Trisha Espinoza joined us for Mass Comm Week

Trisha Espinoza remembers the time she sold everything and went into debt.

She had one goal in mind—to be a leader in the communication industry. After all, as she put it, Espinoza did not want to put in all this hard work and sit behind a desk.

Espinoza obviously reached her goal relating her journey to communication students Oct. 19 as a during a question and answer session in conjunction with Mass Communication Week.

Upon graduation, Espinoza started her career at News 8 Austin before joining Viacom as an intern with MTV’s development team in 2002. She spent seven years with MTV and MTV2 before becoming Director of Programming.

TrishaEspinoza joined NBC Universal in 2010 where she was the vice president of programming for Oxygen Media. She returned to Viacom in 2014 and is now the current Vice President of Program Scheduling for BET.

Espinoza turned to Texas State University to accomplish her goal. She was 25 years old at the time and was eager to get started.

“I remember sitting in Dr. (Laurie) Fluker’s office and crying to her saying I was so old and wasted so much time,” Espinoza said. “In reality I was right where I needed to be but that was just my sense of urgency, I wanted to do all I could to get ahead.”

Espinoza spent her session discussing all the stepping-stones it takes for people to work their way up in the industry. She talked about the importance of internships and perfecting a resume and networking

“I was shocked when she told us how many resumes she sent out,” said Tayler Chambless, Mass communication student. “She said she sent out 200 resumes and only got six internships from it, I admire her dedication and the drive she had to never give up.”

While attending Texas State, Espinoza worked at KTSW radio. She graduated at the top of her class and has left an impression on former faculty members.

“She searched for awhile,” said Tim England, Mass Communication associate professor. “People can relate to her because everyone struggles, but she found a path and continues to work her way through this profession.”

Throughout Espinoza’s discussion, she spoke of her failures and successes. She told students the media industry is for passionate and dedicated individuals.

“Never stop learning,” Espinoza said. “Always be grateful for where you are in life but strive to go further. I am thankful for where I have been and I am excited to see where I will go because we are never finished growing.”

By Molly Dodge

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Digital Speaker Series features SJMC graduate and NY Times staffer Maira Garcia

by Becky Larson:

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Maira Garcia at TX State’s Digital Speaker Series

Maira Garcia is a senior staff editor at the New York Times. She works to organize, strategize and push content for the paper’s homepage, NYTimes.com.

Interviewed by digital media graduate student Jordon Brown and speaking to what felt like a hometown crowd, Garcia, who is a Texas State graduate, returned to the university this past week as the most recent speaker in the SJMC’s Digital Entrepreneurship Series.

“I learned a lot at TX State…”

Garcia earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree with Texas State and was one of the first to matriculate under the graduate program’s Digital Media concentration.

It was this skills-focused digital concentration that she told the audience was one of the most important aspects of her time at Texas State.

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SJMC students intern, travel with Spurs Sports and Entertainment

by Cheyenne Meyer:

Fans of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team know the excitement of attending a game. Between the loud crowds, the pumped-up music, and simply seeing their favorite players in action is an experience fans sitting anywhere in the arena just don’t want to miss. Two SJMC students are experiencing the games from a whole new perspective. They’re seeing it courtside.

Taylor Hair and Avery Schneider currently intern for Spurs Sports and Entertainment. Schneider has been with the group since last year, and Hair joined the team in August. Larry Carlson, senior lecturer, said these internships were made possible by Mike Kickirillo, the director of broadcasting for the Spurs and SJMC alum (class of ’88).

Photo provided by Texas State SJMC

Mike Kickirillo, SJMC Alum – Photo provided by Texas State SJMC

“Over the years, [Kickirillo] has utilized many of my students as interns,” Carlson said. “A number of them now work for him as producers, etc. Thanks to him, we have a great pipeline from our School of Journalism to the Spurs’ organization. And Mike, just like the players, has collected five NBA championship rings during his time with the Spurs.”

Hair and Schneider recently had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles and San Francisco to work on the broadcast of the Spurs’ games against the Clippers and Warriors. Hair, a senior electronic media major from Lubbock, explained their duties as interns.

“Avery and I have numerous responsibilities on game days and non-game days,” he said, “from making sure equipment is on the truck, setting up the broadcast desk, writing credentials, logging videos, and even thinking up a trivia question to use during the broadcast.”

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Strategic Opportunities for Students to Transfer to Texas State

Harry BowersOn November 24, Assistant Director Harry Bowers met with Marianne Odem, Chair of the Media Communication Department at San Antonio College (SAC), and members of her faculty. The goal of the meeting was to review changes to both schools’ institutional core and program curricula, and to review and develop strategies to maximize opportunities for two-year college students planning to transfer to Texas State. Assistant Director, Bowers was honored to be informed by SAC that the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is about the most student-centered institution that San Antonio College has worked with in assisting transfer students.

For more information about The Media Communication Department at the San Antonio College (SAC), please visit http://www.alamo.edu/sac/mediacomm/.

An Internship Bound to Happen

MacKenzie Smith

McKenzie Smith

McKenzie Smith grew up in New Braunfels, Texas, where weekly trips to the local waterpark, Schlitterbahn, were her favorite activity. As a teen, she spent her summers working as a lifeguard for the park, but eventually she knew she wanted to do more for the company.

After graduating high school, she decided to pursue a degree in public relations at Texas State University. Currently, She holds an internship with the water park where she is getting hands-on experience working with press releases, social media and updating their media website, “Schlitterbahn Newsroom”.

Her passion for the company and the field she works in keeps her motivated while she strives to better herself and the company. As a consecutive dean’s list recipient, Smith prides herself on her ability to quickly learn and adapt to every situation. She describes herself as being a hard working perfectionist with a strong focus on innovation, always trying to find new ways to reach her audiences. Smith can also be described as a “people person”, someone who has the ability to strike up and hold a conversation with anybody. She can also be described as strong-willed and independent as she held a job all four years of college to pay for her education.

“She [Smith] has been a determined and hardworking addition to the team,” said Winter Prosapio
, Corporate Director of Communications at Schlitterbahn. “She’s a leader, a person you can count on to solve any problem no matter how fast a deadline may be approaching.”

With graduation in May 2014, Smith is looking to take the skills she has acquired into her future career. With a strong passion, great work ethic and a desire for greatness, McKenzie Smith will be a great asset to any company.

A Tragedy in West, TX Affects a Texas State Student

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Kayla Urbanovsky in front of Old Main

By: Olivia Garcia — Kayla Urbanovsky scrolled through her Facebook feed on Feb. 17, 2013 and that evening, she noticed many statuses about a disturbance in her hometown of West, TX. A fertilizer plant had exploded, claiming 15 lives and damaging over 300 homes. Urbanovsky’s elementary and high school were destroyed, and luckily, her family and home were safe from the explosion. On the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, she remembers how her hometown’s resilience changed her life.

“West is now known as the small town in Texas that exploded,” Urbanovsky said. “But I know it as my family of 2,800 people and the resilience of West, Texas and its people actually made me a better college student.”

Kayla

Kayla Urbanovsky at her internship

While attending Texas State University, Urbanovsky landed an internship at ChannelAustin where she puts her knowledge of electronic media to the test. She ran the teleprompter, setted up cameras and was the technical director of the control room. She was one of the top interns at ChannelAustin and felt more prepared for life after college.

Urbanovsky thanked her professors from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication for the support the Texas State University community gave her and West, TX during this tragedy.

“This turned my world upside down but was a blessing in disguise for myself and for the people of West,” says Urbanovsky. “I was inspired to be the best person I could be and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication helped me thrive to be that person.”

Urbanovsky graduated May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication – Electronic Media. Urbanovsky hopes to work on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and to continue to help rebuild her hometown and promises to keep her resilient attitude throughout her career.

Hard Work, Great Ethic Pays Off

Stephanie Ortega in New York City.

Stephania Ortega in New York City.

By: Niloofar Torabi — Life can bring us challenges and hardships, but who other than Stephania Ortega is better to take on the tasks? Born on Dec. 1, 1991, in Monterrey, Mexico, Ortega worked her way from the bottom up to achieve lifelong goals, traveling all over the globe in hopes of gaining more hands-on experience. In less than one month, she will take her steady walk across the graduation stage and accept her certificate of becoming a Texas State University alum.

Soon to have her bachelor’s in public relations, Ortega always showed an interest in the communications field due to family ties. Both of her parents were involved in the advertising industry. After participating in the high school newspaper and yearbook, Ortega realized that she enjoyed writing and connecting with people, and that’s when her career possibilities were endless.

“I have experience with several internships on campus like being a PR intern and a social media contributor for the school,” said Ortega. “I also completed a digital media planning internship last summer.”

Stephanie Ortega (third from left to right) at a PRSSA Convention in San Francisco.

Stephania Ortega (third from left to right) at a PRSSA Convention in San Francisco.

Freshman year, Ortega became involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). It was a great learning experience for her where she could apply the skills she learned in class to reality. It has given her a great network of professionals along with new friends. Eventually, she moved her way to the top and was nominated president of the organization.

“Being president helped me further develop my leadership skills and taught me how to work with people with different skills and find ways to bring them together.”

Ortega was also involved with El Centro, The Center for the Study of Latino Media and Markets. Seeing it as her second home at Texas State, Ortega was able to assist first-generation students through tours and gain PR skills such as making media lists and event planning. It opened her eyes and created awareness of the Latinos on campus and sparked her interest in Hispanic marketing. However, that wasn’t enough for Ortega — she also joined the Texas State Ad Club.

Stephanie Ortega (third from left) as she assist future bobcats on a tour of Texas State University.

Stephania Ortega (third from left) as she assist future bobcats on a tour of Texas State University.

Through these organizations, she landed an internship in New York which encouraged her to pursue a career in the advertising field due to the strong multicultural community. Ortega received professional advice and eventually decided that her career interest was in strategic planning.

Ortega gained her first internship at University Marketing here at Texas State University, and then she gained another internship through the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program. Through a painstaking application process that included a video submission, essays and letters of recommendation, Ortega managed to be one of the 114 students picked from the hundreds of finalists the agencies chose for the summer program. By demonstrating her involvement in the community and revealing how she promotes diversity, Ortega slid her way into the program and began a new stage in her life.

“Within my agency I grew because I was able to prove that I could get something done in a timely manner and be there if the team needed me,” said Ortega.

“Texas State has provided me with so many opportunities to pursue a career in advertising and public relations,” said Ortega. “I wouldn’t have the network and a clear idea of what I want to pursue if it wasn’t for the organizations in the SJMC and great professors who have served as mentors throughout my time here. I was able to find my niche of Hispanic marketing and feel ready to keep furthering my skills to meet the demands of the ever-changing digital world.”

This is not the end of Ortega’s journey. She plans to gain more experience in the advertising or public relations industry for a couple years prior to attending grad school. She wishes to continue her studies in global communication or a similar program, while keeping her eyes open for bigger opportunities and study abroad programs.

Being the Voice of Texas State University

By Shannon Bailie

Photo by: Paige Vaughn Photography

Photo by Paige Vaughn Photography

Mindy Green, a public relations alumna, interned for the Office of University Marketing at Texas State University last spring as a student social media worker. Mindy gained valuable PR experience through a variety of duties including: managing the content for Texas State’s social media sites (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), writing for the Texas State blog and editing marketing materials.

“I love[d] it,” said Green. “It [was] great to kind of be the voice of a brand, essentially. I become the voice of Texas State when I’m tweeting as Texas State.”

Mindy has also promoted Texas State’s KTSW radio for more than two years including running the KTSW social media sites.

“Having done the social media for KTSW I knew what it was like to be the voice of another brand,” said Green. “Everything I wrote was read by thousands of people, so it helped me pay attention to detail. That really helped when they were considering me for the position of student social media worker for the Office of University Marketing.”

In the spring of 2013, one of Green’s friends heard about a student social media position opening up in May.

“My friend who knows my personality and skills thought of me immediately as a good candidate for this position,” said Green. “So I emailed the supervisor, and she requested my resume with two writing samples, and I got called in for an interview and found out weeks after that I got the position.”

Audrey Webb, writer, editor and supervisor for the Office of University Marketing, said, “It impressed me that the stress of an interview did nothing to suppress Mindy’s personality. She projected maturity, competency and energy and did it all with a smile.“

For Green, her internship was not just for school credit, it was to gain out-of-class experience that would prepare her for a PR career.

“It’s one thing sitting in class and talking about the professional world,” said Green. “It’s another to actually be in that environment and see how things are done and how things are run more clearly.”

According to Webb, an internship helps you understand that everyone you work with relies on you, and that your work is significant and meaningful to a wide range of people.

“I’ve seen her confidence grow through the way she tackles unfamiliar situations,” said Webb. “She knows she can face new challenges because she’s had the opportunity to confront them during her internship.”

Green’s advice for other School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) students looking for an internship is to join the media organizations provided on campus, use social media, reach out to professors and fellow students and to get involved in SJMC events and activities.

“Don’t be afraid to just really put yourself out there.” Mindy said.

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 communication,” 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 childhood, 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.

Mike George Scholarship Fund now accepting donations

10432933_1452078218366194_1978837831652791902_nHave you ever thought about supporting a SJMC student financially? A newly endowed scholarship in memory of Mike George at Texas State University could be your chance to do just that.

About Mike George:
After graduating from [then] Southwest Texas State, George worked in front of the camera and eventually became a news director at the NBC affiliate in Las Vegas. He built an operation that dominated the news ratings in every time slot, where he worked with executive producer was Deborah Clayton and sports anchor Mitch Roberts, another SWT classmate. He returned to KBTX-TV in Bryan, where his news department won more than 100 awards, including a Lone Star Emmy and selection as the best TV news operation in the state (all markets).

George had recently retired to spend more time with his family. They had just returned from a vacation in Mexico when he suddenly died.

Giving:
Clayton is now leading a social media campaign to endow a television news scholarship for Journalism and Mass Communication in Mike’s honor. The scholarship will be awarded to a journalism student in television news. Donations can be mailed in or you can call with a credit card. When donating please specify that the donation is being made as a memorial gift for Mike George.

Texas State University
601 University Drive
JC Kellam 480
San Marcos, Texas 78666

For more information, visit their Facebook page or call donor services at (512) 245-3022.