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Fifth annual Communication Week a success for students, faculty and alumni

Students and faculty in the Radford University School of Communication (SOC) engaged with top professionals in their fields during the fifth annual Communication Week from April 6 through 11.

Over the course of the week, these professionals visited campus to engage students in discussions of current issues and events in their field.

"Communication Week is a chance for our students to learn about our field outside of the classroom, for faculty to reconnect with our alumni who attend, and for those alumni to get back to campus to see what has changed and reconnect with the RU community," said SOC Director Lynn M. Zoch.

The strong connection between returning alumni and current student opens the doors for new perspectives, learning and networking opportunities.

"Communication Week is important because speakers not only give real world advice, but the speakers are Radford alumni," said Sarah Zajac, a senior communication major from Virginia Beach. "To me it shows that Radford is a school that cultivates talented and successful people."

Before alumni connection events kicked off, the SOC Honors and Recognition Banquet in Muse Banquet Room was held on Sunday, April 6. Along with presentations by Radford Public Relations Student Society of America chapter, RadAd and Lambda Pi Eta communication honorary society, some of the school's best and brightest were honored with awards for their work over the year.

Award winners were:

  • Lauren Martin, CHBS Dean's Scholar and Outstanding Senior, Communication
  • Glen Luke Flanagan, CHBS Dean's Scholar and Outstanding Senior, Media Studies
  • Kristina Contreras, Outstanding Junior, Communication
  • Robbie Boczon, Outstanding Junior, Media Studies
  • Asyia Mitchell, Outstanding Sophomore, Communication
  • Alex Pistole, Outstanding Sophomore, Media Studies

The alumni events attracted packed houses of students. They were "Constant Change – the new normal" with Holly Henry ’08, online news producer for WTKR-News Channel 3 in Norfolk; "Where can communication take you?" with Fred Henney ’76, policy and strategic communication expert in the Office of Secretary of Defense; "How to be Prepared for any Opportunity" with Cally Smith '11, manager of Networking Events for the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce; and "Better Reporting Through Solid Relationships" with Tim Saunders ‘02, Lynchburg bureau chief for WDBJ7 in Roanoke.

In addition to awards and alumni speakers, students had opportunities for career development training with events like "How to Ace the Interview," a panel by hiring professionals from Ad 2 Roanoke, and "Crafting a Successful Résumé and Cover Letter" with Ellen Taylor of RU Career Services.                

Communication Week wrapped up on Friday, April 11, with two alumni panels in Heth 014. At 11 a.m., alumni from the advertising, public relations and communication studies concentrations offered their professional perspectives. At 1 p.m., alumni from the journalism and production technology concentrations had their turn.

"The stories these speakers tell our students about their own successes and failures, and the zigs and zags their careers have taken, encourage students and help them to not get discouraged if their job searches don't always work out exactly as they've planned," Zoch said.

Panelist Drew Bullock '06 was one of the alumni offering his perspective during the morning panel. It was a privilege to come back and meet the current SOC students and ask them about where they wanted to go, he said.

"It's very valuable having this opportunity," said Bullock, a North Carolina-based salesman for Roanoke Cement. "My education prepared me for my career in sales. I learned a lot about persuasion and negotiation at Radford. I'm glad to be back to do things like this and let students know where they can go."

The SOC produces some of Virginia's finest communication and media professionals. Five undergraduate concentrations are represented in the school: advertising, communication studies, journalism, production technology and public relations.

The school also offers a master's degree in Corporate and Professional Communication at the graduate level.

Apr 16, 2014