Check out this video of Curtis Wilkie, a Meek School of Journalism and New Media Overby Fellow and associate professor of journalism. Meek School graduate Adam Ganucheau, who is now a reporter at Mississippi Today, is also featured.
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Becoming a book editor had always been a dream for recent Meek School graduate Hannah Fields. However, fate worked its way into her life to lead her down a different career path.
Originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas, Fields moved to Clinton, Mississippi, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in English writing at Mississippi College (MC) with hopes of landing a job among book editors in Nashville.
She searched for jobs in the publishing industry, but came up empty handed. She said she learned that lack of networking gave her a setback chasing her editorial dream. With her background in English writing, Fields was able to land a job as a sports columnist for Rantsports.com—a professional and college sports website—which allowed her to sustain a living in her new city.
“I was covering the Tennessee Titans and some SEC football,” she said.
Before landing the job as a sports columnist, she said she never really had a passion for football until she was introduced to the sport while attending MC. Realizing the popularity of the sport within her friend group, Fields had to jump on board if she wanted to spend quality time with her friends.
“I didn’t know a lot about [football],” she said, “But when I started writing that sports column it reinforced this idea that I wanted to work in sports.”
While reading Paul Finebaum and Gene Wojciechowski’s book, “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference,” Fields started to regret not attending an SEC school with her newfound love for football. She said she wasn’t going to make a career out of her sports column, and becoming a homebody while writing allowed depression to creep in. She realized she needed to make another career change.
Fields said she gained the confidence to follow her new passion after becoming more sports-confident.
“I said ‘I know enough to write this sports column, so why don’t I know enough to work for an [NFL] team?’” she said.
Steps In the Right Direction
Leaving the Music City behind, Fields was on a search for not only a graduate program to further her newfound career, but one with a football program she could grow to love and support.
After looking at several SEC schools with programs in the journalism field and competitive football teams, it was only natural she chose The University of Mississippi since her sister attended Rebel Nation for her undergraduate degree.
“I knew Oxford and the campus,” she said. “Then Ole Miss also had integrated marketing communications (IMC), which turned out to be the perfect fit for what I wanted to do…plus it got me back to Mississippi.”
Fields visited the Meek School of Journalism and New Media to sit in on a variety of IMC classes, including mobile and social media marketing, which cemented her decision to attend Ole Miss.
Fields thoroughly immersed herself in the program by writing class papers on women in sports, said Chris Sparks, associate professor of IMC.
“She is a great example of someone who sets a goal and goes after it,” Sparks said. “She decided she wanted to be in sports marketing at the beginning of her first year in the graduate program at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media and committed to making it happen.”
Sparks said Fields is an excellent example of someone who not only followed her dream but made it happen.
Fields graduated from the IMC program in May 2018 with the goal of being a social media coordinator for an NFL team in sight. Upon graduation, Fields applied for a position with the NFL Green Bay Packers through teamworkonline.com—a website designated to connect people to sports jobs with professional sports teams.
Having experience through an internship with the WNBA Atlanta Dream, along with her background in writing, Fields expertly landed the job. She now had her foot in the door working her dream job in the NFL.
Now as the e-commerce marketing intern for the Packers, Fields assists with promotional marketing for the Packers Pro Shop—the official retail store of the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers since 1989. She said she has mostly been writing copy for products, emails and social media.
“Hopefully this will be a launching pad from which I can do what I want to do, which is social media,” she said.
Reminiscing Over Her Roots
Although she’s on track in her dream field, Fields said there are many things she does miss about the South and Mississippi, such as the southern hospitality.
She said Southerners like herself are known for being extroverts, which seems to be lacking in her new Midwestern home.
Wisconsin might be known for its cheese and dairy, but according to Fields, midwesterners do not relish in starches, carbs and savory delights like their southern neighbors. She said the difference in food variety was something she expected when she made the move to the cheese state, but she didn’t realize it was something that would be so drastically different.
“Little stuff like food… you don’t realize is unique to where you live until you move out of [your state],” she said.
Fields might miss the warm temperatures, sweet tea and foods indicative to Mississippi, but she said she’s excited to embark on a new journey to achieve her goals as a social media coordinator in the NFL.
By Talbert Toole, Hotty Toddy lifestyles editor.
The freshman experience at Ole Miss is a one-of-a-kind adventure most have the opportunity to share with their mothers and fathers. However, Meek School student Madeline Quon will have to share the newest chapter of her life from across the globe as her parents Shannon and Elizabeth and brother, Jackson, settle into Tokyo for their second stint.
The Quon family has strong ties to Ole Miss. It began when Elizabeth’s father, Greg Doiron, attended Ole Miss in the 1970s. Elizabeth followed the tradition and began her undergraduate degree in 1996 where she met her husband, Shannon Quon.
Although the path to Ole Miss looked like an obvious one for Madeline, her mother said she ventured across the country visiting several universities before finalizing her decision. Madeline eventually made her way to the Harvard of the South where she was able to scope out what would become her college of choice.
“First and foremost, it just felt the most like home to me,” Madeline said regarding her decision to attend Ole Miss.
Madeline was born in Oxford but never actually spent much time in the city. However, she knew it would be a good decision to attend Ole Miss because she has other family nearby.
“Knowing that my parents and brother are going to be in Japan, it will be nice to know that my grandparents are in New Orleans and cousins in Olive Branch,” she said.
With her family a far 6,782 miles from Oxford, Madeline said she looks at it as an opportunity to gain independence.
“If I have a problem I have to learn to solve it myself,” she said. “I can learn how to get out into the adult world.”
Madeline was able to move onto campus earlier than most students due to her acceptance into the Sally McDonnell Honors College. As her mother helped her move into her residence hall, they both knew it would not be until Christmas before the two would see each other face-to-face.
Elizabeth Quon left Tuesday morning on a flight back to Japan. Madeline said the feeling of her family being gone would not hit her until she realizes her mother cannot immediately respond to a text message or phone call.
The Quon family lived in Japan due to Shannon’s job he had in 2011. During that time, Madeline and her mother both recall the Great Sendai Earthquake that ignited a nuclear accident. It caused the family to move back to the U.S.
“I don’t think it really hit me how serious of a problem it was at the time until [officials] said there was radiation,” Madeline said.
As the Quon family separates and begins new chapters of their lives, all are excited for the adventure that will ensue. Madeline said she is excited to attend the Meek School of Journalism and New Media where she plans to receive a degree in print journalism in hopes to one day work for the New York Times.
Elizabeth said she will have a hard time leaving her daughter behind, but she is excited to return to a country that has essences of the South.
“[Tokyo] has the humidity and it has the wonderful welcoming culture full of traditions. Even though it is a foreign country, it is very familiar feeling when you are there,” she said.
By Talbert Toole, lifestyles editor of Hotty Toddy.
OXFORD, Miss. – The Meek School of Journalism and New Media continues to experience significant growth. Enrollment increased 5.6 percent, growing from 1,557 students in fall 2017 to 1,644 this year. The Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications accounted for much of this growth, with an 11.7 percent increase in enrollment.
The university experienced strong growth across a number of graduate and undergraduate programs.
“The desire to maintain excellence and a caring environment within our academic programs led us to add faculty and staff in such areas as our Meek School of Journalism and Patterson School of Accountancy,” said Noel Wilkin, UM provost and executive vice chancellor. “We also have added new programs to be responsive to the changing national economy and emerging fields.”
The University of Mississippi enrolled 23,258 students across its six campuses for fall 2018 – fourth-highest enrollment in the university’s history – while its first-year retention rate climbed to 86 percent, second-highest in school history.
Total 2018 enrollment reflects a 2.2 percent decrease from last year. At the same time, the university continues to rank among the nation’s fastest-growing universities, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, as national demographic trends have produced a 5.2 percent decrease in the number of college and university students across the country since 2010.
During a decade of unprecedented growth, the university has adopted a series of progressive steps to manage growth to maintain the quality of the student experience and the expected level of service. As a result, the university is attracting a higher proportion of well-prepared students to its excellent academic programs while maintaining its commitment to access.
“We are seeing the benefits of a number of investments and strategic choices made in recent years to assure a stellar academic and campus life experience for students,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “Students at the University of Mississippi study in high-quality academic programs, bolstered by an academic support system that enables them to stay on track, graduate and compete effectively in today’s global job market.”
Another Accomplished Freshmen Class
This year’s freshman class of 3,455 students delivers on several indicators that reflect the university’s ongoing focus on academic excellence. Over the last five years, the average ACT score has increased from 24.1 to 25.1. Likewise, the average GPA has grown from 3.46 in fall 2013 to 3.57 – a testament to the outstanding programs created by UM faculty that attract high-quality students.
This year’s first-time students include 84 class valedictorians, 48 salutatorians, 96 student body presidents, 100 Eagle Scouts and nine Girl Scouts who achieved the Gold Award, the organization’s highest youth honor.
The university continued to attract high-achieving students from across the state and nation.
This fall, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College enrolled a record 1,605 students, a 7.2 percent increase over last year’s class and more than double the enrollment of 781 students from fall 2008. This includes 416 new Honors College enrollees, with 55.8 percent of them Mississippi residents.
The Honors College class posted an average ACT of 31.5 and an average high school GPA of 3.98.
The Provost Scholars program, which recruits and rewards high-achieving students with special seminars, workshops and other academic opportunities, has enjoyed significant growth from 394 students when the program was established in 2010 to 2,704 scholars this fall.
The freshman class also includes seven Stamps Scholarship recipients, among the largest and most prestigious scholarships in the state. Funded through the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, the 13th class of Stamps Scholars includes 230 students nationwide selected from almost 300,000 applicants. UM is among only 41 universities nationally that is able to admit Stamps Scholars.
Along with exceptional scholars, the university attracts students uniquely interested in being campus leaders in the short term and state, national and global leaders in the long term, said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, UM vice chancellor for student affairs.
“The Ole Miss experience provides flagship academic programs coupled with personalized and transformative engagement programs where students develop holistically and excel as leaders,” Hephner LaBanc said.
The university’s focus on investing and fostering a supportive academic environment continues to return great dividends. With efforts to help new students adjust to college life and achieve success, including programs such as the First Year Experience and FASTrack, student retention remained near record levels, with 86 percent of last year’s first-time students returning to continue their studies this fall.
Retention rates have climbed steadily since 2015, when student retention efforts and programs were combined within the Center for Student Success and First Year Experience. In addition, the university took steps to enhance coordination across all first-year programs and collaborate on piloting new ideas.
The center provides academic advising to about 80 percent of the freshman class and other students who have not declared a major, and it coordinates several first-year student experience initiatives. The center also offers resources targeting the needs of approximately 1,300 students who are veterans of the military or their dependents.
“Enrollment is not simply about attracting more students; it is about helping students at all levels of personal and academic preparation succeed (and) first-year retention is the primary indicator of a university’s ability to do this,” Hephner LaBanc said. “Through our myriad academic, residential and leadership communities, our students find meaningful connections with faculty and staff, resulting in unparalleled levels of support and a true sense of care and community.”
The university also recently recorded its highest-ever five-year graduation rate and anticipates similar gains for the six-year graduation rate when it is announced later this fall. That graduation rate data will be fueled in part by a distinction for the Class of 2018, which earned 910 degrees in STEM fields – the highest number of STEM degrees ever conferred by the university.
Since 2013, STEM degrees awarded by the university have increased 117 percent.
The Mississippi University of Choice
A clear majority of Ole Miss students, 58.3 percent, are residents of Mississippi, representing 221 high schools across all the state’s 82 counties. At the same time, the university continues to attract a geographically diverse student body as nonresident students, who make up 41.7 percent of the student body, come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 90 foreign countries.
For the Oxford and regional campuses, minority enrollment totals 4,821 students, or 23.6 percent. African-American enrollment totals 2,559 students, or 12.5 percent of overall enrollment. The university experienced a 6.3 percent increase in the number of African-American transfer students.
Enrolling for a Healthier Mississippi
Enrollment at the University of Mississippi Medical Center saw a 1.7 percent decrease to 2,840 students, but the UM School of Medicine enrolled its largest class ever. After opening its new building last August, the school has enrolled 165 first-year medical students, up from 155 last year.
In only its second year, the John D. Bower School of Population Health’s enrollment grew from five students to 24. One of only three population health schools in the United States, it has been designed to offer new strategies and capacity to improve health status of Mississippians.
“We are working hard to grow the physician workforce in Mississippi,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UM vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the medical school. “As we graduate more students, we’re also proud of the fact that we are among the most effective schools at retaining our medical graduates to practice in-state, ranking sixth in the nation.”
Continued Academic Growth at All Levels
The Patterson School of Accountancy continues to offer innovative graduate programs that reflect the university’s commitment to the future of the audit and tax professions. Enrollment in accountancy graduate programs has skyrocketed 66 percent, thanks in part to two new degrees developed in partnership with KPMG in the high-growth field of data analytics.
The Master of Accountancy and Data Analytics and the Master of Taxation and Data Analytics both require 30 credit hours to complete and are the only programs of their kind in the state.
For eight consecutive years, the school’s undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs have been ranked among the nation’s top 10 by Public Accounting Report.
The university’s biomedical engineering program, in its second year, also has experienced meteoric growth, with 105 students, three new full-time faculty positions and a new School of Engineering dean, David Puleo, who is a biomedical engineer.
This program capitalizes on existing strengths to prepare engineering students to meet the expected demand in biomedical industries in Mississippi and across the nation. It also will provide additional human resources for the practice of medicine and to address public health issues.
“The rapid growth of our biomedical engineering program demonstrates the desire for this discipline in Mississippi and for the application of engineering principles to drive discovery of new knowledge in the life sciences and development of advanced biomedical technologies,” Puleo said.
“In addition to enhancing the state’s biomedical device workforce with top-notch students, the collaborative nature of the discipline will promote interaction between departments within the school, across the Oxford campus and with the Medical Center in Jackson.”
Building for the Future
To enable academic excellence and enhance the campus environment, the university is managing $709 million in building projects planned or underway across its campuses, including renovations and construction of new facilities. Just days before the fall semester commenced, the Oxford campus opened a new pedestrian plaza and street improvements in front of Guyton Hall, home to the School of Education, to improve access and safety.
Several major projects are scheduled to be completed in the new academic year, including the expansion and renovation of the Ole Miss Student Union. The $59 million project increases the Student Union’s size from 97,000 to 173,000 square feet, adding space for student government offices, a ballroom and an expanded food court, which opened last fall.
When renovations are complete in early 2019, Paul B. Johnson Commons East will house Developmental Studies and the Center for Student Success and First Year Experience. University and Public Events will be housed on the second floor, alongside three renovated event spaces.
Other projects on tap for completion in 2019 include the 121,000-square-foot South Campus Recreation and Transportation Hub, which also will house the William Magee Center for Wellness Education. In addition, renovation work is underway on Garland, Hedleston and Mayes, which will accommodate the School of Applied Sciences.
For more information on enrollment and programs at UM, go to http://www.olemiss.edu.
Story and information from University Communications.
The Fund for American Studies is now accepting applications for the Spring 2019 Capital Semester program in Washington, D.C. The spring program will be focused on international affairs and public policy. Capital Semester is sponsored by The Fund for American Studies and provides 12 academic credits from George Mason University.
Mary Stankus, director of recruitment and admissions, said the early application deadline is Oct. 5. Students who apply for this deadline will receive a 5 percent discount on their tuition balance and priority consideration for scholarships. The final deadline is Nov. 9.
This comprehensive program includes internship placements in the fields of international affairs and public policy, courses for 12 academic credits through George Mason University, career development activities, site briefings and lectures led by foreign and domestic policy experts, and furnished housing in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
PAST INTERNSHIP SITES – INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC POLICY
• Atlas Economic Research Foundation
• Capitol Hill and Congressional Offices
• Center for European Policy Analysis
• Center for Strategic and International Studies
• Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute
• Council on Hemispheric Affairs
• Foreign Embassies
• Peace Corps
• U.S. Department of the Treasury
• Women in Government
• World Vision
• Internships – Competitive placements with international affairs organizations, government agencies, congressional offices, policy groups and non-governmental organizations
• Housing – Roommate matching and furnished Capitol Hill apartments in the heart of D.C.
• Classes – Full-time course load with credit provided through George Mason University, including courses on international economic policy and constitutional interpretation
• Guest Lectures + Exclusive Site Briefings – With Washington’s top foreign policy and economics experts, including visits to the State Department and Capitol Hill
• Professional Development + Networking – Mentoring and career building activities, as well as interaction with seasoned professionals and student leaders from around the world
• Scholarships – Generous scholarships are awarded based on merit and financial need and over 75% of students receive scholarship funding
Visit www.DCinternships.org/Alumni to read more testimonials from past program participants. For more information, visit www.DCinternships.org/CS or contact Stankus at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.986.0384.
Have you ever wanted to explore the world? Now is the time.
You are invited to participate in Global Communication Day Sept. 20 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s Overby Conference Room 249. Students are invited to learn about opportunities to travel abroad and explore.
“The event is not only about study abroad; it is about internships, jobs, etc. at the international context,” he said. “For example, we have signed an MoU with a Jerusalem based institute that would provide internships for journalism majors or anyone who would like to write and publish stories.”
While the event is mainly for students, Beyene said it doesn’t exclude adults who can study in a number of places. He’s also hoping some professors can collaborate internationally on research projects.
“One of the plans I have is joint research projects with instructors and staff in other countries,” Beyene said. “There are so many interesting research projects in other countries. So, we can collaborate.
“For example, in some countries, a very serious alcohol consumption is affecting their workforce, or in others, traffic accidents are killing the workforce. How can we engage in joint research projects that would target the issues in a coordinated manner (IMC/journalism)? What kind of communication strategy would be effective to tackle such kind of issues in those countries?”
Beyene said the event is an opportunity for students to learn more about the exciting opportunities that are available to them.
“They will be motivated to go out, explore and learn,” he said, adding that he hopes students will learn that traveling abroad and learning in a new environment will significantly contribute to their professional and personal development.”
The Meek School of Journalism and New Media faculty and students were rooting specifically for two Miss America contestants when the pageant aired Sunday, Sept. 9, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
While Miss Mississippi Asya Branch and Miss Tennessee Christine Williamson, both who have Meek School ties, were not selected among the final 15 contestants, Meek School leaders were proud that they represented the Meek School and the University of Mississippi in the competition.
Branch, a University of Mississippi junior, is a current Meek School student. According to her pageant bio on the Miss America website, Branch said the competition empowered her to embrace her past while helping children of an incarcerated parent find their way.
“Having the backbone and financial base of our family stripped away through incarceration and arrest left me hurt, confused, scared, bullied, and withdrawn,” she said. “Through the Miss America Organization, I have been able to face my fears and insecurities brought on by my father’s imprisonment. Now, I am boldly working to help other children who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances fulfill their greatest potential and realize they have an uninhibited future.”
Williamson, 22, attended UM and the Meek School as a broadcast journalism major. While at Ole Miss, she was a news anchor for NewsWatch.
According to Williamson’s pageant bio, she is an advocate for Alzheimer’s because she has lost four family members to the disease, including her grandfather, who she helped her mother take care of for 11 years.
“I watched the lengthy demise of someone I loved, and vowed to be a catalyst for change,” she said. “As a National Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Association, I have lobbied U.S. and state congressional leaders for three years on Alzheimer’s initiatives. I have raised $25,000 for Alzheimer’s Association to help the 5.7 million Americans and their caregivers fighting America’s most expensive disease.”
Meek School leaders also helped lead a Miss America watch party sponsored by the Student Activities Association inside the Student Union ballroom. Debbie Hall, a Meek School instructional assistant professor, said the watch party was organized to give UM students a way to celebrate the Meek School’s two Miss America contestants. Refreshments and games were offered.
Hall said the Meek School’s Event Planning class conducted a fundraiser for the two contestants’ platforms prior to the pageant as a way of recognizing and honoring them.
Students, faculty and alumni were encouraged to use the hashtag: #MeekMissAmerica Sunday night.
“I think this is just a further indication of the quality students we have in our Meek School programs,” Hall said.
There are a few new faces and new roles at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Dr. Chip Wade, Dr. Graham Bodie, Dr. Iveta Imre, Brad Conaway and Bobby Steele Jr. are all filling new positions.
Dr. Iveta Imre is a new assistant professor of visual storytelling. She joined the faculty in 2018. Prior to coming to the United States, Imre worked as a broadcast reporter for the Croatian Public Television (HRT).
She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Ph.D. in communication and information, where she also produced documentaries and worked as a visual specialist. For the past 10 years, she has been teaching classes that range from television news and documentary production to multimedia reporting and social media publishing.
“I’m very excited to be here,” Imre said. “I’ve had the Meek School on my mind for a very long time, so this is my opportunity to finally be here and work with the wonderful broadcast faculty and students. I’m excited to work with the students, learning more about them and their capabilities, and working on wonderful projects.”
Imre’s research focuses on broadcast media development in former Yugoslavian countries, trust in media, and journalism education. During her academic career, she has published articles in journals, such as International Communication Gazette, Mass Communication and Society, and Visual Communication Quarterly, and has presented papers and participated in panel sessions at national and international conferences, such as the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and International Communication Association (ICA).
Dr. Graham Bodie, Ph.D, is a scholar, educator and consultant. In each role, he attempts to bring attention to one fundamentally important, yet undervalued skill – listening.
Dr. Bodie is an internationally recognized expert on listening who has published more than 80 monographs, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. His most recent project, The Sourcebook of Listening Research (Wiley-Blackwell), is a comprehensive resource that reviews and critiques current and potential approaches to measuring listening.
“Whether you are a marketing professional or journalist, your career is influenced by how well you listen,” Bodie said. “And although you can find countless references to the importance of listening, how much direct training or education do companies, schools, or communities offer – training that actually improves our ability to process information and understand various perspectives? I’d like the change that.”
Dr. Bodie’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation (EPSCoR) and featured in the Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, and on National Public Radio. In addition to several research awards, he was honored twice with Professor of the Year by students in the Department of Communication Studies at Louisiana State University, where he also was recognized with university-wide teaching awards.
“My research, teaching, and consulting center on how people and the organizations they represent can cultivate a Listen First Mindset, a mindset that challenges our Western tendencies to broadcast our messages without first considering our audiences,” Bodie said. “Truly attending to others is a powerful way to connect, and whether it is your friend, family member, co-worker, client, student, or customer; everyone has a fundamental need to be heard.
“Listening effectively can help you fulfill that need. I am excited by my new role in the Meek School because it allows me to reach new audiences and learn from new people. And that’s what listening is all about.”
When Bodie consults, he prefers projects that allow him to make a difference. Currently, Dr. Bodie serves as an executive advisor for the Listen First Project and vice chairperson for the Global Listening Centre.
Dr. Bodie received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in communication from Auburn University and his Ph.D. from Purdue University. In addition to LSU, he served as a visiting scholar in the School of Media and Communication at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea.
Brad Conaway earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Texas, one in radio/TV/film and one in English literature, with a history minor. Following a 15+ career in television content producing, now he studies and specializes in emerging forms of digital communication, especially social media.
As a digital manager, he created a social media strategy that was named Best in Company in terms of engagement analytics. As the corporate digital content manager, Conaway led Raycom’s push to think “Digital First,” using social media.
“I’ve never taught before, so this is a new experience,” said Conaway. “It looks like a great group of people to join and get to work with. I’m teaching digital marketing and a social media producing class.”
Conaway has covered several events, from a local shooting at a courthouse, the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia upon re-entry in 2003, and the morning of Super Bowl 45 in 2011 that blanketed Dallas for two days caused by a super freeze resulting in injuries. He was an Emmy nominee, Best Morning Newscast-Large Market and TAPB winner, and Best Morning Newscast-Large Market winner in 2010.
Bobby D. Steele Jr. earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi and a bachelor’s degree in health services administration from Franklin University. After a graduate internship for the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, specializing in creative content, photography and social media marketing, he became an adjunct professor for IMC.
In the fall of 2018, Steele was promoted as the branding and promotions manager for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He is director of operations and a board member for the nonprofit organization Delta Jewels Support Foundation, and marketing director of Cherry Blossom Way Farms in Columbus, Ohio.
Steele is a decorated veteran who served seven years in the United States Navy. He was an active member during campaigns Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Kuwait Liberation.
Chip Wade earned a Ph.D. in biomechanics from Auburn University, a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Mississippi, a master’s degree in biomechanics from the University of West Florida and a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in risk management and insurance from the University of Georgia.
“I’m starting the real estate promotion program,” said Wade, a new assistant professor of integrated marketing communication at the Meek School. “I’ve been at the university since 2005. I’m excited to be here. I just look forward to building the program and continuing my research.”
Dr. Zenebe Beyene, a Meek School of Journalism and New Media instructional assistant professor and coordinator of international programs (second from left), is pictured with Dr. Oyvind Aadland, a representative of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, and Ethiopian leaders at a meeting on nation-building in the Charles L. Overby Boardroom at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Participants were primarily from the East Coast: New York, Virginia, Maryland and D.C. with one each from Memphis, Atlanta and North Carolina. They are lawyers, IT experts, software developers, political scientists, economists, a graphic designer, theologians, etc.
The Meek School is grateful to the Freedom Forum for making the boardroom available. The boardroom is named for Charles Overby, a graduate of Ole Miss.
It’s one of the nation’s biggest public speaking jobs, and two contestants with Meek School of Journalism and New Media ties will be competing for the title of Miss America this week.
Three Meek School students and a professor will also be reporting live from the pageant that will air Sunday, Sept. 9, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
They’ll be rooting for Miss Mississippi Asya Branch, a University of Mississippi junior, who is a current Meek School student; and Miss Tennessee Christine Williamson, 22, who attended the Meek School as a broadcast journalism major. While at Ole Miss, Williamson was a news anchor for NewsWatch.
Dr. Iveta Imre, a professor of visual storytelling, is taking three students to Atlantic City to cover the event.
“The three students, Brian Barisa, Bryanna Bynum, and Sara Doan, will be working on stories about the girls for The Daily Mississippian, Newswatch, and Hotty Toddy,” Imre said.
The Meek School group left on Wednesday, and they will be staying through Saturday covering all activities leading up to the main pageant on Sunday.
“We applied for and received press passes, and we are planning to cover the preliminaries, other activities such as the Shoe Parade on Saturday, as well as create stories about road Rebs who are going to Atlantic City to support Asya,” Imre said.
Imre said she hopes the students learn from the experience.
“I am hoping that the students will experience reporting under pressure and on deadline as we will be Skyping live for Newswatch every night, as well as creating stories to meet DM’s and Newswatch’s daily deadlines,” she said. “We are trying to anticipate and prepare for the events, but many decisions will have to me made once we arrive on location.”
Imre said she hopes the students will create contacts with other journalists covering the pageant, and learn from observing.
“I think that it is phenomenal and pretty unusual, and I am happy this is happening as I am starting my first semester as a professor at Meek school,” Imre said. “No matter what happens on Sunday, I think this is already a great success for our girls.”
Meek School leaders are also helping lead a Miss America watch party sponsored by the Student Activities Association. The pageant will air at 8 p.m. CST on ABC. The watch party will be held at the same time inside the Student Union ballroom. All are invited.
Debbie Hall, a Meek School instructional assistant professor, said the watch party will give UM students a way to celebrate the Meek School’s two Miss America contestants. Refreshments and games will also be offered.
“When we first started talking about the Meek School sponsoring a watch party, it was to be sure that we honored the two Ole Miss contestants,” Hall said. “However, we did not want to compete with a campus-wide event. Therefore, we are encouraging our students and faculty to attend the SAA event.
“We are especially excited that the two contestants represent the Meek School. Miss Tennessee Christine Williams graduated in May as a broadcast journalism major. Asya Branch is a current IMC major.”
Hall said the Meek School’s Event Planning class will be conducting a fundraiser for the two contestants’ platforms as a way of recognizing and honoring them.
“Asya’s platform is Empowering Children of Incarcerated Parents,” Hall said, “and Christine’s is the Alzheimer’s Association. We will be seeking donations to split between the two platforms.”
Hall said the class will use the hashtag: #MeekMissAmerica. Donations can be made for one platform or the other, or both platforms. Donors will be given a “Team Christine” or “Team Asya” sticker to wear.
“What are the odds?” Hall said, that two Meek School students are in the pageant. “More seriously, I think this is just a further indication of the quality students we have in our Meek School programs.”