Category: CIS News

Reflections from C&IS Graduates

We are proud to have a College made up of so many risk-takers, researchers, creators, storytellers and artists. Around 200 C&IS students will graduate this December and start their careers across the country in fields such as strategic marketing, public relations, advertising, film and law school. Before they graduate, we wanted to hear some of the stories of our December graduates. Below are their insights, photos and reflections from their time at C&IS.

What is your favorite memory in C&IS?

“My favorite memory in C&IS was all the holiday festivities…from Easter egg hunts to drinking hot chocolate with professors. The C&IS SEC bowling trip was also so much fun and a great opportunity to meet people in the college.” – Samantha Stiles, Journalism & Creative Media

“Campaigns. It was so much fun working with my group, covering all fields of advertising and working together towards a common goal.” – Alex White, Advertising

What was your favorite class during your time in C&IS? Why?

“APR 433 was the best experience. I worked with a full team to build an entire campaign for the White Sox using our own ideas.” – Harley Sabbagh, Public Relations

“My favorite class in C&IS was Professor Cantrell’s JCM 354 – Into to Production Management. Although my major isn’t film related, I learned so much about how movies are made and what goes into the film making process. It is hard work making a film, but Professor Cantrell made the class fun and interesting. She always had a smile on her face.” – Samantha Stiles, Journalism & Creative Media

“APR 427. Mark Harris was the best professor I have ever had. I got to strengthen my writing and public speaking skills and learned things that I will use outside of the classroom.” – Elly McKinnon, Public Relations

What is the best advice you have for incoming C&IS freshmen?

Have fun in college and explore what this diverse campus has to offer. There is so much to do, and you’ll be delighted with all the activities and social events that go on at campus. Enjoy these years while they last because your college years will fly by!” – Ben Senicz, Communication Studies

“Go out to events and meet people. Some of your favorite memories will come from spending time with classmates that you wouldn’t have known otherwise. Also, the computer lab on the 3rd floor of Reese Phifer is a great place for some peace and quiet.” – Samantha Stiles, Journalism & Creative Media

“Seek outside help from professors anytime you need their guidance. Proper time management and a disciplined work ethic breed success.” – Alex White, Advertising

“Prepare for the unexpected, have great time management skills and intern!” – Harley Sabbagh, Public Relations

What tools or strategies helped you succeed during your time in college?

“I didn’t think of college classes as optional. It was mandatory in my head, so I knew I had to go to class every day and work as hard as I could to come out on top.” – Samantha Stiles, Journalism & Creative Media

“Plan out every class semester-by-semester for every year.” – Laney Howard, Public Relations

“Don’t be afraid to test the waters and take classes in different colleges. I found advertising as a result of exploring other colleges. I couldn’t be happier that I did!” – Alex White, Advertising


Thank you to our honors graduates of December 2018 and best of luck!

C&IS Students Work SEC Championship Game

From Left: Ali Schroeder, Aubrey Losack and Jordan Wynn celebrate with streamers after the SEC Championship Game

This year’s SEC Championship football game was the second-most watched ever, with more than 17.5 million viewers tuning in to see the Crimson Tide beat the Georgia Bulldogs 35-28. C&IS students, Aubrey Losack, Jordan Wynn and Ali Schroeder, made key contributions to this national sports moment by facilitating communication between industry professionals.

In partnership with SEC Communications, UA Athletics Communications chose three student representatives to work the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, Georgia on December 1. The selected students are all current C&IS students, from the departments of advertising and public relations, and journalism and creative media. At the event, the students navigated the fast-paced environment to aid the media, pull footage and organize content all while working alongside seasoned journalists and producers in a creative yet demanding opportunity.

Current journalism and creative media senior, Aubrey Losack, shared her experience leading up to and during the event.

“This experience helped me grow towards a career in sports media relations,” said Losack. “I was able to see both the game and the media relations industry from different perspectives.”

Losack and the two other selected student workers arrived the night before the game to help assemble media packets for the game. The following day, they met with the SEC Commissioner, Greg Sankey, to talk about the future of sports communications and gain insight into a career in broadcasting or sports media. The rest of the day was spent aiding communications professionals and preparing the press box to run efficiently.

“This was one of the best experiences I have ever had,” said Losack. “Being able to see what goes on behind the scenes was a learning experience that is hard to replicate anywhere else.”

C&IS Senior Selected to Work the Pink Carpet at the VMAs

To view this full interview with Viacom and Doyle’s interviews with celebrities, click here.

As an intern for Paramount Network, Alana Doyle had to the opportunity to contribute to various television shows and partnerships within the Viacom network. She worked to create press kits, pitches and write stories about television shows. Her internship ended with the biggest stage of all: MTV’s VMAs. Doyle was selected out of the class of summer interns to work the pink carpet and interview celebrities as a ViaCommunity reporter, Viacom’s social responsibility initiative.

ViaCommunity and Viacom’s Campus to Career teams invited current summer interns to submit a video proving how they would thrive on the pink carpet as a Viacommunity reporter, injecting the company’s social conscience into one of its most-followed programs.

Doyle was a given a one-week notice to compile her submission which was a take on the typical talk show format which she titled, The Daily Dose.

“Comedy Central’s The Daily Show is one of Viacom’s partners so I decided to play both roles: the interviewer and the guest,” said Doyle. “What better way to show that I could interview someone than to just interview myself?”

Her video tackled important social and economic issues while still remaining true to Doyle’s personality and passion for entertainment. Three days after submitting her application video, Doyle received an email that she said “changed the rest of her life.” Despite having no prior experience in acting or television, Doyle was the only intern chosen to interview celebrities at the VMAs.

“In all honesty, I still am pinching myself to this day just thinking about it,” said Doyle. “There was no way that I, a 21-year girl from Arizona, was about to not only attend the VMAs, but also be able to speak with celebrities at the VMAs.”

Doyle was flown up to New York City the day before the VMAs and was immediately connected with Viacommunity representatives who helped her prepare for her role on the red carpet. Because of her passion for mentoring younger generations, Doyle prepared questions that asked celebrities about their role in social issues and about how they are giving back to their communities.

“Once I hit the pink carpet, wiping a smile off my face was impossible,” said Doyle, “I really put everything I had into this experience so that I could walk away knowing that I did the best I could.”

Since then, Doyle has returned to C&IS with a new vision for her career in public relations and is extremely grateful for the leaders she met during her internship and time with the VMAs. She plans to graduate as a public relations major in May 2019.

To view this full interview with Viacom and Doyle’s interviews with celebrities, click here.

Washington Post Reports on Current JCM Graduate Student’s Viral Cartoon

The content below is a reposting of The Washington Post story on Marshall Ramsey by Michael Cavna. You can view that story here. Marshall Ramsey is a current JCM graduate student through the Bama by Distance program.

Marshall Ramsey was awakened by his wife late Friday night with the news: President George H.W. Bush had just died. Right away, Ramsey thought back to his idea.

When former first lady Barbara Bush died in April, Ramsey — the editorial cartoonist for the Mississippi Clarion Ledger — created a memorial illustration that went viral. Days later, when her husband of 73 years became ill, Ramsey began thinking about a companion cartoon to salute the former president.

“But he’s tough as nails and bounced back,” Ramsey tells The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs, “so I just filed the idea away.”

Until Friday night, when Ramsey learned the 41st president had died at age 94, according to Bush spokesman Jim McGrath.

“I drew it as quickly as I could and then posted” it on social media, Ramsey says of the tribute. “It seems like I’ve [drawn] so many obituary cartoons this year — 2018 has been cruel. But since the last one was so well-received by the Bush family and by parents who had lost children, I wanted to make sure this one was right.”

This one was indeed right, based on swift public embrace of the work, which readers called “beautiful” and “touching.” The tribute cartoon in April pictured Barbara Bush in heaven, being reunited with her daughter Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, who died of leukemia in 1953. The Bush parents had called Robin’s death, at age 3, their greatest sorrow.

In the new cartoon, George H.W. Bush, the former Navy pilot and World War II hero, has flown a TBM Avenger to the pearly gates to be reunited with wife and daughter.

“I consider this cartoon and the Barbara Bush cartoon to be bookends,” says Ramsey, who was humbled by the praise that the cartoon drew — especially that of Jenna Bush Hager, the Bushes’ granddaughter.

“This brought me such comfort this morning,” Hager wrote Saturday on Facebook, with a shared image of the cartoon. “I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife.

“This is what he said: ​He answered without any hesitation. ‘Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be scared of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.’ And I started crying. I managed to choke out, ‘Well, why? What do you look forward to?’ And he said, ‘Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.’ ”

When Hager asked her grandfather whom he hoped to see when reunited, she wrote that he replied: “I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see Barbara.”

The former president added, she wrote, that he hoped that upon this reunion, Robin would still be age 3 — “the little girl he held tightly: who spoke the phrase I have heard Gampy repeat for my entire life, forever knitting Robin’s voice into the tightly woven fabric of our family. ‘I love you more than tongue can tell.’ ”

Hager’s Facebook update has been shared more than 40,000 times and has received more than 100,000 responses.

“To read what Jenna wrote — let’s just say I’m honored beyond words,” Ramsey told The Post. “Let’s put politics aside for a moment — the Bush family is remarkably kind and gracious.”

When Ramsey was creating the Barbara Bush cartoon in April, he recalls thinking: “Here’s a person who has had just about everything go right in her life: mother and wife of presidents, big successful family, a successful platform of her own. But I thought: You know, she lost a child. And I know from friends who have lost kids that it is about as painful as it gets.”

Ramsey said about his cartoon honoring George H.W. Bush: “I wanted to incorporate his service to our country because, love or hate him, he served our country in about every capacity.” Ramsey noted he had recently flown in an Avenger, so the experience informed the artwork.

Ramsey notes, too, that it has been exactly 30 years since he first saw George H.W. Bush in person — and drew a caricature of him. The cartoonist was a student at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1988 when then-Vice President Bush — while campaigning for the presidency — visited the campus. The cartoon Ramsey drew featured a lineup of presidential candidates angling for party nominations — including a Bush caricature that Ramsey, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, says “did get better over time.”

Three decades later, Ramsey appreciates the responses from such figures as Hager and McGrath.

“But I also just got an email from a mother who shared her conversation with her dying 5-year-old about them reuniting in heaven,” Ramsey says. “Honestly, that moved me to tears.”

APR’s Jeyoung Oh Receives 2018 Don Bartholomew Award

Jeyoung Oh (left) with Orin Puniello of Ketchum and Dr. Tina McCorkindale of The Institute of Public Relations.

Jeyoung Oh, a doctoral student and two-time graduate of C&IS, was named the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research. The award, sponsored by Ketchum Global Research & Analytics and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), selects a top graduate student in public relations, communications or business to acquire practical experience in public relations research at Ketchum New York and learn what research that matters to the practice means. Oh received the award at the IPR Annual Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner on November 28, 2018 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.

“I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work at Ketchum this summer where I have gained a wealth of knowledge and research experience in practice,” said Oh.

Oh’s research uses sentiment analysis of news media and Twitter data for predicting stock price. She hopes that her work will help bridge public relations academia and public relations practice together. With this award, Oh can further her academic and professional goals and ultimately help companies like Ketchum navigate the digital space.

“I am motivated to better understand how public and influencer sentiment can affect businesses” says Oh. “I am excited to use this award to advance my research objectives even further.

As the winner of the Don Bartholomew Award, Oh received a $7,500 stipend and a public relations research internship at the Ketchum offices in New York during the summer of 2018. Oh is also working to complete a research paper intended for use by practitioners. After the research paper is accepted for publication by IPR, Oh will receive a $2,500 grant for the paper.

The award, which was renamed in memory of Ketchum communications luminary Don Bartholomew, recognizes Bartholomew’s leadership in the field of public relations and his passion for teaching the practice to others.

“I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Ketchum for this great opportunity and lastly, I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Eyun-Jung Ki, for all her support.”

About Ketchum Global Research and Analytics
Ketchum Global Research and Analytics (KGRA) is an award-winning, global team and the largest research, planning and analytics group in the PR industry. KGRA is committed to using innovative quantitative and qualitative research, along with digital, social and predictive analytics, in all phases of brand marketing, corporate reputation and employee engagement.

About The Institute for Public Relations
The Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit research foundation dedicated to fostering greater use of research and research-based knowledge in corporate communication and the public relations practice. IPR is dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. IPR provides timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. All research, including a weekly research letter, is available for free at

The College of Communication and Information Sciences’ faculty and students at The University of Alabama conduct cutting-edge research that creates knowledge and provides solutions to global issues across the full communication and information spectrum. To learn more about the College’s research initiatives, visit

Life as a Freelance Film Professional in New York City

To Ted Snow, no work day looks the same. As a freelance director of photography in New York City, Snow has worked for Vogue, ESPN, Budweiser, the Oscars, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. He recently directed his first feature film, titled A Gift of Wings: The Pilots of Sebring, which profiles the human side of Aerobatic pilots. The film is now being shown in film festivals across the nation and was recently a semi-finalist in the Los Angeles CineFest and an official selection in the Metro Film & TV Awards. Snow loves the creativity and freedom that his work provides and says that when he is under pressure, he creates his best work.

“That’s what the freelance life is all about – nothing is ever guaranteed,” said Snow, “It is a constant grind. I love living in those moments of ‘what’s next?’.”

Snow is no stranger to the grind. As a telecommunications and film major in C&IS, Snow also worked as a student football equipment manager from 2008 to 2012. There, he worked from noon to 7 p.m. every day and met media outlets and camera crews who connected him to internships and a post graduate job. Ever since, Snow has taken to his grit and creativity to broadcast and film, working alongside some of the most influential brands.

“Never get complacent. Always stay hungry,” said Snow, “Nothing is ever guaranteed.”

To see more of Snow’s work, visit his Vimeo account or IMDb profile.

Mills and Carmack Speak on Bullying at Shriners Hospital

Associate Professors of communication studies, Drs. Carol Mills and Heather Carmack, presented on bullying in health care organizations to an audience of medical personnel on November 6 at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Mills and Carmack’s presentations were part of the larger engagement and outreach efforts of the National Communication Association’s (NCA) Anti-Bullying Task Force. In a partnership with Shriners Hospitals for Children, the presentations will be screened at all of their 22 hospital locations.

Mills’ research specializes in what is referred to as, “the dark side of communication,” or the role of communication in behaviors that negatively impact our personal and professional relationships such as bullying and domestic violence. Carmack is one of only three people globally whose research focuses on communication about and surrounding medical errors and patient safety. The duo is currently developing a research grant that will study the relationship between medical errors and bullying.

“There is research which suggests that whenever nurses or providers are bullied, it has a negative impact on patient outcomes, including medical error and patient safety,” Carmack said. “There’s plenty of theoretical thought pieces that connect bullying and medical errors, but there’s no current study that connects them empirically.”

According to Carmack, the hospital is known for being an environment where bullying exists at an institution level. In fact, nurses have one of the highest bullying rates of any profession nationwide.

“In healthcare a lot of bullying that happens is with the intention to squash and silence,” Carmack said. “If you don’t feel comfortable reporting others, or voicing concerns without some kind of retribution, that’s how medical errors happen.”

Together, the team saw this as a great opportunity to apply their research in helping make a difference and initiate a change in culture.

“As researchers, we spend a lot of time publishing our results, but if our research doesn’t actually help the people we’re studying, I think we’ve missed the mark,” said Mills, co-chair of the Anti-Bullying Task Force. “We know enough about bullying that we can help people who are targets, and we can help leaders create environments where bullying never happens because of the open, positive channels of communication.”

The National Communication Association’s Anti-Bullying Project strives to foster collaborations between Communication scholars and other stakeholders in anti-social aggression efforts in order to contribute rich insights and resources to broader conversations on the complex and multi-faceted issue of bullying.

 The College of Communication and Information Sciences’ faculty and students at The University of Alabama conduct cutting-edge research that creates knowledge and provides solutions to global issues across the full communication and information spectrum. To learn more about the College’s research initiatives, visit

C&IS’ Dr. Kenon Brown Speaks at Charley Steiner Symposium on Sports Communication

Associate Professor of advertising and public relations, Dr. Kenon Brown, was invited to speak at Bradley University’s Fourth Annual Charley Steiner Symposium on Sports Communication last week.

The annual symposium is the Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication’s pinnacle event, linking a small handful of professors with industry professionals, prominent athletes and other major players in the sports world.

Brown guest lectured for a class Wednesday afternoon and participated in a panel at the Symposium on Critical Issues in the Field of Sports Communication alongside Pro Football Hall of Fame President, David Baker and Eastern Michigan University’s Professor of Sport Management, Erica Zonder.

“To be invited to this symposium to speak on a panel and have my voice heard in this kind of critical sense is a tremendous honor,” said Brown. “It is honestly something I did not expect this early in my career, and it is definitely an accolade I will hang my hat on.”

Brown’s insight into the sports world is unique, as he is an authoritative voice from both an academic and industry perspective. His research interests include image and reputation management, particularly in sports, and minority recruitment in mass communication. Beyond his research, his work in the sport and entertainment industry includes partnerships with organizations such as the International Olympic Committee, FOX Sports, Twitch, NASCAR and the Country Music Association.

“The fact that Kenon Brown was invited to attend is just another of many examples that his work has reached the highest echelon of academic achievement in sports media scholarship,” said Dr. Andrew Billings. “It’s a very deserved honor and I’d expect many more like them in the coming years for Kenon. He’s a powerful, informed voice in the discipline.”

The Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication at Bradley University is the first named sports communication school in the nation. The school is named in honor of world-class broadcaster Charley Steiner, a four-time Emmy Award winner and National Radio Hall of Fame inductee in his 11th season as a play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Steiner spent 14 years anchoring SportsCenter at ESPN while broadcasting baseball, football and boxing. As the first named school of sports communication, it is uniquely positioned for national distinction as it continues to build upon the successes of Bradley University’s premier program.

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 to Launch Living Learning Community for Incoming Freshmen

Starting in Fall 2019, first year students with a declared C&IS major can apply to join the Capstone Communication Living Learning Community (LLC). In this community, students will enjoy living, learning and studying alongside peers with shared interests, as well as benefit from social, academic and creative activities related to a wide variety of communication and media practices both on and off campus.

Capstone Communication LLC students will take two courses together in the fall semester (CIS 100 and MC 101) and one course together in the spring semester (COM 123). Additionally, students will have C&IS resident advisors and peer mentors to serve as guides throughout their first year. Programs such as a DMC tour or faculty lunches will be planned monthly for the LLC members.

Assistant Dean of Student Services and External Relations, Dr. Sara Hartley, and C&IS advisor, Alyssa Stephens, pioneered this program in partnership with UA Housing and Residential Communities as a way to connect and support students in the College, from day one.

“We want to keep that sense of community within the College and within our freshman class,” said Alyssa Stephens. “Students in this program will know, before they get to college, that they have professors, peer leaders and RAs invested in their success. There is an immediate sense of connection which is beneficial because coming to college can be a big transition.”

This program will be housed in the University’s Freshman Hall. A limited number of spaces are available and interested incoming students can apply here through a separate housing application. Students will be admitted on a rolling basis until spaces are filled. For more information, contact Alyssa Stephens at