Author: Cis Ga

C&IS Honors Day

C&IS Honors Day

Honors Day is a time-honored tradition on The University of Alabama campus and within the College of Communication and Information Sciences. As the academic year comes to an end, we recognize the accomplishments of our most outstanding students and alumni. Selected both within their academic units and college wide, the individuals honored today have contributed excellence to the College and are distinctive representatives for our field.

 

Bert Bank Distinguished Service Award – Josiah “Jo” Robins Bonner, Jr.

A dedicated public servant who served in Alabama’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 10 years, Josiah “Jo” Robins Bonner, Jr. has been an advocate for Alabama his entire life. He received his B.A. in journalism from The University of Alabama in 1982 and since then has served the state and country. Notable achievements include $5 billion in contracts for Alabama-based companies to work with the U.S. Navy to build new ships. Bonner’s influence and leadership have bolstered the state’s economy and have earned him numerous awards, including the Distinguished Public Service Award which is the highest honor the U.S. Navy bestows to a civilian. He and his family live in Mobile, AL. C&IS is proud to award Bonner the Bert Bank Distinguished Service Award and to host him on campus.

 

Betsy Plank Distinguished Achievement Award – Marie Robinson 

After serving in The University of Alabama’s Army ROTC program, Marie Robinson graduated with a degree in journalism. She joined Walmart and launched their first e-commerce distribution center while working as their first female vice president of logistics. Robinson now works as the senior vice president of corporate strategy and chief operations officer for Michael Kors. Her day-to-day tasks include overseeing the company’s global operations and creating strategies that will enhance the company. Robinson has held other positions with top brands throughout her career. A leader in strategy and operations management, Robinson is the ideal recipient of the Betsy Plank Distinguished Achievement Award.

 

Outstanding Alumnus, Advertising – Cameron T. Watson

Cameron T. Watson is the group creative director-North America for Red Fuse Communications. He oversees all shopper marketing and e-commerce. Watson’s career has spanned two decades in the creative industry where he has worked in advertising agencies, in-house creative studios, retail firms and more. He has done strategic work for international brands, including Coca-Cola, Royal Caribbean and more. He was active on campus as a Crimson Tide cheerleader and in his work for The Crimson White. Watson is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the advertising field.

 

Outstanding Alumna, Communication Studies – Angela R. Gillespie

Angela Gillespie is the chief strategy officer of W20 Group, one of America’s most ambitious and innovative healthcare communication and marketing agencies. Her work breaks industry-wide standards for integrating communication into the healthcare industry. While a student at UA, Gillespie was on the Alabama Forensic Council and credits her experiences as a student with her current success. In addition to her professional career, Gillespie strongly values work-life balance and has pursued culinary pursuits and nonprofit work.

 

Outstanding Alumna, Library and Information Studies – Irene “Renee” Blalock

Irene “Renee” Blalock received her master’s in library service in 1981. She spent her professional career at the Birmingham Public Library, the largest public library in Alabama. Blalock served in the literature department and southern history department, as a branch head, collection department manager, regional coordinator, operational coordinator, associate director and finally director from 2009 to 2014. Blalock became a huge contributor to the volunteer community in Birmingham and was affiliated with many community initiatives. She has also served on committees of the American Library Association and on the board of the national Public Library Association.

 

Outstanding Alumnus, Library and Information Studies – Timothy Alan Lewis

Timothy Alan Lewis received his master’s in library service in 1982 and his law degree from The University of Alabama School of Law in 1984. Lewis has spent his professional career at the Library of the Supreme Court, where he has served as a readers services librarian, associate director and finally director. He has worked as the state law librarian since 1992. Lewis advises and assists county law librarians with legal information needs and provides leadership to the law library community in Alabama. He has given presentations and written numerous articles concerning legal information.

 

Outstanding Alumna, Public Relations – Breeanna Beckham Straessle 

Breeanna Beckham Straessle is a two-time graduate of The College of Communication and Information Sciences, earning her bachelor’s in public relations and her master’s in advertising and public relations. Straessle began her career in a boutique digital agency, heading their marketing division. Since then, she has served as the director of public relations for Vocus and director of corporate communications for Cision. Straessle now works as Cracker Barrel’s corporate communication manager and primary spokesperson.

 

Outstanding Alumnus, Journalism and Creative Media – Clayton Collins

Clayton Collins moved to New York City to produce MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” after graduating from UA. Since 2014, he has overseen and built creative productions for NBC Sports’ original programming and development group. Collins has produced and directed feature shows, digital vignettes and social activations on the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, Golf Channel and Premiership Rugby. He and his wife Danielle live in New England.

 

For more information on each recipient and to read their full bios, click here.

CMA Trip Brings Real-World Pitch Experience

All semester long, advertising and public relations students in the APR campaigns class (APR 433) completed projects for pitching to the Country Music Association (CMA). Students took their final project to Nashville to propose their final integrated communication campaigns.

The class, which all seniors in APR take, integrates the public relations and advertising students in order to provide a well-rounded project culture during the course. Professors selected CMA as the client that the students work for all semester.

C&IS Alumna Designs Website for The Brown House

After a summer of volunteering with the Brown House, a local nonprofit, Katie Belue knew she wanted to give back to them in a big way.

Belue is an alumna of C&IS from Birmingham, Alabama and in the spring of her senior year, she took a nonprofit public relations course. Part of the course requirement is for students to make a sizable communications contribution to a nonprofit in the area. Belue immediately began thinking of ways she could contribute to the Brown House’s mission.

Helping Habitat: C&IS Students Give Back

C&IS students Jake Stevens and Madison Kilpatrick are working as PR interns at Habitat for Humanity Tuscaloosa this semester. Both Stevens and Kilpatrick promote Habitat initiatives and help the organization raise money to build more houses and run their ReStore, a building surplus store that funds projects alongside donations.

“Working with Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore has been a great opportunity for me this semester,” said Kilpatrick. “Not only have they allowed me to take the reigns on all of the projects I have worked on, they have really opened up my eyes to all of the good that they do. Pretty much everyone has heard of or been exposed to Habitat for Humanity before, but it wasn’t until I had the chance to work with it that I was able to appreciate its mission and the effort that goes into achieving it.”

C&IS Welcomes New Faculty

New Faculty Members:

 

The College of Communication and Information Sciences has an established record of distinguished faculty, whose fingerprints are visible in the excellence of each graduating class. This fall, C&IS introduces 17 new faculty members, which is one of the largest groups of new faculty in its history. C&IS welcomes the following new faculty members and celebrates all of the outstanding achievements that are sure to follow.

 

Tom Arenberg: Instructor, News Media, JCM

Matt Barnidge: Assistant Professor, Emerging Media, JCM

Jennifer Becker: Assistant Professor, Interpersonal Communication, COM

Nancy Brinson: Assistant Professor, Advertising, APR

Heather Carmack: Associate Professor, Health Communication, COM

Jim Elmborg: Director, Professor, SLIS

Teresa Gawrych: Instructor, Media Production, JCM

Jameson Hayes: Assistant Professor, Advertising, APR

Marquette Jones: Instructor, Media Production, JCM

David Lawson: Instructor, Electronic News, JCM

Leah LeFebvre: Assistant Professor, Interpersonal Communication, COM

Laura Lemon: Assistant Professor, Public Relations, APR

Coral Marshall: Instructor, Sports Communication, APR

Tiffany Mohr: Assistant Professor, Public Relations, APR

Jessy Ohl: Assistant Professor, Rhetoric & Public Discourse, COM

Ethan Stokes: Assistant Professor, Public Relations, APR

Alyxandra Vesey: Assistant Professor, Media Studies,  JCM

 

New Faculty Positions: 

 

In addition to our new faculty members, C&IS recognizes the achievements of our existing faculty who have moved into new roles this academic year.

 

John Burgess: Assistant Professor, Information Systems, SLIS

Nick Corrao: Assistant Professor, Media Production, JCM

Darrin Griffin: Assistant Professor, Interpersonal Communication, COM

Steven Yates: Assistant Professor, School Library Media, SLIS

Brett Sherrick: Assistant Professor, Media Management, JCM