Author: Rand Nelson

Plank Center Celebrates Milestones in Mentoring at 9th Annual Gala

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations celebrated its 9thAnnual “Milestones in Mentoring” Gala at the Union League Club of Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 25. More than 300 public relations professionals, educators and students were in attendance, including more than 20 faculty, staff, students and alumni from The University of Alabama.

Each year, the Center recognizes influential leaders whose commitment to mentoring generates a powerhouse of influence and accelerates success in the profession.

Honorees at this year’s mentorship gala included:

  • Legacy:Bob Feldman, partner and co-founder, PulsePoint Group
  • Agency: Dale Bornstein, CEO, M Booth
  • Emerging Leader: Eric Winkfield, public affairs manager, Pepco
  • Educator: Cathy Rogers, Shawn M. Donnelley Professor of Nonprofit Communications, Loyola University New Orleans School of Mass Communication
  • Corporate: Bob Jimenez, senior vice president, corporate affairs, Cox Enterprises
  • Executive: Gregg Sherrill, chairman of the board of directors, Tenneco
  • Mentorship: Tom Burrell, former founder and CEO, Burrell Communications

UA faculty, staff and students also had the opportunity to attend a mentorship panel at DePaul University prior to the gala as well as a diversity and inclusion summit Friday morning.

“The evening is not only an opportunity to honor the leading mentors in our field, but also to show off some of UA’s finest, especially our students,” said Dr. Karla Gower, director of The Plank Center and professor in UA’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations.

While some refer to it as “The Oscars of Public Relations,” others deem it “The Best Night in PR,” as the evening takes on an unmatched energy to inspire those in attendance to mentor the next generation of leaders.

More information on the Milestones in Mentoring Gala is available on The Plank Center’s website (

About the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations

In 2005, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees established The Plank Center. Named for public relations leader and UA alumna, the late Betsy Plank, the Center develops and recognizes outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors to advance ethical public relations in an evolving, global society through a variety of initiatives.

In addition to national leaders in the practice and education, the Center’s Board includes an ex officio position for the president of the Public Relations Student Society of America that represents more than 10,000 members in 300-plus colleges and universities.

C&IS Students Behind ‘Fearful Girl’ Project

Emeline Earman (left) and MK Holladay pose with Fearful Girl in Manhattan, New York.

At only four feet, two inches tall, she weighs in at nearly 250 pounds of solid bronze. She stands daily in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York, staring down the Charging Bull of Wall Street. And for one hour on Friday, Nov. 2, the Fearless Girl did something even braver.

In a partnership between Change the Ref and Fight Gunfire with Fire, Manuel Oliver, the father of Parkland school shooting victim, Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, placed a bulletproof vest on Fearless Girl and dubbed her “Fearful Girl.” Change the Ref tweeted out, “She can’t be fearless if she’s afraid to go to school.”

You have probably seen her pictures by now, but what you may not have known is that behind Fearful Girl are two University of Alabama students, Emeline Earman and MK Holladay. Together with Mingyu Jo (ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena), the trio thought up the idea during their summer internship at MullenLowe Group.

“Like most ideas, this started out as something different. Initially the idea was to put a bulletproof vest on the Statue of Liberty,” said Earman. “Our executive creative director mentioned it to a creative director in the Boston office who had the idea to put it on Fearless Girl.”

Earman, Holladay and Jo knew the idea had potential, but were not certain it would go anywhere. The concept was tabled until about a month and a half ago, when they were called and invited to New York to see the project carried through.

“The concept works because it clearly communicates the intended message,” said Mark Barry, Director of Minerva, the creative advertising specialization at UA. “But more importantly, what makes it great is that it communicates that message in an unexpected way. It allows room for the audience to do a little work on their own to really ‘get it.’”

According to Barry, the creative advertising industry is constantly doing work on the cultural fringes of brand communications, using advertising as a powerful vehicle for cultural change. Within a few hours #FearfulGirl was trending on social media and the story was covered by media outlets such as ADWeek and affiliates of Fox News, CBS and NBC across the country.

Barry is proud of the student duo, whom he describes as “A well-rounded and dynamic creative team.” Their message rings loud and clear throughout the world.

“I think we all hope we can enact change, but at the end of the day, ideas like this are only cool if they do,” said Holladay. “Manuel’s shirt said, ‘Sorry for the inconvenience, we are trying to change the world.’ That’s certainly a sentiment we share.”

Change the Ref was formed to empower future leaders, using urban art and nonviolent creative confrontation to expose the disastrous effects of the mass shooting pandemic. Find out more at their website, here.

Fight Gunfire With Fire is a creative force stewarded by industry and thought leaders banding together. They take big, thought-provoking creative ideas and make them real to create a million of solutions that will end gun violence. Find out more at their website, here.

Minerva is the creative advertising specialization at The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences. Find out more on their website, here.


The NBA is seeking a graduate for a full-time position as a part of their social content publishing team. This position is part of the NBA Emerging Media group which focuses on identifying, creating, distributing and publishing content for the NBA’s social and digital platforms and its many domestic and international partners throughout the world. As the demand for content on the NBA’s social platforms continues to grow, this is your opportunity to grow with them in a fast-paced, innovative and collaborative environment. This is a project employee position based out of the Secaucus, New Jersey office that is intended to continue throughout the 2018-19 NBA season.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Publish content to the NBA’s social media handles on various platforms (Including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, GIPHY and Tik Tok) to promote NBA games and drive engagement across platforms
  • Provide real-time game coverage across the league on the NBA’s social media handles from the NBA’s Content Command Center (This will include nights and weekends)
  • Write short-form copy and post highlights to share across the NBA’s social media handles in real-time
  • Become an expert on each social media platform and bring new ideas to the table for the NBA to further engage current fans and reach new audiences
  • Stay on top of social trends to help inform the NBA’s content creation for social media handles
  • Actively participating in content planning for the NBA’s social media handles
  • Potential to cover NBA events by publishing behind-the-scenes content to the NBA’s social media handles


Required Skills/Knowledge:

  • Deeply knowledgeable and passionate about the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League and their players, coaches, and teams
  • Knowledge of basketball analytics and the rules of the game
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, GIPHY and Tik Tok
  • Background in social media or digital media publishing
  • Strong writing and communication skills, as well as ability to execute editorial judgment
  • Basic knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite
  • Ability and willingness to work on deadline and handle multiple tasks at once with a precise and detail-oriented approach
  • Ability and willingness to work both independently and as part of a team



  • Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or related field preferred


To learn more about this posting, or to apply, visit their website by clicking here.

Paste Magazine

Paste magazine is looking for editorial and social media interns to join them in their Decatur, Ga., office. Winter/spring internships begin in January and conclude in May. The application deadline is Friday, Nov. 16.

They’re looking for smart, talented and hungry writers/editors who love music, movies and all that jazz. On the social side, they want to hear from you if you are glued to Twitter all day, and can brainstorm creative and hilarious content for all of our social platforms. Internships are unpaid, though all in-house interns will receive a $500 stipend. Typical hours are 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, though scheduling is flexible to accommodate classes and part-time jobs. In-house candidates are preferred, though remote interns will also be considered.

As an intern, you won’t be making anyone coffee, unless you want some, in which case you will make your own. Instead, you’ll be working with their editorial staff, writing and editing daily, as well as handling administrative tasks, such as assessing the CDs we receive each week. Social media interns will be based in the Decatur, Ga., office, and will help manage all of Paste’s social media platforms.

If all this is music to your ears, editorial applicants can send a resume, cover letter and (preferably published) clips to Social applicants can send a resume, cover letter and social media handles to Be sure to note education (with GPA), relevant experience, any specific sections you are interested in, and why you want to intern at Paste. Find more info on their internship page here, and feel free to reach out with any questions.

Quick Tips on Spring Registration

C&IS Director of Student Services and Registrar, Alyson Jarnagin, has helped students with their schedules, classes, transfers and registration for the past eleven years. As registration for Spring 2019 quickly approaches, Jarnagin offers advice for students within C&IS and encourages all students to first look at the C&IS website before calling or emailing individual registration questions.

“The biggest thing is that students need to register for their classes when their registration time opens. Typically, when a student does that, they have minimal problems getting into a class,” said Jarnagin, “I recommend students reaching out to their advisor well before their registration time opens.”

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about registration within C&IS. For a more complete list of frequently asked questions, visit C&IS’s Student Resources page.

Who is my academic advisor?

All undergraduate students are assigned a professional or faculty advisor. Students can find this person’s name in their DegreeWorks. Advisors are assigned during the first week of class each semester. Students with 0-60 earned hours are advised by the professional academic advisors in Tisch Student Services, located in Suite 190 Reese Phifer Hall. Students with 60+ hours are advised by a faculty member in their department.

How do I make an appointment to meet with my academic advisor?

Students assigned to advisors in Tisch Student Services (0-60 earned hours) should call Tisch Student Services at 205-348-8599 or email Students advised by a faculty advisor (61+ earned hours) should e-mail their advisor or stop by the departmental office to sign up for an advising time slot. Ideally, students will begin seeing advisors in September for Spring advising and in February for Summer/Fall advising. Students assigned to a faculty advisor in their major department will need to work with that advisor to determine their appointment schedule. The best way for students to do so is to either stop by office hours or send an e-mail to their faculty advisor requesting an appointment. We do not have priority advising.

Is advising required each semester?

No, advising is not required each semester unless the student is an athlete, have been placed on academic warning, or have been reinstated from suspension. However, students are strongly encouraged to seek advising each semester.

How do I use DegreeWorks?

Students may access DegreeWorks through the Student tab in MyBama or For more information on DegreeWorks, including FAQs, visit the Registrar’s site. Use the below links for helpful information and a tutorial on how to use DegreeWorks.

DegreeWorks Introduction Video

Using the What-If Feature

Using the DegreeWorks Planner

How do I determine my student classification?

Classifications are based solely on completed class hours. There are four classifications of undergraduate students:

Freshman – 0-30 hours
Sophomore – 31-60 hours
Junior – 61-90 hours
Senior – 91+ hours

When can I register for classes?

Registration dates fluctuate from semester to semester, so visit the academic calendar or check registration dates through the Student tab of MyBama. Click Student tab > Student Services folder > Registration folder > Registration Status.

How do I use Schedule Builder?

Schedule Builder can be found by going to the Student tab in MyBama. For assistance using Schedule Builder, please check out these two links:

How to Use Schedule Builder Reference Guide

Registering for Classes using MyBama Video

I’m getting close to graduation. How do I ensure that I have completed my requirements?

If there is no degree audit on a student’s DegreeWorks, that student should request a degree audit through the C&IS website under Current Students. This will ensure that they know exactly what they have remaining and can help them prepare for their advising appointment.

What are the steps to apply for graduation?

Students will begin receiving e-mails to their Crimson e-mail account from the Registrar’s Office in the semester they will complete degree requirements and graduate. Graduation applications are available through MyBama.

For a more complete list of frequently asked questions, visit C&IS’s Student Resources page.

APSC Hosts Dr. Charles Ross for Scholar Spotlight

On October 18, the Alabama Program in Sports Communication hosted a scholar spotlight, featuring the University of Mississippi’s Dr. Charles Ross and a presentation on his research titled, “Protests in Pro Football, the 1965 AFL Boycott & Colin Kaepernick.”

In his presentation, Ross discussed the history of race and NFL boycotts, including the 1965 AFL boycott when a group of African American players led by Cookie Gilchrist refused to play in the AFL All-Star Game. According to Ross, the boycott resulted in a desegregating of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Ross connected the 1965 protest to the 2016 protest of NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.

Ross signed copies of his book and answered questions from a full house of students in all C&IS majors. He encouraged them to use their platforms to make a difference in the world around them.

“Young people have the ability to change the world,” said Ross. “We still deal with racism, but the question is how do we navigate this? Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee. You may choose to do something different.”

Ross is the Director of African American Studies and an Associate Professor of History at the University of Misssissippi. His research centers on race, sports and equity. He has authored two books — Outside the Lines: African Americans and the Integration of the National Football League, andMavericks, Money and Men: The AFL, Black Players and the Evolution of Modern Football.

The Alabama Program in Sports Communication provides the opportunity to connect sports communication programs and emphases in the College of Communication and Information Sciences and in many other Colleges at the Capstone. The APSC offers public events, highlights research and creative projects, and facilitates advanced discussions of communication and sport issues throughout the community and throughout the nation. To learn more about the APSC, visit their website.

ICIR Scholar Spotlight: Dr. Karla Gower (APR)

What made you interested in research in your field?

I was an attorney in a previous life, so the legal research connects that life with my current life. I became interested in historical research during my master’s at Arizona State. While I took an undergraduate class in the history of mass communication from Dr. Dick Lentz, the last true history course I had taken was in high school. At the time it seemed like all history consisted of was wars and dates. However, Dr. Lentz taught the mass communication class from a social and cultural perspective. I immediately fell in love with the stories and the detective work it took to reveal those stories. Dr. Lentz became my mentor and encouraged me to do a Ph.D.

What are some of the steps of your research process?

Like all research, historical and legal research starts with a question you want to know the answer to and moves into a review of the existing literature to find the gaps and provide context for the study. With both historical and legal, the primary sources are documents. Court decisions are used in legal research along with others materials such as legal arguments and letters. However, historical sources consist of written materials such as letters, diaries, memoranda, newspaper and magazine articles, and government statistics. The sources, whether legal or historical, are then carefully reviewed, analyzed, and interpreted.

What do you need for your research?

Curiosity is needed for all research, including history and law. Research also requires tenacity to keep digging for sources and answers even when you think you’ve hit a roadblock. Access to legal cases, usually through databases, and archives are vital. Without access to the primary sources, one cannot conduct legal or historical research.

Do you involve others in your research process?

I have collaborated with other scholars and students on research, but I tend to work alone. I’m an introvert and actually get excited about spending hours in the bowels of a library or digging through databases. Do your findings alter preconceived notions that you’ve had on a subject? Absolutely! All the time. Although researchers often go into a topic with a preconceived notion of what they will find, they have to have the ability to let the evidence take them where it leads. I’ve stopped working on topics because I didn’t find what I thought I would. The evidence just wasn’t there. I had to accept that and let the idea go.

Why is research needed in your field?

It is just within the last decade that the history of public relations has become a primary area of focus for mass communication historians. We know much more about the profession’s development today than we
did before. For most of the 20th century, it was believed that the field developed in a linear fashion – from press agentry to public information or publicity, to two-way communication – becoming more ethical in the process. This linear evolutionary model had a profound impact on public relations and shaped its theoretical development. To many public relations scholars, that model was simply too neat and tidy and too self-serving for those who promulgated it. Recent scholarship has debunked the linear model while looking at
the factors that influenced the development of public relations and how the field has changed and grown over the years.

Is there a particular conference that you enjoy going to?

My favorite conference is the American Journalism Historians Association. (A shout out to President Dianne Bragg and Caryl Cooper). AJHA was my first conference. I attended as an MA student, and the research chair that year took me under his wing introducing me to people and making me feel comfortable. Everyone who attends AJHA has a similar story about the first people they met and how they were mentored by them. I didn’t miss a conference for the next 15 years, even when my duties as director of the Plank Society could have kept me from attending. I am still an AJHA member though.

More about Dr. Karla Gower: 

Dr. Gower is the Director of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. Her primary research interests include the history of public relations and legal issues impacting the profession, but she is also interested in public relations ethics, diversity and inclusion, and crisis communication. She has taught several courses for Public Relations, and she usually teaches APR Management for seniors.

The 2018 C&IS Hall of Fame Ceremony

C&IS hosted its biennial Hall of Fame dinner on Thursday, Oct. 4, in the North Zone at Bryant-Denny Stadium. This year, C&IS honored four inductees: Jennings F. Bryant Jr., Rece Davis, Fred D. Gray and Houston and Voncile Pearce. As this year’s emcee, the College welcomed home Edelman Senior Vice President, Lindsay Garrison. The photo album from this year’s ceremony can be viewed here. Additionally, the video produced by the Center for Public Television to honor each of our inductees can be viewed here. More information about each of the Hall of Fame inductees is available below.

Jennings F. Bryant Jr.

Jennings Bryant is the former director of The University of Alabama’s Institute for Communication Research, an organization he founded that has evolved to become the Institute for Communication and Information Research. His direction, leadership and commitment to research propelled the ICR to millions in grant and contract funding and left a lasting impact upon the fields of communication, media effects, interpersonal communication and beyond.

Rece Davis

Rece Davis is best known as the host of ESPN College GameDay, the longest-running and most-celebrated college football pregame show on television. In his time at ESPN, Davis has hosted and contributed to programming ranging from NBA highlights to ABC’s Triple Crown horse racing. Davis graduated from UA with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast film communication in 1988.

Fred D. Gray

Fred D. Gray is a civil rights attorney whose career includes representation of both Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a pivotal time in the civil rights movement. As a stalwart advocate for the rights of others, his impact travels far beyond his home state of Alabama.

Houston & Voncile Pearce

Houston and Voncile Pearce spent much of their lives together establishing, owning and operating radio stations across the Southeast. Beyond their legacy as broadcasters, the Pearceshave served on various boards and actively supported local charities and organizations through the reach of their radio stations. Houston graduated from UA with a bachelor’s degree in commerce and business in 1955, and Voncile graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1967 and a master’s degree in mathematics in 1969.

About the Hall of Fame:

Established by the College’s Board of Visitors in 1998, the Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame was created to honor, preserve and perpetuate the names and accomplishments of individuals who have brought lasting fame to the state of Alabama through the application of disciplines taught, researched and practiced in the College.

Capstone Agency Again Named Top, Student-Run Firm

Students from Capstone Agency, UA PRSSA with UA PRSSA Faculty Advisor, Tracy Sims (left)

The College of Communication and Information Sciences’ Capstone Agency has been awarded Best Campaign, Best Tactic and Best Student-Run Firm in the 2018 Public Relations Student Society of America Student-Run Firm Awards.

Given annually at the PRSSA National Conference, these awards celebrate outstanding campaigns and tactics utilized by PRSSA’s nationally affiliated, student-run firms across the country. Capstone Agency won Best Tactic and Best Campaign in 2017 and was named Best Student-Run Firm in 2016. The Best Student-Run Firm award cannot be won by the same agency two years in a row.

“The awards Capstone Agency received speak not only to our members’ dedication, hard work ethic and talent, but also to the quality of the C&IS student experience,” said Maret Montanari, Firm Director, Capstone Agency. “The College, as a whole, provides opportunities, like Capstone Agency, for students to gain hands-on professional experience before graduation. We are fortunate to have these development opportunities to set our members up for success beyond The University of Alabama.”

Capstone Agency’s submission for Best Campaign featured work completed for Alabama Power, titled “What Powers UA.” The winning submission for Best Tactic came from the firm’s Valentine’s Day promotion for The University of Alabama’s club hockey team.

Also recognized at the PRSSA National Conference, UA’s PRSSA chapter received the Star Chapter award and won the Best PRSA/PRSSA Relationship Award. The Star Chapter Award, encourages chapter leadership to provide programming and relationship-building opportunities for students and rewards them for achieving these goals. The PRSSA faculty advisor, Tracy Sims, was also recognized for her commitment and guidance to the chapter.

“It was such an honor to have Capstone Agency and PRSSA receive awards at the PRSSA National Conference,” said Anna Claire Toxley, Vice President, UA PRSSA. “It is because of the continued support of the College of Communication and Information Sciences that both organizations are able to develop strong leaders and produce quality work that earns national recognition.”

Capstone Agency is a nationally affiliated, student-run, integrated communications firm comprised of communication students at UA. The agency has been a student organization in the College of Communication and Information Sciences since 2008.

The University of Alabama PRSSA Chapter is a leading pre-professional organization for students interested in public relations, communications and other related fields.


Applications are currently being accepted for the 2019 Marketing & Communications Summer Intern Program at FedEx. The posting for intern opportunities in Memphis is open for anyone graduating within one year of the program (juniors or first year graduate students). Applicants must have at least a 3.0 overall GPA to be eligible.

The ideal candidate will possess the following skills and experience:

  • Ability to synthesize large volumes of data (quantitative and qualitative).
  • Strong analytical, interpersonal, organizational and time management skills.
  • Ability to multitask, meet deadlines and work in a high-pressure environment.
  • Ability to work productively and proactively, both independently or as part of a team.
  • Strong working knowledge and experience with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Knowledge and/or experience developing marketing collateral and digital content.
  • Knowledge and/or experience utilizing design thinking.
  • Knowledge of user experience with websites and interfaces
  • Formal or informal marketing, consulting, project management, or strategy experience.
  • Possess the following qualities:
    • Entrepreneurial, innovative approach and strong initiative.
    • Critical thinking and thought leadership.
    • Strong personal drive and demonstrated leadership.
    • Demonstrated relationship building and strong collaboration and communications skills, both written and verbal.
    • Strong presentation skills.
    • Shown flexibility, planning, and problem solving skills.
    • Project/product management skills.

Interested students can learn more or apply by clicking here.

Application closes on October 12, 2018.