Communication Week Covers a Range of Timely Topics
Passion, flexibility and overcoming fear were among the topics covered during Radford University's third annual Communication Week.
Keynote speakers for the week were a regional newspaper editor, an executive trainer, a sports journalist and broadcaster, and a college professor who specializes in the future of communication and how different media are converging.
"Communication Week gives our students a chance to hear from successful people, some of whom are the school's alumni, about different aspects of, and jobs in, the communication field," said Lynn Zoch, director of RU's School of Communication, which sponsored the event April 1-6.
Carole Tarrant, editor of the Roanoke Times, gave the first keynote speech on April 2, encouraging students to remain flexible as they seek journalism jobs in the digital age. Tarrant, a journalist for more than 20 years, told students to listen to their professors and offered this advice: "Find someone to mentor you while you are learning the field."
Tarrant also encouraged students to think like entrepreneurs and learn the business side of the jobs to which they aspire.
On April 3, Kevin Daley spoke with students about the importance of communicating confidently with an audience. "How we handle ourselves in front of a group impacts our future more than anything we might do," said Daley, who has coached thousands of people in communication skills.
Daley, a former vice president of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency and the founder of the communication skills business Communispond, told a gathering in the Bonnie Auditorium to make their information come alive when speaking to an audience: "If they don't buy you, they don't buy your message."
ESPN reporter and Radford University alumnus Marty Smith '98 spoke to a packed Bonnie Auditorium April 4 about his journey from wannabe baseball player at RU to broadcaster in the fast-paced NASCAR field. Smith told students that passion is the key to success in whatever career they choose.
"In anything you do, no matter what it is, have passion," Smith said. "If you start having self-doubt, passion wins. And passion shines through that television or that radio or that article. Whatever it is you guys aspire to do in media, passion wins."
Smith said the greatest compliments he receives are when people approach him saying when they see him on TV, his passion shines through into their living rooms.
Another alum, Alyssa Gavitt '09, M.S. '10, drew a standing-room-only crowd for her presentation April 5 about changing your mindset from student to full-time job seeker. In a humorous talk titled, "From Thirsty Thursday to Everyday Job Seeker," she covered the importance of social media, determination and flexibility in looking for a job.
Later that day, Professor Steve Jackson of Central Washington University spoke about media convergence.
Wrapping up Communication Week on April 6, two panel sessions allowed for students to speak with alumni from School of Communication programs. "I can't think of any better ways for our students to learn about all the future might hold for them," Zoch said.
Among the week's events was a banquet and ceremony at which Zoch presented what she called the "We Couldn't Have Done It Without You" award to senior Taylor Bikowski for organizing the banquet.
Bikowksi, president of RU's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter, also was awarded "Right Hand Woman" and "Most Dedicated" for distinguished service from the School of Communication and the PRSSA Platinum Award.
PRSSA Vice President Rachel Proctor was presented the "Most Valuable" award.
Outstanding Senior awards went to Bryce Floyd, a media studies major concentrating in advertising; and Lauren Miller, a communication major concentrating in public relations. These students were also the School of Communication winners of the Dean's Scholar Awards presented by the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences.
Awards also went to the outstanding juniors and sophomores in the school's two majors: media studies and communication. Sophomore Lauren Martin and junior Robert Lambert received the awards for communication, and sophomore Monica McAfee and junior Hunter Thompson took media studies honors.