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The Tichenor Times The home of the Auburn Communication and Journalism Department

CMNJ Graduate Program Master’s in communication By Shannon Donelson


he Communication and Journalism department gives degrees every year to undergraduate students majoring in public relations, journalism, communication and radio, television, and film. A sometimes forgotten program, however, is the department’s very own communication graduate program. The communication graduate program offers students the ability to advance their education in the various areas of communication. The master’s degree integrates all aspects of communication and journalism into a single program, which allows students to learn about a variety of topics in the field of communication. According to the Department of Communication and Journalism’s website, courses in communication focus on a variety of ways in which people communicate with each other. This includes communication in organizations, small group communication, non-verbal communication, social interaction, rhetorical theory and strategies, and mass media communication. At the graduate level, courses are focused heavily on communication theory. The degree is a four-semester program and can be used as a preparatory program for students looking to advance to a PhD program in the future. Students are given the option to participate in a

M.A.-thesis or M.A-nonthesis program depending on their future plans. Nicole Staricek, a graduate student in the communication master’s program realized during her senior year as an undergraduate student that she wanted to prepare herself for a career as a college professor. “Grad school was the next step. There was a neat alumni connection at Auburn and I came down to visit and fell in love with it,” stated Staricek. Staricek is from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and attended Juniata College for her undergraduate education. “I would love to teach something in the area of political communication.” With the state of the economy, many undergraduate students have made the decision to make the most out of a tough job market and choose to advance their education. Jade Rydson decided to enter Auburn’s communication graduate program in order to be more competitive in the public relations job market. “I was really looking to set myself apart from the other graduates.” Rydson is a first year graduate student from Melbourne Beach, Florida and received her undergraduate degree from the Communication and Journalism department at Auburn in May of 2009.

She loved the department and knew that it was the best fit for her for graduate school. “I really want to work with public relations so I’m thinking maybe I’ll move to Atlanta and try to work for a big PR firm,” stated Rydson. Both Rydson and Staricek gave several reasons for why they enjoy the department’s graduate program. “I think that the program is kind of like a family,” said Rydson. Master’s students enjoy smaller classes and a closer connection to their professors and fellow students at the graduate level. “We are all friends.” Staricek said that her favorite part of the graduate program is the opportunity to have a teaching assistantship. Assistantships are available through the department on a competitive basis. Students who receive assistantships are provided with a $10,000 salary for nine months and their tuition is waived. GTAs assist professors in a variety of courses and have the opportunity to teach classes. “I’m able to get my feet wet in teaching and this summer I’ll have my own classes,” stated Staricek.

Going Over and Beyond

Jane Teel meets students’ need beyond the expected

“Mrs. Teel always makes those around her feel as comfortable as possible at all times,” said Merilyn Hand, a senior in communication at Auburn. By Brooke Glassford


ane Teel does not consider her job to be just a paycheck or occupational title. She has been on staff with Auburn University for 12 years, and considers “ .” Teel is a professor and adviser for the Department of Communication and Journalism. Teel started out at the university teaching communication classes. “The opportunity to teach a class gives me that time in the classroom environment enabling me to relate to students on a different level. It also keeps me linked with other faculty that I otherwise would not be in contact with,” says Teel. Teel has now also been advising for five and a half years. In October, Teel will be promoted to Adviser III, the highest level for advisers. Advising, especially around registration times, is extremely time-consuming. Teel juggles many different people and situations, yet still makes each student feel like she has plenty of time to focus on him/her. Organization is the key to her efficiency. “I definitely work well with structure. I like to know the plan,” says Teel. Students tend to forget that while registering seems stressful to them, the advisers are meeting with students, answering hundreds of E-mails and perfecting count-

less schedules for students. Teel is the perfect example of an adviser who goes over and beyond the basic job description of an adviser. Teel’s honesty and encouragement sets her apart from the rest. When students come to her for advising, she takes the time to go through the pros and cons of different class routes they could possibly take. She is knowledgeable and honesty about the work loads, wanting the students to be well-informed. She maintains positivity in her advising and speaks words of encouragement inspiring students to rise to the challenges school can bring. Teel also has a list of other responsibilities in the communication and journalism department including but not limited to: enrollment management, orientation for new people in all four majors of the department, meeting prospective and transfer students, representative on Talons Day, managing the on-line wish lists, publicity needs for the department, and

organizing the graduation day reception. Most importantly, above all of these responsibilities, Teel is a wife and a mother to two children. She is also an Auburn graduate, as well has her husband, children and most all of her extended family. After graduating from Auburn, Teel worked as a speech therapist in public schools in the Auburn/Opelika area for seven years. Teel’s family then moved to Birmingham where she was a stay-athome-mom and worked part time teaching communication classes at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. After completing that chapter in their life, Teel’s family moved back to The Plains to begin a new one. Along with teaching and advising, she is also working on her doctorate in education, and hoping to complete it by next spring. Teel clearly has a full plate. Despite that, she does her job, and she does her job well.

Journalism Major Chasing Job, $50,000

Auburn Senior Leading Chamber of Commerce Video Contest By Jason Hermansdorfer Despite having completed prestigious internships with NBC and MTV, creating and producing the Emmy Award-winning show, “NBC Interns,” assisting in the production of ABC’s “Washington Business Tonight,” and having a feature segment air during an Auburn basketball game on ESPN U, Carrie Williams’ success has flown under the radar of the students and alum of Auburn University. However, all that may be about to change. Carrie’s production of a video for the US Chamber of Commerce’s “Free Enterprise Video Contest,” is receiving recognition and collecting views unlike any of the other finalists. On June 2, the video with the most views will be awarded a $50,000 prize, and at the moment the senior in broadcast journalism seems in prime position. “Winning would be great for the University, for the department and for Eagle Eye News,” Carrie says. “I’m not in it for the money. I want my work to be recog-

nized and the pride of a job well done.” The contest, which is being hosted by YouTube, challenged people to produce short, feature-story videos exemplifying people who are creating businesses despite the current economic slump. Carrie’s piece features several different companies established by students at Auburn University. Carrie hopes the recognition from her success in the contest will raise awareness for Auburn University’s television station, Eagle Eye News, as well as help her land a job after she graduates in May. In recent years, Auburn’s journalism department has placed a number of female graduates at high profile positions around the country: Libby Amos, Fox 10 News Mobile, Melissa Johnson, NBC WSFA 12 News, and Lindsey McCormick, ESPN. Carrie’s arsenal of production skills and her willingness to work hard put her in great position to follow in their footsteps. When Carrie isn’t promoting her video

or hunting for a job, she remains hard at work as the station manager for Eagle Eye News. As the station manager Carrie functions as the liaison between the station and the university, handles the station’s budget, reports for the station, coordinates promotions and manages the station’s reporters. “All of us on staff are literally at the station around the clock doing whatever we can to deliver the highest quality production possible,” Carrie says. “Because the station is so small we all have to wear a lot of hats.” It has been this challenge that has molded Carrie into a well-rounded television producer eager to make the transition from the classroom to the newsroom. Carrie Williams is what you might call a one-woman production company. To view Carrie’s “Free Enterprise Contest” video, please search YouTube for “Auburn University students are free.” For more information on Carrie, visit

Life In The White House: Auburn Alumna is First Lady’s Press Lead CMJN Classes Prepare Students for All Manner of Futures

By Caroline Powell From the beginning of the 1800s, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has been home to some of America’s most influential leaders. It is within the rooms of the White House that important meetings are held and vital decisions are made on behalf of the American population. Though the decisions made affect each American citizen, many will never step foot on its green lawn or pass through any of its 412 doorways;however, Jessica Bryant is an exception. Bryant, a Birmingham,Ala. native, graduated from Auburn University in 2006. Throughout her four years on the plains, she majored in public relations and enjoyed a variety of involvements around campus. It was through one of her leadership positions, that she was able to land a job that may seem unlikely to any recent college graduate-one that was located within the walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Bryant was fortunate enough to serve on staff at the White House for a number of years as both Senior Trip Coordinator in the Office of Presidential Advance

and as Press Lead for the first lady, Laura Bush. For Bryant, summarizing her time in Washington D.C. is quite a task. Each day at the White House was different, bringing both a variety of challenges and unique experiences. Just as with any job, the days could be long, but Bryant always stayed prepared for what could be thrown her way next. It was not rare for her to leave the White House close to midnight, only to find herself called to turn around and plan for the president’s emergency trip to another country. “Those were the days that sleep could not be found on the schedule”, said Bryant. When asked what her favorite part of her job was, Bryant stated,” The entire experience was incredible and I am beyond thankful for the opportunity I was given.” Bryant does have much to be thankful for as she is one of the few American citizens that can say they have flown on Air Force One and even traveled with the president to the Olympics in Beijing. Throughout her time at the White House, Bryant received many comple-

ments regarding her communication and writing skills, as well as her knowledge of the public relations world.She gives much of the credit to her time spent at Auburn University. “Auburn has a wonderful public relations program that is filled with professors and advisors that deeply care about the success of their students.” Bryant is one of many alumni that went above and beyond in continuing to build on the exceptional reputation that Auburn students maintain. Due to the hard work of students and the time and effort of Auburn’s professors, the Department of Communication and Journalism continues to thrive on the plains, preparing students for the world that lies ahead.

For more information about the Communication and Journalism Department at Auburn University, visit us at www.

The Tichenor Times  

A collection of articles written by CMJN majors about the Communication and Journalism Department at Auburn University.

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