Texas State Alum launches professional career working for the Houston Rockets

houstonBy Alise Lyles:

What do you want to be when you grow up?” was never a difficult question for Texas State alum (2012) Kevin Rawls.  “All I knew was that I wanted to merge the two things I enjoyed most into a career: sports and mass communications”, said Rawls. Today, Rawls finds the perfect balance between his childhood dream and his career path by landing a marketing job with the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

Rawls majored in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations for reasons he believes many take for granted; the ability to interact and communicate effectively on an everyday basis with new people. Rawls expresses that having the opportunity to do that for the rest of his life is something he looks forward to.

Since a child, Rawls has always had an interest in sports and an even more so an appreciation for the game of basketball. As a former athlete himself, he is intrigued by the thought of working around professional athletes on a more personal, day-to-day basis.

“Working with them has given me the opportunity to meet countless NBA players, professionals and corporate partners and make lasting impressions”, said Rawls.

Rawls credits the School of Journalism and Mass Communication for helping him in preparation for his job with the Houston Rockets. Specifically, PR Campaigns course with Chuck Kaufman made the largest impact says Rawls.

“What I like about [Kaufman] is that he goes above and beyond to help anyone, not just his students, to find the job they are looking for. He wants to make sure that graduating seniors aren’t left in the dark desperately looking for a job after they leave Texas State, and I can say he definitely did that for me”, said Rawls.

Rawls stresses the meaning of using your resources to the fullest in order to reach your full potential as an employee. Rawls urges students currently on the job hunt or searching for internships is to be VIGILANT, especially when it comes to the use of resources and weighing out options.

“You are a walking resume. Every day is a day to show others who you are and what you are about because someone is always watching even when you don’t realize it.

SJMC Student Learns the Ropes of the Performing Arts Industry

Horton_LongCenterInterns

Horton (far right) having a meeting with fellow Long Center interns

By Colin Ashby:

Alexandria Horton is one student who has used her performing arts experience into landing her dream job.

Horton is currently a junior at Texas State University majoring in mass communication-public relations with a minor in media studies.

As her internship at The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin comes to a close, she has already found her next position. This summer, Horton works as an intern for the New York Musical Theatre Festival in New York City.

“I had been planning on getting a New York City internship for over a year. It’s great to see that my work has paid off,” Horton said.

Last fall, at the start of her junior year at Texas State, Horton was starting out at a new internship with The Long Center. She had developed a thorough understanding of performing arts and the public relations industry through her internship duties working as a marketing intern.

Horton had always loved the variety of things within the performing arts. Growing up, she would spend her spare time attending theatre shows, visiting art events and watching musicals. Coming to Texas State, she was unsure of what career path to pick until a professor offered advice.

“My Introduction to Public Relations professor Bruce Smith said ‘to have a great job, one should marry their career with their passion.’” Horton said.

One day, at the end of the summer, she decided to fill out an application for an internship at The Long Center in Austin, Texas. She knew the Long Center would be a great way to get experience in the performing arts and public relations industries. A few days after a phone interview, she got the position as a marketing intern.

Working at the Long Center gave her the confidence to achieve anything in the workplace, she said. A typical day at her internship involves doing anything from managing marketing to helping out with the finance or development department.

“There is never a moment where there is nothing to do. I always find something to work on,” she said.

As for her spending the summer in New York City, Horton said she will experience all New York City has to offer. She plans to move there after her graduation in May 2015.

“Gaining experience at the Long Center has given me the confidence to follow my career dreams.” Horton said.

 

Father’s MS challenge inspires a PR purpose

LeahKeyworth

By Brenda Brantley:

As Leah Keyworth prepares to graduate from Texas State University, she is certain of one thing – a future in nonprofits.

When Keyworth was six years old, her father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). More than 2.5 million people worldwide suffer from MS and there is currently no known cure. Keyworth’s father has a very progressive form of MS, allowing little feeling and mobility in his hands and legs. Although her father is in a wheelchair, Keyworth says “he has an extraordinary spirit and makes light of his condition.”

In 2011, Keyworth coordinated a poker tournament fundraiser to raise awareness about MS in honor of her father through a local multiple sclerosis nonprofit organization. Her goal was collect $500 in donations. With help from family and friends, she was able to raise more than $3,000. Keyworth was also placed fourth in individual fundraising for MS in Houston.

Now having her feet wet in the nonprofit world and obtaining real-world experience in event planning, Keyworth says she has found her calling.  She is currently the Public Relations Director-Intern at the LBJ Museum in San Marcos. At the museum, Leah coordinates private events for members and fundraises events for the museum. Working for the museum has really given Keyworth insight into nonprofits, as well as further experience with event planning and fundraising.

Keyworth also stays busy planning events for friends and family. On her blog Confetti & Cocktail Parties, she shares pictures of events she has planned, DIY projects, recipes and “inspiration for your next event.”

Keyworth graduated from Texas State University this past May and made plans to return to her hometown in Houston. With her sights set on working for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and a PR degree in hand, Keyworth looks forward to putting her experience into action and becoming a voice for those affected by a disease that needs a cure.

 

 

 

 

 

Three Texas State Students Win SAAHJ Scholarships

saahjlogoThe San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists (SAAHJ) is pleased to award $30,000 in scholarships to 13 deserving Bexar County students pursuing careers in communications and journalism this year at its 16th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala held in San Antonio’s Marriott Rivercenter, 101 Bowie Street on Friday, August 8th, 2014.

The award amount is to celebrate the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) 30th Anniversary, as NAHJ will hold its annual convention in San Antonio for the first time in its 30 years.  SAAHJ’s gala is part of their festivities and the scholarships will be presented to the recipients at this gala.  Since inception, SAAHJ has awarded more than $175,000 in scholarships, with $25,000 last year alone.
“We’re thrilled to award the most our association ever has in scholarships this year at $30,000, to a variety of students from our own backyard who are aspiring to be the next generation of journalists and communicators,” said Francisco Vara-Orta, SAAHJ President. “Our scholarships are open to all students and that mindset helps us champion true diversity by funding a pipeline to better ensure that people of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds have a fair shot in ending up in our nation’s newsrooms.”

The students receiving scholarships this year are:

•       Miriam Cisneros Cabello, University of Texas at San Antonio

•       La Quinta Dixon, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

•       Zarah Farah, Texas State University

•       Sarah Gibbens, University of Texas at San Antonio

•       Cynthia M Herrera, San Antonio College

•       Lorie A. Hidalgo, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

•       Alma Linda Manzanares, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

•       Malik Mingo, Texas State University

•       Marques Mingo, Texas State University

•       Pamela Paz, San Antonio College

•       Asaiah K Puente, University of Texas at San Antonio

•       Thalia Rivera, University of North Texas

•       Christopher Vasquez, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

About the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists (SAAHJ):
Established in 1986, the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists is composed of local journalists, public relations professionals and students interested in communications or the public relations industry. SAAHJ helps provide networking opportunities for Hispanics in journalism and communications careers, help develop Hispanic leaders in journalism, advance and be an advocate for Hispanics in journalism and communications careers, and encourage Hispanics to consider and pursue journalism and communications professions. For more information, visit www.saahj.com.

A huge congratulations goes out to all of these students!

Texas Monthly intern: Be Passionate to Land Internships

Taylor Tompkins standing outside The University Star building

Taylor Tompkins is currently the news editor for The University Star and editorial intern for Texas Monthly

By Leslie Warren:

For journalism junior Taylor Tompkins, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) has been invaluable to her success.

“Opportunities offered through The University Star and SJMC have provided me with real-life tools,” Tompkins said. “No other school could have prepared me as thoroughly as SJMC has.”

Tompkins is currently an editorial intern at Texas Monthly magazine in downtown Austin and news editor at The University Star at Texas State University.

At Texas Monthly, Tompkins is responsible for transcribing interviews, researching, working on data projects, and doing background reporting for journalists.

She applied for Texas Monthly in October 2013 and was hired in early December.

“I was actually turned down initially,” Tompkins said. “They wanted seniors, so they told me to apply in the fall. However, they really liked my resume and were really impressed by my work, so they emailed me the next day and said they opened a position for me even though I was only a junior.”

Tompkins said her Texas Monthly internship has significantly improved her skills as a journalist.

“Transcribing reporters’ interviews sounds boring, but it really has helped me hone and develop my own skills by listening to how they ask questions and using [their techniques] in my own work,” Tompkins said.

Tompkins credits SJMC classes for providing her the skills necessary to obtain this internship.

“It has just been so great,” Tompkins said. “I would recommend this program to anyone.”

To students looking for internships at Texas Monthly, the The University Star, or elsewhere, Tompkins gives the following advice:

“Show that you are eager and passionate about what you are doing,” Tompkins said. “I think they would rather hire someone who is eager and passionate than someone who has more experience but no enthusiasm. You can teach good reporting, but you cannot force someone to care or become a go-getter. I think that is how I have gotten every internship I ever applied for.”

Edit: Taylor Tompkins has completed her internship at Texas Monthly.

Faculty Spotlight: Larry Carlson

By Lindsey Holderby:carlson-bio-pic

At the peak of his dream job, a drunk driver brought this sports broadcaster’s career to a screeching halt.

Larry Carlson, SJMC Senior Lecturer, was driving home after a post-game radio interview when a drunk driver crossed the IH-35 median and hit him head-on. Along with a broken jaw, nose, ribs, and femur, his most crucial asset to his career was taken from him – one of his vocal chords had been paralyzed. After his tragic accident, Carlson was unable to speak at all for nine months, nor could he work for two years. But after three surgeries and numerous speech therapy sessions, he finally had a voice again.

Years later, Carlson returned to his journalistic calling; he was appointed as the editor and publisher for “Texas Hill Country View” and even found a way to mix his passion of traveling and sports in 2002 with a show called “Big Game Hunters” that delved into the culture and experience of the big collegiate games from the tailgates to the local eats. He and a friend pitched the idea to various networks and produced a season of episodes on ESPN2.

In the early 80s, Carlson was working in public relations for the UT San Antonio athletic department when a friend from his alma mater, Southwest Texas State, asked him if he would be willing to teach a class. Carlson immediately fell in love with teaching and picked up the first full-time teaching position that opened up in the Journalism and Mass Communication department. He has now been teaching for almost 30 years. He says his passion for teaching is the priority; however, he still manages to keep his hands in broadcasting and journalism “just for fun,” participating in coverage of Texas Longhorn football games on San Antonio’s ESPN radio affiliate station where he has also covered two of the last four national championship football games.

 

LarryCarlson1980s

Larry interviews Texas QB Randy McEachern on the Longhorn Locker Room Show (KVET Radio Austin, 1977)

Carlson’s biggest influence in life was his father — a UT grad who gave Larry his orange sporting blood and brought food to the table as a petroleum engineer. He always encouraged Larry to do what he loved, and that’s exactly what Larry did. His Dad used to say, “You can do something you don’t like and make a good living, or you can do something you like and not make a damn thing.”

“Dad was semi-right; I got into things I absolutely love. You never mind going to work every day because it’s fun!” Carlson said. “I don’t see how people can get up every day for a job they absolutely hate, even if they’re making a really good living.”

Carlson’s biggest advice to his graduating students is short and sweet: get a job. He believes that every job is attainable, though it may not be easy. Carlson stresses that those who chase their dreams find it’s definitely worth it in the end because “you won’t ever have to work another day in your life.”

“Students just want to ponder forever what they want to do and never actually do it because they’re too scared,” Carlson said. “Just do it.”

On his days off, Carlson loves to read non-fiction, preferably about “the greatest American that ever lived,” George Washington. He enjoys traveling, especially anywhere with a beach, and he spends almost every other day “grilling and chilling” on his back patio in San Antonio with his wife. Carlson says he has everything he could want and wouldn’t change a thing.

Larry Carlson’s ‘Careers in Media’ MC1100 class recently took a trip to the Dell Diamond field, home of the minor league baseball team Round Rock Express, and met with announcer Mike Capps. You can find photos from their trip here.

Student Spotlight: Paige Vaughn

StudentSpotlight-Paige VaughnMeet Paige Vaughn, the social media administrator for the School of Journalism & Mass Communication’s 2014 study abroad trip to the United Kingdom. Paige, a public relations major, is a Texas State University Ambassador, Bobcat Promotions volunteer, and much more.

Paige first heard about the study abroad trip through one of the school’s information sessions conducted throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. She was excited to hear about the planned visits to various media-centered locations such as the Yahoo! UK headquarters and the various sight-seeing tours the trip offered, as well as receiving credit for class. Paige has plans to extend her trip and take a trip to the Warner Bros Studios located in London.

Paige manages and designs her own blog. She began blogging while taking the Fundamentals of Digital Media class offered in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication. Paige decided to create her own blog after the course finished because she enjoyed teaching and wanted to help people. Paige gained writing experience by interning for various companies and organizations such as Get Smart Content and the Texas State Alumni Association.

Paige hopes to get a career in public relations after she graduates, preferably in the fields of non-profit, culinary, or a company with a niche market.

You can keep up with the progress of the SJMC study abroad class by following the hashtag #SJMCinUK on Twitter.

 

 

 

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