#AlumniSpotlight: Tiffany Young

Tiffany young is a recent 2016 graduate from our Public Relations sequence in the SJMC. While at Texas State, Young served in multiple student organizations, including Student Government, Student Organizations Council, Cat Camp, and Student Foundation. Young is now a Deputy Account Associate at ROSS Communications in Austin. Congrats, Tiffany!

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#AlumniSpotlight: Elan Tavor

Elan Tavor graduated from the SJMC with a degree in Public Relations in 2001. Now a home builder with The Tavor Company and real estate broker with John Daugherty Realtors, Tavor says his degree has been an incredible asset throughout his career.

“I had an incredible educational experience at Texas State (SWT when I was there). The class sizes were small enough to allow for the best professor/student interaction, which allowed me to get the most out of the courses I completed. The professors I had truly had a profound impact on me at the time and what I learned still influences me today. The public relations skills learned at the SJMC have helped me tremendously at various times throughout my career.”

SJMC student Jay Martinez and his band ‘Across the Atlantic’ signs record deal

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It’s not uncommon to apply for graduate school to buy some time while figuring out how to navigate the career market, figuring out where you fit in. It is, however, rather uncommon that a masters graduate and his band of over five years ends up signing a deal with a record label just weeks after the spring commencement. That’s now; let’s back up to when things started.

Jay Martinez had just graduated high school and enrolled in the University of Texas at San Antonio when he realized that he needed a social group, a small network to enjoy while he wasn’t studying for his, at the time, undeclared major. So, he did what any sane person with a laptop seeking friends would do: posted an add on Craigslist. And as they say in the business, the rest is history.

Well, not quite that easy. Jay said he just wanted some people to hang out with.

“I posted a craigslist ad to see if anyone wanted to come over and play, and that was an adventure on its own. We pieced it together from there. None of us ever imagined this would be a career pursuit,” said Jay.

After sifting through the odd, scary, and off-putting responses, Jay secured 4 friends to play music with him to pass the time, and just like that the band had a name, Across the Atlantic, and his social endeavor transformed into a way of life. Eventually.

Jason Lugo (Guitar), Julio Bautista (Guitar), Jayy Garza (Bass). and Cody Cook (Drums) would meet up and play regularly at Jay’s (vocals) parent’s house, slowly realizing that the group they had formed may be more than a casual jam session to pass the time. Eventually, the band realized that not knowing each other and recording with a group of strangers was a blessing in disguise, creating the authentic and diverse sound that they produce today. So, the band agreed their music would become their top priority over friends, school, and even relationships.

“It took such a toll on all of us, but we all had a common goal to make the band everything we knew it could be. We were quite messy in the beginning, but it ended up working for us,” said Jay.

Starting Out

The band managed to release two albums on their own, scraping by financially and working day and night to promote their music for any sort of return on their investment. But the albums did not make money and would not see a profit for a long time. Even so, Jay and the band continued to write, produce, and tour by using their own dollar and own expertise. Luckily, Jay’s education proved most helpful.

After happening into his communication studies major in his undergrad, Jay realized his passion for communication with an audience, through spoken word, song, or otherwise.

“I took my first public speaking course and that was a game changer for me. I was always very shy when speaking, but I learned that speaking could be a performance. The more I did speeches, the more I was charismatic in my performance, “ said Jay.

Learning Lessons

And Jay never stopped performing, both on and off stage. His time in the SJMC at Texas State the past two years taught him a valuable lesson- never underestimate your own power to market yourself.

“People aren’t going to go spend money on a concert for a band they have never heard of, so we had to sell ourselves. What I learned in class was how important your image is, how important content is, and how important engagement with your audience is. These aren’t practical skills for most, and I learned this firsthand,” said Jay.

After learning that starting a band is not as easy as writing songs and making good music, Jay applied some of his practical skills from the classroom. His class with Dr. Judy Oskam, Creative Problem-Solving, proved to him that there is always a way to navigate an issue.

“I had always heard about how great Dr. Oskam was, but I hadn’t had a class with her yet. So I signed up and ended up learning that there is no problem too large. Dr. Oskam’s help and feedback were amazing,” said Jay.

Getting To Work

Jay’s education and the band’s drive to succeed kept them above water for five years, but things began to take a turn as Jay began his last month of his graduate program. He began to feel the pressure of the financial constraints and began to compare himself to everyone else in his life who had their lives together, a family, kids. So he turned to his friends and family for sage advice, and the result was not what he anticipated.

“The people I went to suggested putting everything (the band) to the side and focusing more on my ‘career’- that was my fire. At that moment, I wanted to prove everybody wrong and that was the inspiration for this album. It’s not that they wanted to hurt me, they believed in me and wanted the best for me and everything they said was true. This is what provoked me to continue,” said Jay.

And so, he wrote. He worked with his music and lyrics in a way that he had never before.

“I went in thinking this is the last bit of music that I may produce. Writing this album was the first time that I wrote with no inhibitions, and just so much ambition. I put everything out there. I wanted to be at peace if this was it. And that sort of mentality drove me to a place where I found complete freedom in writing,” said Jay.

He and the band, who he had not yet told about his reservations to continue with the band, started recording their most recent album in the spring. Knowing that this album may be the last he worked on, Jay felt conflicted. After they recorded the music and were mixing the tape, he let the band know that this may be his last go.

“It took everybody by a huge surprise. We were still in the studio mixing and things were tense for the next two days. No one knew what the future held for the band,” said Jay.

But just as unexpected as successfully piecing together a band from a Craigslist ad, things took a dramatic turn two days later as they sat in their hotel lobby at a quiet breakfast.

The Deal

“My phone rang and the caller ID said ‘Germany’ which I had never seen before. On the other end, a person with broken English began to speak, introducing themselves as a person from Sharp Tone Records…they offered us a record deal! It was so unexpected. We are just so thankful for our producer, who gave us the guidance and advice of how to maneuver ourselves through the ranks,” said Jay.

As you may have guessed, the band accepted the deal and Jay’s decision was confirmed- the show must go on. This summer the band began preparing for their first international tour ever, leaving for Europe in September, where they will debut songs from their most recent album, Works of Progress.

“These songs are so much more emotional than our last albums. Our albums are just so diverse. You can find metal, acoustic, and pop, and everybody defines us differently. It gives us so much freedom knowing that I am not boxed in by any constraints. As long as it sounds good, everything goes,” said Jay.

The band is excited to debut themselves alongside their new label abroad, which Jay says is a suitable start to a new beginning.

“This band was established on the foundation of diversity. It was hard at first to take other influences into our music at first, but different views have made our music what it is today. Across the Atlantic is the embodiment of being open to different people and different backgrounds. I think music is one of the things in life that can be considered as universal, regardless of religion, who you are, where you live,” said Jay.

Works of Progress

Works of Progress, a fitting title to describe their journey and progress, debuts on Labor Day and is available on the Across the Atlantic’s website, Sharp Tone Records site, and on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify for streaming. Three singles have already been released for your listening pleasure. The band is also presenting a free show to give back to the community that has supported them for over five years: San Antonio and surrounding areas. The concert is on August 18th, starting at 7:00 pm at The Korova in San Antonio. The band is expected to take the stage around 9:30 pm.

The band will be selling their new album at The Korova and it is available for preorder today. Check it out on any of the services mentioned above.

Perhaps in the future, Jay will pursue his Ph.D. to give back to the world of academia, but for now, it’s full steam ahead for the band.

“I eventually want to focus on leaving my imprint on the media market by teaching so that I can be on both sides of the industry. But I am listening to my heart right now and that is what I want to inspire people to do. Don’t ever give up on your passion, just learn to trust your heart and emotions to lead you in the right direction,” said Jay.

It is this passion and drive to start the band that fuels each member today. Follow Jay and the band on their social platforms and Jay’s blog to see what they are up to next. If the past is any indicator of the future, we know it will be an amazing journey to follow.

Facebook                          Twitter                          Instagram

Check out their music video and PSA against domestic violence: “Sundress Funeral”

JMC Living-Learning Community Meets with Professionals

Twice during the spring semester, the Journalism and Mass Communication Living-Learning Community traveled to media-related companies for tours and real-world advice from media professionals. The field trips catered to each realm of mass communication: public relations, advertising, electronic media, digital media innovation, and journalism.

First, students toured the Edelman PR firm in downtown Austin where employees discussed different accounts and showed examples of their work for clients like Kentucky Fried Chicken and REI. At Edelman, the Learning Community students had the opportunity to ask interns, newly-hired and experienced PR professionals questions concerning the field and the requirements for working at the firm.

Next, they were immersed into the world of advertising at McGarrah Jessee. The advertising company provided extensive interviews with members of each department to emphasize unique responsibilities and opportunities within the company and industry.

Students learned more about the broadcasting and journalism aspects of the media industry when they traveled to San Antonio to tour KABB Fox 29 and San Antonio Express-News. While at the television station, the aspiring storytellers went behind the scenes to watch a live broadcast of Daytime at Nine from the set. They received a tour of the building from the Lifestyle Associate Producer, Carlos Hernandez. Hernandez, a Texas State alumnus, offered advice on beneficial classes and landing internships in the field.

The last stop at San Antonio Express-News proved the changing industry has much to offer prospective journalists and photographers. After a tour of the newsroom, pressroom, and photography department, the students had a broad understanding of the daily routines at a newspaper. Those interested in sports had the opportunity to meet with the sports editor and receive specific advice.

Each career field trip offered relevant and tangible opportunities of insight and networking that will prepare students for the media professions. We are thankful to have proud alumni and professionals who are willing to spend time with our students!

Story by Lily Reeves, pre-electronic media major

Alum Spotlight: Kevin Quintero

From valet attendant to co-founder of a digital marketing agency, Kevin Quintero is the definition of an innovated entrepreneur. Tenoch Labs is the brain child of two roommates who didn’t want to work under anyone besides themselves and knew that containing their creative minds would be selfish. With his “If anyone can do it, I can do it better” mentality, Quintero has manifested the perfect amount of perseverance to become a successful entrepreneur.

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Raised in Dallas, Quintero found his calling in digital media at a very young age. He recalls falling in love with film, editing and storytelling by the seventh grade. After attending Dallas Community College Quintero was drawn to the nature scene of central Texas and knew San Marcos was the place to be. Once Quintero researched Texas State’s electronic media program it was deemed the ideal next step towards his career.

When Quintero arrived in San Marcos he fell in love with the city, Texas State and most importantly, the professors at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Out of every resource Texas State offers, Quintero advises students to take full advantage of creating relationships with professors.

“The professors are really good people, they’re real people. They’re just there to teach. Mass Comm professors are good at communicating and want to build relationships with you. They know their field. They know everything is changing and media is shifting,” Quintero says.

Many of Quintero’s peers tell him that he is lucky for finding something is he so passionate about and that it comes naturally. They fail to realize the amount of time and effort that has been put into perfecting his craft. “Nothing comes easy, it’s not supposed to come easy,” says Quintero. He recommends that anyone who lacks a passion should try to do something they hate and they might find the love in it.

Quintero had no idea what advertising and marketing even consisted of until he was working as a valet attendant for a building that housed a marketing agency. When he searched the name of the business, he discovered that his hobbies matched almost every service they offered. At this point, he knew he could capitalize off his skill. His mindset during school began to take an entrepreneurial approach and thought of ways he could sell what he was being taught. Quintero explained, “You got to see beyond the textbook. How can I make money off of this? How can I offer this to someone that has money?”

As graduation was approaching, Quintero and his roommate, Hector Sifuentes, were managing their new business, Intel Productions, with minor projects. He was advised by peers and professors that seeking out a position with an agency would be a safer plan. Quintero expressed that it didn’t feel right to him, he had fallen in love with free creativity and the business.

One of Intel Productions first major projects was a collaborative effort with public relations agency, APC Collective. A Jarritos commercial created by the roommates for the agency and caught the attention of APC Collective. This was the start of a beneficial relationship between the two. After the project, Quintero made sure to keep in touch with the founder of the agency. The founder pleaded with Quintero to keep Intel Productions thriving and not work for anyone else, emphasizing that he will be underpaid and they are worth more. After voicing his concern with a living wage, the founder of APC collective offered to assist Quintero and Sifuentes and officially invest in the newly rebranded Tenoch Labs.

Jarritos: Love is Super Good from Intel Productions on Vimeo.

Kevin Quintero is now living out his digital media dream and can’t exaggerate enough how great it feels. Quintero’s main piece of advice to others is to never stop doing what you love, “Just keep working hard and then one person looks at your work and says ‘damn that’s awesome,’ and that one person turns to two and so on. You just can’t stop working.”

Twitter Takeover

Last week, alum and former Fundamentals of Digital Media (FDOM) Grad Assistant Randy Estevanes took over our Twitter account. He showed us and our followers what it’s like to work at a digital marketing firm.

Coffee might wake you up, but Red Bull gives you wings!

Always remember to proofread. It helps you iron out any unnecessary errors.

The SJMC also hires interns to assist in content creation and social media marketing. Learn more about it here.

Don’t forget to check out Esd & Associates when you’re looking for fall internships!

What better way to promote Goodwill on social media then with real authentic pictures!

Randy uses canva.com for its variety of design presentations, social media graphics and thousands of layouts.

Nice collage!

How awesome is it that Esd & Associates provides healthy snacks for them? #Winning

Knowing how to schedule post is an great tool to have under your belt!

Take note student: Google Adwords is a MAJOR asset!

Thank you again, Randy, for showing us your world. Once a Bobcat, always a Bobcat! #Eat’emUp

From TXST to TV, catching up with Isamar Terrazas

Just two years after graduating from the SJMC at Texas State University, Isamar Terrazas has already paved a solid foundation for her career in broadcast journalism.

Terrazas is now working for KTLM Telemundo 40, as both the Assignments New Editor and as a Field Producer.

Isamar Terrazas holding an award

Isamar Terrazas

“I am so proud of how much this station has grown,” said Terrazas. “In the two years I have been here, we went from being the #4 station to being the #1 station.”

During her time at KTLM Telemundo 40, the station was nominated for 8 Lone Star Emmys.

“I was nominated as a producer for our hurricane special, Tras La Tormenta,” said Terrazas. “We won Overall Station Excellence, being the first station in the Rio Grande Valley to do this.”

KTLM Telemundo 40’s focus is very similar to English language markets, focusing on breaking news, weather and digital media. In particular, Terrazas worked on an investigate special, Clash at the Border, which focused on the abuses of Border Patrol agents.

Terrazas credits at least some of her success to her education from Texas State University, praising the both the faculty and the electronic media sequence.

“I feel like I learned so much from Ray Niekamp and Tim England,” said Terrazas. “Their program targets what it is like to work in a newsroom in real life.”

Kickin’ it with George Kiel III

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Jon Zmikly interviewing George Kiel III during the Digital Media Entrepreneurship Speaker Series. Photo by Dr. Cindy Royal

By: Jennifer Alvord

Texas State alumnus George Kiel III spoke to students during The Digital Media Entrepreneurship Speaker Series about his career at NiceKicks.com and non-profit organization Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation.

Kiel graduated from Texas State University in 2008 with a degree in journalism and was extremely involved during his time here. While taking 19 hours his senior year, Kiel wrote for the University Star, played basketball for the university and interned for the FOX affiliate in Austin.

Kiel is currently Editor-in-Chief of NiceKicks.com, one of the Internet’s most comprehensive sneaker-themed sites, and is the co-founder of Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation. Kiel founded the foundation and the Kick & Roll Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Event as a promise to honor his mother’s name and extend her legacy through his love for basketball and sneakers.

Since Nice Kicks is solely online, Kiel said that pushing content through social media is essential. “Social media can be a big engine as far as who sees what and how they see it,” he said. “Social media is key.”

Kiel also believes that what sets companies apart from each other is content. “Content is king,” he said. “Having exclusive content is what makes you stand out.” At Nice Kicks, Kiel helped create a series called Kicks on the Court, which is a daily feature with exclusive content about shoes worn by basketball players.

 

Texas State alum lands job at Edelman NYC

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Christopher Henry – Photo from LinkedIn

By: Jennifer Alvord

Texas State alumnus Christopher Henry has recently landed a job at Edelman, the largest public relations firm in the world, in New York City.

Henry is a part of the public affairs team and works with clients such as Microsoft, McGraw Hill Financial and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development (MEDEI).

Henry is the former executive director of Bobcat Promotions, a student-run public relations firm on campus, and said that it taught him many valuable skills before graduating.

“Being able to walk into an interview saying, ‘I know how to write a press release’ or ‘I know how to pitch to a business’ was a vital thing for me and definitely helped me get to where I am now,” Henry said.

Before being recruited to Edelman, Henry interned for the U.S. Senator of New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, on her public affairs team and also interned for Brunswick Group, which is a financial crisis firm.

Henry couldn’t stress enough how critical internships are. “If you want to be successful in PR, you have to go above and beyond and get out of classroom experience.”

Henry also thinks that a major key to being a successful PR practitioner is to constantly be networking. “Network everywhere you go,” Henry said. “I still use many of the contacts that I’ve made throughout my career at my job at Edelman.”

Dee Kapila visits FDOM class

By: Jennifer Alvord

deeTexas State alumna Dee Kapila spoke to Fundamentals of Digital and Online Media students on Wednesday about the importance of constantly learning new skills in a digital career.

Kapila graduated from the University of Texas with an undergraduate degree in advertising. After graduating, she began her career at Dell as a product specialist. Kapila always had a passion for communication and technology, so she decided to further her education at Texas State University where she graduated with a master’s degree in new media in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2008.

After obtaining her master’s, she worked for many different companies doing instructional technology. Kapila is now starting her new job as a product manager at Headspring in Austin, TX.

Kapila had great advice for students by telling them to feel comfortable about jumping into new things and learning new skills as soon as possible.

“Always think about yourself as a CEO in training,” Kapila said. “As a CEO, you need to know a little bit about everything.”

She then went on to explain how quickly technology changes and encourages students to be able to adapt. “Some skills in technology come and go, but HTML and CSS aren’t going anywhere,” Kapila said. “Knowing code is very important.”

Kapila also believes that having an online presence is extremely important. “Social media and blogging are no longer frivolous endeavors,” Kapila said. “It’s now the primary way companies communicate and interact.”

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Dee Kapila and Dr. Cindy Royal

Thank you for coming and sharing your knowledge with us, Dee! We love hearing from professional alumni.