts, edit my content and write my web stories daily.”

She says it’s thanks to her Kent State education that she was able to succeed as a reporter in this constantly changing public health crisis.

“When I started reporting for WFMJ, I couldn’t tell you one aspect of my daily work routine I did not previously learn from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism,” Simonek said. “My reporting style continues to evolve, but the foundation I took away from Kent allowed me to start my position with confidence.”

Image
Anna Huntsman
Huntsman says her education and involvement in Kent State Student Media taught her how to report in fast-paced environments, like when she started reporting on the pandemic at Ideastream Public Media.

“As a health reporter, I have been at the front seat of COVID-19 coverage for nearly two years,” Hunstman said. “I’ve covered the vaccine rollout, the variants, the omicron surge and everything in between. My reporting is almost entirely local, meaning Northeast Ohio and surrounding regions, but some of my stories also aired nationally on NPR.”

In December 2021, Ideastream was invited to the intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic's main campus to report on the high number of COVID-19 patients checked in. Hunstman had the chance to interview staff at the hospital when every bed was occupied.

“This is almost unheard of, as there are many privacy and safety concerns about inviting media into an ICU,” Hunstman said.

“That is how we knew the situation was unlike any other point in the pandemic. This was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my reporting career – and life.”

These alumni have spent the early years of their career covering news that has affected everyone. They are responsible for relaying accurate, scientific information to ensure that the public is kept safe and aware of the pandemic’s effect of the world around us.

“Society seems to have gotten impatient with the media continuing to report about pandemic updates, but a lot of journalists are burnt out reporting on COVID-19 as well,’ Simonek said. “At the end of the day, it’s our job and it’s our industry’s responsibility to continue to inform and provide updates.”

Anna Huntsman interviews Cleveland Clinic ICU physicians , Erin Simonek at anchor  desk , Madison Tromler anchoring for WFMJ
Monday, February 28, 2022

For recent journalism graduates, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped their entry into the news industry. Three Kent State University graduates, Madison Tromler, ‘20, Erin Simonek, ’20 and Anna Huntsman, ’19, discuss their work.

In both broadcast and radio media, these alumni have focused much of their reporting on the pandemic, mostly with a Northeast Ohio angle — not just on case numbers or other statistics, but also on the effects on the economy, businesses and the healthcare industry.

“Especially in the beginning, there was almost always a tie between every story I would cover and the connection it has to COVID in some way,” said Tromler, a news reporter and 6 p.m. anchor at 21 WFMJ in Youngstown.

“It was our job to keep up with this fluid situation that seemingly felt like it was changing every day, and make sure we are providing clear context of all the information out there in order to make it understandable for our viewers.” 

Tromler has reported news on the vaccine and mistrust in it, conferences with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the pandemic's impact on healthcare workers and more.

Simonek, who also works at WFMJ as an 11 p.m. weekday anchor and nightside reporter, says around 80 percent of employees worked remotely at the station when she started in May 2020. At this time, she was averaging at about three COVID-related stories a week. Now, she says it’s about two a month.

“I always worked in-person, so I had more weight on my shoulders as the ‘boots on the ground’ reporter,” Simonek said. “I started as a general assignment MMJ (multimedia journalist) at the station, meaning I find my own sources, shoot my own interviews and video, write scripts, edit my content and write my web stories daily.”

She says it’s thanks to her Kent State education that she was able to succeed as a reporter in this constantly changing public health crisis.

“When I started reporting for WFMJ, I couldn’t tell you one aspect of my daily work routine I did not previously learn from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism,” Simonek said. “My reporting style continues to evolve, but the foundation I took away from Kent allowed me to start my position with confidence.”

Image
Anna Huntsman
Huntsman says her education and involvement in Kent State Student Media taught her how to report in fast-paced environments, like when she started reporting on the pandemic at Ideastream Public Media.

“As a health reporter, I have been at the front seat of COVID-19 coverage for nearly two years,” Hunstman said. “I’ve covered the vaccine rollout, the variants, the omicron surge and everything in between. My reporting is almost entirely local, meaning Northeast Ohio and surrounding regions, but some of my stories also aired nationally on NPR.”

In December 2021, Ideastream was invited to the intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic's main campus to report on the high number of COVID-19 patients checked in. Hunstman had the chance to interview staff at the hospital when every bed was occupied.

“This is almost unheard of, as there are many privacy and safety concerns about inviting media into an ICU,” Hunstman said.

“That is how we knew the situation was unlike any other point in the pandemic. This was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my reporting career – and life.”

These alumni have spent the early years of their career covering news that has affected everyone. They are responsible for relaying accurate, scientific information to ensure that the public is kept safe and aware of the pandemic’s effect of the world around us.

“Society seems to have gotten impatient with the media continuing to report about pandemic updates, but a lot of journalists are burnt out reporting on COVID-19 as well,’ Simonek said. “At the end of the day, it’s our job and it’s our industry’s responsibility to continue to inform and provide updates.”

Anna Huntsman interviews Cleveland Clinic ICU physicians , Erin Simonek at anchor  desk , Madison Tromler anchoring for WFMJ
Monday, February 28, 2022

For recent journalism graduates, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped their entry into the news industry. Three Kent State University graduates, Madison Tromler, ‘20, Erin Simonek, ’20 and Anna Huntsman, ’19, discuss their work.

In both broadcast and radio media, these alumni have focused much of their reporting on the pandemic, mostly with a Northeast Ohio angle — not just on case numbers or other statistics, but also on the effects on the economy, businesses and the healthcare industry.

“Especially in the beginning, there was almost always a tie between every story I would cover and the connection it has to COVID in some way,” said Tromler, a news reporter and 6 p.m. anchor at 21 WFMJ in Youngstown.

“It was our job to keep up with this fluid situation that seemingly felt like it was changing every day, and make sure we are providing clear context of all the information out there in order to make it understandable for our viewers.” 

Tromler has reported news on the vaccine and mistrust in it, conferences with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the pandemic's impact on healthcare workers and more.

Simonek, who also works at WFMJ as an 11 p.m. weekday anchor and nightside reporter, says around 80 percent of employees worked remotely at the station when she started in May 2020. At this time, she was averaging at about three COVID-related stories a week. Now, she says it’s about two a month.

“I always worked in-person, so I had more weight on my shoulders as the ‘boots on the ground’ reporter,” Simonek said. “I started as a general assignment MMJ (multimedia journalist) at the station, meaning I find my own sources, shoot my own interviews and video, write scripts, edit my content and write my web stories daily.”

She says it’s thanks to her Kent State education that she was able to succeed as a reporter in this constantly changing public health crisis.

“When I started reporting for WFMJ, I couldn’t tell you one aspect of my daily work routine I did not previously learn from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism,” Simonek said. “My reporting style continues to evolve, but the foundation I took away from Kent allowed me to start my position with confidence.”

Image
Anna Huntsman
Huntsman says her education and involvement in Kent State Student Media taught her how to report in fast-paced environments, like when she started reporting on the pandemic at Ideastream Public Media.

“As a health reporter, I have been at the front seat of COVID-19 coverage for nearly two years,” Hunstman said. “I’ve covered the vaccine rollout, the variants, the omicron surge and everything in between. My reporting is almost entirely local, meaning Northeast Ohio and surrounding regions, but some of my stories also aired nationally on NPR.”

In December 2021, Ideastream was invited to the intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic's main campus to report on the high number of COVID-19 patients checked in. Hunstman had the chance to interview staff at the hospital when every bed was occupied.

“This is almost unheard of, as there are many privacy and safety concerns about inviting media into an ICU,” Hunstman said.

“That is how we knew the situation was unlike any other point in the pandemic. This was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my reporting career – and life.”

These alumni have spent the early years of their career covering news that has affected everyone. They are responsible for relaying accurate, scientific information to ensure that the public is kept safe and aware of the pandemic’s effect of the world around us.

“Society seems to have gotten impatient with the media continuing to report about pandemic updates, but a lot of journalists are burnt out reporting on COVID-19 as well,’ Simonek said. “At the end of the day, it’s our job and it’s our industry’s responsibility to continue to inform and provide updates.”

Alumni share stories about healthcare communications during COVID-19
Monday, February 28, 2022

Public relations professionals are time and time again the backbone of communications and community building within their industries. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent State alumni in healthcare fields have been put to the test to deliver important and timely responses to their network through both internal and external communications.

Deborah (Pritchard) Less, ‘09, Communications Manager for the Cleveland Clinic, finds her role as an internal communications professional is to keep all caregivers (the term used to identify all employees) “informed, motivated, and inspired.”

“With so much change, fatigue and uncertainty — we did, and continue to do, anything possible to help caregivers care for our patients, one another and themselves. We’re here for each other like family,” said Less, who majored in public relations. “While the pandemic has been exhausting, it’s also part of our role to provide some relief and inspiration — whether by sharing well-being resources or recognizing a team who provided exceptional patient care through storytelling.”

While public relations professionals in healthcare have been faced with the challenge of conveying urgent information and answering hard questions, Less notes that “transparency and trust is critical” in this work.

Part of this transparency lies within keeping communities informed. 

For public relations alumna Rebecca (Odell) Oleksa, ‘10, Digital Content Account Manager for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, keeping the website NationwideChildrens.org up to date with the most current COVID-19 information is an essential part of her work.

While working in a children's hospital, a part of Oleksa’s communication challenges deals with informing and educating parents about vaccines — and finding a balance between informing and respecting families’ decisions.

“Parents know their children best. They need information to make these decisions, and while there is a wealth of information at our fingertips all the time, sometimes the information can be confusing or conflicting,” Oleksa said. “We’ve been committed to ensuring families have reliable, accurate information from medical experts so they can make informed decisions for their families.”

Working in the healthcare industry during the pandemic has opened new challenges for these professionals, challenging their communication and crisis management skills.

“The pandemic has honed crisis and changed communication skills — to listen, to ask the right questions, to work efficiently, to think strategically but not overthink, to go with your gut, and then assess and discuss what worked, and what didn’t, so you continue to improve,” Less said. “It’s also improved my ability to pivot priorities at a moment’s notice.”

Abby Winternitz, ‘19, was only a few months into her professional career at Bon Secours Mercy Health in Cincinnati when the pandemic hit.

“I like to think it’s made me a more empathetic communicator — it’s not every day that the thing you’re communicating is also something you’re experiencing on a personal level,” said Winternitz, who majored in public relations. “Even though it was a scary and terrible period for all of us, that shared experience of community we felt at the beginning of the pandemic was arguably more impactful than any other campaign I had worked on to that point.”

Though the pandemic has opened a world of new challenges for these healthcare professionals, there is a sense of what could have been if the pandemic had not arisen. 

“That early part of my professional career seems unfinished,” Winternitz said. “I’ll go back every now and then to my old desk to pick things up (even though I’ve been fully remote since March of 2020), and it feels like a completely different job.” 

Less also recalls the uncertainty of the pandemic’s early days.

“I remember sitting in our conference room back in March 2020 when my manager told us our team would be working remote for a while. It feels surreal now,” Less said. “... In the beginning, all resources were focused on COVID-19. Non-pandemic related business halted; this was everything from events and conferences to non-essential procedures. Our team was able to focus on COVID-19 support. We covered all shifts seven days a week as needed.”

Months in, Less and her team took a deep breath, uncertain how long this pandemic would continue.

“We reassessed and discussed how we could make our work sustainable,” she said. “At one point, the organization (and the world) started to phase in other priorities and initiatives while all being prepared to continue to overcome COVID-19. Today we continue to manage a mix of both.”

Through it all, Less says her team has never worked together stronger. All three alumnae credit the Kent State public relations sequence for preparing them for the challenges they’ve faced the past two years.

Winternitz attributes her knowledge of the industry to the hands-on public relations experiences and classes she took advantage of, particularly the PRSSA National Bateman Case Study Competition, where her client was With Purpose, a non-profit that advocates for childhood cancer research. 

“Kent State professors emphasized that as communicators, we’re not just writers but strategic communications advisors helping our colleagues achieve their desired business outcome,” Less said. “We have a significant seat at the table. Our questions and advice can guide strategy and operations. 

At the end of the day, these public relations healthcare professionals find a purpose for the work they do. 

“The experience of communicating throughout the pandemic has been highly stressful and emotional – but also, strangely reaffirming of why I got into this line of work in the first place,” Winternitz said. “I am reminded daily of my purpose in helping to keep our associates, patients and their families safe.”

Alumni share stories about healthcare communications during COVID-19
Monday, February 28, 2022

Public relations professionals are time and time again the backbone of communications and community building within their industries. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent State alumni in healthcare fields have been put to the test to deliver important and timely responses to their network through both internal and external communications.

Deborah (Pritchard) Less, ‘09, Communications Manager for the Cleveland Clinic, finds her role as an internal communications professional is to keep all caregivers (the term used to identify all employees) “informed, motivated, and inspired.”

“With so much change, fatigue and uncertainty — we did, and continue to do, anything possible to help caregivers care for our patients, one another and themselves. We’re here for each other like family,” said Less, who majored in public relations. “While the pandemic has been exhausting, it’s also part of our role to provide some relief and inspiration — whether by sharing well-being resources or recognizing a team who provided exceptional patient care through storytelling.”

While public relations professionals in healthcare have been faced with the challenge of conveying urgent information and answering hard questions, Less notes that “transparency and trust is critical” in this work.

Part of this transparency lies within keeping communities informed. 

For public relations alumna Rebecca (Odell) Oleksa, ‘10, Digital Content Account Manager for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, keeping the website NationwideChildrens.org up to date with the most current COVID-19 information is an essential part of her work.

While working in a children's hospital, a part of Oleksa’s communication challenges deals with informing and educating parents about vaccines — and finding a balance between informing and respecting families’ decisions.

“Parents know their children best. They need information to make these decisions, and while there is a wealth of information at our fingertips all the time, sometimes the information can be confusing or conflicting,” Oleksa said. “We’ve been committed to ensuring families have reliable, accurate information from medical experts so they can make informed decisions for their families.”

Working in the healthcare industry during the pandemic has opened new challenges for these professionals, challenging their communication and crisis management skills.

“The pandemic has honed crisis and changed communication skills — to listen, to ask the right questions, to work efficiently, to think strategically but not overthink, to go with your gut, and then assess and discuss what worked, and what didn’t, so you continue to improve,” Less said. “It’s also improved my ability to pivot priorities at a moment’s notice.”

Abby Winternitz, ‘19, was only a few months into her professional career at Bon Secours Mercy Health in Cincinnati when the pandemic hit.

“I like to think it’s made me a more empathetic communicator — it’s not every day that the thing you’re communicating is also something you’re experiencing on a personal level,” said Winternitz, who majored in public relations. “Even though it was a scary and terrible period for all of us, that shared experience of community we felt at the beginning of the pandemic was arguably more impactful than any other campaign I had worked on to that point.”

Though the pandemic has opened a world of new challenges for these healthcare professionals, there is a sense of what could have been if the pandemic had not arisen. 

“That early part of my professional career seems unfinished,” Winternitz said. “I’ll go back every now and then to my old desk to pick things up (even though I’ve been fully remote since March of 2020), and it feels like a completely different job.” 

Less also recalls the uncertainty of the pandemic’s early days.

“I remember sitting in our conference room back in March 2020 when my manager told us our team would be working remote for a while. It feels surreal now,” Less said. “... In the beginning, all resources were focused on COVID-19. Non-pandemic related business halted; this was everything from events and conferences to non-essential procedures. Our team was able to focus on COVID-19 support. We covered all shifts seven days a week as needed.”

Months in, Less and her team took a deep breath, uncertain how long this pandemic would continue.

“We reassessed and discussed how we could make our work sustainable,” she said. “At one point, the organization (and the world) started to phase in other priorities and initiatives while all being prepared to continue to overcome COVID-19. Today we continue to manage a mix of both.”

Through it all, Less says her team has never worked together stronger. All three alumnae credit the Kent State public relations sequence for preparing them for the challenges they’ve faced the past two years.

Winternitz attributes her knowledge of the industry to the hands-on public relations experiences and classes she took advantage of, particularly the PRSSA National Bateman Case Study Competition, where her client was With Purpose, a non-profit that advocates for childhood cancer research. 

“Kent State professors emphasized that as communicators, we’re not just writers but strategic communications advisors helping our colleagues achieve their desired business outcome,” Less said. “We have a significant seat at the table. Our questions and advice can guide strategy and operations. 

At the end of the day, these public relations healthcare professionals find a purpose for the work they do. 

“The experience of communicating throughout the pandemic has been highly stressful and emotional – but also, strangely reaffirming of why I got into this line of work in the first place,” Winternitz said. “I am reminded daily of my purpose in helping to keep our associates, patients and their families safe.”

Alumni share stories about healthcare communications during COVID-19
Monday, February 28, 2022

Public relations professionals are time and time again the backbone of communications and community building within their industries. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent State alumni in healthcare fields have been put to the test to deliver important and timely responses to their network through both internal and external communications.

Deborah (Pritchard) Less, ‘09, Communications Manager for the Cleveland Clinic, finds her role as an internal communications professional is to keep all caregivers (the term used to identify all employees) “informed, motivated, and inspired.”

“With so much change, fatigue and uncertainty — we did, and continue to do, anything possible to help caregivers care for our patients, one another and themselves. We’re here for each other like family,” said Less, who majored in public relations. “While the pandemic has been exhausting, it’s also part of our role to provide some relief and inspiration — whether by sharing well-being resources or recognizing a team who provided exceptional patient care through storytelling.”

While public relations professionals in healthcare have been faced with the challenge of conveying urgent information and answering hard questions, Less notes that “transparency and trust is critical” in this work.

Part of this transparency lies within keeping communities informed. 

For public relations alumna Rebecca (Odell) Oleksa, ‘10, Digital Content Account Manager for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, keeping the website NationwideChildrens.org up to date with the most current COVID-19 information is an essential part of her work.

While working in a children's hospital, a part of Oleksa’s communication challenges deals with informing and educating parents about vaccines — and finding a balance between informing and respecting families’ decisions.

“Parents know their children best. They need information to make these decisions, and while there is a wealth of information at our fingertips all the time, sometimes the information can be confusing or conflicting,” Oleksa said. “We’ve been committed to ensuring families have reliable, accurate information from medical experts so they can make informed decisions for their families.”

Working in the healthcare industry during the pandemic has opened new challenges for these professionals, challenging their communication and crisis management skills.

“The pandemic has honed crisis and changed communication skills — to listen, to ask the right questions, to work efficiently, to think strategically but not overthink, to go with your gut, and then assess and discuss what worked, and what didn’t, so you continue to improve,” Less said. “It’s also improved my ability to pivot priorities at a moment’s notice.”

Abby Winternitz, ‘19, was only a few months into her professional career at Bon Secours Mercy Health in Cincinnati when the pandemic hit.

“I like to think it’s made me a more empathetic communicator — it’s not every day that the thing you’re communicating is also something you’re experiencing on a personal level,” said Winternitz, who majored in public relations. “Even though it was a scary and terrible period for all of us, that shared experience of community we felt at the beginning of the pandemic was arguably more impactful than any other campaign I had worked on to that point.”

Though the pandemic has opened a world of new challenges for these healthcare professionals, there is a sense of what could have been if the pandemic had not arisen. 

“That early part of my professional career seems unfinished,” Winternitz said. “I’ll go back every now and then to my old desk to pick things up (even though I’ve been fully remote since March of 2020), and it feels like a completely different job.” 

Less also recalls the uncertainty of the pandemic’s early days.

“I remember sitting in our conference room back in March 2020 when my manager told us our team would be working remote for a while. It feels surreal now,” Less said. “... In the beginning, all resources were focused on COVID-19. Non-pandemic related business halted; this was everything from events and conferences to non-essential procedures. Our team was able to focus on COVID-19 support. We covered all shifts seven days a week as needed.”

Months in, Less and her team took a deep breath, uncertain how long this pandemic would continue.

“We reassessed and discussed how we could make our work sustainable,” she said. “At one point, the organization (and the world) started to phase in other priorities and initiatives while all being prepared to continue to overcome COVID-19. Today we continue to manage a mix of both.”

Through it all, Less says her team has never worked together stronger. All three alumnae credit the Kent State public relations sequence for preparing them for the challenges they’ve faced the past two years.

Winternitz attributes her knowledge of the industry to the hands-on public relations experiences and classes she took advantage of, particularly the PRSSA National Bateman Case Study Competition, where her client was With Purpose, a non-profit that advocates for childhood cancer research. 

“Kent State professors emphasized that as communicators, we’re not just writers but strategic communications advisors helping our colleagues achieve their desired business outcome,” Less said. “We have a significant seat at the table. Our questions and advice can guide strategy and operations. 

At the end of the day, these public relations healthcare professionals find a purpose for the work they do. 

“The experience of communicating throughout the pandemic has been highly stressful and emotional – but also, strangely reaffirming of why I got into this line of work in the first place,” Winternitz said. “I am reminded daily of my purpose in helping to keep our associates, patients and their families safe.”

Alumni share stories about healthcare communications during COVID-19
Monday, February 28, 2022

Public relations professionals are time and time again the backbone of communications and community building within their industries. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent State alumni in healthcare fields have been put to the test to deliver important and timely responses to their network through both internal and external communications.

Deborah (Pritchard) Less, ‘09, Communications Manager for the Cleveland Clinic, finds her role as an internal communications professional is to keep all caregivers (the term used to identify all employees) “informed, motivated, and inspired.”

“With so much change, fatigue and uncertainty — we did, and continue to do, anything possible to help caregivers care for our patients, one another and themselves. We’re here for each other like family,” said Less, who majored in public relations. “While the pandemic has been exhausting, it’s also part of our role to provide some relief and inspiration — whether by sharing well-being resources or recognizing a team who provided exceptional patient care through storytelling.”

While public relations professionals in healthcare have been faced with the challenge of conveying urgent information and answering hard questions, Less notes that “transparency and trust is critical” in this work.

Part of this transparency lies within keeping communities informed. 

For public relations alumna Rebecca (Odell) Oleksa, ‘10, Digital Content Account Manager for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, keeping the website NationwideChildrens.org up to date with the most current COVID-19 information is an essential part of her work.

While working in a children's hospital, a part of Oleksa’s communication challenges deals with informing and educating parents about vaccines — and finding a balance between informing and respecting families’ decisions.

“Parents know their children best. They need information to make these decisions, and while there is a wealth of information at our fingertips all the time, sometimes the information can be confusing or conflicting,” Oleksa said. “We’ve been committed to ensuring families have reliable, accurate information from medical experts so they can make informed decisions for their families.”

Working in the healthcare industry during the pandemic has opened new challenges for these professionals, challenging their communication and crisis management skills.

“The pandemic has honed crisis and changed communication skills — to listen, to ask the right questions, to work efficiently, to think strategically but not overthink, to go with your gut, and then assess and discuss what worked, and what didn’t, so you continue to improve,” Less said. “It’s also improved my ability to pivot priorities at a moment’s notice.”

Abby Winternitz, ‘19, was only a few months into her professional career at Bon Secours Mercy Health in Cincinnati when the pandemic hit.

“I like to think it’s made me a more empathetic communicator — it’s not every day that the thing you’re communicating is also something you’re experiencing on a personal level,” said Winternitz, who majored in public relations. “Even though it was a scary and terrible period for all of us, that shared experience of community we felt at the beginning of the pandemic was arguably more impactful than any other campaign I had worked on to that point.”

Though the pandemic has opened a world of new challenges for these healthcare professionals, there is a sense of what could have been if the pandemic had not arisen. 

“That early part of my professional career seems unfinished,” Winternitz said. “I’ll go back every now and then to my old desk to pick things up (even though I’ve been fully remote since March of 2020), and it feels like a completely different job.” 

Less also recalls the uncertainty of the pandemic’s early days.

“I remember sitting in our conference room back in March 2020 when my manager told us our team would be working remote for a while. It feels surreal now,” Less said. “... In the beginning, all resources were focused on COVID-19. Non-pandemic related business halted; this was everything from events and conferences to non-essential procedures. Our team was able to focus on COVID-19 support. We covered all shifts seven days a week as needed.”

Months in, Less and her team took a deep breath, uncertain how long this pandemic would continue.

“We reassessed and discussed how we could make our work sustainable,” she said. “At one point, the organization (and the world) started to phase in other priorities and initiatives while all being prepared to continue to overcome COVID-19. Today we continue to manage a mix of both.”

Through it all, Less says her team has never worked together stronger. All three alumnae credit the Kent State public relations sequence for preparing them for the challenges they’ve faced the past two years.

Winternitz attributes her knowledge of the industry to the hands-on public relations experiences and classes she took advantage of, particularly the PRSSA National Bateman Case Study Competition, where her client was With Purpose, a non-profit that advocates for childhood cancer research. 

“Kent State professors emphasized that as communicators, we’re not just writers but strategic communications advisors helping our colleagues achieve their desired business outcome,” Less said. “We have a significant seat at the table. Our questions and advice can guide strategy and operations. 

At the end of the day, these public relations healthcare professionals find a purpose for the work they do. 

“The experience of communicating throughout the pandemic has been highly stressful and emotional – but also, strangely reaffirming of why I got into this line of work in the first place,” Winternitz said. “I am reminded daily of my purpose in helping to keep our associates, patients and their families safe.”

Alumni share stories about healthcare communications during COVID-19
Monday, February 28, 2022

Public relations professionals are time and time again the backbone of communications and community building within their industries. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent State alumni in healthcare fields have been put to the test to deliver important and timely responses to their network through both internal and external communications.

Deborah (Pritchard) Less, ‘09, Communications Manager for the Cleveland Clinic, finds her role as an internal communications professional is to keep all caregivers (the term used to identify all employees) “informed, motivated, and inspired.”

“With so much change, fatigue and uncertainty — we did, and continue to do, anything possible to help caregivers care for our patients, one another and themselves. We’re here for each other like family,” said Less, who majored in public relations. “While the pandemic has been exhausting, it’s also part of our role to provide some relief and inspiration — whether by sharing well-being resources or recognizing a team who provided exceptional patient care through storytelling.”

While public relations professionals in healthcare have been faced with the challenge of conveying urgent information and answering hard questions, Less notes that “transparency and trust is critical” in this work.

Part of this transparency lies within keeping communities informed. 

For public relations alumna Rebecca (Odell) Oleksa, ‘10, Digital Content Account Manager for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, keeping the website NationwideChildrens.org up to date with the most current COVID-19 information is an essential part of her work.

While working in a children's hospital, a part of Oleksa’s communication challenges deals with informing and educating parents about vaccines — and finding a balance between informing and respecting families’ decisions.

“Parents know their children best. They need information to make these decisions, and while there is a wealth of information at our fingertips all the time, sometimes the information can be confusing or conflicting,” Oleksa said. “We’ve been committed to ensuring families have reliable, accurate information from medical experts so they can make informed decisions for their families.”

Working in the healthcare industry during the pandemic has opened new challenges for these professionals, challenging their communication and crisis management skills.

“The pandemic has honed crisis and changed communication skills — to listen, to ask the right questions, to work efficiently, to think strategically but not overthink, to go with your gut, and then assess and discuss what worked, and what didn’t, so you continue to improve,” Less said. “It’s also improved my ability to pivot priorities at a moment’s notice.”

Abby Winternitz, ‘19, was only a few months into her professional career at Bon Secours Mercy Health in Cincinnati when the pandemic hit.

“I like to think it’s made me a more empathetic communicator — it’s not every day that the thing you’re communicating is also something you’re experiencing on a personal level,” said Winternitz, who majored in public relations. “Even though it was a scary and terrible period for all of us, that shared experience of community we felt at the beginning of the pandemic was arguably more impactful than any other campaign I had worked on to that point.”

Though the pandemic has opened a world of new challenges for these healthcare professionals, there is a sense of what could have been if the pandemic had not arisen. 

“That early part of my professional career seems unfinished,” Winternitz said. “I’ll go back every now and then to my old desk to pick things up (even though I’ve been fully remote since March of 2020), and it feels like a completely different job.” 

Less also recalls the uncertainty of the pandemic’s early days.

“I remember sitting in our conference room back in March 2020 when my manager told us our team would be working remote for a while. It feels surreal now,” Less said. “... In the beginning, all resources were focused on COVID-19. Non-pandemic related business halted; this was everything from events and conferences to non-essential procedures. Our team was able to focus on COVID-19 support. We covered all shifts seven days a week as needed.”

Months in, Less and her team took a deep breath, uncertain how long this pandemic would continue.

“We reassessed and discussed how we could make our work sustainable,” she said. “At one point, the organization (and the world) started to phase in other priorities and initiatives while all being prepared to continue to overcome COVID-19. Today we continue to manage a mix of both.”

Through it all, Less says her team has never worked together stronger. All three alumnae credit the Kent State public relations sequence for preparing them for the challenges they’ve faced the past two years.

Winternitz attributes her knowledge of the industry to the hands-on public relations experiences and classes she took advantage of, particularly the PRSSA National Bateman Case Study Competition, where her client was With Purpose, a non-profit that advocates for childhood cancer research. 

“Kent State professors emphasized that as communicators, we’re not just writers but strategic communications advisors helping our colleagues achieve their desired business outcome,” Less said. “We have a significant seat at the table. Our questions and advice can guide strategy and operations. 

At the end of the day, these public relations healthcare professionals find a purpose for the work they do. 

“The experience of communicating throughout the pandemic has been highly stressful and emotional – but also, strangely reaffirming of why I got into this line of work in the first place,” Winternitz said. “I am reminded daily of my purpose in helping to keep our associates, patients and their families safe.”

Alumni share stories about healthcare communications during COVID-19
Monday, February 28, 2022

Public relations professionals are time and time again the backbone of communications and community building within their industries. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent State alumni in healthcare fields have been put to the test to deliver important and timely responses to their network through both internal and external communications.

Deborah (Pritchard) Less, ‘09, Communications Manager for the Cleveland Clinic, finds her role as an internal communications professional is to keep all caregivers (the term used to identify all employees) “informed, motivated, and inspired.”

“With so much change, fatigue and uncertainty — we did, and continue to do, anything possible to help caregivers care for our patients, one another and themselves. We’re here for each other like family,” said Less, who majored in public relations. “While the pandemic has been exhausting, it’s also part of our role to provide some relief and inspiration — whether by sharing well-being resources or recognizing a team who provided exceptional patient care through storytelling.”

While public relations professionals in healthcare have been faced with the challenge of conveying urgent information and answering hard questions, Less notes that “transparency and trust is critical” in this work.

Part of this transparency lies within keeping communities informed. 

For public relations alumna Rebecca (Odell) Oleksa, ‘10, Digital Content Account Manager for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, keeping the website NationwideChildrens.org up to date with the most current COVID-19 information is an essential part of her work.

While working in a children's hospital, a part of Oleksa’s communication challenges deals with informing and educating parents about vaccines — and finding a balance between informing and respecting families’ decisions.

“Parents know their children best. They need information to make these decisions, and while there is a wealth of information at our fingertips all the time, sometimes the information can be confusing or conflicting,” Oleksa said. “We’ve been committed to ensuring families have reliable, accurate information from medical experts so they can make informed decisions for their families.”

Working in the healthcare industry during the pandemic has opened new challenges for these professionals, challenging their communication and crisis management skills.

“The pandemic has honed crisis and changed communication skills — to listen, to ask the right questions, to work efficiently, to think strategically but not overthink, to go with your gut, and then assess and discuss what worked, and what didn’t, so you continue to improve,” Less said. “It’s also improved my ability to pivot priorities at a moment’s notice.”

Abby Winternitz, ‘19, was only a few months into her professional career at Bon Secours Mercy Health in Cincinnati when the pandemic hit.

“I like to think it’s made me a more empathetic communicator — it’s not every day that the thing you’re communicating is also something you’re experiencing on a personal level,” said Winternitz, who majored in public relations. “Even though it was a scary and terrible period for all of us, that shared experience of community we felt at the beginning of the pandemic was arguably more impactful than any other campaign I had worked on to that point.”

Though the pandemic has opened a world of new challenges for these healthcare professionals, there is a sense of what could have been if the pandemic had not arisen. 

“That early part of my professional career seems unfinished,” Winternitz said. “I’ll go back every now and then to my old desk to pick things up (even though I’ve been fully remote since March of 2020), and it feels like a completely different job.” 

Less also recalls the uncertainty of the pandemic’s early days.

“I remember sitting in our conference room back in March 2020 when my manager told us our team would be working remote for a while. It feels surreal now,” Less said. “... In the beginning, all resources were focused on COVID-19. Non-pandemic related business halted; this was everything from events and conferences to non-essential procedures. Our team was able to focus on COVID-19 support. We covered all shifts seven days a week as needed.”

Months in, Less and her team took a deep breath, uncertain how long this pandemic would continue.

“We reassessed and discussed how we could make our work sustainable,” she said. “At one point, the organization (and the world) started to phase in other priorities and initiatives while all being prepared to continue to overcome COVID-19. Today we continue to manage a mix of both.”

Through it all, Less says her team has never worked together stronger. All three alumnae credit the Kent State public relations sequence for preparing them for the challenges they’ve faced the past two years.

Winternitz attributes her knowledge of the industry to the hands-on public relations experiences and classes she took advantage of, particularly the PRSSA National Bateman Case Study Competition, where her client was With Purpose, a non-profit that advocates for childhood cancer research. 

“Kent State professors emphasized that as communicators, we’re not just writers but strategic communications advisors helping our colleagues achieve their desired business outcome,” Less said. “We have a significant seat at the table. Our questions and advice can guide strategy and operations. 

At the end of the day, these public relations healthcare professionals find a purpose for the work they do. 

“The experience of communicating throughout the pandemic has been highly stressful and emotional – but also, strangely reaffirming of why I got into this line of work in the first place,” Winternitz said. “I am reminded daily of my purpose in helping to keep our associates, patients and their families safe.”

Jacquie Marino
Sunday, February 27, 2022

The journalism field is an open arena for experimentation. With the amount of storytelling mediums, there is always an opportunity to try something new and learn about different formats of stories, even when you are years into your journalism career.

Jacqueline Marino, professor in the School of Media and Journalism, used the time in her fall 2021 sabbatical to learn the techniques of audio storytelling. A sabbatical, or a faculty professional improvement leave, gives professors time to work on a personal project, typically seven years in their tenure. Normally, Marino would spend her time with written pieces, but she has been fascinated with audio for years.

“I wanted to see how I could apply the skills that I have to this new, for me, medium,” Marino said. “I wanted to see, ‘How can I find a story that I can tell in the audio format, how can I find characters and how can I make them come alive in the recording the way that I feel like I can make them come alive on paper?’”

Marino spent two days in Columbia County with a family physician to understand the current issues surrounding rural doctors in Northeast Ohio. She was able to work with 89.7 WKSU to get her story on the air and published on its website.

“There are not enough healthcare providers in rural areas because the way the healthcare system is, it sort of favors more heavily populated areas,” Marino said. “So, we wanted to look at what was happening in rural areas where you don’t have the access to healthcare that you have in a Cleveland, or an Akron, or Cincinnati.”

Although this was her first time working on an audio story, it’s not the first time she has reported on healthcare in the area. In 2012, her book “White Coats: Three Journeys Through an American Medical School” was released. The book followed three Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine students studying to become doctors.

Marino has focused her career on telling stories from the Rust Belt. She says she learned about a lot of things during this process: recorders, microphones and making people comfortable opening up.

“I didn’t want to do any kind of project where I wasn’t able to be immersed in an environment that I was covering…” Marino said.

“When we’re writing, we can interview people about what the environment was like for them. But with audio storytelling, you have to be there because you have to capture it.”

The skills she acquired during her sabbatical will be applied to the classes she teaches at Kent State. Her students in Advanced Magazine Writing this semester will be working to produce multimedia pieces on the resettlement of refugees in Akron.

“I just feel like when you’re listening, when you’re really listening, it helps your story so much,” Marino said. “I got a real education in listening. I thought I was a good observer before, but I really feel like I am a better observer now having done the story.”

 

Jacquie Marino
Sunday, February 27, 2022

The journalism field is an open arena for experimentation. With the amount of storytelling mediums, there is always an opportunity to try something new and learn about different formats of stories, even when you are years into your journalism career.

Jacqueline Marino, professor in the School of Media and Journalism, used the time in her fall 2021 sabbatical to learn the techniques of audio storytelling. A sabbatical, or a faculty professional improvement leave, gives professors time to work on a personal project, typically seven years in their tenure. Normally, Marino would spend her time with written pieces, but she has been fascinated with audio for years.

“I wanted to see how I could apply the skills that I have to this new, for me, medium,” Marino said. “I wanted to see, ‘How can I find a story that I can tell in the audio format, how can I find characters and how can I make them come alive in the recording the way that I feel like I can make them come alive on paper?’”

Marino spent two days in Columbia County with a family physician to understand the current issues surrounding rural doctors in Northeast Ohio. She was able to work with 89.7 WKSU to get her story on the air and published on its website.

“There are not enough healthcare providers in rural areas because the way the healthcare system is, it sort of favors more heavily populated areas,” Marino said. “So, we wanted to look at what was happening in rural areas where you don’t have the access to healthcare that you have in a Cleveland, or an Akron, or Cincinnati.”

Although this was her first time working on an audio story, it’s not the first time she has reported on healthcare in the area. In 2012, her book “White Coats: Three Journeys Through an American Medical School” was released. The book followed three Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine students studying to become doctors.

Marino has focused her career on telling stories from the Rust Belt. She says she learned about a lot of things during this process: recorders, microphones and making people comfortable opening up.

“I didn’t want to do any kind of project where I wasn’t able to be immersed in an environment that I was covering…” Marino said.

“When we’re writing, we can interview people about what the environment was like for them. But with audio storytelling, you have to be there because you have to capture it.”

The skills she acquired during her sabbatical will be applied to the classes she teaches at Kent State. Her students in Advanced Magazine Writing this semester will be working to produce multimedia pieces on the resettlement of refugees in Akron.

“I just feel like when you’re listening, when you’re really listening, it helps your story so much,” Marino said. “I got a real education in listening. I thought I was a good observer before, but I really feel like I am a better observer now having done the story.”

 

Jacquie Marino
Sunday, February 27, 2022

The journalism field is an open arena for experimentation. With the amount of storytelling mediums, there is always an opportunity to try something new and learn about different formats of stories, even when you are years into your journalism career.

Jacqueline Marino, professor in the School of Media and Journalism, used the time in her fall 2021 sabbatical to learn the techniques of audio storytelling. A sabbatical, or a faculty professional improvement leave, gives professors time to work on a personal project, typically seven years in their tenure. Normally, Marino would spend her time with written pieces, but she has been fascinated with audio for years.

“I wanted to see how I could apply the skills that I have to this new, for me, medium,” Marino said. “I wanted to see, ‘How can I find a story that I can tell in the audio format, how can I find characters and how can I make them come alive in the recording the way that I feel like I can make them come alive on paper?’”

Marino spent two days in Columbia County with a family physician to understand the current issues surrounding rural doctors in Northeast Ohio. She was able to work with 89.7 WKSU to get her story on the air and published on its website.

“There are not enough healthcare providers in rural areas because the way the healthcare system is, it sort of favors more heavily populated areas,” Marino said. “So, we wanted to look at what was happening in rural areas where you don’t have the access to healthcare that you have in a Cleveland, or an Akron, or Cincinnati.”

Although this was her first time working on an audio story, it’s not the first time she has reported on healthcare in the area. In 2012, her book “White Coats: Three Journeys Through an American Medical School” was released. The book followed three Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine students studying to become doctors.

Marino has focused her career on telling stories from the Rust Belt. She says she learned about a lot of things during this process: recorders, microphones and making people comfortable opening up.

“I didn’t want to do any kind of project where I wasn’t able to be immersed in an environment that I was covering…” Marino said.

“When we’re writing, we can interview people about what the environment was like for them. But with audio storytelling, you have to be there because you have to capture it.”

The skills she acquired during her sabbatical will be applied to the classes she teaches at Kent State. Her students in Advanced Magazine Writing this semester will be working to produce multimedia pieces on the resettlement of refugees in Akron.

“I just feel like when you’re listening, when you’re really listening, it helps your story so much,” Marino said. “I got a real education in listening. I thought I was a good observer before, but I really feel like I am a better observer now having done the story.”

 

Jacquie Marino
Sunday, February 27, 2022

The journalism field is an open arena for experimentation. With the amount of storytelling mediums, there is always an opportunity to try something new and learn about different formats of stories, even when you are years into your journalism career.

Jacqueline Marino, professor in the School of Media and Journalism, used the time in her fall 2021 sabbatical to learn the techniques of audio storytelling. A sabbatical, or a faculty professional improvement leave, gives professors time to work on a personal project, typically seven years in their tenure. Normally, Marino would spend her time with written pieces, but she has been fascinated with audio for years.

“I wanted to see how I could apply the skills that I have to this new, for me, medium,” Marino said. “I wanted to see, ‘How can I find a story that I can tell in the audio format, how can I find characters and how can I make them come alive in the recording the way that I feel like I can make them come alive on paper?’”

Marino spent two days in Columbia County with a family physician to understand the current issues surrounding rural doctors in Northeast Ohio. She was able to work with 89.7 WKSU to get her story on the air and published on its website.

“There are not enough healthcare providers in rural areas because the way the healthcare system is, it sort of favors more heavily populated areas,” Marino said. “So, we wanted to look at what was happening in rural areas where you don’t have the access to healthcare that you have in a Cleveland, or an Akron, or Cincinnati.”

Although this was her first time working on an audio story, it’s not the first time she has reported on healthcare in the area. In 2012, her book “White Coats: Three Journeys Through an American Medical School” was released. The book followed three Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine students studying to become doctors.

Marino has focused her career on telling stories from the Rust Belt. She says she learned about a lot of things during this process: recorders, microphones and making people comfortable opening up.

“I didn’t want to do any kind of project where I wasn’t able to be immersed in an environment that I was covering…” Marino said.

“When we’re writing, we can interview people about what the environment was like for them. But with audio storytelling, you have to be there because you have to capture it.”

The skills she acquired during her sabbatical will be applied to the classes she teaches at Kent State. Her students in Advanced Magazine Writing this semester will be working to produce multimedia pieces on the resettlement of refugees in Akron.

“I just feel like when you’re listening, when you’re really listening, it helps your story so much,” Marino said. “I got a real education in listening. I thought I was a good observer before, but I really feel like I am a better observer now having done the story.”

 

Jacquie Marino
Sunday, February 27, 2022

The journalism field is an open arena for experimentation. With the amount of storytelling mediums, there is always an opportunity to try something new and learn about different formats of stories, even when you are years into your journalism career.

Jacqueline Marino, professor in the School of Media and Journalism, used the time in her fall 2021 sabbatical to learn the techniques of audio storytelling. A sabbatical, or a faculty professional improvement leave, gives professors time to work on a personal project, typically seven years in their tenure. Normally, Marino would spend her time with written pieces, but she has been fascinated with audio for years.

“I wanted to see how I could apply the skills that I have to this new, for me, medium,” Marino said. “I wanted to see, ‘How can I find a story that I can tell in the audio format, how can I find characters and how can I make them come alive in the recording the way that I feel like I can make them come alive on paper?’”

Marino spent two days in Columbia County with a family physician to understand the current issues surrounding rural doctors in Northeast Ohio. She was able to work with 89.7 WKSU to get her story on the air and published on its website.

“There are not enough healthcare providers in rural areas because the way the healthcare system is, it sort of favors more heavily populated areas,” Marino said. “So, we wanted to look at what was happening in rural areas where you don’t have the access to healthcare that you have in a Cleveland, or an Akron, or Cincinnati.”

Although this was her first time working on an audio story, it’s not the first time she has reported on healthcare in the area. In 2012, her book “White Coats: Three Journeys Through an American Medical School” was released. The book followed three Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine students studying to become doctors.

Marino has focused her career on telling stories from the Rust Belt. She says she learned about a lot of things during this process: recorders, microphones and making people comfortable opening up.

“I didn’t want to do any kind of project where I wasn’t able to be immersed in an environment that I was covering…” Marino said.

“When we’re writing, we can interview people about what the environment was like for them. But with audio storytelling, you have to be there because you have to capture it.”

The skills she acquired during her sabbatical will be applied to the classes she teaches at Kent State. Her students in Advanced Magazine Writing this semester will be working to produce multimedia pieces on the resettlement of refugees in Akron.

“I just feel like when you’re listening, when you’re really listening, it helps your story so much,” Marino said. “I got a real education in listening. I thought I was a good observer before, but I really feel like I am a better observer now having done the story.”

 

Two First Place Winners
Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Associated Collegiate Press “promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism” and recognizes these media practices at its yearly conference. Kent State Student Media made an impact at the 2021 conference, winning three awards: two first place and one honorable mention.

Preston Randall, senior visual communication design major, received first place in the “Design of the Year/Illustration” category with his piece “Until We Can Handshake Again.”

“I produced (this piece) for The Burr Magazine in the Spring of 2021 for an article that explored the difficulties caused by the pandemic and faced by journalists in the performance of their work,” Randall said. “I decided to illustrate this by depicting an erupting volcano with a reporter attempting to perform an interview in the midst of the eruption’s chaotic power.”

Image
Winning illustration

In reflection of his accomplishment, Randall recognized some challenges he faced when creating his winning piece.

“The magma and the people were definitely the areas I remember working on the most. It was difficult for me at the time to get the popping and viscous look of the magma right and the shape of the splashes took some trial and error,” Randall said.

Recent graduate Gianna DaPra, ’21, was also recognized for a piece she created during her time with TV2/KentWired titled “Makeup Madhouse,” a video profile of local business owner Carrie Esser. DaPra received first place for “Broadcast Story of the Year, Broadcast Feature Story."

 

 

“I completed this package for my advanced broadcast reporting class my junior year. I fine-tuned it a little bit this semester before sending it in,” DaPra said. “It was a really cool story because Carrie Esser (makeup guru) is a local sensation who is really making a brand for herself.”

DaPra is now a news reporter at WTOV9 in the Ohio Valley.

"I stayed local to really hone-in on my skills and learn all parts of a newsroom,” DaPra said.

She remains thankful for the student media program at Kent State for preparing her for her career.

“We are very fortunate at Kent State to have such a tight run news station andteachers who truly care about our journalism students,” DaPra said. “Without those two things, I feel like I wouldn’t know what I want to do in my journalism career. They are hands on and individually help you with anything you need.”

Graduate student Lyndsey Brennan was also recognized at the ACP conference in the category “Online: News or Features,” receiving honorable mention for her piece “2021 COVID-19 Coverage.”

Kevin Dilley, Director of Student Media at Kent State, is proud of his students’ accomplishments, but stays committed to keeping creativity at the core of what all Student Media workers do, regardless of whether or not they win awards. 

“We encourage students to create content in the way they think is the best. We don’t worry about awards at that point. However, we enter the best student work in as many contests as possible because it’s good for the students and Student Media,” Dilley said. “The students get to list awards won on their resumes, and for incoming students to Student Media, they can see the national awards and know right away that the expectations are set high for professional quality work in Student Media.”

Two First Place Winners
Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Associated Collegiate Press “promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism” and recognizes these media practices at its yearly conference. Kent State Student Media made an impact at the 2021 conference, winning three awards: two first place and one honorable mention.

Preston Randall, senior visual communication design major, received first place in the “Design of the Year/Illustration” category with his piece “Until We Can Handshake Again.”

“I produced (this piece) for The Burr Magazine in the Spring of 2021 for an article that explored the difficulties caused by the pandemic and faced by journalists in the performance of their work,” Randall said. “I decided to illustrate this by depicting an erupting volcano with a reporter attempting to perform an interview in the midst of the eruption’s chaotic power.”

Image
Winning illustration

In reflection of his accomplishment, Randall recognized some challenges he faced when creating his winning piece.

“The magma and the people were definitely the areas I remember working on the most. It was difficult for me at the time to get the popping and viscous look of the magma right and the shape of the splashes took some trial and error,” Randall said.

Recent graduate Gianna DaPra, ’21, was also recognized for a piece she created during her time with TV2/KentWired titled “Makeup Madhouse,” a video profile of local business owner Carrie Esser. DaPra received first place for “Broadcast Story of the Year, Broadcast Feature Story."

 

 

“I completed this package for my advanced broadcast reporting class my junior year. I fine-tuned it a little bit this semester before sending it in,” DaPra said. “It was a really cool story because Carrie Esser (makeup guru) is a local sensation who is really making a brand for herself.”

DaPra is now a news reporter at WTOV9 in the Ohio Valley.

"I stayed local to really hone-in on my skills and learn all parts of a newsroom,” DaPra said.

She remains thankful for the student media program at Kent State for preparing her for her career.

“We are very fortunate at Kent State to have such a tight run news station andteachers who truly care about our journalism students,” DaPra said. “Without those two things, I feel like I wouldn’t know what I want to do in my journalism career. They are hands on and individually help you with anything you need.”

Graduate student Lyndsey Brennan was also recognized at the ACP conference in the category “Online: News or Features,” receiving honorable mention for her piece “2021 COVID-19 Coverage.”

Kevin Dilley, Director of Student Media at Kent State, is proud of his students’ accomplishments, but stays committed to keeping creativity at the core of what all Student Media workers do, regardless of whether or not they win awards. 

“We encourage students to create content in the way they think is the best. We don’t worry about awards at that point. However, we enter the best student work in as many contests as possible because it’s good for the students and Student Media,” Dilley said. “The students get to list awards won on their resumes, and for incoming students to Student Media, they can see the national awards and know right away that the expectations are set high for professional quality work in Student Media.”

Two First Place Winners
Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Associated Collegiate Press “promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism” and recognizes these media practices at its yearly conference. Kent State Student Media made an impact at the 2021 conference, winning three awards: two first place and one honorable mention.

Preston Randall, senior visual communication design major, received first place in the “Design of the Year/Illustration” category with his piece “Until We Can Handshake Again.”

“I produced (this piece) for The Burr Magazine in the Spring of 2021 for an article that explored the difficulties caused by the pandemic and faced by journalists in the performance of their work,” Randall said. “I decided to illustrate this by depicting an erupting volcano with a reporter attempting to perform an interview in the midst of the eruption’s chaotic power.”

Image
Winning illustration

In reflection of his accomplishment, Randall recognized some challenges he faced when creating his winning piece.

“The magma and the people were definitely the areas I remember working on the most. It was difficult for me at the time to get the popping and viscous look of the magma right and the shape of the splashes took some trial and error,” Randall said.

Recent graduate Gianna DaPra, ’21, was also recognized for a piece she created during her time with TV2/KentWired titled “Makeup Madhouse,” a video profile of local business owner Carrie Esser. DaPra received first place for “Broadcast Story of the Year, Broadcast Feature Story."

 

 

“I completed this package for my advanced broadcast reporting class my junior year. I fine-tuned it a little bit this semester before sending it in,” DaPra said. “It was a really cool story because Carrie Esser (makeup guru) is a local sensation who is really making a brand for herself.”

DaPra is now a news reporter at WTOV9 in the Ohio Valley.

"I stayed local to really hone-in on my skills and learn all parts of a newsroom,” DaPra said.

She remains thankful for the student media program at Kent State for preparing her for her career.

“We are very fortunate at Kent State to have such a tight run news station andteachers who truly care about our journalism students,” DaPra said. “Without those two things, I feel like I wouldn’t know what I want to do in my journalism career. They are hands on and individually help you with anything you need.”

Graduate student Lyndsey Brennan was also recognized at the ACP conference in the category “Online: News or Features,” receiving honorable mention for her piece “2021 COVID-19 Coverage.”

Kevin Dilley, Director of Student Media at Kent State, is proud of his students’ accomplishments, but stays committed to keeping creativity at the core of what all Student Media workers do, regardless of whether or not they win awards. 

“We encourage students to create content in the way they think is the best. We don’t worry about awards at that point. However, we enter the best student work in as many contests as possible because it’s good for the students and Student Media,” Dilley said. “The students get to list awards won on their resumes, and for incoming students to Student Media, they can see the national awards and know right away that the expectations are set high for professional quality work in Student Media.”

Two First Place Winners
Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Associated Collegiate Press “promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism” and recognizes these media practices at its yearly conference. Kent State Student Media made an impact at the 2021 conference, winning three awards: two first place and one honorable mention.

Preston Randall, senior visual communication design major, received first place in the “Design of the Year/Illustration” category with his piece “Until We Can Handshake Again.”

“I produced (this piece) for The Burr Magazine in the Spring of 2021 for an article that explored the difficulties caused by the pandemic and faced by journalists in the performance of their work,” Randall said. “I decided to illustrate this by depicting an erupting volcano with a reporter attempting to perform an interview in the midst of the eruption’s chaotic power.”

Image
Winning illustration

In reflection of his accomplishment, Randall recognized some challenges he faced when creating his winning piece.

“The magma and the people were definitely the areas I remember working on the most. It was difficult for me at the time to get the popping and viscous look of the magma right and the shape of the splashes took some trial and error,” Randall said.

Recent graduate Gianna DaPra, ’21, was also recognized for a piece she created during her time with TV2/KentWired titled “Makeup Madhouse,” a video profile of local business owner Carrie Esser. DaPra received first place for “Broadcast Story of the Year, Broadcast Feature Story."

 

 

“I completed this package for my advanced broadcast reporting class my junior year. I fine-tuned it a little bit this semester before sending it in,” DaPra said. “It was a really cool story because Carrie Esser (makeup guru) is a local sensation who is really making a brand for herself.”

DaPra is now a news reporter at WTOV9 in the Ohio Valley.

"I stayed local to really hone-in on my skills and learn all parts of a newsroom,” DaPra said.

She remains thankful for the student media program at Kent State for preparing her for her career.

“We are very fortunate at Kent State to have such a tight run news station andteachers who truly care about our journalism students,” DaPra said. “Without those two things, I feel like I wouldn’t know what I want to do in my journalism career. They are hands on and individually help you with anything you need.”

Graduate student Lyndsey Brennan was also recognized at the ACP conference in the category “Online: News or Features,” receiving honorable mention for her piece “2021 COVID-19 Coverage.”

Kevin Dilley, Director of Student Media at Kent State, is proud of his students’ accomplishments, but stays committed to keeping creativity at the core of what all Student Media workers do, regardless of whether or not they win awards. 

“We encourage students to create content in the way they think is the best. We don’t worry about awards at that point. However, we enter the best student work in as many contests as possible because it’s good for the students and Student Media,” Dilley said. “The students get to list awards won on their resumes, and for incoming students to Student Media, they can see the national awards and know right away that the expectations are set high for professional quality work in Student Media.”

Two First Place Winners
Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Associated Collegiate Press “promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism” and recognizes these media practices at its yearly conference. Kent State Student Media made an impact at the 2021 conference, winning three awards: two first place and one honorable mention.

Preston Randall, senior visual communication design major, received first place in the “Design of the Year/Illustration” category with his piece “Until We Can Handshake Again.”

“I produced (this piece) for The Burr Magazine in the Spring of 2021 for an article that explored the difficulties caused by the pandemic and faced by journalists in the performance of their work,” Randall said. “I decided to illustrate this by depicting an erupting volcano with a reporter attempting to perform an interview in the midst of the eruption’s chaotic power.”

Image
Winning illustration

In reflection of his accomplishment, Randall recognized some challenges he faced when creating his winning piece.

“The magma and the people were definitely the areas I remember working on the most. It was difficult for me at the time to get the popping and viscous look of the magma right and the shape of the splashes took some trial and error,” Randall said.

Recent graduate Gianna DaPra, ’21, was also recognized for a piece she created during her time with TV2/KentWired titled “Makeup Madhouse,” a video profile of local business owner Carrie Esser. DaPra received first place for “Broadcast Story of the Year, Broadcast Feature Story."

 

 

“I completed this package for my advanced broadcast reporting class my junior year. I fine-tuned it a little bit this semester before sending it in,” DaPra said. “It was a really cool story because Carrie Esser (makeup guru) is a local sensation who is really making a brand for herself.”

DaPra is now a news reporter at WTOV9 in the Ohio Valley.

"I stayed local to really hone-in on my skills and learn all parts of a newsroom,” DaPra said.

She remains thankful for the student media program at Kent State for preparing her for her career.

“We are very fortunate at Kent State to have such a tight run news station andteachers who truly care about our journalism students,” DaPra said. “Without those two things, I feel like I wouldn’t know what I want to do in my journalism career. They are hands on and individually help you with anything you need.”

Graduate student Lyndsey Brennan was also recognized at the ACP conference in the category “Online: News or Features,” receiving honorable mention for her piece “2021 COVID-19 Coverage.”

Kevin Dilley, Director of Student Media at Kent State, is proud of his students’ accomplishments, but stays committed to keeping creativity at the core of what all Student Media workers do, regardless of whether or not they win awards. 

“We encourage students to create content in the way they think is the best. We don’t worry about awards at that point. However, we enter the best student work in as many contests as possible because it’s good for the students and Student Media,” Dilley said. “The students get to list awards won on their resumes, and for incoming students to Student Media, they can see the national awards and know right away that the expectations are set high for professional quality work in Student Media.”

Two First Place Winners
Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Associated Collegiate Press “promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism” and recognizes these media practices at its yearly conference. Kent State Student Media made an impact at the 2021 conference, winning three awards: two first place and one honorable mention.

Preston Randall, senior visual communication design major, received first place in the “Design of the Year/Illustration” category with his piece “Until We Can Handshake Again.”

“I produced (this piece) for The Burr Magazine in the Spring of 2021 for an article that explored the difficulties caused by the pandemic and faced by journalists in the performance of their work,” Randall said. “I decided to illustrate this by depicting an erupting volcano with a reporter attempting to perform an interview in the midst of the eruption’s chaotic power.”

Image
Winning illustration

In reflection of his accomplishment, Randall recognized some challenges he faced when creating his winning piece.

“The magma and the people were definitely the areas I remember working on the most. It was difficult for me at the time to get the popping and viscous look of the magma right and the shape of the splashes took some trial and error,” Randall said.

Recent graduate Gianna DaPra, ’21, was also recognized for a piece she created during her time with TV2/KentWired titled “Makeup Madhouse,” a video profile of local business owner Carrie Esser. DaPra received first place for “Broadcast Story of the Year, Broadcast Feature Story."

 

 

“I completed this package for my advanced broadcast reporting class my junior year. I fine-tuned it a little bit this semester before sending it in,” DaPra said. “It was a really cool story because Carrie Esser (makeup guru) is a local sensation who is really making a brand for herself.”

DaPra is now a news reporter at WTOV9 in the Ohio Valley.

"I stayed local to really hone-in on my skills and learn all parts of a newsroom,” DaPra said.

She remains thankful for the student media program at Kent State for preparing her for her career.

“We are very fortunate at Kent State to have such a tight run news station andteachers who truly care about our journalism students,” DaPra said. “Without those two things, I feel like I wouldn’t know what I want to do in my journalism career. They are hands on and individually help you with anything you need.”

Graduate student Lyndsey Brennan was also recognized at the ACP conference in the category “Online: News or Features,” receiving honorable mention for her piece “2021 COVID-19 Coverage.”

Kevin Dilley, Director of Student Media at Kent State, is proud of his students’ accomplishments, but stays committed to keeping creativity at the core of what all Student Media workers do, regardless of whether or not they win awards. 

“We encourage students to create content in the way they think is the best. We don’t worry about awards at that point. However, we enter the best student work in as many contests as possible because it’s good for the students and Student Media,” Dilley said. “The students get to list awards won on their resumes, and for incoming students to Student Media, they can see the national awards and know right away that the expectations are set high for professional quality work in Student Media.”

Two First Place Winners
Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Associated Collegiate Press “promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism” and recognizes these media practices at its yearly conference. Kent State Student Media made an impact at the 2021 conference, winning three awards: two first place and one honorable mention.

Preston Randall, senior visual communication design major, received first place in the “Design of the Year/Illustration” category with his piece “Until We Can Handshake Again.”

“I produced (this piece) for The Burr Magazine in the Spring of 2021 for an article that explored the difficulties caused by the pandemic and faced by journalists in the performance of their work,” Randall said. “I decided to illustrate this by depicting an erupting volcano with a reporter attempting to perform an interview in the midst of the eruption’s chaotic power.”

Image
Winning illustration

In reflection of his accomplishment, Randall recognized some challenges he faced when creating his winning piece.

“The magma and the people were definitely the areas I remember working on the most. It was difficult for me at the time to get the popping and viscous look of the magma right and the shape of the splashes took some trial and error,” Randall said.

Recent graduate Gianna DaPra, ’21, was also recognized for a piece she created during her time with TV2/KentWired titled “Makeup Madhouse,” a video profile of local business owner Carrie Esser. DaPra received first place for “Broadcast Story of the Year, Broadcast Feature Story."

 

 

“I completed this package for my advanced broadcast reporting class my junior year. I fine-tuned it a little bit this semester before sending it in,” DaPra said. “It was a really cool story because Carrie Esser (makeup guru) is a local sensation who is really making a brand for herself.”

DaPra is now a news reporter at WTOV9 in the Ohio Valley.

"I stayed local to really hone-in on my skills and learn all parts of a newsroom,” DaPra said.

She remains thankful for the student media program at Kent State for preparing her for her career.

“We are very fortunate at Kent State to have such a tight run news station andteachers who truly care about our journalism students,” DaPra said. “Without those two things, I feel like I wouldn’t know what I want to do in my journalism career. They are hands on and individually help you with anything you need.”

Graduate student Lyndsey Brennan was also recognized at the ACP conference in the category “Online: News or Features,” receiving honorable mention for her piece “2021 COVID-19 Coverage.”

Kevin Dilley, Director of Student Media at Kent State, is proud of his students’ accomplishments, but stays committed to keeping creativity at the core of what all Student Media workers do, regardless of whether or not they win awards. 

“We encourage students to create content in the way they think is the best. We don’t worry about awards at that point. However, we enter the best student work in as many contests as possible because it’s good for the students and Student Media,” Dilley said. “The students get to list awards won on their resumes, and for incoming students to Student Media, they can see the national awards and know right away that the expectations are set high for professional quality work in Student Media.”

Two First Place Winners
Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Associated Collegiate Press “promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism” and recognizes these media practices at its yearly conference. Kent State Student Media made an impact at the 2021 conference, winning three awards: two first place and one honorable mention.

Preston Randall, senior visual communication design major, received first place in the “Design of the Year/Illustration” category with his piece “Until We Can Handshake Again.”

“I produced (this piece) for The Burr Magazine in the Spring of 2021 for an article that explored the difficulties caused by the pandemic and faced by journalists in the performance of their work,” Randall said. “I decided to illustrate this by depicting an erupting volcano with a reporter attempting to perform an interview in the midst of the eruption’s chaotic power.”

Image
Winning illustration

In reflection of his accomplishment, Randall recognized some challenges he faced when creating his winning piece.

“The magma and the people were definitely the areas I remember working on the most. It was difficult for me at the time to get the popping and viscous look of the magma right and the shape of the splashes took some trial and error,” Randall said.

Recent graduate Gianna DaPra, ’21, was also recognized for a piece she created during her time with TV2/KentWired titled “Makeup Madhouse,” a video profile of local business owner Carrie Esser. DaPra received first place for “Broadcast Story of the Year, Broadcast Feature Story."

 

 

“I completed this package for my advanced broadcast reporting class my junior year. I fine-tuned it a little bit this semester before sending it in,” DaPra said. “It was a really cool story because Carrie Esser (makeup guru) is a local sensation who is really making a brand for herself.”

DaPra is now a news reporter at WTOV9 in the Ohio Valley.

"I stayed local to really hone-in on my skills and learn all parts of a newsroom,” DaPra said.

She remains thankful for the student media program at Kent State for preparing her for her career.

“We are very fortunate at Kent State to have such a tight run news station andteachers who truly care about our journalism students,” DaPra said. “Without those two things, I feel like I wouldn’t know what I want to do in my journalism career. They are hands on and individually help you with anything you need.”

Graduate student Lyndsey Brennan was also recognized at the ACP conference in the category “Online: News or Features,” receiving honorable mention for her piece “2021 COVID-19 Coverage.”

Kevin Dilley, Director of Student Media at Kent State, is proud of his students’ accomplishments, but stays committed to keeping creativity at the core of what all Student Media workers do, regardless of whether or not they win awards. 

“We encourage students to create content in the way they think is the best. We don’t worry about awards at that point. However, we enter the best student work in as many contests as possible because it’s good for the students and Student Media,” Dilley said. “The students get to list awards won on their resumes, and for incoming students to Student Media, they can see the national awards and know right away that the expectations are set high for professional quality work in Student Media.”

Professor shares insight on Olympics viewership with New York Times
Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Tang Tang, Ph.D., professor in the College of Communication and Information at Kent State University, recently shared her expertise with the New York Times in the article "Beijing Olympic Ratings Were the Worst of Any Winter Games."

Over the years, Tang has made her mark internationally, researching the areas of social media strategies, modern technologies and sports — ranging from Esports to the Olympics. Related to the Olympics, she has researched the effects online activity has on viewership since 2008. She serves as an academic referee for the International Olympic Committee and has given keynote speeches at international conventions sharing her findings. Tang teaches in the School of Media and Journalism and the School of Emerging Media and Technology. 

“My sports communication research has focused on studying audience multi-platform experience during mega-sporting events, like the Olympics,” Tang said. “Most big sporting events have the potential to shape people’s public understanding of other cultures, social values, identities, and can impact our kind of society.”

In the Feb. 21, 2022 New York Times article, Tang commented that the Olympics brand is struggling — that many do not feel that emotional connection any more.

Read the New York Times articleRead more about Professor Tang

Professor shares insight on Olympics viewership with New York Times
Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Tang Tang, Ph.D., professor in the College of Communication and Information at Kent State University, recently shared her expertise with the New York Times in the article "Beijing Olympic Ratings Were the Worst of Any Winter Games."

Over the years, Tang has made her mark internationally, researching the areas of social media strategies, modern technologies and sports — ranging from Esports to the Olympics. Related to the Olympics, she has researched the effects online activity has on viewership since 2008. She serves as an academic referee for the International Olympic Committee and has given keynote speeches at international conventions sharing her findings. Tang teaches in the School of Media and Journalism and the School of Emerging Media and Technology. 

“My sports communication research has focused on studying audience multi-platform experience during mega-sporting events, like the Olympics,” Tang said. “Most big sporting events have the potential to shape people’s public understanding of other cultures, social values, identities, and can impact our kind of society.”

In the Feb. 21, 2022 New York Times article, Tang commented that the Olympics brand is struggling — that many do not feel that emotional connection any more.

Read the New York Times articleRead more about Professor Tang

Data in Emerging Media and Technology
Thursday, January 27, 2022

Movies and television take on a life of their own in the online world, and few know that better than Amber Cocchiola, ’22, a senior in Kent State University’s School of Emerging Media and Technology.

After a show or movie is released, dedicated fans flock to the online fanfiction community, Archive of Our Own, to spin their own stories — making changes, improvements, or just building out the imaginary world. Cocchiola saw this fan-created content as an opportunity to find out what fans want from entertainment media, and what the biggest studios like Disney, Netflix, DreamWorks and Warner Bros. may be missing.

She used skills learned in the course Data in Emerging Media and Technology to collect metadata from the fanfiction website.

“I scraped tags from Archive of Our Own in order to find out what people felt needed fixing across three fandoms,” Cocchiola said. “Using this, I gave a recommendation to show runners in order to create more satisfying endings.”

Her work is now published online, with step-by-step explanations of her process and the Python code used to accomplish the project.  The main findings: Audiences crave emotional relationships with media characters and want less reliance on action and more plots centered on characters and social dynamics.

Cocchiola was one of 16 students who published research online about digital media and society for the Fall 2021 course “Data in Emerging Media and Technology” taught by Assistant Professor David E. Silva, Ph.D. Each student chose what interested them the most about digital media, and their projects investigated a wide range of topics.

Several students, like Visual Communication Design major Alex Baumgarter, ’23, explored data related to gaming. He looked at the effect that Arcane, a Netflix show based off League of Legends, had on the popularity of the game and characters that were featured.

“I analyzed character pick rates and noted all of the trends that I saw before and after the release of Arcane, which was wildly popular,” Baumgartner said. “Throughout the course I learned a lot about the different methods for collecting data, as well as several careers dealing with data collection and analysis.”

Other gaming topics explored included junior Jacob Berman’s analysis of how developer updates to the game Rust influence the in-game item economy; senior Drew Baltzer’s exploration of the strategies free-to-play and pay-to-play game developers use to keep players with their games; and senior Daniel Hinz’s analysis of his own Fortnite performance based on his mood, play style and resources.

Students also explored:

Students used a variety of technical skills to complete their research including coding in Python, writing and publishing online using Jupyter Notebooks, wrangling data using the pandas library for Python, visualizing data using matplotlib, and conducting simple statistical analyses. These skills not only help build new knowledge about digital media, but position students to succeed in a data-centric and digital, technical economy.

“This class expanded my Python skills so I could scrape the page, organize the data, run stats tests, and collect the findings in one comprehensive document through a structured and iterative process,” Cocchiola said. 

 

Data in Emerging Media and Technology
Thursday, January 27, 2022

Movies and television take on a life of their own in the online world, and few know that better than Amber Cocchiola, ’22, a senior in Kent State University’s School of Emerging Media and Technology.

After a show or movie is released, dedicated fans flock to the online fanfiction community, Archive of Our Own, to spin their own stories — making changes, improvements, or just building out the imaginary world. Cocchiola saw this fan-created content as an opportunity to find out what fans want from entertainment media, and what the biggest studios like Disney, Netflix, DreamWorks and Warner Bros. may be missing.

She used skills learned in the course Data in Emerging Media and Technology to collect metadata from the fanfiction website.

“I scraped tags from Archive of Our Own in order to find out what people felt needed fixing across three fandoms,” Cocchiola said. “Using this, I gave a recommendation to show runners in order to create more satisfying endings.”

Her work is now published online, with step-by-step explanations of her process and the Python code used to accomplish the project.  The main findings: Audiences crave emotional relationships with media characters and want less reliance on action and more plots centered on characters and social dynamics.

Cocchiola was one of 16 students who published research online about digital media and society for the Fall 2021 course “Data in Emerging Media and Technology” taught by Assistant Professor David E. Silva, Ph.D. Each student chose what interested them the most about digital media, and their projects investigated a wide range of topics.

Several students, like Visual Communication Design major Alex Baumgarter, ’23, explored data related to gaming. He looked at the effect that Arcane, a Netflix show based off League of Legends, had on the popularity of the game and characters that were featured.

“I analyzed character pick rates and noted all of the trends that I saw before and after the release of Arcane, which was wildly popular,” Baumgartner said. “Throughout the course I learned a lot about the different methods for collecting data, as well as several careers dealing with data collection and analysis.”

Other gaming topics explored included junior Jacob Berman’s analysis of how developer updates to the game Rust influence the in-game item economy; senior Drew Baltzer’s exploration of the strategies free-to-play and pay-to-play game developers use to keep players with their games; and senior Daniel Hinz’s analysis of his own Fortnite performance based on his mood, play style and resources.

Students also explored:

Students used a variety of technical skills to complete their research including coding in Python, writing and publishing online using Jupyter Notebooks, wrangling data using the pandas library for Python, visualizing data using matplotlib, and conducting simple statistical analyses. These skills not only help build new knowledge about digital media, but position students to succeed in a data-centric and digital, technical economy.

“This class expanded my Python skills so I could scrape the page, organize the data, run stats tests, and collect the findings in one comprehensive document through a structured and iterative process,” Cocchiola said. 

 

Data in Emerging Media and Technology
Thursday, January 27, 2022

Movies and television take on a life of their own in the online world, and few know that better than Amber Cocchiola, ’22, a senior in Kent State University’s School of Emerging Media and Technology.

After a show or movie is released, dedicated fans flock to the online fanfiction community, Archive of Our Own, to spin their own stories — making changes, improvements, or just building out the imaginary world. Cocchiola saw this fan-created content as an opportunity to find out what fans want from entertainment media, and what the biggest studios like Disney, Netflix, DreamWorks and Warner Bros. may be missing.

She used skills learned in the course Data in Emerging Media and Technology to collect metadata from the fanfiction website.

“I scraped tags from Archive of Our Own in order to find out what people felt needed fixing across three fandoms,” Cocchiola said. “Using this, I gave a recommendation to show runners in order to create more satisfying endings.”

Her work is now published online, with step-by-step explanations of her process and the Python code used to accomplish the project.  The main findings: Audiences crave emotional relationships with media characters and want less reliance on action and more plots centered on characters and social dynamics.

Cocchiola was one of 16 students who published research online about digital media and society for the Fall 2021 course “Data in Emerging Media and Technology” taught by Assistant Professor David E. Silva, Ph.D. Each student chose what interested them the most about digital media, and their projects investigated a wide range of topics.

Several students, like Visual Communication Design major Alex Baumgarter, ’23, explored data related to gaming. He looked at the effect that Arcane, a Netflix show based off League of Legends, had on the popularity of the game and characters that were featured.

“I analyzed character pick rates and noted all of the trends that I saw before and after the release of Arcane, which was wildly popular,” Baumgartner said. “Throughout the course I learned a lot about the different methods for collecting data, as well as several careers dealing with data collection and analysis.”

Other gaming topics explored included junior Jacob Berman’s analysis of how developer updates to the game Rust influence the in-game item economy; senior Drew Baltzer’s exploration of the strategies free-to-play and pay-to-play game developers use to keep players with their games; and senior Daniel Hinz’s analysis of his own Fortnite performance based on his mood, play style and resources.

Students also explored:

Students used a variety of technical skills to complete their research including coding in Python, writing and publishing online using Jupyter Notebooks, wrangling data using the pandas library for Python, visualizing data using matplotlib, and conducting simple statistical analyses. These skills not only help build new knowledge about digital media, but position students to succeed in a data-centric and digital, technical economy.

“This class expanded my Python skills so I could scrape the page, organize the data, run stats tests, and collect the findings in one comprehensive document through a structured and iterative process,” Cocchiola said. 

 

Mike Bowen of Spotify talks to Emerging Media and Technology students , Mike Bowen of Spotify talks to Emerging Media and Technology students
Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The popular audio streaming service Spotify is known for the way it helps users seamlessly listen to the music and podcasts they love, and discover their future favorites.

Kent State alumnus Mike Bowen is part the company’s Experience Mission, with the goal of “enriching life with music and audio.” He currently works as Principal Quantitative User Researcher for Spotify out of Kent, Ohio.

Bowen, who graduated in 2003 with a degree in business and marketing, reconnected with Kent State recently, specifically the College of Communication and Information’s School of Emerging Media and Technology, to share his knowledge about data and analysis — how Spotify uses it and how students can prepare for their future careers.

This fall, Bowen partnered with Assistant Professor David Silva’s Data and Emerging Media and Technology class. Looking ahead, he is working with the School to build a potential pipeline of Kent State interns at Spotify beginning this summer.

We caught up with Bowen to discuss data at Spotify, careers and his work with Kent State students. The conversation has been lightly edited.

Tell us more about Spotify’s Experience Mission to ‘enrich life with music and audio’ and how you’re a part of it.

In practice, the “Experience Mission” is comprised of engineers, designers, product owners and researchers who look after the Spotify core mobile experience and partner platform experiences. 

At a high level, I use data to help guide and inspire product strategy broadly, as well as inform tactical feature implementation. In practice, I get to analyze lots of different types of data, from our first-party log data, to surveys and more.

What inspired you to share your experience with Kent State students?

I felt that through my experience I might have something useful to offer to students from my undergraduate alma mater who were thinking about data and analysis as a potential career path. The School of Emerging Media and Technology struck me as a very future oriented program that I wanted to be involved with. 

I also love the academic environment. The intersection of people who are in search of deeper truths, educating the next generation of thinkers and doers, and people just generally in pursuit of knowledge is really inspiring.

Spotify is known for using data to improve the platform and predict tastes in music. What are some things you’ve been able to share with Professor Silva’s Data class?

I have been in class a few times now.  During my first presentation, I shared an overview of how we think about data and analysis at Spotify, the different roles that researchers have in the organization and how broad the discipline actually is.  I also shared a case study of some work I had done recently that helped guide decision making through data.  

My second presentation was structured more like a workshop in which we started with a very ambiguous business question (which are very common in the professional world) and started to define it in a way that we can use data to actually address it and provide a useful answer. I wrapped up by taking students through a methodology and some potential datasets that we can analyze to provide some recommendations back to the business itself.

Now that you’ve worked with these students, what types of jobs do you think they’ll be prepared for?

Jobs in data and analysis are becoming increasingly in demand, and the Emerging Media and Technology program is laying the foundation for students to become what I call “full stack” quantitative researchers. 

This means understanding the role of technology in people’s lives from a human perspective, as well as going deep into the technical aspects of data, from writing dynamic code to wrangle messy data, to statistical modeling, to elegant data visualization and data storytelling to build empathy.

This summer, you’ll have your first Kent State intern for Spotify. What do you hope to see?

My hope is that the internship will not be “task-oriented” at all.  I want to work with the intern to identify a single significant question or challenge the business is facing, then spend the summer addressing it in a rigorous way with data and analysis that, by the end of the summer, can be shared with leadership. This means defining the problem space, designing a methodology, collecting and cleaning data, robust analysis and storytelling.  I want the intern to own the workstream from end to end, while I mentor and guide them throughout the process.  

Mike Bowen of Spotify talks to Emerging Media and Technology students , Mike Bowen of Spotify talks to Emerging Media and Technology students
Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The popular audio streaming service Spotify is known for the way it helps users seamlessly listen to the music and podcasts they love, and discover their future favorites.

Kent State alumnus Mike Bowen is part the company’s Experience Mission, with the goal of “enriching life with music and audio.” He currently works as Principal Quantitative User Researcher for Spotify out of Kent, Ohio.

Bowen, who graduated in 2003 with a degree in business and marketing, reconnected with Kent State recently, specifically the College of Communication and Information’s School of Emerging Media and Technology, to share his knowledge about data and analysis — how Spotify uses it and how students can prepare for their future careers.

This fall, Bowen partnered with Assistant Professor David Silva’s Data and Emerging Media and Technology class. Looking ahead, he is working with the School to build a potential pipeline of Kent State interns at Spotify beginning this summer.

We caught up with Bowen to discuss data at Spotify, careers and his work with Kent State students. The conversation has been lightly edited.

Tell us more about Spotify’s Experience Mission to ‘enrich life with music and audio’ and how you’re a part of it.

In practice, the “Experience Mission” is comprised of engineers, designers, product owners and researchers who look after the Spotify core mobile experience and partner platform experiences. 

At a high level, I use data to help guide and inspire product strategy broadly, as well as inform tactical feature implementation. In practice, I get to analyze lots of different types of data, from our first-party log data, to surveys and more.

What inspired you to share your experience with Kent State students?

I felt that through my experience I might have something useful to offer to students from my undergraduate alma mater who were thinking about data and analysis as a potential career path. The School of Emerging Media and Technology struck me as a very future oriented program that I wanted to be involved with. 

I also love the academic environment. The intersection of people who are in search of deeper truths, educating the next generation of thinkers and doers, and people just generally in pursuit of knowledge is really inspiring.

Spotify is known for using data to improve the platform and predict tastes in music. What are some things you’ve been able to share with Professor Silva’s Data class?

I have been in class a few times now.  During my first presentation, I shared an overview of how we think about data and analysis at Spotify, the different roles that researchers have in the organization and how broad the discipline actually is.  I also shared a case study of some work I had done recently that helped guide decision making through data.  

My second presentation was structured more like a workshop in which we started with a very ambiguous business question (which are very common in the professional world) and started to define it in a way that we can use data to actually address it and provide a useful answer. I wrapped up by taking students through a methodology and some potential datasets that we can analyze to provide some recommendations back to the business itself.

Now that you’ve worked with these students, what types of jobs do you think they’ll be prepared for?

Jobs in data and analysis are becoming increasingly in demand, and the Emerging Media and Technology program is laying the foundation for students to become what I call “full stack” quantitative researchers. 

This means understanding the role of technology in people’s lives from a human perspective, as well as going deep into the technical aspects of data, from writing dynamic code to wrangle messy data, to statistical modeling, to elegant data visualization and data storytelling to build empathy.

This summer, you’ll have your first Kent State intern for Spotify. What do you hope to see?

My hope is that the internship will not be “task-oriented” at all.  I want to work with the intern to identify a single significant question or challenge the business is facing, then spend the summer addressing it in a rigorous way with data and analysis that, by the end of the summer, can be shared with leadership. This means defining the problem space, designing a methodology, collecting and cleaning data, robust analysis and storytelling.  I want the intern to own the workstream from end to end, while I mentor and guide them throughout the process.  

Image of downtown Kent ice skating rink , downtown kent
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Kent State public relations seniors helped lay the groundwork for future partnerships between the university and the city of Kent. And today, many of their ideas are coming to life. 

Students in the Media and Journalism capstone course Public Relations Campaigns (taught by Professor Michele Ewing) partnered with the newly formed Kent State Office of University Outreach and Engagement as their client during the Spring 2021 semester. The office was established in June 2020 to enhance town-and-gown relationships with the city of Kent, among other things.

In teams of six, students worked on the public relations challenge to develop a communication campaign for the Office that would foster increased engagement and meaningful two-way communication among its target audiences: the city of Kent business community and K-12 pipeline partnerships.

Students shared what they learned and recommended at a virtual presentation to university and city leaders, including Dana Lawless-Andric, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of University Outreach and Engagement, who worked closely with the teams throughout the semester.

The partnership “couldn’t have been at a better time,” Lawless-Andric said. Because the office was newly established, students had a blank slate for creativity and offering input about public relations and communications strategy.

“It was really an ideal opportunity because there wasn't much done yet in terms of public relations strategy,” Ewing said. “So, for (the students) it was a valuable experience about what it’s like to be part of a start-up.”

Teams recommended tactics like social media content and online brand awareness. They also brainstormed ideas that would connect campus to downtown.

Public relations alumna Katie Thompson, ’21, now a marketing coordinator for Visit Dublin Ohio, was part of a team that recommended a downtown Kent welcome kit for incoming freshmen. Alumna Katie Null, '21, collegiate development consultant for Delta Gamma Fraternity, and her team suggested downtown events like football watch parties and tailgates, a freshman scavenger hunt and volunteer days.

These recommendations were based on research that indicated that students do not have much awareness of downtown Kent, aside from the bars. With that in mind, in 2021, the Office of University Outreach and Engagement was part of a Discover Downtown event during Welcome Week, to introduce new students to all that downtown offers.

Other teams also recommended tactics that are now in place or being explored:

  • A listserv that connects the university and area businesses now has more than 100 subscribers.
  • Opportunities for locally owned businesses to sponsor university initiatives have been created for the downtown winter attraction Kent Skates and Kent State Farmers’ Market last fall.
  • The university is exploring ways to establish a presence downtown through art. During Homecoming 2021, the parade route was painted; a mural is also being explored.

“One of the things I enjoyed the most ... was how open (the Office of University Outreach and Engagement) were to our ideas throughout the entire process. Since they were a newer addition to the university when they were our client, it gave us a lot of room to play around with what this department could become,” Thompson said.

Lawless-Andric said Discover Downtown and other initiatives that came from students’ research — from website and social media content, to email newsletters, to partnership programs — are now part of the office’s foundation and will be used in years to come.

“I think it's helped shape the bones of who we are,” she said. “And so from the beginning, because of the timing of this, it's helped us define and set us up in a way where the core of those project elements are part of what we do.”

Image
PR students on Zoom
Image
Alumni mentors

Above: Teams of students (top) met with alumni professional advisors (bottom) virtually as part of the Public Relations Campaigns course.

Because of the pandemic, most of the work the students did was virtual — working in teams, conducting focus groups, presenting their findings. This in-depth virtual work prepared them, Ewing said, for conducting virtual job searches and remote work. Thompson said her experience in the class also gave her a lot to talk about with future employers.

“The most prevalent experience was the leadership skills I gained during the process,” she said. “While the strategic communication and storytelling skills I learned have helped me tremendously in my current role, the confidence I gained in myself has been the most beneficial.”

And for Null, the experience prepared her for things like teamwork, budgeting, time management and research — all of which are part of her current role at Delta Gamma.

"I regularly write reports that are sent to upper level management and volunteers," she said, "and I can be confident in my writing skills and ability to form logical and realistic plans and goals for the Delta Gamma chapters that I work with."

Image of downtown Kent ice skating rink , downtown kent
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Kent State public relations seniors helped lay the groundwork for future partnerships between the university and the city of Kent. And today, many of their ideas are coming to life. 

Students in the Media and Journalism capstone course Public Relations Campaigns (taught by Professor Michele Ewing) partnered with the newly formed Kent State Office of University Outreach and Engagement as their client during the Spring 2021 semester. The office was established in June 2020 to enhance town-and-gown relationships with the city of Kent, among other things.

In teams of six, students worked on the public relations challenge to develop a communication campaign for the Office that would foster increased engagement and meaningful two-way communication among its target audiences: the city of Kent business community and K-12 pipeline partnerships.

Students shared what they learned and recommended at a virtual presentation to university and city leaders, including Dana Lawless-Andric, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of University Outreach and Engagement, who worked closely with the teams throughout the semester.

The partnership “couldn’t have been at a better time,” Lawless-Andric said. Because the office was newly established, students had a blank slate for creativity and offering input about public relations and communications strategy.

“It was really an ideal opportunity because there wasn't much done yet in terms of public relations strategy,” Ewing said. “So, for (the students) it was a valuable experience about what it’s like to be part of a start-up.”

Teams recommended tactics like social media content and online brand awareness. They also brainstormed ideas that would connect campus to downtown.

Public relations alumna Katie Thompson, ’21, now a marketing coordinator for Visit Dublin Ohio, was part of a team that recommended a downtown Kent welcome kit for incoming freshmen. Alumna Katie Null, '21, collegiate development consultant for Delta Gamma Fraternity, and her team suggested downtown events like football watch parties and tailgates, a freshman scavenger hunt and volunteer days.

These recommendations were based on research that indicated that students do not have much awareness of downtown Kent, aside from the bars. With that in mind, in 2021, the Office of University Outreach and Engagement was part of a Discover Downtown event during Welcome Week, to introduce new students to all that downtown offers.

Other teams also recommended tactics that are now in place or being explored:

  • A listserv that connects the university and area businesses now has more than 100 subscribers.
  • Opportunities for locally owned businesses to sponsor university initiatives have been created for the downtown winter attraction Kent Skates and Kent State Farmers’ Market last fall.
  • The university is exploring ways to establish a presence downtown through art. During Homecoming 2021, the parade route was painted; a mural is also being explored.

“One of the things I enjoyed the most ... was how open (the Office of University Outreach and Engagement) were to our ideas throughout the entire process. Since they were a newer addition to the university when they were our client, it gave us a lot of room to play around with what this department could become,” Thompson said.

Lawless-Andric said Discover Downtown and other initiatives that came from students’ research — from website and social media content, to email newsletters, to partnership programs — are now part of the office’s foundation and will be used in years to come.

“I think it's helped shape the bones of who we are,” she said. “And so from the beginning, because of the timing of this, it's helped us define and set us up in a way where the core of those project elements are part of what we do.”

Image
PR students on Zoom
Image
Alumni mentors

Above: Teams of students (top) met with alumni professional advisors (bottom) virtually as part of the Public Relations Campaigns course.

Because of the pandemic, most of the work the students did was virtual — working in teams, conducting focus groups, presenting their findings. This in-depth virtual work prepared them, Ewing said, for conducting virtual job searches and remote work. Thompson said her experience in the class also gave her a lot to talk about with future employers.

“The most prevalent experience was the leadership skills I gained during the process,” she said. “While the strategic communication and storytelling skills I learned have helped me tremendously in my current role, the confidence I gained in myself has been the most beneficial.”

And for Null, the experience prepared her for things like teamwork, budgeting, time management and research — all of which are part of her current role at Delta Gamma.

"I regularly write reports that are sent to upper level management and volunteers," she said, "and I can be confident in my writing skills and ability to form logical and realistic plans and goals for the Delta Gamma chapters that I work with."

Image of downtown Kent ice skating rink , downtown kent
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Kent State public relations seniors helped lay the groundwork for future partnerships between the university and the city of Kent. And today, many of their ideas are coming to life. 

Students in the Media and Journalism capstone course Public Relations Campaigns (taught by Professor Michele Ewing) partnered with the newly formed Kent State Office of University Outreach and Engagement as their client during the Spring 2021 semester. The office was established in June 2020 to enhance town-and-gown relationships with the city of Kent, among other things.

In teams of six, students worked on the public relations challenge to develop a communication campaign for the Office that would foster increased engagement and meaningful two-way communication among its target audiences: the city of Kent business community and K-12 pipeline partnerships.

Students shared what they learned and recommended at a virtual presentation to university and city leaders, including Dana Lawless-Andric, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of University Outreach and Engagement, who worked closely with the teams throughout the semester.

The partnership “couldn’t have been at a better time,” Lawless-Andric said. Because the office was newly established, students had a blank slate for creativity and offering input about public relations and communications strategy.

“It was really an ideal opportunity because there wasn't much done yet in terms of public relations strategy,” Ewing said. “So, for (the students) it was a valuable experience about what it’s like to be part of a start-up.”

Teams recommended tactics like social media content and online brand awareness. They also brainstormed ideas that would connect campus to downtown.

Public relations alumna Katie Thompson, ’21, now a marketing coordinator for Visit Dublin Ohio, was part of a team that recommended a downtown Kent welcome kit for incoming freshmen. Alumna Katie Null, '21, collegiate development consultant for Delta Gamma Fraternity, and her team suggested downtown events like football watch parties and tailgates, a freshman scavenger hunt and volunteer days.

These recommendations were based on research that indicated that students do not have much awareness of downtown Kent, aside from the bars. With that in mind, in 2021, the Office of University Outreach and Engagement was part of a Discover Downtown event during Welcome Week, to introduce new students to all that downtown offers.

Other teams also recommended tactics that are now in place or being explored:

  • A listserv that connects the university and area businesses now has more than 100 subscribers.
  • Opportunities for locally owned businesses to sponsor university initiatives have been created for the downtown winter attraction Kent Skates and Kent State Farmers’ Market last fall.
  • The university is exploring ways to establish a presence downtown through art. During Homecoming 2021, the parade route was painted; a mural is also being explored.

“One of the things I enjoyed the most ... was how open (the Office of University Outreach and Engagement) were to our ideas throughout the entire process. Since they were a newer addition to the university when they were our client, it gave us a lot of room to play around with what this department could become,” Thompson said.

Lawless-Andric said Discover Downtown and other initiatives that came from students’ research — from website and social media content, to email newsletters, to partnership programs — are now part of the office’s foundation and will be used in years to come.

“I think it's helped shape the bones of who we are,” she said. “And so from the beginning, because of the timing of this, it's helped us define and set us up in a way where the core of those project elements are part of what we do.”

Image
PR students on Zoom
Image
Alumni mentors

Above: Teams of students (top) met with alumni professional advisors (bottom) virtually as part of the Public Relations Campaigns course.

Because of the pandemic, most of the work the students did was virtual — working in teams, conducting focus groups, presenting their findings. This in-depth virtual work prepared them, Ewing said, for conducting virtual job searches and remote work. Thompson said her experience in the class also gave her a lot to talk about with future employers.

“The most prevalent experience was the leadership skills I gained during the process,” she said. “While the strategic communication and storytelling skills I learned have helped me tremendously in my current role, the confidence I gained in myself has been the most beneficial.”

And for Null, the experience prepared her for things like teamwork, budgeting, time management and research — all of which are part of her current role at Delta Gamma.

"I regularly write reports that are sent to upper level management and volunteers," she said, "and I can be confident in my writing skills and ability to form logical and realistic plans and goals for the Delta Gamma chapters that I work with."

Image of downtown Kent ice skating rink , downtown kent
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Kent State public relations seniors helped lay the groundwork for future partnerships between the university and the city of Kent. And today, many of their ideas are coming to life. 

Students in the Media and Journalism capstone course Public Relations Campaigns (taught by Professor Michele Ewing) partnered with the newly formed Kent State Office of University Outreach and Engagement as their client during the Spring 2021 semester. The office was established in June 2020 to enhance town-and-gown relationships with the city of Kent, among other things.

In teams of six, students worked on the public relations challenge to develop a communication campaign for the Office that would foster increased engagement and meaningful two-way communication among its target audiences: the city of Kent business community and K-12 pipeline partnerships.

Students shared what they learned and recommended at a virtual presentation to university and city leaders, including Dana Lawless-Andric, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of University Outreach and Engagement, who worked closely with the teams throughout the semester.

The partnership “couldn’t have been at a better time,” Lawless-Andric said. Because the office was newly established, students had a blank slate for creativity and offering input about public relations and communications strategy.

“It was really an ideal opportunity because there wasn't much done yet in terms of public relations strategy,” Ewing said. “So, for (the students) it was a valuable experience about what it’s like to be part of a start-up.”

Teams recommended tactics like social media content and online brand awareness. They also brainstormed ideas that would connect campus to downtown.

Public relations alumna Katie Thompson, ’21, now a marketing coordinator for Visit Dublin Ohio, was part of a team that recommended a downtown Kent welcome kit for incoming freshmen. Alumna Katie Null, '21, collegiate development consultant for Delta Gamma Fraternity, and her team suggested downtown events like football watch parties and tailgates, a freshman scavenger hunt and volunteer days.

These recommendations were based on research that indicated that students do not have much awareness of downtown Kent, aside from the bars. With that in mind, in 2021, the Office of University Outreach and Engagement was part of a Discover Downtown event during Welcome Week, to introduce new students to all that downtown offers.

Other teams also recommended tactics that are now in place or being explored:

  • A listserv that connects the university and area businesses now has more than 100 subscribers.
  • Opportunities for locally owned businesses to sponsor university initiatives have been created for the downtown winter attraction Kent Skates and Kent State Farmers’ Market last fall.
  • The university is exploring ways to establish a presence downtown through art. During Homecoming 2021, the parade route was painted; a mural is also being explored.

“One of the things I enjoyed the most ... was how open (the Office of University Outreach and Engagement) were to our ideas throughout the entire process. Since they were a newer addition to the university when they were our client, it gave us a lot of room to play around with what this department could become,” Thompson said.

Lawless-Andric said Discover Downtown and other initiatives that came from students’ research — from website and social media content, to email newsletters, to partnership programs — are now part of the office’s foundation and will be used in years to come.

“I think it's helped shape the bones of who we are,” she said. “And so from the beginning, because of the timing of this, it's helped us define and set us up in a way where the core of those project elements are part of what we do.”

Image
PR students on Zoom
Image
Alumni mentors

Above: Teams of students (top) met with alumni professional advisors (bottom) virtually as part of the Public Relations Campaigns course.

Because of the pandemic, most of the work the students did was virtual — working in teams, conducting focus groups, presenting their findings. This in-depth virtual work prepared them, Ewing said, for conducting virtual job searches and remote work. Thompson said her experience in the class also gave her a lot to talk about with future employers.

“The most prevalent experience was the leadership skills I gained during the process,” she said. “While the strategic communication and storytelling skills I learned have helped me tremendously in my current role, the confidence I gained in myself has been the most beneficial.”

And for Null, the experience prepared her for things like teamwork, budgeting, time management and research — all of which are part of her current role at Delta Gamma.

"I regularly write reports that are sent to upper level management and volunteers," she said, "and I can be confident in my writing skills and ability to form logical and realistic plans and goals for the Delta Gamma chapters that I work with."

Image of downtown Kent ice skating rink , downtown kent
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Kent State public relations seniors helped lay the groundwork for future partnerships between the university and the city of Kent. And today, many of their ideas are coming to life. 

Students in the Media and Journalism capstone course Public Relations Campaigns (taught by Professor Michele Ewing) partnered with the newly formed Kent State Office of University Outreach and Engagement as their client during the Spring 2021 semester. The office was established in June 2020 to enhance town-and-gown relationships with the city of Kent, among other things.

In teams of six, students worked on the public relations challenge to develop a communication campaign for the Office that would foster increased engagement and meaningful two-way communication among its target audiences: the city of Kent business community and K-12 pipeline partnerships.

Students shared what they learned and recommended at a virtual presentation to university and city leaders, including Dana Lawless-Andric, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of University Outreach and Engagement, who worked closely with the teams throughout the semester.

The partnership “couldn’t have been at a better time,” Lawless-Andric said. Because the office was newly established, students had a blank slate for creativity and offering input about public relations and communications strategy.

“It was really an ideal opportunity because there wasn't much done yet in terms of public relations strategy,” Ewing said. “So, for (the students) it was a valuable experience about what it’s like to be part of a start-up.”

Teams recommended tactics like social media content and online brand awareness. They also brainstormed ideas that would connect campus to downtown.

Public relations alumna Katie Thompson, ’21, now a marketing coordinator for Visit Dublin Ohio, was part of a team that recommended a downtown Kent welcome kit for incoming freshmen. Alumna Katie Null, '21, collegiate development consultant for Delta Gamma Fraternity, and her team suggested downtown events like football watch parties and tailgates, a freshman scavenger hunt and volunteer days.

These recommendations were based on research that indicated that students do not have much awareness of downtown Kent, aside from the bars. With that in mind, in 2021, the Office of University Outreach and Engagement was part of a Discover Downtown event during Welcome Week, to introduce new students to all that downtown offers.

Other teams also recommended tactics that are now in place or being explored:

  • A listserv that connects the university and area businesses now has more than 100 subscribers.
  • Opportunities for locally owned businesses to sponsor university initiatives have been created for the downtown winter attraction Kent Skates and Kent State Farmers’ Market last fall.
  • The university is exploring ways to establish a presence downtown through art. During Homecoming 2021, the parade route was painted; a mural is also being explored.

“One of the things I enjoyed the most ... was how open (the Office of University Outreach and Engagement) were to our ideas throughout the entire process. Since they were a newer addition to the university when they were our client, it gave us a lot of room to play around with what this department could become,” Thompson said.

Lawless-Andric said Discover Downtown and other initiatives that came from students’ research — from website and social media content, to email newsletters, to partnership programs — are now part of the office’s foundation and will be used in years to come.

“I think it's helped shape the bones of who we are,” she said. “And so from the beginning, because of the timing of this, it's helped us define and set us up in a way where the core of those project elements are part of what we do.”

Image
PR students on Zoom
Image
Alumni mentors

Above: Teams of students (top) met with alumni professional advisors (bottom) virtually as part of the Public Relations Campaigns course.

Because of the pandemic, most of the work the students did was virtual — working in teams, conducting focus groups, presenting their findings. This in-depth virtual work prepared them, Ewing said, for conducting virtual job searches and remote work. Thompson said her experience in the class also gave her a lot to talk about with future employers.

“The most prevalent experience was the leadership skills I gained during the process,” she said. “While the strategic communication and storytelling skills I learned have helped me tremendously in my current role, the confidence I gained in myself has been the most beneficial.”

And for Null, the experience prepared her for things like teamwork, budgeting, time management and research — all of which are part of her current role at Delta Gamma.

"I regularly write reports that are sent to upper level management and volunteers," she said, "and I can be confident in my writing skills and ability to form logical and realistic plans and goals for the Delta Gamma chapters that I work with."

Image of downtown Kent ice skating rink , downtown kent
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Kent State public relations seniors helped lay the groundwork for future partnerships between the university and the city of Kent. And today, many of their ideas are coming to life. 

Students in the Media and Journalism capstone course Public Relations Campaigns (taught by Professor Michele Ewing) partnered with the newly formed Kent State Office of University Outreach and Engagement as their client during the Spring 2021 semester. The office was established in June 2020 to enhance town-and-gown relationships with the city of Kent, among other things.

In teams of six, students worked on the public relations challenge to develop a communication campaign for the Office that would foster increased engagement and meaningful two-way communication among its target audiences: the city of Kent business community and K-12 pipeline partnerships.

Students shared what they learned and recommended at a virtual presentation to university and city leaders, including Dana Lawless-Andric, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of University Outreach and Engagement, who worked closely with the teams throughout the semester.

The partnership “couldn’t have been at a better time,” Lawless-Andric said. Because the office was newly established, students had a blank slate for creativity and offering input about public relations and communications strategy.

“It was really an ideal opportunity because there wasn't much done yet in terms of public relations strategy,” Ewing said. “So, for (the students) it was a valuable experience about what it’s like to be part of a start-up.”

Teams recommended tactics like social media content and online brand awareness. They also brainstormed ideas that would connect campus to downtown.

Public relations alumna Katie Thompson, ’21, now a marketing coordinator for Visit Dublin Ohio, was part of a team that recommended a downtown Kent welcome kit for incoming freshmen. Alumna Katie Null, '21, collegiate development consultant for Delta Gamma Fraternity, and her team suggested downtown events like football watch parties and tailgates, a freshman scavenger hunt and volunteer days.

These recommendations were based on research that indicated that students do not have much awareness of downtown Kent, aside from the bars. With that in mind, in 2021, the Office of University Outreach and Engagement was part of a Discover Downtown event during Welcome Week, to introduce new students to all that downtown offers.

Other teams also recommended tactics that are now in place or being explored:

  • A listserv that connects the university and area businesses now has more than 100 subscribers.
  • Opportunities for locally owned businesses to sponsor university initiatives have been created for the downtown winter attraction Kent Skates and Kent State Farmers’ Market last fall.
  • The university is exploring ways to establish a presence downtown through art. During Homecoming 2021, the parade route was painted; a mural is also being explored.

“One of the things I enjoyed the most ... was how open (the Office of University Outreach and Engagement) were to our ideas throughout the entire process. Since they were a newer addition to the university when they were our client, it gave us a lot of room to play around with what this department could become,” Thompson said.

Lawless-Andric said Discover Downtown and other initiatives that came from students’ research — from website and social media content, to email newsletters, to partnership programs — are now part of the office’s foundation and will be used in years to come.

“I think it's helped shape the bones of who we are,” she said. “And so from the beginning, because of the timing of this, it's helped us define and set us up in a way where the core of those project elements are part of what we do.”

Image
PR students on Zoom
Image
Alumni mentors

Above: Teams of students (top) met with alumni professional advisors (bottom) virtually as part of the Public Relations Campaigns course.

Because of the pandemic, most of the work the students did was virtual — working in teams, conducting focus groups, presenting their findings. This in-depth virtual work prepared them, Ewing said, for conducting virtual job searches and remote work. Thompson said her experience in the class also gave her a lot to talk about with future employers.

“The most prevalent experience was the leadership skills I gained during the process,” she said. “While the strategic communication and storytelling skills I learned have helped me tremendously in my current role, the confidence I gained in myself has been the most beneficial.”

And for Null, the experience prepared her for things like teamwork, budgeting, time management and research — all of which are part of her current role at Delta Gamma.

"I regularly write reports that are sent to upper level management and volunteers," she said, "and I can be confident in my writing skills and ability to form logical and realistic plans and goals for the Delta Gamma chapters that I work with."

Chad Lewis instructing a course , Students work on iPads , Student works on iPads
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

In today’s world of design and emerging technologies, digital production is a tool that’s widely used and here to stay. Assistant Professor Chad Lewis in the School of Visual Communication Design is incorporating these new technologies into the classroom to further develop students’ creative problem-solving abilities.  

Lewis earned his M.F.A. from VCD and joined the faculty in Fall 2020. In Fall 2021, he taught three courses, all of which incorporated new design technologies. 

One of the courses, Graphic Narratives, focused on all aspects of the comic making process. Lewis’ students worked with iPad Pros, Apple Pencils, and programs such as Procreate and Adobe Fresco. Using these technologies in combination with traditional Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator are enhancing the students' learning experience.  

“Digital production is used widely in professional comic making. This method of creating and editing without a reliance on paper vastly improves turnaround time and reduces the anxiety of edits on a tight schedule,” said Lewis.  

In terms of digital art production versus its traditional counterpart, Lewis said digital art tends to erase a lot of the “happy accidents” that happen in the creation process. Sometimes these happy accidents are what make great art, but it’s simple to undo or redo these accidents while creating digital art. Lewis discovered that students tend to find a happy medium between using portions of traditional art they create and digital art as they build one successful piece of work.  

Digital art also provides unique opportunities for learning that otherwise wouldn’t exist. A big standout for Lewis in another course, Editorial Illustration, is how students are using Procreate’s animation function to create GIFs (animated illustrations) . The ability for students to make a moving illustration is an exciting learning opportunity, and Lewis is elated with his students' results.  

Lewis’s favorite part about teaching with this new technology is the malleability it provides for students to discover even more visual solutions to the task at hand.  

“In my view, the goal of Visual Communication Design is to develop students who are creative problem solvers. When used effectively, this new technology allows even more malleability to find unique innovative visual solutions by bolstering the experimentation phase of creation,” said Lewis.  


Here is a selection of students' final projects from Professor Lewis's courses:

Chad Lewis instructing a course , Students work on iPads , Student works on iPads
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

In today’s world of design and emerging technologies, digital production is a tool that’s widely used and here to stay. Assistant Professor Chad Lewis in the School of Visual Communication Design is incorporating these new technologies into the classroom to further develop students’ creative problem-solving abilities.  

Lewis earned his M.F.A. from VCD and joined the faculty in Fall 2020. In Fall 2021, he taught three courses, all of which incorporated new design technologies. 

One of the courses, Graphic Narratives, focused on all aspects of the comic making process. Lewis’ students worked with iPad Pros, Apple Pencils, and programs such as Procreate and Adobe Fresco. Using these technologies in combination with traditional Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator are enhancing the students' learning experience.  

“Digital production is used widely in professional comic making. This method of creating and editing without a reliance on paper vastly improves turnaround time and reduces the anxiety of edits on a tight schedule,” said Lewis.  

In terms of digital art production versus its traditional counterpart, Lewis said digital art tends to erase a lot of the “happy accidents” that happen in the creation process. Sometimes these happy accidents are what make great art, but it’s simple to undo or redo these accidents while creating digital art. Lewis discovered that students tend to find a happy medium between using portions of traditional art they create and digital art as they build one successful piece of work.  

Digital art also provides unique opportunities for learning that otherwise wouldn’t exist. A big standout for Lewis in another course, Editorial Illustration, is how students are using Procreate’s animation function to create GIFs (animated illustrations) . The ability for students to make a moving illustration is an exciting learning opportunity, and Lewis is elated with his students' results.  

Lewis’s favorite part about teaching with this new technology is the malleability it provides for students to discover even more visual solutions to the task at hand.  

“In my view, the goal of Visual Communication Design is to develop students who are creative problem solvers. When used effectively, this new technology allows even more malleability to find unique innovative visual solutions by bolstering the experimentation phase of creation,” said Lewis.  


Here is a selection of students' final projects from Professor Lewis's courses:

Chad Lewis instructing a course , Students work on iPads , Student works on iPads
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

In today’s world of design and emerging technologies, digital production is a tool that’s widely used and here to stay. Assistant Professor Chad Lewis in the School of Visual Communication Design is incorporating these new technologies into the classroom to further develop students’ creative problem-solving abilities.  

Lewis earned his M.F.A. from VCD and joined the faculty in Fall 2020. In Fall 2021, he taught three courses, all of which incorporated new design technologies. 

One of the courses, Graphic Narratives, focused on all aspects of the comic making process. Lewis’ students worked with iPad Pros, Apple Pencils, and programs such as Procreate and Adobe Fresco. Using these technologies in combination with traditional Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator are enhancing the students' learning experience.  

“Digital production is used widely in professional comic making. This method of creating and editing without a reliance on paper vastly improves turnaround time and reduces the anxiety of edits on a tight schedule,” said Lewis.  

In terms of digital art production versus its traditional counterpart, Lewis said digital art tends to erase a lot of the “happy accidents” that happen in the creation process. Sometimes these happy accidents are what make great art, but it’s simple to undo or redo these accidents while creating digital art. Lewis discovered that students tend to find a happy medium between using portions of traditional art they create and digital art as they build one successful piece of work.  

Digital art also provides unique opportunities for learning that otherwise wouldn’t exist. A big standout for Lewis in another course, Editorial Illustration, is how students are using Procreate’s animation function to create GIFs (animated illustrations) . The ability for students to make a moving illustration is an exciting learning opportunity, and Lewis is elated with his students' results.  

Lewis’s favorite part about teaching with this new technology is the malleability it provides for students to discover even more visual solutions to the task at hand.  

“In my view, the goal of Visual Communication Design is to develop students who are creative problem solvers. When used effectively, this new technology allows even more malleability to find unique innovative visual solutions by bolstering the experimentation phase of creation,” said Lewis.  


Here is a selection of students' final projects from Professor Lewis's courses:

Chad Lewis instructing a course , Students work on iPads , Student works on iPads
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

In today’s world of design and emerging technologies, digital production is a tool that’s widely used and here to stay. Assistant Professor Chad Lewis in the School of Visual Communication Design is incorporating these new technologies into the classroom to further develop students’ creative problem-solving abilities.  

Lewis earned his M.F.A. from VCD and joined the faculty in Fall 2020. In Fall 2021, he taught three courses, all of which incorporated new design technologies. 

One of the courses, Graphic Narratives, focused on all aspects of the comic making process. Lewis’ students worked with iPad Pros, Apple Pencils, and programs such as Procreate and Adobe Fresco. Using these technologies in combination with traditional Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator are enhancing the students' learning experience.  

“Digital production is used widely in professional comic making. This method of creating and editing without a reliance on paper vastly improves turnaround time and reduces the anxiety of edits on a tight schedule,” said Lewis.  

In terms of digital art production versus its traditional counterpart, Lewis said digital art tends to erase a lot of the “happy accidents” that happen in the creation process. Sometimes these happy accidents are what make great art, but it’s simple to undo or redo these accidents while creating digital art. Lewis discovered that students tend to find a happy medium between using portions of traditional art they create and digital art as they build one successful piece of work.  

Digital art also provides unique opportunities for learning that otherwise wouldn’t exist. A big standout for Lewis in another course, Editorial Illustration, is how students are using Procreate’s animation function to create GIFs (animated illustrations) . The ability for students to make a moving illustration is an exciting learning opportunity, and Lewis is elated with his students' results.  

Lewis’s favorite part about teaching with this new technology is the malleability it provides for students to discover even more visual solutions to the task at hand.  

“In my view, the goal of Visual Communication Design is to develop students who are creative problem solvers. When used effectively, this new technology allows even more malleability to find unique innovative visual solutions by bolstering the experimentation phase of creation,” said Lewis.  


Here is a selection of students' final projects from Professor Lewis's courses:

Portrait of Tang Tang in office
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

As the world’s attention turns to the Olympic Games for the second time in 12 months, Kent State Professor Tang Tang’s research offers insight on how audience patterns of viewing major sporting events have changed over the last 12 years.

Tang, Ph.D., joined Kent State University in 2018 as the College of Communication and Information sought to hire in the area of new media technology, and she now teaches in the Schools of Media and Journalism and Emerging Media and Technology. As a researcher of communication in areas such as social media strategies, modern technologies and sports — ranging from Esports to the Olympics — Tang has made her mark internationally.

Related to the Olympics, Tang has researched the effects online activity has on viewership since 2008. She serves as an academic referee for the International Olympic Committee and has given keynote speeches at international conventions sharing her findings.

“My sports communication research has focused on studying audience multi-platform experience during mega-sporting events, like the Olympics,” Tang said. “Most big sporting events have the potential to shape people’s public understanding of other cultures, social values, identities, and can impact our kind of society.”

NBC had more than 3,600 hours of online Olympic coverage in 2008, she said. But four years later, at the 2012 London games, there was a 189 percent growth rate for online viewership. The trend has continued to rise and has led Tang to research other areas affecting viewership, including social media. Tang was interviewed by NPR during the recent Tokyo Olympics about how social media can be a turn-off for viewership because of potential spoilers due to varying streaming times across the globe.

“Instead of thinking about how to make audiences avoid spoilers, think about how to better create a mega-event Olympics appearance for audiences,” Tang said. “How to create those personal stories, how to make people express their national pride, maybe integrate some live games into the programming so audiences can watch live games rather than waiting for 12 hours after everyone else in the world already knows the results.”

Because of the amount of entertainment options, streaming services such as Disney+ are big Olympic competitors, breaking the emotional connection younger generations have to the games, Tang says. She and her team are wrapping up findings from this year and preparing for future tournaments.

In addition to her research on the Olympics and sports communication, Tang has co-authored two books on the topics of social media and media management.

“The Rowman & Littlefield Handbook of Media Management and Business” (co-author L. Meghan Mahoney) poses new practices to traditional methods of the media field and its role in various industries. It earned the Robert Picard Award for Books and Monographs at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2021.

“We combined some theory, and we also have a lot of case study examples,” Tang said. “We try to make management really practical, kind of giving us a practical concept, so basic students can learn from those case study examples.”

Her second book, “Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change,” also co-authored with Mahoney, introduces a similar approach of big-picture thinking as it relates to the social media market.

“What we propose as a book is to go back to communications theories, behavior-trend theories, and to talk about how we can create messages that will attract our audiences, and then make behavior change,” Tang said. “We want to kind of make a connection between marketing and social trends.”

The authors were invited by the book’s publishing company, Wiley, to write a second edition.

Tang speaks highly of the way her fellow faculty train students for today’s media landscape — combining reporting, writing and production skills. In her media entrepreneurship class, she urges students to think big picture.

“I really push students to think big pictures; to think forward – and they feel so uncomfortable,” she says. “I tell them, ‘No, you have the freedom to create a business or create a media product and (you are) going to make an impact.’ It could be just a small impact, it could be a large impact, but anything you can create, you can make an impact.”

Portrait of Tang Tang in office
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

As the world’s attention turns to the Olympic Games for the second time in 12 months, Kent State Professor Tang Tang’s research offers insight on how audience patterns of viewing major sporting events have changed over the last 12 years.

Tang, Ph.D., joined Kent State University in 2018 as the College of Communication and Information sought to hire in the area of new media technology, and she now teaches in the Schools of Media and Journalism and Emerging Media and Technology. As a researcher of communication in areas such as social media strategies, modern technologies and sports — ranging from Esports to the Olympics — Tang has made her mark internationally.

Related to the Olympics, Tang has researched the effects online activity has on viewership since 2008. She serves as an academic referee for the International Olympic Committee and has given keynote speeches at international conventions sharing her findings.

“My sports communication research has focused on studying audience multi-platform experience during mega-sporting events, like the Olympics,” Tang said. “Most big sporting events have the potential to shape people’s public understanding of other cultures, social values, identities, and can impact our kind of society.”

NBC had more than 3,600 hours of online Olympic coverage in 2008, she said. But four years later, at the 2012 London games, there was a 189 percent growth rate for online viewership. The trend has continued to rise and has led Tang to research other areas affecting viewership, including social media. Tang was interviewed by NPR during the recent Tokyo Olympics about how social media can be a turn-off for viewership because of potential spoilers due to varying streaming times across the globe.

“Instead of thinking about how to make audiences avoid spoilers, think about how to better create a mega-event Olympics appearance for audiences,” Tang said. “How to create those personal stories, how to make people express their national pride, maybe integrate some live games into the programming so audiences can watch live games rather than waiting for 12 hours after everyone else in the world already knows the results.”

Because of the amount of entertainment options, streaming services such as Disney+ are big Olympic competitors, breaking the emotional connection younger generations have to the games, Tang says. She and her team are wrapping up findings from this year and preparing for future tournaments.

In addition to her research on the Olympics and sports communication, Tang has co-authored two books on the topics of social media and media management.

“The Rowman & Littlefield Handbook of Media Management and Business” (co-author L. Meghan Mahoney) poses new practices to traditional methods of the media field and its role in various industries. It earned the Robert Picard Award for Books and Monographs at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2021.

“We combined some theory, and we also have a lot of case study examples,” Tang said. “We try to make management really practical, kind of giving us a practical concept, so basic students can learn from those case study examples.”

Her second book, “Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change,” also co-authored with Mahoney, introduces a similar approach of big-picture thinking as it relates to the social media market.

“What we propose as a book is to go back to communications theories, behavior-trend theories, and to talk about how we can create messages that will attract our audiences, and then make behavior change,” Tang said. “We want to kind of make a connection between marketing and social trends.”

The authors were invited by the book’s publishing company, Wiley, to write a second edition.

Tang speaks highly of the way her fellow faculty train students for today’s media landscape — combining reporting, writing and production skills. In her media entrepreneurship class, she urges students to think big picture.

“I really push students to think big pictures; to think forward – and they feel so uncomfortable,” she says. “I tell them, ‘No, you have the freedom to create a business or create a media product and (you are) going to make an impact.’ It could be just a small impact, it could be a large impact, but anything you can create, you can make an impact.”

Portrait of Tang Tang in office
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

As the world’s attention turns to the Olympic Games for the second time in 12 months, Kent State Professor Tang Tang’s research offers insight on how audience patterns of viewing major sporting events have changed over the last 12 years.

Tang, Ph.D., joined Kent State University in 2018 as the College of Communication and Information sought to hire in the area of new media technology, and she now teaches in the Schools of Media and Journalism and Emerging Media and Technology. As a researcher of communication in areas such as social media strategies, modern technologies and sports — ranging from Esports to the Olympics — Tang has made her mark internationally.

Related to the Olympics, Tang has researched the effects online activity has on viewership since 2008. She serves as an academic referee for the International Olympic Committee and has given keynote speeches at international conventions sharing her findings.

“My sports communication research has focused on studying audience multi-platform experience during mega-sporting events, like the Olympics,” Tang said. “Most big sporting events have the potential to shape people’s public understanding of other cultures, social values, identities, and can impact our kind of society.”

NBC had more than 3,600 hours of online Olympic coverage in 2008, she said. But four years later, at the 2012 London games, there was a 189 percent growth rate for online viewership. The trend has continued to rise and has led Tang to research other areas affecting viewership, including social media. Tang was interviewed by NPR during the recent Tokyo Olympics about how social media can be a turn-off for viewership because of potential spoilers due to varying streaming times across the globe.

“Instead of thinking about how to make audiences avoid spoilers, think about how to better create a mega-event Olympics appearance for audiences,” Tang said. “How to create those personal stories, how to make people express their national pride, maybe integrate some live games into the programming so audiences can watch live games rather than waiting for 12 hours after everyone else in the world already knows the results.”

Because of the amount of entertainment options, streaming services such as Disney+ are big Olympic competitors, breaking the emotional connection younger generations have to the games, Tang says. She and her team are wrapping up findings from this year and preparing for future tournaments.

In addition to her research on the Olympics and sports communication, Tang has co-authored two books on the topics of social media and media management.

“The Rowman & Littlefield Handbook of Media Management and Business” (co-author L. Meghan Mahoney) poses new practices to traditional methods of the media field and its role in various industries. It earned the Robert Picard Award for Books and Monographs at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2021.

“We combined some theory, and we also have a lot of case study examples,” Tang said. “We try to make management really practical, kind of giving us a practical concept, so basic students can learn from those case study examples.”

Her second book, “Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change,” also co-authored with Mahoney, introduces a similar approach of big-picture thinking as it relates to the social media market.

“What we propose as a book is to go back to communications theories, behavior-trend theories, and to talk about how we can create messages that will attract our audiences, and then make behavior change,” Tang said. “We want to kind of make a connection between marketing and social trends.”

The authors were invited by the book’s publishing company, Wiley, to write a second edition.

Tang speaks highly of the way her fellow faculty train students for today’s media landscape — combining reporting, writing and production skills. In her media entrepreneurship class, she urges students to think big picture.

“I really push students to think big pictures; to think forward – and they feel so uncomfortable,” she says. “I tell them, ‘No, you have the freedom to create a business or create a media product and (you are) going to make an impact.’ It could be just a small impact, it could be a large impact, but anything you can create, you can make an impact.”

Portrait of Tang Tang in office
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

As the world’s attention turns to the Olympic Games for the second time in 12 months, Kent State Professor Tang Tang’s research offers insight on how audience patterns of viewing major sporting events have changed over the last 12 years.

Tang, Ph.D., joined Kent State University in 2018 as the College of Communication and Information sought to hire in the area of new media technology, and she now teaches in the Schools of Media and Journalism and Emerging Media and Technology. As a researcher of communication in areas such as social media strategies, modern technologies and sports — ranging from Esports to the Olympics — Tang has made her mark internationally.

Related to the Olympics, Tang has researched the effects online activity has on viewership since 2008. She serves as an academic referee for the International Olympic Committee and has given keynote speeches at international conventions sharing her findings.

“My sports communication research has focused on studying audience multi-platform experience during mega-sporting events, like the Olympics,” Tang said. “Most big sporting events have the potential to shape people’s public understanding of other cultures, social values, identities, and can impact our kind of society.”

NBC had more than 3,600 hours of online Olympic coverage in 2008, she said. But four years later, at the 2012 London games, there was a 189 percent growth rate for online viewership. The trend has continued to rise and has led Tang to research other areas affecting viewership, including social media. Tang was interviewed by NPR during the recent Tokyo Olympics about how social media can be a turn-off for viewership because of potential spoilers due to varying streaming times across the globe.

“Instead of thinking about how to make audiences avoid spoilers, think about how to better create a mega-event Olympics appearance for audiences,” Tang said. “How to create those personal stories, how to make people express their national pride, maybe integrate some live games into the programming so audiences can watch live games rather than waiting for 12 hours after everyone else in the world already knows the results.”

Because of the amount of entertainment options, streaming services such as Disney+ are big Olympic competitors, breaking the emotional connection younger generations have to the games, Tang says. She and her team are wrapping up findings from this year and preparing for future tournaments.

In addition to her research on the Olympics and sports communication, Tang has co-authored two books on the topics of social media and media management.

“The Rowman & Littlefield Handbook of Media Management and Business” (co-author L. Meghan Mahoney) poses new practices to traditional methods of the media field and its role in various industries. It earned the Robert Picard Award for Books and Monographs at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2021.

“We combined some theory, and we also have a lot of case study examples,” Tang said. “We try to make management really practical, kind of giving us a practical concept, so basic students can learn from those case study examples.”

Her second book, “Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change,” also co-authored with Mahoney, introduces a similar approach of big-picture thinking as it relates to the social media market.

“What we propose as a book is to go back to communications theories, behavior-trend theories, and to talk about how we can create messages that will attract our audiences, and then make behavior change,” Tang said. “We want to kind of make a connection between marketing and social trends.”

The authors were invited by the book’s publishing company, Wiley, to write a second edition.

Tang speaks highly of the way her fellow faculty train students for today’s media landscape — combining reporting, writing and production skills. In her media entrepreneurship class, she urges students to think big picture.

“I really push students to think big pictures; to think forward – and they feel so uncomfortable,” she says. “I tell them, ‘No, you have the freedom to create a business or create a media product and (you are) going to make an impact.’ It could be just a small impact, it could be a large impact, but anything you can create, you can make an impact.”

Portrait of Tang Tang in office
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

As the world’s attention turns to the Olympic Games for the second time in 12 months, Kent State Professor Tang Tang’s research offers insight on how audience patterns of viewing major sporting events have changed over the last 12 years.

Tang, Ph.D., joined Kent State University in 2018 as the College of Communication and Information sought to hire in the area of new media technology, and she now teaches in the Schools of Media and Journalism and Emerging Media and Technology. As a researcher of communication in areas such as social media strategies, modern technologies and sports — ranging from Esports to the Olympics — Tang has made her mark internationally.

Related to the Olympics, Tang has researched the effects online activity has on viewership since 2008. She serves as an academic referee for the International Olympic Committee and has given keynote speeches at international conventions sharing her findings.

“My sports communication research has focused on studying audience multi-platform experience during mega-sporting events, like the Olympics,” Tang said. “Most big sporting events have the potential to shape people’s public understanding of other cultures, social values, identities, and can impact our kind of society.”

NBC had more than 3,600 hours of online Olympic coverage in 2008, she said. But four years later, at the 2012 London games, there was a 189 percent growth rate for online viewership. The trend has continued to rise and has led Tang to research other areas affecting viewership, including social media. Tang was interviewed by NPR during the recent Tokyo Olympics about how social media can be a turn-off for viewership because of potential spoilers due to varying streaming times across the globe.

“Instead of thinking about how to make audiences avoid spoilers, think about how to better create a mega-event Olympics appearance for audiences,” Tang said. “How to create those personal stories, how to make people express their national pride, maybe integrate some live games into the programming so audiences can watch live games rather than waiting for 12 hours after everyone else in the world already knows the results.”

Because of the amount of entertainment options, streaming services such as Disney+ are big Olympic competitors, breaking the emotional connection younger generations have to the games, Tang says. She and her team are wrapping up findings from this year and preparing for future tournaments.

In addition to her research on the Olympics and sports communication, Tang has co-authored two books on the topics of social media and media management.

“The Rowman & Littlefield Handbook of Media Management and Business” (co-author L. Meghan Mahoney) poses new practices to traditional methods of the media field and its role in various industries. It earned the Robert Picard Award for Books and Monographs at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2021.

“We combined some theory, and we also have a lot of case study examples,” Tang said. “We try to make management really practical, kind of giving us a practical concept, so basic students can learn from those case study examples.”

Her second book, “Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change,” also co-authored with Mahoney, introduces a similar approach of big-picture thinking as it relates to the social media market.

“What we propose as a book is to go back to communications theories, behavior-trend theories, and to talk about how we can create messages that will attract our audiences, and then make behavior change,” Tang said. “We want to kind of make a connection between marketing and social trends.”

The authors were invited by the book’s publishing company, Wiley, to write a second edition.

Tang speaks highly of the way her fellow faculty train students for today’s media landscape — combining reporting, writing and production skills. In her media entrepreneurship class, she urges students to think big picture.

“I really push students to think big pictures; to think forward – and they feel so uncomfortable,” she says. “I tell them, ‘No, you have the freedom to create a business or create a media product and (you are) going to make an impact.’ It could be just a small impact, it could be a large impact, but anything you can create, you can make an impact.”

Portrait of Tang Tang in office
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

As the world’s attention turns to the Olympic Games for the second time in 12 months, Kent State Professor Tang Tang’s research offers insight on how audience patterns of viewing major sporting events have changed over the last 12 years.

Tang, Ph.D., joined Kent State University in 2018 as the College of Communication and Information sought to hire in the area of new media technology, and she now teaches in the Schools of Media and Journalism and Emerging Media and Technology. As a researcher of communication in areas such as social media strategies, modern technologies and sports — ranging from Esports to the Olympics — Tang has made her mark internationally.

Related to the Olympics, Tang has researched the effects online activity has on viewership since 2008. She serves as an academic referee for the International Olympic Committee and has given keynote speeches at international conventions sharing her findings.

“My sports communication research has focused on studying audience multi-platform experience during mega-sporting events, like the Olympics,” Tang said. “Most big sporting events have the potential to shape people’s public understanding of other cultures, social values, identities, and can impact our kind of society.”

NBC had more than 3,600 hours of online Olympic coverage in 2008, she said. But four years later, at the 2012 London games, there was a 189 percent growth rate for online viewership. The trend has continued to rise and has led Tang to research other areas affecting viewership, including social media. Tang was interviewed by NPR during the recent Tokyo Olympics about how social media can be a turn-off for viewership because of potential spoilers due to varying streaming times across the globe.

“Instead of thinking about how to make audiences avoid spoilers, think about how to better create a mega-event Olympics appearance for audiences,” Tang said. “How to create those personal stories, how to make people express their national pride, maybe integrate some live games into the programming so audiences can watch live games rather than waiting for 12 hours after everyone else in the world already knows the results.”

Because of the amount of entertainment options, streaming services such as Disney+ are big Olympic competitors, breaking the emotional connection younger generations have to the games, Tang says. She and her team are wrapping up findings from this year and preparing for future tournaments.

In addition to her research on the Olympics and sports communication, Tang has co-authored two books on the topics of social media and media management.

“The Rowman & Littlefield Handbook of Media Management and Business” (co-author L. Meghan Mahoney) poses new practices to traditional methods of the media field and its role in various industries. It earned the Robert Picard Award for Books and Monographs at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2021.

“We combined some theory, and we also have a lot of case study examples,” Tang said. “We try to make management really practical, kind of giving us a practical concept, so basic students can learn from those case study examples.”

Her second book, “Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change,” also co-authored with Mahoney, introduces a similar approach of big-picture thinking as it relates to the social media market.

“What we propose as a book is to go back to communications theories, behavior-trend theories, and to talk about how we can create messages that will attract our audiences, and then make behavior change,” Tang said. “We want to kind of make a connection between marketing and social trends.”

The authors were invited by the book’s publishing company, Wiley, to write a second edition.

Tang speaks highly of the way her fellow faculty train students for today’s media landscape — combining reporting, writing and production skills. In her media entrepreneurship class, she urges students to think big picture.

“I really push students to think big pictures; to think forward – and they feel so uncomfortable,” she says. “I tell them, ‘No, you have the freedom to create a business or create a media product and (you are) going to make an impact.’ It could be just a small impact, it could be a large impact, but anything you can create, you can make an impact.”

Portrait of Mike Jackson
Monday, January 10, 2022

Kent State alumnus Mike Jackson, innovator and seasoned marketing communications executive, is joining Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism as a professional-in-residence this spring. Jackson will be teaching Advertising Strategy Development and Messaging and Communication. He will also serve as faculty adviser for Franklin Advertising, a student organization focused on advertising and strategic communication. 

Jackson earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from Kent State and his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He is the founder of 2050 Marketing, (www.2050Mktg.com), a consulting practice that helps clients, ranging from Fortune 500 brands to start-ups, navigate the changing demographics in America as they relate to advertising, brand building and digital strategies. Before beginning 2050 Marketing, Jackson built his career as a C-suite executive with senior leadership roles at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Coors Brewing and General Motors. 

"As an alum, Mike has served as a mentor to our students and he has had such a positive impact,” Dean of the College of Communication and Information Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., said. "We are so fortunate that he will now share his impressive experiences and his deep expertise with our students in the classroom. He is someone who is immersed in the future trends of the profession, and he is committed to student success." 

“I am very excited to join Dean Amy Reynolds and the team at the College of Communication and Information,” Jackson said. “My experiences as a young student at Kent State provided me with a strong foundation that enabled me to achieve personal and professional success. The opportunity to give back and share my insights, passions and experiences is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. The convergence of new media, technology and information on the business of advertising and communications is very exciting, and I look forward working with the Kent students, faculty and the administration.” 

Read more about Mike Jackson and his work

School of Media and Journalism Director Emily Metzgar, Ph.D., said she is excited about what Jackson will contribute to the faculty and the School. 

“We are so pleased to have Mike joining our faculty this semester,” she said. “His extensive professional experience and insights into the future of strategic communication will serve our students well and will help us shape our thinking about the professional and liberal arts training need as they prepare for careers in this vibrant field.” 

Portrait of Mike Jackson
Monday, January 10, 2022

Kent State alumnus Mike Jackson, innovator and seasoned marketing communications executive, is joining Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism as a professional-in-residence this spring. Jackson will be teaching Advertising Strategy Development and Messaging and Communication. He will also serve as faculty adviser for Franklin Advertising, a student organization focused on advertising and strategic communication. 

Jackson earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from Kent State and his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He is the founder of 2050 Marketing, (www.2050Mktg.com), a consulting practice that helps clients, ranging from Fortune 500 brands to start-ups, navigate the changing demographics in America as they relate to advertising, brand building and digital strategies. Before beginning 2050 Marketing, Jackson built his career as a C-suite executive with senior leadership roles at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Coors Brewing and General Motors. 

"As an alum, Mike has served as a mentor to our students and he has had such a positive impact,” Dean of the College of Communication and Information Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., said. "We are so fortunate that he will now share his impressive experiences and his deep expertise with our students in the classroom. He is someone who is immersed in the future trends of the profession, and he is committed to student success." 

“I am very excited to join Dean Amy Reynolds and the team at the College of Communication and Information,” Jackson said. “My experiences as a young student at Kent State provided me with a strong foundation that enabled me to achieve personal and professional success. The opportunity to give back and share my insights, passions and experiences is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. The convergence of new media, technology and information on the business of advertising and communications is very exciting, and I look forward working with the Kent students, faculty and the administration.” 

Read more about Mike Jackson and his work

School of Media and Journalism Director Emily Metzgar, Ph.D., said she is excited about what Jackson will contribute to the faculty and the School. 

“We are so pleased to have Mike joining our faculty this semester,” she said. “His extensive professional experience and insights into the future of strategic communication will serve our students well and will help us shape our thinking about the professional and liberal arts training need as they prepare for careers in this vibrant field.” 

Portrait of Mike Jackson
Monday, January 10, 2022

Kent State alumnus Mike Jackson, innovator and seasoned marketing communications executive, is joining Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism as a professional-in-residence this spring. Jackson will be teaching Advertising Strategy Development and Messaging and Communication. He will also serve as faculty adviser for Franklin Advertising, a student organization focused on advertising and strategic communication. 

Jackson earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from Kent State and his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He is the founder of 2050 Marketing, (www.2050Mktg.com), a consulting practice that helps clients, ranging from Fortune 500 brands to start-ups, navigate the changing demographics in America as they relate to advertising, brand building and digital strategies. Before beginning 2050 Marketing, Jackson built his career as a C-suite executive with senior leadership roles at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Coors Brewing and General Motors. 

"As an alum, Mike has served as a mentor to our students and he has had such a positive impact,” Dean of the College of Communication and Information Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., said. "We are so fortunate that he will now share his impressive experiences and his deep expertise with our students in the classroom. He is someone who is immersed in the future trends of the profession, and he is committed to student success." 

“I am very excited to join Dean Amy Reynolds and the team at the College of Communication and Information,” Jackson said. “My experiences as a young student at Kent State provided me with a strong foundation that enabled me to achieve personal and professional success. The opportunity to give back and share my insights, passions and experiences is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. The convergence of new media, technology and information on the business of advertising and communications is very exciting, and I look forward working with the Kent students, faculty and the administration.” 

Read more about Mike Jackson and his work

School of Media and Journalism Director Emily Metzgar, Ph.D., said she is excited about what Jackson will contribute to the faculty and the School. 

“We are so pleased to have Mike joining our faculty this semester,” she said. “His extensive professional experience and insights into the future of strategic communication will serve our students well and will help us shape our thinking about the professional and liberal arts training need as they prepare for careers in this vibrant field.” 

Portrait of Mike Jackson
Monday, January 10, 2022

Kent State alumnus Mike Jackson, innovator and seasoned marketing communications executive, is joining Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism as a professional-in-residence this spring. Jackson will be teaching Advertising Strategy Development and Messaging and Communication. He will also serve as faculty adviser for Franklin Advertising, a student organization focused on advertising and strategic communication. 

Jackson earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from Kent State and his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He is the founder of 2050 Marketing, (www.2050Mktg.com), a consulting practice that helps clients, ranging from Fortune 500 brands to start-ups, navigate the changing demographics in America as they relate to advertising, brand building and digital strategies. Before beginning 2050 Marketing, Jackson built his career as a C-suite executive with senior leadership roles at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Coors Brewing and General Motors. 

"As an alum, Mike has served as a mentor to our students and he has had such a positive impact,” Dean of the College of Communication and Information Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., said. "We are so fortunate that he will now share his impressive experiences and his deep expertise with our students in the classroom. He is someone who is immersed in the future trends of the profession, and he is committed to student success." 

“I am very excited to join Dean Amy Reynolds and the team at the College of Communication and Information,” Jackson said. “My experiences as a young student at Kent State provided me with a strong foundation that enabled me to achieve personal and professional success. The opportunity to give back and share my insights, passions and experiences is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. The convergence of new media, technology and information on the business of advertising and communications is very exciting, and I look forward working with the Kent students, faculty and the administration.” 

Read more about Mike Jackson and his work

School of Media and Journalism Director Emily Metzgar, Ph.D., said she is excited about what Jackson will contribute to the faculty and the School. 

“We are so pleased to have Mike joining our faculty this semester,” she said. “His extensive professional experience and insights into the future of strategic communication will serve our students well and will help us shape our thinking about the professional and liberal arts training need as they prepare for careers in this vibrant field.” 

Portrait of Mike Jackson
Monday, January 10, 2022

Kent State alumnus Mike Jackson, innovator and seasoned marketing communications executive, is joining Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism as a professional-in-residence this spring. Jackson will be teaching Advertising Strategy Development and Messaging and Communication. He will also serve as faculty adviser for Franklin Advertising, a student organization focused on advertising and strategic communication. 

Jackson earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from Kent State and his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He is the founder of 2050 Marketing, (www.2050Mktg.com), a consulting practice that helps clients, ranging from Fortune 500 brands to start-ups, navigate the changing demographics in America as they relate to advertising, brand building and digital strategies. Before beginning 2050 Marketing, Jackson built his career as a C-suite executive with senior leadership roles at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Coors Brewing and General Motors. 

"As an alum, Mike has served as a mentor to our students and he has had such a positive impact,” Dean of the College of Communication and Information Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., said. "We are so fortunate that he will now share his impressive experiences and his deep expertise with our students in the classroom. He is someone who is immersed in the future trends of the profession, and he is committed to student success." 

“I am very excited to join Dean Amy Reynolds and the team at the College of Communication and Information,” Jackson said. “My experiences as a young student at Kent State provided me with a strong foundation that enabled me to achieve personal and professional success. The opportunity to give back and share my insights, passions and experiences is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. The convergence of new media, technology and information on the business of advertising and communications is very exciting, and I look forward working with the Kent students, faculty and the administration.” 

Read more about Mike Jackson and his work

School of Media and Journalism Director Emily Metzgar, Ph.D., said she is excited about what Jackson will contribute to the faculty and the School. 

“We are so pleased to have Mike joining our faculty this semester,” she said. “His extensive professional experience and insights into the future of strategic communication will serve our students well and will help us shape our thinking about the professional and liberal arts training need as they prepare for careers in this vibrant field.” 

Portrait of Mike Jackson
Monday, January 10, 2022

Kent State alumnus Mike Jackson, innovator and seasoned marketing communications executive, is joining Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism as a professional-in-residence this spring. Jackson will be teaching Advertising Strategy Development and Messaging and Communication. He will also serve as faculty adviser for Franklin Advertising, a student organization focused on advertising and strategic communication. 

Jackson earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from Kent State and his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He is the founder of 2050 Marketing, (www.2050Mktg.com), a consulting practice that helps clients, ranging from Fortune 500 brands to start-ups, navigate the changing demographics in America as they relate to advertising, brand building and digital strategies. Before beginning 2050 Marketing, Jackson built his career as a C-suite executive with senior leadership roles at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Coors Brewing and General Motors. 

"As an alum, Mike has served as a mentor to our students and he has had such a positive impact,” Dean of the College of Communication and Information Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., said. "We are so fortunate that he will now share his impressive experiences and his deep expertise with our students in the classroom. He is someone who is immersed in the future trends of the profession, and he is committed to student success." 

“I am very excited to join Dean Amy Reynolds and the team at the College of Communication and Information,” Jackson said. “My experiences as a young student at Kent State provided me with a strong foundation that enabled me to achieve personal and professional success. The opportunity to give back and share my insights, passions and experiences is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. The convergence of new media, technology and information on the business of advertising and communications is very exciting, and I look forward working with the Kent students, faculty and the administration.” 

Read more about Mike Jackson and his work

School of Media and Journalism Director Emily Metzgar, Ph.D., said she is excited about what Jackson will contribute to the faculty and the School. 

“We are so pleased to have Mike joining our faculty this semester,” she said. “His extensive professional experience and insights into the future of strategic communication will serve our students well and will help us shape our thinking about the professional and liberal arts training need as they prepare for careers in this vibrant field.” 

Photo of student taking photo
Thursday, January 06, 2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced students and faculty at Kent State to learn and work remotely in spring of 2020, students in the School of Media and Journalism were at risk of losing internships. As a response to the developing situation, the School organized a project called the Collaborative NewsLab to provide students with real world work experience, while newsrooms, hit with unprecedented financial challenges, were resorting to layoffs and furloughs.  

Fast-forward a year-and-a-half, and the NewsLab continues to operate under the direction of newsroom adviser and Professor Susan Kirkman Zake. The operation, housed out of the Franklin Hall newsroom, assists newsrooms across Northeast Ohio through the work of Kent State journalism students. The results have been positive so far, she says.  

“It's a mutually beneficial arrangement,” Zake said. “They get help. But they also are helping us get students relevant professional experiences, and that's getting harder and harder to come by. One of the things we were looking at when we kind of created NewsLab, you know, out of the dust really, was that because of COVID, internship opportunities were just going away; job opportunities were, for that first year, really slim.” 

The NewsLab partners with various news outlets in Northeast Ohio, including WKSU, The Land, The Portager, Cleveland Documenters and Your Voice Ohio. The work is often picked up by other collaborative partners in Ohio — since NewsLab’s inception, more than 20 students have been published in more than 20 media outlets. 

Image
Students working in field

The partnership began at a particularly beneficial time for The Portager, a virtual news outlet founded by journalism alumnus Ben Wolford, ‘11, that covers Portage County.  

When he launched the digital publication in March of 2020, there were virtually no financial resources to fund operations. The introduction of the NewsLab was an opportunity to get stories for student workers while simultaneously producing local content for Wolford’s newsroom.  

“To cover a county the size of Portage County with 160,000 residents in 18 cities and townships, there's just no way we were going to get to everything,” Wolford said. “When Sue Zake approached me about her idea to start a kind of news lab for students in the journalism program, it was pretty obvious that this is something we were going to want to get involved with.  

“I've known Sue since I was in school, so to work with her … I would have done it anyway. But this is genuinely useful for us. They were able to send student reporters to meetings that that simply would not have been covered, particularly like Election Day coverage.” 

Journalism major Owen MacMillan, ‘22, has been working for NewsLab since June 2021. He has worked on several assignments throughout Portage County for The Portager, and has attended numerous city council and school board meetings. MacMillan said this type of experience is broader than his previous work in Kent State Student Media. He said the NewsLab provides opportunities for students to venture into the local community to gain exposure to local coverage.  

“I think that students (should) be involved in their community as a whole,” MacMillan said, “rather than just stuck on campus in a bubble. And having the school be separate from the community it's in is not a bad thing. … I think it's always good to be as involved in that broader community as you can be.” 

Journalism alumna Paige Bennett, ‘20, graduated in the early days of the pandemic and was one of the first NewsLab interns. She covered issues for The Land, a local news startup that reports on Cleveland's neighborhoods and inner ring suburbs. Reporting at a neighborhood level allowed her to develop expert public policy reporting skills. In November 2020, she was hired as a full-time reporter at the Canton Repository. Her experience with NewsLab prepared her for that job. 

“Working for NewsLab provided me with valuable experience that allowed me to use the reporting skills I developed in my classes and Student Media,” Bennett said.

“I covered a variety of issues, ranging from housing development to local government. NewsLab helped significantly in my job search because I was able to show potential employers I had real-world reporting experience.” 

Photo of student taking photo
Thursday, January 06, 2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced students and faculty at Kent State to learn and work remotely in spring of 2020, students in the School of Media and Journalism were at risk of losing internships. As a response to the developing situation, the School organized a project called the Collaborative NewsLab to provide students with real world work experience, while newsrooms, hit with unprecedented financial challenges, were resorting to layoffs and furloughs.  

Fast-forward a year-and-a-half, and the NewsLab continues to operate under the direction of newsroom adviser and Professor Susan Kirkman Zake. The operation, housed out of the Franklin Hall newsroom, assists newsrooms across Northeast Ohio through the work of Kent State journalism students. The results have been positive so far, she says.  

“It's a mutually beneficial arrangement,” Zake said. “They get help. But they also are helping us get students relevant professional experiences, and that's getting harder and harder to come by. One of the things we were looking at when we kind of created NewsLab, you know, out of the dust really, was that because of COVID, internship opportunities were just going away; job opportunities were, for that first year, really slim.” 

The NewsLab partners with various news outlets in Northeast Ohio, including WKSU, The Land, The Portager, Cleveland Documenters and Your Voice Ohio. The work is often picked up by other collaborative partners in Ohio — since NewsLab’s inception, more than 20 students have been published in more than 20 media outlets. 

Image
Students working in field

The partnership began at a particularly beneficial time for The Portager, a virtual news outlet founded by journalism alumnus Ben Wolford, ‘11, that covers Portage County.  

When he launched the digital publication in March of 2020, there were virtually no financial resources to fund operations. The introduction of the NewsLab was an opportunity to get stories for student workers while simultaneously producing local content for Wolford’s newsroom.  

“To cover a county the size of Portage County with 160,000 residents in 18 cities and townships, there's just no way we were going to get to everything,” Wolford said. “When Sue Zake approached me about her idea to start a kind of news lab for students in the journalism program, it was pretty obvious that this is something we were going to want to get involved with.  

“I've known Sue since I was in school, so to work with her … I would have done it anyway. But this is genuinely useful for us. They were able to send student reporters to meetings that that simply would not have been covered, particularly like Election Day coverage.” 

Journalism major Owen MacMillan, ‘22, has been working for NewsLab since June 2021. He has worked on several assignments throughout Portage County for The Portager, and has attended numerous city council and school board meetings. MacMillan said this type of experience is broader than his previous work in Kent State Student Media. He said the NewsLab provides opportunities for students to venture into the local community to gain exposure to local coverage.  

“I think that students (should) be involved in their community as a whole,” MacMillan said, “rather than just stuck on campus in a bubble. And having the school be separate from the community it's in is not a bad thing. … I think it's always good to be as involved in that broader community as you can be.” 

Journalism alumna Paige Bennett, ‘20, graduated in the early days of the pandemic and was one of the first NewsLab interns. She covered issues for The Land, a local news startup that reports on Cleveland's neighborhoods and inner ring suburbs. Reporting at a neighborhood level allowed her to develop expert public policy reporting skills. In November 2020, she was hired as a full-time reporter at the Canton Repository. Her experience with NewsLab prepared her for that job. 

“Working for NewsLab provided me with valuable experience that allowed me to use the reporting skills I developed in my classes and Student Media,” Bennett said.

“I covered a variety of issues, ranging from housing development to local government. NewsLab helped significantly in my job search because I was able to show potential employers I had real-world reporting experience.” 

Photo of student taking photo
Thursday, January 06, 2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced students and faculty at Kent State to learn and work remotely in spring of 2020, students in the School of Media and Journalism were at risk of losing internships. As a response to the developing situation, the School organized a project called the Collaborative NewsLab to provide students with real world work experience, while newsrooms, hit with unprecedented financial challenges, were resorting to layoffs and furloughs.  

Fast-forward a year-and-a-half, and the NewsLab continues to operate under the direction of newsroom adviser and Professor Susan Kirkman Zake. The operation, housed out of the Franklin Hall newsroom, assists newsrooms across Northeast Ohio through the work of Kent State journalism students. The results have been positive so far, she says.  

“It's a mutually beneficial arrangement,” Zake said. “They get help. But they also are helping us get students relevant professional experiences, and that's getting harder and harder to come by. One of the things we were looking at when we kind of created NewsLab, you know, out of the dust really, was that because of COVID, internship opportunities were just going away; job opportunities were, for that first year, really slim.” 

The NewsLab partners with various news outlets in Northeast Ohio, including WKSU, The Land, The Portager, Cleveland Documenters and Your Voice Ohio. The work is often picked up by other collaborative partners in Ohio — since NewsLab’s inception, more than 20 students have been published in more than 20 media outlets. 

Image
Students working in field

The partnership began at a particularly beneficial time for The Portager, a virtual news outlet founded by journalism alumnus Ben Wolford, ‘11, that covers Portage County.  

When he launched the digital publication in March of 2020, there were virtually no financial resources to fund operations. The introduction of the NewsLab was an opportunity to get stories for student workers while simultaneously producing local content for Wolford’s newsroom.  

“To cover a county the size of Portage County with 160,000 residents in 18 cities and townships, there's just no way we were going to get to everything,” Wolford said. “When Sue Zake approached me about her idea to start a kind of news lab for students in the journalism program, it was pretty obvious that this is something we were going to want to get involved with.  

“I've known Sue since I was in school, so to work with her … I would have done it anyway. But this is genuinely useful for us. They were able to send student reporters to meetings that that simply would not have been covered, particularly like Election Day coverage.” 

Journalism major Owen MacMillan, ‘22, has been working for NewsLab since June 2021. He has worked on several assignments throughout Portage County for The Portager, and has attended numerous city council and school board meetings. MacMillan said this type of experience is broader than his previous work in Kent State Student Media. He said the NewsLab provides opportunities for students to venture into the local community to gain exposure to local coverage.  

“I think that students (should) be involved in their community as a whole,” MacMillan said, “rather than just stuck on campus in a bubble. And having the school be separate from the community it's in is not a bad thing. … I think it's always good to be as involved in that broader community as you can be.” 

Journalism alumna Paige Bennett, ‘20, graduated in the early days of the pandemic and was one of the first NewsLab interns. She covered issues for The Land, a local news startup that reports on Cleveland's neighborhoods and inner ring suburbs. Reporting at a neighborhood level allowed her to develop expert public policy reporting skills. In November 2020, she was hired as a full-time reporter at the Canton Repository. Her experience with NewsLab prepared her for that job. 

“Working for NewsLab provided me with valuable experience that allowed me to use the reporting skills I developed in my classes and Student Media,” Bennett said.

“I covered a variety of issues, ranging from housing development to local government. NewsLab helped significantly in my job search because I was able to show potential employers I had real-world reporting experience.” 

Photo of student taking photo
Thursday, January 06, 2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced students and faculty at Kent State to learn and work remotely in spring of 2020, students in the School of Media and Journalism were at risk of losing internships. As a response to the developing situation, the School organized a project called the Collaborative NewsLab to provide students with real world work experience, while newsrooms, hit with unprecedented financial challenges, were resorting to layoffs and furloughs.  

Fast-forward a year-and-a-half, and the NewsLab continues to operate under the direction of newsroom adviser and Professor Susan Kirkman Zake. The operation, housed out of the Franklin Hall newsroom, assists newsrooms across Northeast Ohio through the work of Kent State journalism students. The results have been positive so far, she says.  

“It's a mutually beneficial arrangement,” Zake said. “They get help. But they also are helping us get students relevant professional experiences, and that's getting harder and harder to come by. One of the things we were looking at when we kind of created NewsLab, you know, out of the dust really, was that because of COVID, internship opportunities were just going away; job opportunities were, for that first year, really slim.” 

The NewsLab partners with various news outlets in Northeast Ohio, including WKSU, The Land, The Portager, Cleveland Documenters and Your Voice Ohio. The work is often picked up by other collaborative partners in Ohio — since NewsLab’s inception, more than 20 students have been published in more than 20 media outlets. 

Image
Students working in field

The partnership began at a particularly beneficial time for The Portager, a virtual news outlet founded by journalism alumnus Ben Wolford, ‘11, that covers Portage County.  

When he launched the digital publication in March of 2020, there were virtually no financial resources to fund operations. The introduction of the NewsLab was an opportunity to get stories for student workers while simultaneously producing local content for Wolford’s newsroom.  

“To cover a county the size of Portage County with 160,000 residents in 18 cities and townships, there's just no way we were going to get to everything,” Wolford said. “When Sue Zake approached me about her idea to start a kind of news lab for students in the journalism program, it was pretty obvious that this is something we were going to want to get involved with.  

“I've known Sue since I was in school, so to work with her … I would have done it anyway. But this is genuinely useful for us. They were able to send student reporters to meetings that that simply would not have been covered, particularly like Election Day coverage.” 

Journalism major Owen MacMillan, ‘22, has been working for NewsLab since June 2021. He has worked on several assignments throughout Portage County for The Portager, and has attended numerous city council and school board meetings. MacMillan said this type of experience is broader than his previous work in Kent State Student Media. He said the NewsLab provides opportunities for students to venture into the local community to gain exposure to local coverage.  

“I think that students (should) be involved in their community as a whole,” MacMillan said, “rather than just stuck on campus in a bubble. And having the school be separate from the community it's in is not a bad thing. … I think it's always good to be as involved in that broader community as you can be.” 

Journalism alumna Paige Bennett, ‘20, graduated in the early days of the pandemic and was one of the first NewsLab interns. She covered issues for The Land, a local news startup that reports on Cleveland's neighborhoods and inner ring suburbs. Reporting at a neighborhood level allowed her to develop expert public policy reporting skills. In November 2020, she was hired as a full-time reporter at the Canton Repository. Her experience with NewsLab prepared her for that job. 

“Working for NewsLab provided me with valuable experience that allowed me to use the reporting skills I developed in my classes and Student Media,” Bennett said.

“I covered a variety of issues, ranging from housing development to local government. NewsLab helped significantly in my job search because I was able to show potential employers I had real-world reporting experience.” 

Photo of student taking photo
Thursday, January 06, 2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced students and faculty at Kent State to learn and work remotely in spring of 2020, students in the School of Media and Journalism were at risk of losing internships. As a response to the developing situation, the School organized a project called the Collaborative NewsLab to provide students with real world work experience, while newsrooms, hit with unprecedented financial challenges, were resorting to layoffs and furloughs.  

Fast-forward a year-and-a-half, and the NewsLab continues to operate under the direction of newsroom adviser and Professor Susan Kirkman Zake. The operation, housed out of the Franklin Hall newsroom, assists newsrooms across Northeast Ohio through the work of Kent State journalism students. The results have been positive so far, she says.  

“It's a mutually beneficial arrangement,” Zake said. “They get help. But they also are helping us get students relevant professional experiences, and that's getting harder and harder to come by. One of the things we were looking at when we kind of created NewsLab, you know, out of the dust really, was that because of COVID, internship opportunities were just going away; job opportunities were, for that first year, really slim.” 

The NewsLab partners with various news outlets in Northeast Ohio, including WKSU, The Land, The Portager, Cleveland Documenters and Your Voice Ohio. The work is often picked up by other collaborative partners in Ohio — since NewsLab’s inception, more than 20 students have been published in more than 20 media outlets. 

Image
Students working in field

The partnership began at a particularly beneficial time for The Portager, a virtual news outlet founded by journalism alumnus Ben Wolford, ‘11, that covers Portage County.  

When he launched the digital publication in March of 2020, there were virtually no financial resources to fund operations. The introduction of the NewsLab was an opportunity to get stories for student workers while simultaneously producing local content for Wolford’s newsroom.  

“To cover a county the size of Portage County with 160,000 residents in 18 cities and townships, there's just no way we were going to get to everything,” Wolford said. “When Sue Zake approached me about her idea to start a kind of news lab for students in the journalism program, it was pretty obvious that this is something we were going to want to get involved with.  

“I've known Sue since I was in school, so to work with her … I would have done it anyway. But this is genuinely useful for us. They were able to send student reporters to meetings that that simply would not have been covered, particularly like Election Day coverage.” 

Journalism major Owen MacMillan, ‘22, has been working for NewsLab since June 2021. He has worked on several assignments throughout Portage County for The Portager, and has attended numerous city council and school board meetings. MacMillan said this type of experience is broader than his previous work in Kent State Student Media. He said the NewsLab provides opportunities for students to venture into the local community to gain exposure to local coverage.  

“I think that students (should) be involved in their community as a whole,” MacMillan said, “rather than just stuck on campus in a bubble. And having the school be separate from the community it's in is not a bad thing. … I think it's always good to be as involved in that broader community as you can be.” 

Journalism alumna Paige Bennett, ‘20, graduated in the early days of the pandemic and was one of the first NewsLab interns. She covered issues for The Land, a local news startup that reports on Cleveland's neighborhoods and inner ring suburbs. Reporting at a neighborhood level allowed her to develop expert public policy reporting skills. In November 2020, she was hired as a full-time reporter at the Canton Repository. Her experience with NewsLab prepared her for that job. 

“Working for NewsLab provided me with valuable experience that allowed me to use the reporting skills I developed in my classes and Student Media,” Bennett said.

“I covered a variety of issues, ranging from housing development to local government. NewsLab helped significantly in my job search because I was able to show potential employers I had real-world reporting experience.” 

Mary Jo Spletzer, '10, alumni spotlight, Public Relations Manager, Atlantis Resorts Dubai
Thursday, January 06, 2022

A degree from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism can lead to opportunities to work across fields and businesses — and all over the world. Alumna Mary Jo Spletzer, ’10, has used what she learned as a public relations major to make her mark at Atlantis Resorts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  

Spletzer met the man who would become her husband — an exchange student from Germany — during her senior year, so “it was inevitable that I ended up living and working outside of the U.S.”  But she began her career locally at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron working in internal communications. She also spent time on public relations teams at the J.M. Smucker Company and Marcus Thomas before moving to London in 2016. For a little over a year now, she has led global public relations campaigns for Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai. Spletzer said she credits her education at Kent State for providing the skills needed to work professionally and switch between industries and countries.  

“Without a doubt,” Spletzer said, “it would not have been as easy to switch between multiple industries without the foundational skills that the public relations major instilled in me. I am always confident that no matter what I am working on, I know what it takes to communicate strategically.” 

At Atlantis, The Palm, Spletzer splits her time between traditional media relations and content creation. 

“I help sell the extraordinary experiences at the resort, but I have a ton of trust in my customer-facing colleagues to deliver those experiences," she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to participate in some of these experiences myself, whether that’s diving with sharks in our Ambassador Lagoon or enjoying a spectacular meal at one of our restaurants, and this makes me proud to share these with media because I understand first-hand all of the amazing things you can do at Atlantis.”

At Atlantis, the public relations team is also responsible for all filming that takes place at the resort — travel shows, news programs, documentaries, etc. — so Spletzer has gained new skills in coordinating television production. She recently worked on a program with Discovery+ that will air in early 2022.

And, like professionals in any industry, the past two years, Spletzer and her team have continually adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the hospitality industry with the need to constantly enforce new health procedures to assure the safety of the guests.  

“Working in the hospitality industry, the biggest takeaway is to be flexible,” Spletzer said, “especially in the middle of a pandemic. We must continuously adjust to new travel regulations and change our focus markets depending on who is able to travel to Dubai at any given time.” 

Spletzer has worked abroad for five years, and while she did not study abroad during her time at Kent State, she believes students should do so if they have an opportunity.  

“Working outside of the United States has been an incredible experience,” Spletzer said, “and I would definitely recommend that everyone take the chance to do so if given the opportunity ...  Both cities (London and Dubai) are a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, and although this can make things more challenging at times with many different opinions and backgrounds, it’s also what makes each day interesting. I’ve learned so much about other countries, experienced new traditions, and have become a more well-rounded individual because of it.” 

Mary Jo Spletzer, '10, alumni spotlight, Public Relations Manager, Atlantis Resorts Dubai
Thursday, January 06, 2022

A degree from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism can lead to opportunities to work across fields and businesses — and all over the world. Alumna Mary Jo Spletzer, ’10, has used what she learned as a public relations major to make her mark at Atlantis Resorts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  

Spletzer met the man who would become her husband — an exchange student from Germany — during her senior year, so “it was inevitable that I ended up living and working outside of the U.S.”  But she began her career locally at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron working in internal communications. She also spent time on public relations teams at the J.M. Smucker Company and Marcus Thomas before moving to London in 2016. For a little over a year now, she has led global public relations campaigns for Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai. Spletzer said she credits her education at Kent State for providing the skills needed to work professionally and switch between industries and countries.  

“Without a doubt,” Spletzer said, “it would not have been as easy to switch between multiple industries without the foundational skills that the public relations major instilled in me. I am always confident that no matter what I am working on, I know what it takes to communicate strategically.” 

At Atlantis, The Palm, Spletzer splits her time between traditional media relations and content creation. 

“I help sell the extraordinary experiences at the resort, but I have a ton of trust in my customer-facing colleagues to deliver those experiences," she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to participate in some of these experiences myself, whether that’s diving with sharks in our Ambassador Lagoon or enjoying a spectacular meal at one of our restaurants, and this makes me proud to share these with media because I understand first-hand all of the amazing things you can do at Atlantis.”

At Atlantis, the public relations team is also responsible for all filming that takes place at the resort — travel shows, news programs, documentaries, etc. — so Spletzer has gained new skills in coordinating television production. She recently worked on a program with Discovery+ that will air in early 2022.

And, like professionals in any industry, the past two years, Spletzer and her team have continually adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the hospitality industry with the need to constantly enforce new health procedures to assure the safety of the guests.  

“Working in the hospitality industry, the biggest takeaway is to be flexible,” Spletzer said, “especially in the middle of a pandemic. We must continuously adjust to new travel regulations and change our focus markets depending on who is able to travel to Dubai at any given time.” 

Spletzer has worked abroad for five years, and while she did not study abroad during her time at Kent State, she believes students should do so if they have an opportunity.  

“Working outside of the United States has been an incredible experience,” Spletzer said, “and I would definitely recommend that everyone take the chance to do so if given the opportunity ...  Both cities (London and Dubai) are a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, and although this can make things more challenging at times with many different opinions and backgrounds, it’s also what makes each day interesting. I’ve learned so much about other countries, experienced new traditions, and have become a more well-rounded individual because of it.” 

Mary Jo Spletzer, '10, alumni spotlight, Public Relations Manager, Atlantis Resorts Dubai
Thursday, January 06, 2022

A degree from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism can lead to opportunities to work across fields and businesses — and all over the world. Alumna Mary Jo Spletzer, ’10, has used what she learned as a public relations major to make her mark at Atlantis Resorts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  

Spletzer met the man who would become her husband — an exchange student from Germany — during her senior year, so “it was inevitable that I ended up living and working outside of the U.S.”  But she began her career locally at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron working in internal communications. She also spent time on public relations teams at the J.M. Smucker Company and Marcus Thomas before moving to London in 2016. For a little over a year now, she has led global public relations campaigns for Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai. Spletzer said she credits her education at Kent State for providing the skills needed to work professionally and switch between industries and countries.  

“Without a doubt,” Spletzer said, “it would not have been as easy to switch between multiple industries without the foundational skills that the public relations major instilled in me. I am always confident that no matter what I am working on, I know what it takes to communicate strategically.” 

At Atlantis, The Palm, Spletzer splits her time between traditional media relations and content creation. 

“I help sell the extraordinary experiences at the resort, but I have a ton of trust in my customer-facing colleagues to deliver those experiences," she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to participate in some of these experiences myself, whether that’s diving with sharks in our Ambassador Lagoon or enjoying a spectacular meal at one of our restaurants, and this makes me proud to share these with media because I understand first-hand all of the amazing things you can do at Atlantis.”

At Atlantis, the public relations team is also responsible for all filming that takes place at the resort — travel shows, news programs, documentaries, etc. — so Spletzer has gained new skills in coordinating television production. She recently worked on a program with Discovery+ that will air in early 2022.

And, like professionals in any industry, the past two years, Spletzer and her team have continually adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the hospitality industry with the need to constantly enforce new health procedures to assure the safety of the guests.  

“Working in the hospitality industry, the biggest takeaway is to be flexible,” Spletzer said, “especially in the middle of a pandemic. We must continuously adjust to new travel regulations and change our focus markets depending on who is able to travel to Dubai at any given time.” 

Spletzer has worked abroad for five years, and while she did not study abroad during her time at Kent State, she believes students should do so if they have an opportunity.  

“Working outside of the United States has been an incredible experience,” Spletzer said, “and I would definitely recommend that everyone take the chance to do so if given the opportunity ...  Both cities (London and Dubai) are a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, and although this can make things more challenging at times with many different opinions and backgrounds, it’s also what makes each day interesting. I’ve learned so much about other countries, experienced new traditions, and have become a more well-rounded individual because of it.” 

Mary Jo Spletzer, '10, alumni spotlight, Public Relations Manager, Atlantis Resorts Dubai
Thursday, January 06, 2022

A degree from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism can lead to opportunities to work across fields and businesses — and all over the world. Alumna Mary Jo Spletzer, ’10, has used what she learned as a public relations major to make her mark at Atlantis Resorts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  

Spletzer met the man who would become her husband — an exchange student from Germany — during her senior year, so “it was inevitable that I ended up living and working outside of the U.S.”  But she began her career locally at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron working in internal communications. She also spent time on public relations teams at the J.M. Smucker Company and Marcus Thomas before moving to London in 2016. For a little over a year now, she has led global public relations campaigns for Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai. Spletzer said she credits her education at Kent State for providing the skills needed to work professionally and switch between industries and countries.  

“Without a doubt,” Spletzer said, “it would not have been as easy to switch between multiple industries without the foundational skills that the public relations major instilled in me. I am always confident that no matter what I am working on, I know what it takes to communicate strategically.” 

At Atlantis, The Palm, Spletzer splits her time between traditional media relations and content creation. 

“I help sell the extraordinary experiences at the resort, but I have a ton of trust in my customer-facing colleagues to deliver those experiences," she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to participate in some of these experiences myself, whether that’s diving with sharks in our Ambassador Lagoon or enjoying a spectacular meal at one of our restaurants, and this makes me proud to share these with media because I understand first-hand all of the amazing things you can do at Atlantis.”

At Atlantis, the public relations team is also responsible for all filming that takes place at the resort — travel shows, news programs, documentaries, etc. — so Spletzer has gained new skills in coordinating television production. She recently worked on a program with Discovery+ that will air in early 2022.

And, like professionals in any industry, the past two years, Spletzer and her team have continually adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the hospitality industry with the need to constantly enforce new health procedures to assure the safety of the guests.  

“Working in the hospitality industry, the biggest takeaway is to be flexible,” Spletzer said, “especially in the middle of a pandemic. We must continuously adjust to new travel regulations and change our focus markets depending on who is able to travel to Dubai at any given time.” 

Spletzer has worked abroad for five years, and while she did not study abroad during her time at Kent State, she believes students should do so if they have an opportunity.  

“Working outside of the United States has been an incredible experience,” Spletzer said, “and I would definitely recommend that everyone take the chance to do so if given the opportunity ...  Both cities (London and Dubai) are a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, and although this can make things more challenging at times with many different opinions and backgrounds, it’s also what makes each day interesting. I’ve learned so much about other countries, experienced new traditions, and have become a more well-rounded individual because of it.” 

Mary Jo Spletzer, '10, alumni spotlight, Public Relations Manager, Atlantis Resorts Dubai
Thursday, January 06, 2022

A degree from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism can lead to opportunities to work across fields and businesses — and all over the world. Alumna Mary Jo Spletzer, ’10, has used what she learned as a public relations major to make her mark at Atlantis Resorts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  

Spletzer met the man who would become her husband — an exchange student from Germany — during her senior year, so “it was inevitable that I ended up living and working outside of the U.S.”  But she began her career locally at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron working in internal communications. She also spent time on public relations teams at the J.M. Smucker Company and Marcus Thomas before moving to London in 2016. For a little over a year now, she has led global public relations campaigns for Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai. Spletzer said she credits her education at Kent State for providing the skills needed to work professionally and switch between industries and countries.  

“Without a doubt,” Spletzer said, “it would not have been as easy to switch between multiple industries without the foundational skills that the public relations major instilled in me. I am always confident that no matter what I am working on, I know what it takes to communicate strategically.” 

At Atlantis, The Palm, Spletzer splits her time between traditional media relations and content creation. 

“I help sell the extraordinary experiences at the resort, but I have a ton of trust in my customer-facing colleagues to deliver those experiences," she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to participate in some of these experiences myself, whether that’s diving with sharks in our Ambassador Lagoon or enjoying a spectacular meal at one of our restaurants, and this makes me proud to share these with media because I understand first-hand all of the amazing things you can do at Atlantis.”

At Atlantis, the public relations team is also responsible for all filming that takes place at the resort — travel shows, news programs, documentaries, etc. — so Spletzer has gained new skills in coordinating television production. She recently worked on a program with Discovery+ that will air in early 2022.

And, like professionals in any industry, the past two years, Spletzer and her team have continually adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the hospitality industry with the need to constantly enforce new health procedures to assure the safety of the guests.  

“Working in the hospitality industry, the biggest takeaway is to be flexible,” Spletzer said, “especially in the middle of a pandemic. We must continuously adjust to new travel regulations and change our focus markets depending on who is able to travel to Dubai at any given time.” 

Spletzer has worked abroad for five years, and while she did not study abroad during her time at Kent State, she believes students should do so if they have an opportunity.  

“Working outside of the United States has been an incredible experience,” Spletzer said, “and I would definitely recommend that everyone take the chance to do so if given the opportunity ...  Both cities (London and Dubai) are a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, and although this can make things more challenging at times with many different opinions and backgrounds, it’s also what makes each day interesting. I’ve learned so much about other countries, experienced new traditions, and have become a more well-rounded individual because of it.” 

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Collage of students working
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The CCI course Media and Movements explores social movements of our time through storytelling, strategy and advocacy. In this semester’s seminar, themed “Building a Better World,” students were required to select a specific human rights or human dignity issue that impacts their Kent State peers and then reimagine a better future based on primary and secondary research. 

Here's a look at the issues our students examined and the engagement events they planned for the campus community:

Image
Students working Reproductive Justice event

Reproductive Justice

The concept of reproductive rights is often reduced to abortion and birth control — an exclusionary view, as it doesn’t consider other essential issues like the rights of men and the rights of transgendered individuals. A team of students advocated for the concept of reproductive rights to be replaced with reproductive justice, a more holistic, inclusive, intersectional concept that recognizes reproduction is as complex as any other healthcare or social justice issue. The team working on this issue invited their Kent State peers to join them to contribute to a manifesto on reproductive justice. 

Image
Students working Living Wages Event

Living Wage

The pandemic has added to the economic problems of many Kent State students while also intensifying their resistance to working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. The lack of a living wage ($15/hour) has clear consequences: Many students must work more than one job, which affects their academic performance and physical and emotional health. Students working on this issue hosted a living wage simulation that enabled their peers to assume personae that help them experience the differences between an $8.80 hourly wage and a $15 hourly wage. 

Image
Students working Food Insecurity Event

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is about more than uncertain access to food. A team of students created a “plating project” that enabled peers to share their own definitions of food insecurity, which included: life-threatening dietary restrictions that make eating in dining halls a high-risk proposition, eating disorders, social anxieties related to eating in public and more. The implications of these things are serious; students learned through secondary research that it can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy binge eating, weight gain, malnourishment, anxiety, depression and more. In response, students hosted a workshop to create an expanded, Kent State definition of food insecurity. 


Media and Movements is part of the Media Advocacy minor, which prepares students to explore advocacy as both a professional discipline and an act of engaged citizenship. 

Learn more

Glyphix Gallery Opening , Glyphix Gallery Opening , Glyphix Gallery Opening , VCD Students , VCD Student , VCD Students , VCD Students
Wednesday, December 08, 2021

At the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester, students in the Visual Communication Design course Glyphix Research Lab were asked the question, “How can design be used as an agent of change to create meaningful human experiences and build connections?”  

Throughout the semester, they have worked on individual projects that incorporated the theme of community, and a gallery exhibition opening Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, will showcase their work. 

Glyphix Research Lab, is a research and design focused experience. Each semester, the course has a theme that students focus their project on. This semester’s, taught by Associate Professor Jillian Coorey, was "community.”

The upcoming gallery opening on Dec. 9 will take place from 4:30- 7 p.m. in the Taylor Hall Gallery (second floor). The exhibit, which runs through the end of February,will feature the students’ semester-long work about design and community and feature an augmented reality component to enhance the viewer’s experience. 

Coorey says each project exhibited explores how design can facilitate community.  

“Enduring a global pandemic has made us realize the importance of human interaction,” she says. 

Glyphix Research Lab is intended to help students raise questions, conduct research, and determine the best solution for their designs. Visual Communication Design major Bryce Punsalan, ’22, who worked on design for a neighborhood app that would connect Kent students and residents, has found that the different aspects of the course brought him closer to the Kent State community.  

“Through researching and talking with both Kent students and full- time residents, I found a new appreciation for my community and the people that live in it.” 

A few featured students shared their projects being showcased in the gallery: 

Image
Kyle Czatt Exhibit

Kyle Czatt, Senior Visual Communication Design Major: 

Project: What the concept of ‘home’ means to individuals 

“I have come up with four unique solutions to the question I have proposed to myself:'What makes a home?' With that, I have a photographic poster detailing people and places that impact their idea of home, an infographic poster that details information I received through a Google forum, a typographic poster that illustrates way students can create a home for themselves on campus, and finally a book that details five unique perspectives of individuals .” 

Image
Bryce Punsalan exhibitt

Bryce Punsalan, Senior Visual Communication Design Major: 

Project: Neighborhood app design  

“My project is an interactive mobile app called 'DingDong' that will help bridge the gap between Kent State students and full time Kent residents. With a real-time newsfeed, community calendar, interactive map and instant messaging, DingDong allows community members to interact with each other on a new level.” 

Image
Kibret Z. Exhibit

Kibret Zerayesus, Senior Visual Communication Design Major: 

Project: VCD visual course map website designed 

“For each design-driven class, there are students' projects from the class along with a description to allow students to know what type of work they will be doing in each class. There is also a blog and advice area to give students a chance to see other students' achievements, work and get advice gear towards their class and as VCD students as a whole.” 

Image
Leah Day Exhibit

Leah Day, Visual Communication Design Graduate Student: 

Project: Researching charting communities as we age 

 “Charting Community is a data visualization that encourages reflection on the relationship between our participation in chosen and unchosen communities as we age.”  

Image
Riley Potts Exhibit

Riley Potts, Senior Visual Communication Design Major: 

Project: Game design about conversation on respecting differences/seeing other viewpoints 

“Let’s Talk is a card game focused on getting to know each other and initiating respectful conversation about topics, both lighthearted and serious.” 

Ashley Slivinske, Tom Jennings, Gracia Lu , Kent State Alumni and 1895 Films Employees Surfing in Malibu , Tom Jennings
Monday, December 06, 2021

When documentary filmmaker and Media and Journalism alumnus Tom Jennings, ‘85, started his college education at Kent State, he had no idea what to do for his future career. Coming from what he describes as a “lousy childhood,” there was one skill he knew he had a knack for: writing.  

“The one thing I could do in high school was write,” Jennings said, “and it just came easy to me.”  

During his freshman year at Kent State, a friend suggested Jennings write for the Kent Stater. He took a trip over to Taylor Hall (where the newsroom was housed at the time) and walked into a room filled with old Selectric typewriters and phones ringing on desks — a scene Jennings remembered as “something right out of ‘All the President’s Men.’”  

His first assignment was a six-inch brief about a WKSU fundraiser, and Jennings anticipated the article would be buried somewhere in the back. But to his surprise, the article was right on the front page with his byline. “And I was immediately hooked on that,” he said. 

That little six-inch front-page article became Jennings’ catalyst for a long career in writing and film production. He was first student from Kent State to receive the Hearst Award (often known as the Pulitzer Prize of collegiate journalism), which acted as a launching pad for his post-graduation career in Los Angeles. He covered several history-defining stories: the 1994 Rodney King trial and riots, the Menendez brothers murder trial, the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the O.J. Simpson trial. Fast-forward to the present day, Jennings now operates his own documentary film company, 1895 Films, with his wife Ellen Farmer.  

Jennings never forgot about his starting moments at Kent State, and began thinking about how he wanted to give back.  

“I had reached a point where I was doing pretty well,” he said. "... And having been a young person coming out of college, I thought to myself, the best thing I can do for Kent State is find those most deserving who would like a shot in this type of industry.” 

With that in mind, beginning in 2020, he piloted an internship program with the College of Communication and Information (CCI) to bring current digital media production (and other Media and Journalism) students into the film industry out in California. 

“None of this could have happened without the education and encouraging I received from my professors and my colleagues at the Stater,” Jennings said. “During that time period, they literally saved my life.” 

Jennings met with CCI Dean Amy Reynolds when she was visiting California a few years ago, and they discussed a potential internship program with 1895 Films. They brainstormed and came up with a program where Kent students would live at Pepperdine University in Malibu throughout the summer and commute to Jennings’ offices in Calabasas. Jennings selected a number of prospective students for the summer 2020 program, but the Covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench into everything.  

“This beautiful internship between Calabasas and Malibu was scrapped,” Jennings said. “But I told (Reynolds), 'I don't want to let these kids down.' Everybody's working from home, why don't we just do the internship from home; they know we can give them plenty to do. I felt really responsible that they had gotten so excited and then it was taken away. We went forward with the virtual internship ... and it worked.” 

Dean Reynolds said internship programs like 1895 Films are valuable opportunities for students to get real-world experience and connections, especially in an environment where industry leaders like Jennings can offer flexibility for different majors.  

“I think what's really cool about Tom is that he's got needs across areas,” Reynolds said, “so he can work with students across the College. If a journalism student said, ‘Hey, I want to go into documentary style work,’ he has a place for that ... (so) you don't have to necessarily be an expert in production.” 

One of those students who went through the virtual internship and found her place at 1895 Films is Gracia Lu, ‘20. After graduating with a degree in Digital Media Production, she interned with the company remotely and now works as a production assistant and researcher. Lu said Jennings and his team organized weekly Zoom meetings with film industry professionals to make the remote internship program the fullest experience possible. 

 Lu landed a full-time position with 1895 Films in January 2021, and moved to Los Angeles to work in person with Jennings in May 2021. When Lu first got to California, Jennings took Lu and fellow Kent State alumna Ashley Slivinske, '21 surfing at Zuma Beach in Malibu.  

“What kind of boss does that, right?” said Lu. “He took us out surfing, then he took all these pictures and had them framed, and I’m looking at the picture right now on my wall. (He’s) just genuinely the hardest working kind of guy you could possibly ask to work with.” 

Lu said her experience so far working for 1895 Films has been one of the best choices she has made post-graduation. Through Jennings, she has gotten opportunities to meet a number of Hollywood creators and film professionals. Lu also said she has expanded her skills in the film industry by working in an environment with a smaller employee group.  

“At a company like this, where it's kind of smaller scale, you're able to explore so much more quickly, whereas if you were in a larger company, you might only be doing a specific thing as a (production assistant) for months on-end, before you would advance. But here you can kind of dabble in a little bit of everything, and they'll really tailor your work to what you're interested in.” 

1895 Films plans to host its internship program next summer in person at the office in Calabasas. 

 

Ashley Slivinske, Tom Jennings, Gracia Lu , Kent State Alumni and 1895 Films Employees Surfing in Malibu , Tom Jennings
Monday, December 06, 2021

When documentary filmmaker and Media and Journalism alumnus Tom Jennings, ‘85, started his college education at Kent State, he had no idea what to do for his future career. Coming from what he describes as a “lousy childhood,” there was one skill he knew he had a knack for: writing.  

“The one thing I could do in high school was write,” Jennings said, “and it just came easy to me.”  

During his freshman year at Kent State, a friend suggested Jennings write for the Kent Stater. He took a trip over to Taylor Hall (where the newsroom was housed at the time) and walked into a room filled with old Selectric typewriters and phones ringing on desks — a scene Jennings remembered as “something right out of ‘All the President’s Men.’”  

His first assignment was a six-inch brief about a WKSU fundraiser, and Jennings anticipated the article would be buried somewhere in the back. But to his surprise, the article was right on the front page with his byline. “And I was immediately hooked on that,” he said. 

That little six-inch front-page article became Jennings’ catalyst for a long career in writing and film production. He was first student from Kent State to receive the Hearst Award (often known as the Pulitzer Prize of collegiate journalism), which acted as a launching pad for his post-graduation career in Los Angeles. He covered several history-defining stories: the 1994 Rodney King trial and riots, the Menendez brothers murder trial, the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the O.J. Simpson trial. Fast-forward to the present day, Jennings now operates his own documentary film company, 1895 Films, with his wife Ellen Farmer.  

Jennings never forgot about his starting moments at Kent State, and began thinking about how he wanted to give back.  

“I had reached a point where I was doing pretty well,” he said. "... And having been a young person coming out of college, I thought to myself, the best thing I can do for Kent State is find those most deserving who would like a shot in this type of industry.” 

With that in mind, beginning in 2020, he piloted an internship program with the College of Communication and Information (CCI) to bring current digital media production (and other Media and Journalism) students into the film industry out in California. 

“None of this could have happened without the education and encouraging I received from my professors and my colleagues at the Stater,” Jennings said. “During that time period, they literally saved my life.” 

Jennings met with CCI Dean Amy Reynolds when she was visiting California a few years ago, and they discussed a potential internship program with 1895 Films. They brainstormed and came up with a program where Kent students would live at Pepperdine University in Malibu throughout the summer and commute to Jennings’ offices in Calabasas. Jennings selected a number of prospective students for the summer 2020 program, but the Covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench into everything.  

“This beautiful internship between Calabasas and Malibu was scrapped,” Jennings said. “But I told (Reynolds), 'I don't want to let these kids down.' Everybody's working from home, why don't we just do the internship from home; they know we can give them plenty to do. I felt really responsible that they had gotten so excited and then it was taken away. We went forward with the virtual internship ... and it worked.” 

Dean Reynolds said internship programs like 1895 Films are valuable opportunities for students to get real-world experience and connections, especially in an environment where industry leaders like Jennings can offer flexibility for different majors.  

“I think what's really cool about Tom is that he's got needs across areas,” Reynolds said, “so he can work with students across the College. If a journalism student said, ‘Hey, I want to go into documentary style work,’ he has a place for that ... (so) you don't have to necessarily be an expert in production.” 

One of those students who went through the virtual internship and found her place at 1895 Films is Gracia Lu, ‘20. After graduating with a degree in Digital Media Production, she interned with the company remotely and now works as a production assistant and researcher. Lu said Jennings and his team organized weekly Zoom meetings with film industry professionals to make the remote internship program the fullest experience possible. 

 Lu landed a full-time position with 1895 Films in January 2021, and moved to Los Angeles to work in person with Jennings in May 2021. When Lu first got to California, Jennings took Lu and fellow Kent State alumna Ashley Slivinske, '21 surfing at Zuma Beach in Malibu.  

“What kind of boss does that, right?” said Lu. “He took us out surfing, then he took all these pictures and had them framed, and I’m looking at the picture right now on my wall. (He’s) just genuinely the hardest working kind of guy you could possibly ask to work with.” 

Lu said her experience so far working for 1895 Films has been one of the best choices she has made post-graduation. Through Jennings, she has gotten opportunities to meet a number of Hollywood creators and film professionals. Lu also said she has expanded her skills in the film industry by working in an environment with a smaller employee group.  

“At a company like this, where it's kind of smaller scale, you're able to explore so much more quickly, whereas if you were in a larger company, you might only be doing a specific thing as a (production assistant) for months on-end, before you would advance. But here you can kind of dabble in a little bit of everything, and they'll really tailor your work to what you're interested in.” 

1895 Films plans to host its internship program next summer in person at the office in Calabasas. 

 

Ashley Slivinske, Tom Jennings, Gracia Lu , Kent State Alumni and 1895 Films Employees Surfing in Malibu , Tom Jennings
Monday, December 06, 2021

When documentary filmmaker and Media and Journalism alumnus Tom Jennings, ‘85, started his college education at Kent State, he had no idea what to do for his future career. Coming from what he describes as a “lousy childhood,” there was one skill he knew he had a knack for: writing.  

“The one thing I could do in high school was write,” Jennings said, “and it just came easy to me.”  

During his freshman year at Kent State, a friend suggested Jennings write for the Kent Stater. He took a trip over to Taylor Hall (where the newsroom was housed at the time) and walked into a room filled with old Selectric typewriters and phones ringing on desks — a scene Jennings remembered as “something right out of ‘All the President’s Men.’”  

His first assignment was a six-inch brief about a WKSU fundraiser, and Jennings anticipated the article would be buried somewhere in the back. But to his surprise, the article was right on the front page with his byline. “And I was immediately hooked on that,” he said. 

That little six-inch front-page article became Jennings’ catalyst for a long career in writing and film production. He was first student from Kent State to receive the Hearst Award (often known as the Pulitzer Prize of collegiate journalism), which acted as a launching pad for his post-graduation career in Los Angeles. He covered several history-defining stories: the 1994 Rodney King trial and riots, the Menendez brothers murder trial, the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the O.J. Simpson trial. Fast-forward to the present day, Jennings now operates his own documentary film company, 1895 Films, with his wife Ellen Farmer.  

Jennings never forgot about his starting moments at Kent State, and began thinking about how he wanted to give back.  

“I had reached a point where I was doing pretty well,” he said. "... And having been a young person coming out of college, I thought to myself, the best thing I can do for Kent State is find those most deserving who would like a shot in this type of industry.” 

With that in mind, beginning in 2020, he piloted an internship program with the College of Communication and Information (CCI) to bring current digital media production (and other Media and Journalism) students into the film industry out in California. 

“None of this could have happened without the education and encouraging I received from my professors and my colleagues at the Stater,” Jennings said. “During that time period, they literally saved my life.” 

Jennings met with CCI Dean Amy Reynolds when she was visiting California a few years ago, and they discussed a potential internship program with 1895 Films. They brainstormed and came up with a program where Kent students would live at Pepperdine University in Malibu throughout the summer and commute to Jennings’ offices in Calabasas. Jennings selected a number of prospective students for the summer 2020 program, but the Covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench into everything.  

“This beautiful internship between Calabasas and Malibu was scrapped,” Jennings said. “But I told (Reynolds), 'I don't want to let these kids down.' Everybody's working from home, why don't we just do the internship from home; they know we can give them plenty to do. I felt really responsible that they had gotten so excited and then it was taken away. We went forward with the virtual internship ... and it worked.” 

Dean Reynolds said internship programs like 1895 Films are valuable opportunities for students to get real-world experience and connections, especially in an environment where industry leaders like Jennings can offer flexibility for different majors.  

“I think what's really cool about Tom is that he's got needs across areas,” Reynolds said, “so he can work with students across the College. If a journalism student said, ‘Hey, I want to go into documentary style work,’ he has a place for that ... (so) you don't have to necessarily be an expert in production.” 

One of those students who went through the virtual internship and found her place at 1895 Films is Gracia Lu, ‘20. After graduating with a degree in Digital Media Production, she interned with the company remotely and now works as a production assistant and researcher. Lu said Jennings and his team organized weekly Zoom meetings with film industry professionals to make the remote internship program the fullest experience possible. 

 Lu landed a full-time position with 1895 Films in January 2021, and moved to Los Angeles to work in person with Jennings in May 2021. When Lu first got to California, Jennings took Lu and fellow Kent State alumna Ashley Slivinske, '21 surfing at Zuma Beach in Malibu.  

“What kind of boss does that, right?” said Lu. “He took us out surfing, then he took all these pictures and had them framed, and I’m looking at the picture right now on my wall. (He’s) just genuinely the hardest working kind of guy you could possibly ask to work with.” 

Lu said her experience so far working for 1895 Films has been one of the best choices she has made post-graduation. Through Jennings, she has gotten opportunities to meet a number of Hollywood creators and film professionals. Lu also said she has expanded her skills in the film industry by working in an environment with a smaller employee group.  

“At a company like this, where it's kind of smaller scale, you're able to explore so much more quickly, whereas if you were in a larger company, you might only be doing a specific thing as a (production assistant) for months on-end, before you would advance. But here you can kind of dabble in a little bit of everything, and they'll really tailor your work to what you're interested in.” 

1895 Films plans to host its internship program next summer in person at the office in Calabasas. 

 

Ashley Slivinske, Tom Jennings, Gracia Lu , Kent State Alumni and 1895 Films Employees Surfing in Malibu , Tom Jennings
Monday, December 06, 2021

When documentary filmmaker and Media and Journalism alumnus Tom Jennings, ‘85, started his college education at Kent State, he had no idea what to do for his future career. Coming from what he describes as a “lousy childhood,” there was one skill he knew he had a knack for: writing.  

“The one thing I could do in high school was write,” Jennings said, “and it just came easy to me.”  

During his freshman year at Kent State, a friend suggested Jennings write for the Kent Stater. He took a trip over to Taylor Hall (where the newsroom was housed at the time) and walked into a room filled with old Selectric typewriters and phones ringing on desks — a scene Jennings remembered as “something right out of ‘All the President’s Men.’”  

His first assignment was a six-inch brief about a WKSU fundraiser, and Jennings anticipated the article would be buried somewhere in the back. But to his surprise, the article was right on the front page with his byline. “And I was immediately hooked on that,” he said. 

That little six-inch front-page article became Jennings’ catalyst for a long career in writing and film production. He was first student from Kent State to receive the Hearst Award (often known as the Pulitzer Prize of collegiate journalism), which acted as a launching pad for his post-graduation career in Los Angeles. He covered several history-defining stories: the 1994 Rodney King trial and riots, the Menendez brothers murder trial, the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the O.J. Simpson trial. Fast-forward to the present day, Jennings now operates his own documentary film company, 1895 Films, with his wife Ellen Farmer.  

Jennings never forgot about his starting moments at Kent State, and began thinking about how he wanted to give back.  

“I had reached a point where I was doing pretty well,” he said. "... And having been a young person coming out of college, I thought to myself, the best thing I can do for Kent State is find those most deserving who would like a shot in this type of industry.” 

With that in mind, beginning in 2020, he piloted an internship program with the College of Communication and Information (CCI) to bring current digital media production (and other Media and Journalism) students into the film industry out in California. 

“None of this could have happened without the education and encouraging I received from my professors and my colleagues at the Stater,” Jennings said. “During that time period, they literally saved my life.” 

Jennings met with CCI Dean Amy Reynolds when she was visiting California a few years ago, and they discussed a potential internship program with 1895 Films. They brainstormed and came up with a program where Kent students would live at Pepperdine University in Malibu throughout the summer and commute to Jennings’ offices in Calabasas. Jennings selected a number of prospective students for the summer 2020 program, but the Covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench into everything.  

“This beautiful internship between Calabasas and Malibu was scrapped,” Jennings said. “But I told (Reynolds), 'I don't want to let these kids down.' Everybody's working from home, why don't we just do the internship from home; they know we can give them plenty to do. I felt really responsible that they had gotten so excited and then it was taken away. We went forward with the virtual internship ... and it worked.” 

Dean Reynolds said internship programs like 1895 Films are valuable opportunities for students to get real-world experience and connections, especially in an environment where industry leaders like Jennings can offer flexibility for different majors.  

“I think what's really cool about Tom is that he's got needs across areas,” Reynolds said, “so he can work with students across the College. If a journalism student said, ‘Hey, I want to go into documentary style work,’ he has a place for that ... (so) you don't have to necessarily be an expert in production.” 

One of those students who went through the virtual internship and found her place at 1895 Films is Gracia Lu, ‘20. After graduating with a degree in Digital Media Production, she interned with the company remotely and now works as a production assistant and researcher. Lu said Jennings and his team organized weekly Zoom meetings with film industry professionals to make the remote internship program the fullest experience possible. 

 Lu landed a full-time position with 1895 Films in January 2021, and moved to Los Angeles to work in person with Jennings in May 2021. When Lu first got to California, Jennings took Lu and fellow Kent State alumna Ashley Slivinske, '21 surfing at Zuma Beach in Malibu.  

“What kind of boss does that, right?” said Lu. “He took us out surfing, then he took all these pictures and had them framed, and I’m looking at the picture right now on my wall. (He’s) just genuinely the hardest working kind of guy you could possibly ask to work with.” 

Lu said her experience so far working for 1895 Films has been one of the best choices she has made post-graduation. Through Jennings, she has gotten opportunities to meet a number of Hollywood creators and film professionals. Lu also said she has expanded her skills in the film industry by working in an environment with a smaller employee group.  

“At a company like this, where it's kind of smaller scale, you're able to explore so much more quickly, whereas if you were in a larger company, you might only be doing a specific thing as a (production assistant) for months on-end, before you would advance. But here you can kind of dabble in a little bit of everything, and they'll really tailor your work to what you're interested in.” 

1895 Films plans to host its internship program next summer in person at the office in Calabasas. 

 

WKSU building on KSU campus
Wednesday, December 01, 2021

The School of Media and Journalism has long fostered a close connection with 89.7 WKSU. The station hosts an average of three MDJ student interns each semester, while station employees are regular guests in the School’s classes offering insights into the profession and suggestions about pursuing careers in the field. 

The relationship between MDJ and the public radio station is expected to remain strong following WKSU’s merger with Ideastream Public Media on October 1, 2021.

“The commitment that we have, that Ideastream has, is to not only maintain the strong level of interaction that we have had with the journalism program at Kent State, but to find ways to build upon it,” said Andrew Meyer, WKSU News Director. 

The merger was announced in September 2021 and Ideastream assumed control for WKSU’s operations in October, resulting in creation of a significant hub for regional news coverage. 

Kent State maintains its licenses for WKSU; but the call letters now operate under the control of Ideastream Public Media. It has been a smooth transition and day-to-day operations have remained mostly the same, said Meyer.    

WKSU will become the sole NPR station in Northeast Ohio. 90.3 WCPN (an NPR affiliate for Cleveland) and 104.9 WCLV (a classical radio station owned by Ideastream) will be switching frequencies, allowing classical music to gain a stronger transmitting signal at 90.3. WCPN at 104.9 will become another repeater station for WKSU. This process will be completed on or around April 1 of next year.

“We are continuing to explore a range of options for how we maintain some sort of physical location in Kent so that we can continue to appropriately and adequately cover our full broadcast area, and also work most effectively in continuing the internship program that we have with Kent State University,” Meyer said.  

Senior journalism major Connor Steffen is one of the many Media and Journalism students over the years who interned with WKSU. He was with the station from Fall 2020 to the end of Spring 2021.  

Steffen, a broadcast journalist, says although radio isn’t his preferred medium, applying for the news internship was one of the best decisions he made because of the experience he gained during his time there. Interns have the chance to interview local politicians, advocates, business owners and more, to write stories about the most up-to-date news and events happening in Northeast Ohio, he explained.

“WKSU was the chance for me to get a proverbial first foot in the door of the news industry,” Steffen said. “I saw it as more of an actual reporting job than an internship. I can say, confidently, that WKSU has prepared me more than ever for my future as a journalist – from thinking through stories, to interviewing techniques and to finding the focus of stories that will benefit and resonate with viewers and listeners.” 

Steffen was able to write many stories, ranging from topics such as local transportation budgets, city construction plans, COVID-19 and the vaccine, and the Lordstown General Motors plant.  

Meyer is confident that the internship program will remain strong after the merger is fully promulgated. 

“I think we’re open to a range of ideas on how we can potentially have more interns working – how we can get them doing more things in the newsroom (and) how we can look for more opportunities to integrate them into the production, creation and reporting of content,” Meyer said.  

MDJ students benefit from these opportunities because gaining experience at an NPR-affiliate station offers students the chance to report and have their stories circulated to the station’s broad audience base.

“I have seen countless Kent State students, now professionals in the industry working at places all over the U.S. in all different types of media, grow and cultivate their skills as interns at WKSU,” Steffen said. “Having had an NPR affiliate station actually on the Kent State campus meant ... accessibility and familiarity.” 

WKSU will shift its broadcast operations to the Idea Center in Cleveland over the next year, but the news internship will continue to be an option for MDJ students, Meyer said. Rather than the end of an era for the Kent area, it is the beginning of new growth for journalism in Northeast Ohio.  

“There is an opportunity for us as Ideastream to help provide people with the eyes that they need on what’s going on in the communities around them, to be their watchdogs, and to be that trusted source for journalism that they need,” Meyer said. “Our goal, really, is to be their number one source for trusted news and information in Northeast Ohio. I think we have an opportunity here to step up and fill that.” 

WKSU building on KSU campus
Wednesday, December 01, 2021

The School of Media and Journalism has long fostered a close connection with 89.7 WKSU. The station hosts an average of three MDJ student interns each semester, while station employees are regular guests in the School’s classes offering insights into the profession and suggestions about pursuing careers in the field. 

The relationship between MDJ and the public radio station is expected to remain strong following WKSU’s merger with Ideastream Public Media on October 1, 2021.

“The commitment that we have, that Ideastream has, is to not only maintain the strong level of interaction that we have had with the journalism program at Kent State, but to find ways to build upon it,” said Andrew Meyer, WKSU News Director. 

The merger was announced in September 2021 and Ideastream assumed control for WKSU’s operations in October, resulting in creation of a significant hub for regional news coverage. 

Kent State maintains its licenses for WKSU; but the call letters now operate under the control of Ideastream Public Media. It has been a smooth transition and day-to-day operations have remained mostly the same, said Meyer.    

WKSU will become the sole NPR station in Northeast Ohio. 90.3 WCPN (an NPR affiliate for Cleveland) and 104.9 WCLV (a classical radio station owned by Ideastream) will be switching frequencies, allowing classical music to gain a stronger transmitting signal at 90.3. WCPN at 104.9 will become another repeater station for WKSU. This process will be completed on or around April 1 of next year.

“We are continuing to explore a range of options for how we maintain some sort of physical location in Kent so that we can continue to appropriately and adequately cover our full broadcast area, and also work most effectively in continuing the internship program that we have with Kent State University,” Meyer said.  

Senior journalism major Connor Steffen is one of the many Media and Journalism students over the years who interned with WKSU. He was with the station from Fall 2020 to the end of Spring 2021.  

Steffen, a broadcast journalist, says although radio isn’t his preferred medium, applying for the news internship was one of the best decisions he made because of the experience he gained during his time there. Interns have the chance to interview local politicians, advocates, business owners and more, to write stories about the most up-to-date news and events happening in Northeast Ohio, he explained.

“WKSU was the chance for me to get a proverbial first foot in the door of the news industry,” Steffen said. “I saw it as more of an actual reporting job than an internship. I can say, confidently, that WKSU has prepared me more than ever for my future as a journalist – from thinking through stories, to interviewing techniques and to finding the focus of stories that will benefit and resonate with viewers and listeners.” 

Steffen was able to write many stories, ranging from topics such as local transportation budgets, city construction plans, COVID-19 and the vaccine, and the Lordstown General Motors plant.  

Meyer is confident that the internship program will remain strong after the merger is fully promulgated. 

“I think we’re open to a range of ideas on how we can potentially have more interns working – how we can get them doing more things in the newsroom (and) how we can look for more opportunities to integrate them into the production, creation and reporting of content,” Meyer said.  

MDJ students benefit from these opportunities because gaining experience at an NPR-affiliate station offers students the chance to report and have their stories circulated to the station’s broad audience base.

“I have seen countless Kent State students, now professionals in the industry working at places all over the U.S. in all different types of media, grow and cultivate their skills as interns at WKSU,” Steffen said. “Having had an NPR affiliate station actually on the Kent State campus meant ... accessibility and familiarity.” 

WKSU will shift its broadcast operations to the Idea Center in Cleveland over the next year, but the news internship will continue to be an option for MDJ students, Meyer said. Rather than the end of an era for the Kent area, it is the beginning of new growth for journalism in Northeast Ohio.  

“There is an opportunity for us as Ideastream to help provide people with the eyes that they need on what’s going on in the communities around them, to be their watchdogs, and to be that trusted source for journalism that they need,” Meyer said. “Our goal, really, is to be their number one source for trusted news and information in Northeast Ohio. I think we have an opportunity here to step up and fill that.” 

WKSU building on KSU campus
Wednesday, December 01, 2021

The School of Media and Journalism has long fostered a close connection with 89.7 WKSU. The station hosts an average of three MDJ student interns each semester, while station employees are regular guests in the School’s classes offering insights into the profession and suggestions about pursuing careers in the field. 

The relationship between MDJ and the public radio station is expected to remain strong following WKSU’s merger with Ideastream Public Media on October 1, 2021.

“The commitment that we have, that Ideastream has, is to not only maintain the strong level of interaction that we have had with the journalism program at Kent State, but to find ways to build upon it,” said Andrew Meyer, WKSU News Director. 

The merger was announced in September 2021 and Ideastream assumed control for WKSU’s operations in October, resulting in creation of a significant hub for regional news coverage. 

Kent State maintains its licenses for WKSU; but the call letters now operate under the control of Ideastream Public Media. It has been a smooth transition and day-to-day operations have remained mostly the same, said Meyer.    

WKSU will become the sole NPR station in Northeast Ohio. 90.3 WCPN (an NPR affiliate for Cleveland) and 104.9 WCLV (a classical radio station owned by Ideastream) will be switching frequencies, allowing classical music to gain a stronger transmitting signal at 90.3. WCPN at 104.9 will become another repeater station for WKSU. This process will be completed on or around April 1 of next year.

“We are continuing to explore a range of options for how we maintain some sort of physical location in Kent so that we can continue to appropriately and adequately cover our full broadcast area, and also work most effectively in continuing the internship program that we have with Kent State University,” Meyer said.  

Senior journalism major Connor Steffen is one of the many Media and Journalism students over the years who interned with WKSU. He was with the station from Fall 2020 to the end of Spring 2021.  

Steffen, a broadcast journalist, says although radio isn’t his preferred medium, applying for the news internship was one of the best decisions he made because of the experience he gained during his time there. Interns have the chance to interview local politicians, advocates, business owners and more, to write stories about the most up-to-date news and events happening in Northeast Ohio, he explained.

“WKSU was the chance for me to get a proverbial first foot in the door of the news industry,” Steffen said. “I saw it as more of an actual reporting job than an internship. I can say, confidently, that WKSU has prepared me more than ever for my future as a journalist – from thinking through stories, to interviewing techniques and to finding the focus of stories that will benefit and resonate with viewers and listeners.” 

Steffen was able to write many stories, ranging from topics such as local transportation budgets, city construction plans, COVID-19 and the vaccine, and the Lordstown General Motors plant.  

Meyer is confident that the internship program will remain strong after the merger is fully promulgated. 

“I think we’re open to a range of ideas on how we can potentially have more interns working – how we can get them doing more things in the newsroom (and) how we can look for more opportunities to integrate them into the production, creation and reporting of content,” Meyer said.  

MDJ students benefit from these opportunities because gaining experience at an NPR-affiliate station offers students the chance to report and have their stories circulated to the station’s broad audience base.

“I have seen countless Kent State students, now professionals in the industry working at places all over the U.S. in all different types of media, grow and cultivate their skills as interns at WKSU,” Steffen said. “Having had an NPR affiliate station actually on the Kent State campus meant ... accessibility and familiarity.” 

WKSU will shift its broadcast operations to the Idea Center in Cleveland over the next year, but the news internship will continue to be an option for MDJ students, Meyer said. Rather than the end of an era for the Kent area, it is the beginning of new growth for journalism in Northeast Ohio.  

“There is an opportunity for us as Ideastream to help provide people with the eyes that they need on what’s going on in the communities around them, to be their watchdogs, and to be that trusted source for journalism that they need,” Meyer said. “Our goal, really, is to be their number one source for trusted news and information in Northeast Ohio. I think we have an opportunity here to step up and fill that.” 

WKSU building on KSU campus
Wednesday, December 01, 2021

The School of Media and Journalism has long fostered a close connection with 89.7 WKSU. The station hosts an average of three MDJ student interns each semester, while station employees are regular guests in the School’s classes offering insights into the profession and suggestions about pursuing careers in the field. 

The relationship between MDJ and the public radio station is expected to remain strong following WKSU’s merger with Ideastream Public Media on October 1, 2021.

“The commitment that we have, that Ideastream has, is to not only maintain the strong level of interaction that we have had with the journalism program at Kent State, but to find ways to build upon it,” said Andrew Meyer, WKSU News Director. 

The merger was announced in September 2021 and Ideastream assumed control for WKSU’s operations in October, resulting in creation of a significant hub for regional news coverage. 

Kent State maintains its licenses for WKSU; but the call letters now operate under the control of Ideastream Public Media. It has been a smooth transition and day-to-day operations have remained mostly the same, said Meyer.    

WKSU will become the sole NPR station in Northeast Ohio. 90.3 WCPN (an NPR affiliate for Cleveland) and 104.9 WCLV (a classical radio station owned by Ideastream) will be switching frequencies, allowing classical music to gain a stronger transmitting signal at 90.3. WCPN at 104.9 will become another repeater station for WKSU. This process will be completed on or around April 1 of next year.

“We are continuing to explore a range of options for how we maintain some sort of physical location in Kent so that we can continue to appropriately and adequately cover our full broadcast area, and also work most effectively in continuing the internship program that we have with Kent State University,” Meyer said.  

Senior journalism major Connor Steffen is one of the many Media and Journalism students over the years who interned with WKSU. He was with the station from Fall 2020 to the end of Spring 2021.  

Steffen, a broadcast journalist, says although radio isn’t his preferred medium, applying for the news internship was one of the best decisions he made because of the experience he gained during his time there. Interns have the chance to interview local politicians, advocates, business owners and more, to write stories about the most up-to-date news and events happening in Northeast Ohio, he explained.

“WKSU was the chance for me to get a proverbial first foot in the door of the news industry,” Steffen said. “I saw it as more of an actual reporting job than an internship. I can say, confidently, that WKSU has prepared me more than ever for my future as a journalist – from thinking through stories, to interviewing techniques and to finding the focus of stories that will benefit and resonate with viewers and listeners.” 

Steffen was able to write many stories, ranging from topics such as local transportation budgets, city construction plans, COVID-19 and the vaccine, and the Lordstown General Motors plant.  

Meyer is confident that the internship program will remain strong after the merger is fully promulgated. 

“I think we’re open to a range of ideas on how we can potentially have more interns working – how we can get them doing more things in the newsroom (and) how we can look for more opportunities to integrate them into the production, creation and reporting of content,” Meyer said.  

MDJ students benefit from these opportunities because gaining experience at an NPR-affiliate station offers students the chance to report and have their stories circulated to the station’s broad audience base.

“I have seen countless Kent State students, now professionals in the industry working at places all over the U.S. in all different types of media, grow and cultivate their skills as interns at WKSU,” Steffen said. “Having had an NPR affiliate station actually on the Kent State campus meant ... accessibility and familiarity.” 

WKSU will shift its broadcast operations to the Idea Center in Cleveland over the next year, but the news internship will continue to be an option for MDJ students, Meyer said. Rather than the end of an era for the Kent area, it is the beginning of new growth for journalism in Northeast Ohio.  

“There is an opportunity for us as Ideastream to help provide people with the eyes that they need on what’s going on in the communities around them, to be their watchdogs, and to be that trusted source for journalism that they need,” Meyer said. “Our goal, really, is to be their number one source for trusted news and information in Northeast Ohio. I think we have an opportunity here to step up and fill that.” 

Roseann “Chic” Canfora, Professional-in-Residence
Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Roseann “Chic” Canfora, Ph.D., is a Professional-in-Residence at Kent State University in the School of Media and Journalism, part of the College of Communication and Information. Prior to teaching at Kent State, Canfora served as the chief communications officer for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and taught high school journalism and speech. Canfora was also a student at Kent State, starting in 1968, and is a survivor of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State. She earned her doctorate in educational administration, her master’s in journalism and public relations, and her bachelor’s in English/speech. She is heavily involved in activism as well.

Learn more about Canfora as she answers these 10 questions.

Q. How do you describe your current position as a Professional-in-Residence?

The opportunity to serve Kent State as a Professional-in-Residence enables me to return to the place where I trained for my career and to give back to my students. My experience in the world of public relations and news reporting was very different from what I expected. There were many times that I thought there was nothing in my textbooks from my college experience that prepared me for the real world. So the opportunity to return to Kent State in an official position means I can actually share those experiences as part of the curriculum. I’m no longer a guest speaker, but I’m actually on the staff and bringing that experience directly into the classroom.

Q. How does it feel going from a student here to a professor?

Kent State was the place where I became aware of the world around me. When I was an undergraduate in 1968, I was largely unaware of what was happening, and it was here that I learned to see the world as a much bigger place than my own small sphere. It’s where I learned to see injustice and not only care about it, but to act on my conscience and take a stand on issues. So as a professor now, I just hope every student can find time to be a student of life and to be what I think all college students should be – the conscience of America.

Q. As a student who survived the shootings at Kent State more than 50 years ago, what is the most significant change you’ve witnessed at Kent State?

Kent State has arrived at a place I never thought I would see in my lifetime. The current administration has shown a commitment to continued education and commemoration of May 4, one of the most pivotal events in American history. This shift from previous efforts to distance the university from its legacy gives me and other survivors comfort that when we are gone, the truth will live on.

Q. What do you want to accomplish in working with the Office of the President and the May 4 Presidential Advisory Committee?

May 4 was a defining moment in my life. It remains a galvanizing influence on what I teach and how I teach. It can’t just be something that we do in May every year. It must be something that we do throughout the school year. My generation used our voices and our numbers to stop a war in 1970. The current generation can use their voices and their numbers to effect even greater change. So when we teach about May 4, we teach about injustice, about the world in which we live in and how to make it a more fair, just and good place for all. That should be embedded as part of the curriculum. What happened to us at Kent State should be something that we learn about and care enough about and to act on issues of importance in our lives.

Q. What would you like to develop for May 4 initiatives in the future?

It's my hope that the May 4 Task Force will co