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Innovation is unsettling by definition. It digs up or dislodges settled ideas, and can make people feel unsettled as a consequence. Those who innovate push us boldly forward anyway, linking creative thought to creative action. They know that it is the brazen “defeat of habit by originality,” to use advertising icon George Lois’ words, that will make a difference—in one’s industry, one’s craft, one’s relationships, one’s politics. The Department of Communication, one of East Tennessee State University’s largest and most complex departments, is a community and campus leader in innovative teaching, learning, training, and application. As our students in Mass Communication, Theatre & Dance, Communication Studies, and Professional Communication know, learning what is needed in their industries and in their larger world, and learning how to meet those needs, require something more than the adoption of established “best practices.” Thinking in new ways about those needs, asking new questions about them, and working in new ways to meet them is how one makes the most meaningful contributions and how one becomes the difference that makes a difference, even if all this change unsettles things for a bit. In this last academic year, our department put focused energy into identifying our strengths and weaknesses, our future visions, and the action steps that would help us realize those visions. As we looked at where we are and the even better places we could be, we also led our students through applied learning experiences and “real world” applications that would prepare them to assess where they are and could be, and where their industry, craft, or social world could be. In this edition of the ETSU Department of Communication Magazine, we offer up a small sampling of the ways that we are having an impact on campus, in our communities, and in the marketplace by daring to defeat habit, think creatively, and work innovatively.

ACCREDITATION ADDRESS FROM THE PRESIDENT “I want to provide a brief update on some things that have been discussed in the public press with respect to our mass communications program at ETSU. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications has recently informed us that our program is no longer accredited by that entity. That is their opinion of our program, and does not reflect on the academic quality of the program. In fact, their review of our program spoke very highly of the quality of instruction that is provided to our students. Their concerns dealt with governance and issues with diversity and assessment of student learning outcomes, but did not deal with the quality of instruction, what happens in the classroom and in the research setting in that department. As a university we will conduct an in-depth examination, working closely with the chair of the department, Dr. Amber Kinser, and we will build forward on what is an outstanding foundation within the mass communication programs at ETSU.”




Hillary Edwards, ‘13

ETSU Photographic Services Taylor Borum Megan Fannon Kennedee Ford Michael Fernando



Megan Short Fannon, Lecturer


Haley Anderson Kraig Berglund Taylor Borum Lacy Bowman Tyler Brock Dylan Chambers Ashley Dukart Hillary Edwards

Logan Herrick Sherri Lester Marcus Lyon Chee Moua Logan Wagenseller Alison Williams Michelle Wilson

Shara Lange Tyler Preskitt

Megan Short Fannon Hillary Edwards Cover design inspired by: Logan Herrick, Kristen Rose, Adrienne McBroon, Ruben Conley Tell us what you think about the ETSU Department of Communication Magazine. Email your comments and story ideas to or contact us by mail at The Department of Communication, Box 70667, Johnson City, TN 37614 or by phone at 423-439-7676.





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ETSU is an AA/EEO employer. TBR # 260-049-13 .35M BR # 2

60-049-13 .35M layout by Hillar y Edwards




by Kraig Berglund

by Logan Wagenseller

The Forensics and Debate Team set lofty goals for the 2013 season and achieved success. The executive team, made up of Scott Wells, Michael King, Dallas Honeycutt, Lamar Lundsford, Taylor Malone and Zach Peck, was determined to make this year successful and found that success in its first competition of the season. The Smoky Mountain Debate Tournament, held at Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn., featured 30 teams from Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Virginia. During the competition, ETSU racked up awards for best team and best speaker. The best performance of the tournament came from duo Scott Wells and Daniel Potts who paired up for a first-place finish in parliamentary debate. Wells, president for the 2013 season, summed up the first tournament of the season by saying, “I am very excited about winning a tournament for the first time.” The Forensics and Debate Team is a student organization that introduces students to creativity, organization, debate and a way to have fun. Club members are not obligated to compete in any event, but members may compete in as many events as desired. It is also one of the few clubs on campus that offers college credit to members. To earn college credit, students must attend meetings and practices, participate in tournaments and submit self-evaluations. Not only has the debate team been successful at competitions, bringing home trophies and podium finishes, but members have also been successful in encouraging others to join and participate. Overall membership is up for the Forensics and Debate Team, a trend members hope will continue in the future.

This past year consisted of long, grueling hours full of research, trial and error and collaboration for students preparing to compete in the 2013 National Student Advertising Competition. Advisors D.J. Jessee, Dr. Stephen Marshall and Jonathan Hounshell accompanied 26 students from Advertising/Public Relations and Digital Media to the competition, held in Mississippi. “I’ve never experienced anything like the NSAC,” says Hali McCurdy, an advertising student and NSAC presenter. “From doing NSAC last year, I expected to work long hours in order to accomplish our task. I was definitely nervous to pitch our idea in front of a couple hundred people, as were the other members of my team, but our nerves made us practice to perfection.” Each year, a corporate sponsor provides a case study outlining the history of its product and current advertising situation. The case study reflects a real-world situation and students must research the product, identify problems and create an integrated communications campaign for the client. Each team then has 20 minutes to pitch its campaign to a panel of judges. Students from more than 200 colleges across the country were tasked with creating an integrated marketing campaign for Glidden Paint. The company wanted to target three primary audiences that shop in Wal-Mart. The Glidden Paint brand was recently introduced in the retailer’s stores. continued on page 15

STUDENT WINS PRSA AWARD by Hillar y Edwards Kristen Pierce, former intern with MarketingMel, an innovative marketing, public relations, and social media strategies firm led by professional communicator Mary Ellen Miller, received top honors at the annual Public Relations Society of America of Tri-Cities TN/VA awards ceremony. Pierce was recognized in the student category with the PRSA Award of Quality for her work on the 2012 Johnson City Turkey Trot campaign. “Winning the award for my work on the Johnson City Turkey Trot was so exciting,” says Pierce. “All the hard work the MarketingMel team put into making the event a success was worth it when I found out we raised over $20,000 for our community.” Pierce worked as an intern with MarketingMel for the entirety of the 2012-2013 academic year. “Kristen did a superb job for MarketingMel... She was very helpful in her role as public relations assistant on both the Johnson City Turkey Trot and the Spirits of the Season gala. She thought ahead and knew how to get publicity for both of those events,” says Miller. “Kristen has a bright future as a PR pro.” Pierce graduated in May with a degree in Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. She is interning at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

JOURNALISM STUDENT RECOGNIZED BY ASSOCIATED PRESS ETSU journalism student O.J. Early won third place in Division III for sports photography from the 2013 Tennessee AP Media Editors contest. Division III is for newspapers with daily circulations of up to 15,000 and includes Athens, Cleveland, Columbia, Cookeville, Crossville, Dyersburg, Elizabethton, Greeneville, Lebanon, McMinnville, Memphis Daily News, Murfreesboro, Nashville Ledger, Oak Ridge, FALL 2013 PAGE 2

Paris, Sevierville, Shelbyville, Tullahoma and Union City. According to the TAPME website, “the 2013 Tennessee AP Media Editors contest is designed to recognize Tennessee AP member newspapers and staffers for outstanding performance in journalism. The competition is open to all AP member newspapers in Tennessee and staffers employed by member newspapers at the time the entries were produced. Entries

must have been published in calendar 2012.” Early graduated with a degree in mass communication concentrating in journalism in the spring of 2013. He is currently working as a full-time writer and photographer for the Greeneville Sun.


Other Desert Cities by John Robin Baitz

Tradin’ Paint by Catherine Bush

j Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello


by Tyler Brock

Once a year, the East Tennessee State University Honors College works with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to host a special event called The Boland Undergraduate Research Symposium. This event provides a platform for undergraduate students to present their research in an affirming, non-competitive environment. The Symposium is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Jay Boland. The Research Symposium encourages participants to present oral presentations in various discipline-themed sessions as well as performance by artists with musical, reading and theater experience. Artistic works are displayed in the The Millennium Centre lobby. All ETSU undergraduate students have an opportunity to join in this event and help each other by exchanging ideas with peers, gathering valuable information and feedback and working in groups with others. “The Boland Undergraduate Research Symposium is a place where students are treated as professionals and it is great for students to get recognized for their great work,” says Dr. Kelly Dorgan, associate professor of Communication Studies and research

coordinator in the Department of Communication. One of Dorgan’s goals for the ETSU Boland Symposium is “ encourage students and faculty members to present their work at Boland and to have more students participate each year.” In reference to project likeability, Dorgan says, “I like variety and I love to see students who show courage by presenting on sensitive subjects.” Dorgan also says that the ETSU Boland Undergraduate Research Symposium is a résumé builder and benefits students’ presentation skills by taking constructive criticism from highly respected faculty. The Department of Communication is proud to acknowledge student participants. Topics and presenters include: Digital native and self-confidence regarding communication by Amanda Sturgill, Review of nonverbal communication in deception, researched by Jason Street, The systematic herding of the homeless by Taylor Manning and Integration of local GSA’s by Rachel Reece. A dance piece was presented by Kathryn Sanders titled Split into one. In all, 14 students participated in the event and represented each concentration the Department offers.

MARSHALL RECEIVES ‘EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR’ AWARD FROM ADVERTISING ORGANIZATION Dr. Stephen Marshall received the Donald G. Hileman “Educator of the Year” Award from the American Advertising Federation for District 7. According to the AAF, the Donald G. Hileman “Educator of the Year” Award recognizes a college educator for “outstanding service to advertising, AAF District 7, his/her club or generation, and college advertising students through his/her volunteer efforts to the student advertising team, a student advertising club and teaching of superior quality.” Marshall, associate professsor of Communication, was awarded the honor while accompanying students at the National Student Advertising Competition in Mississippi. District 7 represents 23 affiliate advertising clubs and federations of the AAF in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.


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Marcus Lyon, Hillary Edwards, Chloe Lynskey, Kraig Berglund, Emily Dosher, Tina Pasquale, Logan Wagenseller, Michelle Wilson, Dylan Chambers


ADVERTISING, PR STUDENTS PUT THEIR SKILLS TO PRACTICE ACROSS THE GLOBE by Hillar y Edwards “Like this,” “follow me” and “get more readers” - phrases like these are of the utmost importance for communication professionals around the world. A strong social media presence is now a necessity for brands, and students in the Advertising/Public Relations study abroad course, Practices, experienced this first hand. In the three-week course led by Dr. John King, professor of Communication, and Megan Fannon, lecturer, students traveled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where they functioned as a student-run firm, creating a social media communication campaign. In between desert safaris and camel rides, the students, working for the Space Investment Company, a NASA-affiliated agency headquartered in Dubai, were tasked with creating a FALL 2013 PAGE 4

social media campaign to promote the opening of a combined living and retail structure, AstroComplex, located in Saudi Arabia. Starting from the ground up, students researched social media methods and usage in Saudi Arabia, looking intensively into the cultural differences and limitations that Saudi Arabians, particularly women, face that Americans do not. “Comparing and contrasting Middle Eastern customs and traditions with American customs was one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had,” says Dylan Chambers, a senior in the Advertising/PR program. In working with the client, students came away with a better understanding of international business practices. American employees seem overloaded with endless paperwork and

contracts, but building a personal, friendly relationship with business partners is a key factor of business operations in the Middle East. After 200 hours of research, brainstorming and planning, the students presented their final campaign to the client during the last week of their study abroad program. With an overwhelmingly positive response from the Space Investment Company, the students came out of the experience feeling more confident as future practicing communication professionals. “There’s no greater learning experience than studying abroad,” says Marcus Lyon, a senior in the Advertising/PR program. “Not only did we have an amazing client to learn from, but being in a completely different world than what you’re used to living in really opens your eyes and allows you to learn a lot, not only

Hillary Edwards & Dylan Chambers

Dylan Chambers, Megan Fannon (Lecturer) & Marcus Lyon

Above, students present their social media campaign ‘Be the Star” at Space Investment Company offices.

Tina Pasquale, Emily Dosher, Michelle Wilson, Hillary Edwards, Chloe Lynskey & Logan Wagenseller

about yourself, but what is going on outside of America.” Aside from client meetings, the students visited two Advertising and PR agencies and a nonprofit organization that heavily utilize social media in their campaigns. Seeing firsthand how Middle Eastern and international communications firms use social media in promotions gave students insight into what they should and should not include in their own promotional campaign. When time allotted, the students experienced a range of what Dubai has to offer, including visiting the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and traveling to Abu Dhabi, the capital of U.A.E., to visit the world’s second largest mosque. “We flew halfway around the world not

knowing how the experience would change our lives,” says Logan Wagenseller, a senior in the Advertising/PR program. “We made good friendships and became stronger, more wellrounded people during our trip.”

“Comparing and contrasting Middle Eastern customs and traditions with American customs was one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had.”



photos by Michael Fernando This summer, students in the Advertising/PR program boarded a plane bound for a city rich in history, tradition and scenery. In this case, these students were not traveling as vacationers. Their purpose was to study abroad, touring and immersing themselves in the advertising and marketing culture of Rome, Italy. Advertising/PR students were not the only students enrolled in the class. The course was open to students studying integrated marketing communications, graphic design, marketing, business or digital media. The program was led by Department of Communication Lecturer in Advertising, D.J. Jessee, and Jeremy Ross, assistant professor in the Engineering Technology Program and associate vice president of University Advancement. FALL 2013 PAGE 6

Students were tasked with keeping a daily journal, recognizing and looking for differences in culture in advertising communication and attending class sessions. Students were separated into two groups, each tasked with comparing an American brand to an Italian brand. One group chose Anheuser Bush and Peroni Beer, while the other group compared Verizon and TIM, a mobile phone carrier in Italy. In addition to logging these differences, students gained insight into the industry from professionals. From meeting with Fabiana Romano, the woman behind “Made in Italy” branding, to touring the Vatican with the English Communications Director for the Pope, these students gained cultural, historical and practical perspectives. Another highlight of the program was a visit

to Hill and Knowlton Strategies, one of the three largest strategic communications firms in the world. “Not only was there classwork, but there were also some field trips and other things that were very authentic, in-context kind of opportunities that they would have never gotten anywhere else,” says Jessee. Employers are looking for candidates with a global perspective; studying abroad provides that. “This global perspective is everything,” says Jessee.“We can lecture about these things in class, but there is nothing like being out of your comfort zone and understanding the relevance of little things in context.” While exploring international brand strategies, the students learned not just about the Italian culture, but about their own as well.

The setting provided students with the lesson that being American is an insular thing; it does not apply worldwide. The students are now more sensitive to the cultures that make up our world. Jessee says that while these students may never be required to travel internationally in their future career, “...hopefully, I’ve made them better citizens of the world and that they can look at things now with a larger vision and not just [be] limited to where they happen to be living at the moment.” The Department of Communication supports students’ understanding of and experience in other cultures. Participating in a study abroad course provides an edge for students entering the workforce. Jessee is not stopping at offering students this

course; she has worked with the university to establish a study abroad agreement with John Cabot University in Rome, which is an American-accredited university. Students can study there and transfer credits to the Mass Communication program here. ETSU is committed to study abroad opportunities and offers scholarships specifically for this learning experience. To learn more about studying abroad in Rome, visit

“Not only was there classwork, but there were also some field trips and other things that were very authentic, in-context kind of opportunities that they would have never gotten anywhere else.”

CAMPUS RADIO STATION PARTNERS WITH BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY by Sherri Lester In June, East Tennessee State University’s campus radio station, The Edge, finalized a partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway. BMS has been a longtime supporter of ETSU and was looking to expand its reach to the college demographic. It only made sense to partner with the most attended university in the region. The new partnership brings benefits to both sides. The Edge station manager, Wesley “The Jester” Jester, says, “The Edge can offer low rates for advertising and also offer minimal production costs. This brings BMS advertising costs down.” The Edge stands to increase its listeners and offers students a unique opportunity to gain experience working with such a prestigious company. Candy Bryant, co-advisor of The Edge, says, “Nascar is extremely popular in this

area and has a huge fan base on campus. That along with the fact that BMS is well known for charities made it a natural process to join with them.” Several proposed events are already in the works. “Teaming up with BMS’s office management has brought many project ideas to the station for the upcoming fall semester,” says Jester. Plans include race ticket giveaways, merchandise contests, live broadcast remotes from BMS, as well as some on-campus activities. The Edge is ETSU’s alternative radio station. It was developed in 2002 and is entirely student-run, providing 24-hour online streaming. Listen at

LANGE DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES IN MOROCCO by Alison Williams Shara Lange is more than an assistant professor and head of the Radio/Television/ Film division of the Department of Communication. She is also the founder and director of Light Projects: Documentary/Art/ Community. Her project, The Dressmakers, “contrasts the slow pace of artisanal clothes-making with the fast pace of the competitive textiles industry in Morocco,” as noted on Lange’s Light Projects’ website. The project is a feature-length documentary showcasing the designs of Salima Abdel – Wahab. Over the summer, Lange’s film made its premiere at the Cinematheque de Tanger,

North Africa’s first cinema cultural center in Tangier, Morocco. Lange was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to make the documentary. These awards grant students and professionals the opportunity to undertake advanced research overseas. Gerald Lofrus, head of Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies, brags on Lange’s talents on his blog: “Lange has a very promising future as a filmmaker in front of her.”


Professor of Theatre Dr. Delbert Hall has a new book available for purchase, Rigging Math Made Simple. Published by Spring Knoll Press, this text explores math formulas for solving problems in suspending objects in theatrical and arena settings. According to Spring Knoll Press, the book “...will help users grasp some of the principles behind the physics of rigging.” “The target audience is primarily people who want to obtain entertainment rigging certifications and need help learning to do the math,” says Hall. “This book takes riggers step-by-step through solving rigging math problems, and includes tips for remembering the formulas. The book also includes sample problems for readers to solve.” Hall teaches rigging workshops each year. Since no text existed in the marketplace that covered the rigging math for entertainment riggers, Hall decided to condense his teachings from workshops into one convenient source. Dr. Kelly Dorgan, associate professor and research coordinator in the Department of Communication says, “Dr. Hall’s book will help him reach an even wider audience and help even more people.” Rigging Math Made Simple is available online via Spring Knoll Press and Amazon. The book will also be available online through Barnes and Noble and in a Kindle version. Hall is a certified rigger through the Entertainment Technician Certification Program and has flown performers in over 300 productions. He has served as the scenic designer in the Division of Theatre and Dance since 1986 and currently serves as Director of ETSU’s Aerial Dance Program. He has designed performer flying systems and equipment that is used by other flying effects companies and aerial groups.

STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY CHALLENGE by Kim Connors Radio/Television/Film students in the documentary course, RTVF 4957, led by Assistant Professor Shara Lange, were given an exciting but unexpected assignment this past spring. Students learned that they would participate in the International Documentary Challenge, a competition in which hundreds of teams race to finish a non-fiction film in five days. Lange’s class took the challenge and ran with it. After many class brainstorming sessions, it was decided that the subject of the documentary would be East Tennessee State University FALL 2013 PAGE 8

student Erfan Rezai. Rezai, a student in the bluegrass program, is from Iran studying country music with the hopes of one day making it big in Nashville. Rezai plans to return home to Iran and share his knowledge of country music with his fellow Iranians. For documentary content, the team organized an impromptu concert at The Down Home, visited Bristol, Tenn., with Rezai and filmed Rezai performing with ETSU’s bluegrass band and in recording sessions. This challenge is one students are likely not

to forget. Ben Hunt, a student in the course, says of the project, “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of making a globally conscious film at the local level in a local university.” Even though the film was not a finalist in the challenge, the team was able to view its hard work on the “big screen” during the Made in East Tennessee film festival sponsored by the Division of Mass Communication.

OLIVEIRA DISCUSSES RELATIONSHIPS AND DATING ON ‘DAYTIME TRI-CITIES’ Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Dr. Carrie Oliveira, appeared on a special segment of WJHL’s “Daytime Tri-Cities” discussing relationships and dating during the week of Valentine’s Day. Segments featured host Amy Lynn talking with “Dr. Carrie” about different topics related to dating and relationships, such as what (and what not) to talk about on a first date, tips for keeping an ongoing relationship fresh and exciting and how to know when it’s time to end a relationship. Oliveira invited viewers to visit her blog, “Dr. Carrie’s Relationship School”

(, to ask questions and receive advice about relationships. Oliveira’s expertise is in the development and maintenance of intimate relationships. “I maintain a strong interest in teaching people about how to have better relationships through a more mindful attention to the quality of the communication they exchange with their relationship partners,” says Oliveira. Oliveira is often approached by ETSU students looking for advice. “Dr. Carrie puts herself on an equal level with her students. This opens up the door for casual conversations and students feeling

STUDENT FILMS SHOWCASED LOCALLY by Lacy Bowman On April 23 several ETSU student films hit the big screen! The second annual Made in East Tennessee student film festival was held at Real to Reel movie theatre and showcased 10 films made by 17 students. Shara Lange helped coordinate the event. “We really do this event to highlight the best films from our program for the last year,” said Lange. “The students work hard and it is good practice for them to be in front of others showing off their work.” Tickets for the evening sold for $3 and all proceeds benefitted the Tom Headley Student Production Award, which aims to support future filmmakers. “The event sold out both years and there were at least 150 people present,” says Lange. “The students get the chance to have their film on the big screen so I think they really love it.” Any Mass Communication student is eligible to submit a video for consideration. One student who did just that was Anthony Frazier. Frazier’s short film, Mountain Man, was shown at the event. “I was the first recipient of the Tom Headley award and I used it to make Mountain Man,” says Frazier, who graduated in May with an emphasis on performance and production. “The film ended up costing almost $2000 and months and months went into making the film happen.”

comfortable speaking with her about multiple personal and student-related issues,” says Brandon Brewer, ETSU Professional Communication graduate student. “When someone comes to me with a relationship situation they don’t know how to sort out, I appreciate that I’m viewed as a credible expert and I see the inquiry as an opportunity to share what my education has taught me about relationships,” says Oliveira. Oliveira holds a Master of Arts in Speech from the University of Hawaii and a Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University.


by Mary Ellen Miller of MarketingMel

Photo by Tyler Preskitt

Frazier has been involved in the entertainment business for years. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild until 2003, and says his passion for filmmaking started at the early age of 13. Made in East Tennessee helped push Frazier to produce his best work. “It gave me a taste of what it is like to be a professional,” says Frazier. “The event is a huge inspiration to strive to be a great filmmaker.” Although Frazier’s Mountain Man was considered a short film, other types of films ranging from documentaries to narratives were also screened. “The level of experience ranged from new student filmmakers to those who were working on their final capstone project,” says Lange. Although Made in East Tennessee has only been open to students majoring in Mass Communication in the past, Lange says opening up submissions to students outside of the that division is not out of the question. To view more photos from the festival, visit the program’s Facebook page, Etsu Rtvf.


1. Think strategically: What is your end goal? How can you get there? Have a plan. 2. Seek internships: Treat an internship as if it’s a job. Be ready with a professional resume and photo. Be prepared with questions and skill sets you to have offer. 3. Set yourself up for success: Have an outlet after your internship. Look for opportunities. Volunteer. Play up your accomplishments. 4. Communicate with communicators: Communicate on their terms through their channels (and be sure to identify yourself.) If you want to see what the pros are doing listen to tweetchats like # soloPR and #journchat and say “Hello.” 5. Study the thought leaders. 6. Innovate: Use the latest tools and learn about new ones. The field of communications changes daily. Be sure you are running at all times to keep up with it. 7. Learn something new: Do you know a foreign language? Spend time abroad. Be open to opportunities elsewhere. 8. Show kindness: Put the phone away in class and share some real (not virtual) Facetime with your teachers and friends. This goes for our online behavior as well. 9. Follow journalists. 10. Know your strengths and weaknesses and focus on your strengths. 11. Create your Personal Brand. See more at: http://www.marketingmel. com/2011/03/20/how-to-get-a-job-in-publicrelations-eleven-tips-from-a-pr-pro/#sthash. tJ6PW0gz.dpufTwitter: @MarketingMel LinkedIn: MarketingMel Facebook: MarketingMelPR





stor y by Hillar y Edwards, photos by Shara Lange


n the mountains of East Tennessee, banjo pickers and fiddle players aren’t hard to come by. Immersed in the birthplace of country music, this area is no stranger to the rich, fast-paced sounds of bluegrass that local and international musicians have to offer. While most associate this genre of music with the South and Appalachia, halfway across the world, musicians in the Czech Republic have developed bluegrass music into something spectacular, through the most unconventional of ways. With a $10,000 grant received from the Research Development Committee of East Tennessee State University, Shara Lange, assistant professor and division head in the Radio/Television/Film Division of the Department of Communication, immersed herself in this unique style of music, directing and producing Banjo Romantika: American Bluegrass Music and the Czech Imagination, a documentary on bluegrass in the Czech Republic, and how this style of music grew from American bluegrass roots. Banjo Romantika gives a glimpse into the lives of the musicians who play this unique bluegrass hybrid. During World War II, Czechs first heard bluegrass when the Armed Forces Network broadcast American music for soldiers. To those living in the Czech Republic during this time, the music represented free11 dom.

By making their own instruments and being inspired by American bluegrass sounds, these musicians from the formerly communist Czech Republic have developed a deep love for the music, in a much more humble way than the average American musician. “Playing music is a true passion for these people,” says Lange. “In America, the music industry is very commercially driven, but in the Czech Republic, they truly love the music for what it is. They aren’t worried about how many albums they might sell; they just want to play the music they love.” Lange, in conjunction with Dr. Lee Bidgood, assistant professor in the Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies Division, has been working on the documentary. Lange and her crew filmed for six days in the Czech Republic in 2011, and then returned home to start editing. The film features the history of Czech bluegrass and its popularity, interviews with prominent Czech musicians, including the Godfather of Czech bluegrass, Marko Čermák, as well as portions of studio recordings. The majority of the film was shot in the Czech Republic, with a small portion being filmed at The Down Home in downtown Johnson City, TN, featuring Dr. Bidgood playing some of his bluegrass songs. “The musicians were really excited to be working with Dr. Bidgood on this project,” says Lange. “Since [the musicians] already knew him, they were very comfortable with

expressing themselves on camera and were more than fortunate for an opportunity like this one. It can be challenging to capture and edit something that viewers will have interest in when translations and cultural standards are involved, but thanks to them, we made it work very well.” Banjo Romantika is available for pre-order.




stor y by Chee Moua, photos by ETSU Photographic Services


n the world of the arts, pushing the boundaries seems to be the norm. With daring faculty in the ETSU Division of Theatre & Dance, many innovative aspects have been incorporated into productions to vividly breathe life into each performance. From lighting to sound and even to costume design, the Division of Theatre & Dance remains artistically fresh. In the production of Caesar 2012, Director Herb Parker spun a unique twist to a Shakespearian classic, Julius Caesar. In an interview with the East Tennessean, Parker said, “In this version there are no togas, sandals or chariots… Instead, the viewer will find flat screen televisions, laptops, cell phones, business suits and automatic weapons.” As a modern approach on this traditional piece, the set was simple, consisting of four television screens with different pre-recorded projections displaying scenes. Lighting and sound are used to emotionally guide the audience’s journey deeper into the play. The design elements of Caesar 2012 were genius as they further enhanced the mood of the production. The impressive sound design by Adam Honeycutt, student in the Theatre & Dance program, which included gunshots, made audience members jump in their seats. The lighting design by Melissa Shafer also played an instrumental part to keep the play rolling. In the scene where Caesar is attacked by his “friends,” Shafer used red lighting to represent and paint the dramatic death of

photo by ETSU Photographic Services: “Caesar 2012”

Caesar. Another eminent lighting design moment was in the suicide scene of Grey Williamson’s character, Cassius. The stage went dark and all that was visible was the silhouette of her hanging corpse. It should be noted as well that this intense scene was also successful thanks to the outstanding rigging work of Delbert Hall. Now let us shift into a different direction to ETSU’s Spring Dance Concert. Director Cara Harker strives to keep the anticipating audience on its toes with interesting and unique themes each year. One of particular interest was the 2012 performance in which the theme was water. The techniques used to realize such a theme were creative and exceptional. As Costume Designer Christine Waxstein explains, “The costume, lighting, and sound design plays an important role in the dance concerts because there is no set.” The raw talents of the performers were highlighted with the use of vocal and musical elements, such as singing and spoken words, and even a guitar at one point. This was a concept that had never been attempted before in ETSU’s dance concerts. Many unique approaches were taken by each choreographer to deliver routines. Several even added video to go along with their dance pieces in order to enrich the audience’s senses. One of the most creatively interesting concepts of the concert was the partnership with Lighting Designer Kacy Tiller and Costume

Designer Christine Waxstein for the dance piece choreographed by Everett Tarlton, Don’t F--- with My Flow, where the duo artistically attempted to bring to life the “GloFish” theme. Tiller and Waxstein incorporated Tiller’s knowledge of UV-lighting, and Waxstein’s keen eye for costume design, using bright and electrifying colors that worked well with the black light, enabling the dancers to flamboyantly flicker like GloFish as they moved along to the beat. Trapeze and even aerial silks were an exciting attraction of the performance. A snow machine was rented to create falling snow for the dance routine Memories Made in the Coldest Winter, performed by Garryn Howard, which featured her gracefully floating like a lonely swan on a dark frosty winter night. The aerialists were elegant and beautiful, fluttering on oceanic blue silks, capturing the viewers’ hearts. Today’s stage productions are more than performers. In such an innovative world, theatre and dance productions are prepared to take their viewers on a journey outside of the box and ETSU’s Division of Theatre & Dance is doing just that. With each production, professors and students are pushing the boundaries with the goal of giving audiences a one-of-a kind experience.

photo by ETSU Photographic Services




by Logan Herrick


ashtag,” “Tweet” and “log in” – these are terms that can’t be ignored among the student population. Instructors in the Department of Communication know one thing-- speak the students’ language. In searching for ways to engage students and improve curriculum, one professor has taken these digital references to a new level. In Dr. Andrew Herrmann’s 250-student Introduction to Communication Studies class, he wants students to not just learn, but feel engaged in the lecture as well. Growing up, he was not a fan of PowerPoint because he feels “the ‘power’ in PowerPoint is given to the speaker, and the audience tends to become ‘powerless,’ and therefore passive.” Herrmann’s critical communication background sways him toward using new ways to deliver information to students. Herrmann believes that interaction is the key to keep up with today’s society. What better way to provide that interaction than to create a class Twitter page where students can use the class hashtag, giving them the opportunity

to communicate amongst each other about the day’s lecture, clarification on different concepts and even ask questions. Years ago, one may have never believed that social media would be incorporated in the college course world. “Twitter changes the large lecture dynamic in profound ways, making it much more interactive,” says Herrmann. Herrmann’s innovative approach to interaction doesn’t stop with Twitter. He has also launched new courses and is offering courses in an online format. Technology, Communication, and Culture is just one of the few courses offered online in the Communication Studies program. The class explores how organizations use online technologies and other aspects of new media. Businesses and organizations across the globe are incorporating all types of media in their everyday work environment. By teaching a course strictly dealing with technological communication, Herrmann is able to ready college students for this day and age’s new work environment. And, with the subjects addressed in the course, it’s only fitting that the course is

taught online. Herrmann strives each day to teach his students the right and wrong ways to communicate. He says, “Study after study after study shows that superb communication (oral and written) is the number one skill necessary to excel in the workplace.” Teaching communication and integrating innovation into the mix is an excellent skill to acquire, and students in Herrmann’s courses experience this firsthand. But, we can’t end now... Learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom, nor should it. Students in Herrmann’s Organizational Communication course are asked to impact the community by sharing their knowledge and social skills. Read more about reaching beyond the classrom on page 18. In his third year at ETSU, Herrmann, assistant professor of Communication Studies, is making strides in propelling the curriculum and instruction. Want to know more about Communication Studies? Visit



Faculty gather to learn about grant approval process by Ashley Dukart With a u-shaped formation of the desks, the faculty of the Department of Communication looked ready for an intense meeting. However, the friendly discourse heard from inside the room painted a different picture. The meeting room was a place of laughter, but grounded in a serious subject. A group of 14 colleagues gathered to discuss how grant approval funded the projects of two faculty members. Kelly Dorgan, associate professor of Communication and research coordinator, welcomed attendees and the process of turning internal funding into a welcoming term began. Amber Kinser, chair of the Department of Communication, and Shara Lange, assistant professor of Communication, shared the role of keynote speaker. Lange, a filmmaker, opened up the conversation by addressing her process in gaining grant approval for a full-length documentary. The documentary, Banjo Romantika, gives viewers an in-depth look into the music genre of Czech bluegrass. As is often the case, the documentary was denied approval at first. Nonetheless, Lange used this rejection as a stepping stone to approval the second time around. By traveling to the Czech Republic, she gained credibility for her project and shot scenes to be used in the final documentary. Once she returned to the grant approval board, the documentary was clearly conceived and credible enough to warrant a grant. Kinser took quite a different road to grant approval. Her book about frequent family meals was yet to be researched, but a grant would fund an acceptable research field. She knew what was needed for a grant, but did not know how to write an acceptable grant proposal. Kinser’s self-proclaimed specialties are interviewing and ethnographies, not grant proposal writing. “I know how to write, but I don’t know how to write a grant [proposal],” says Kinser. She endured grant research, serious editing by a previous grant recipient and other colleagues, and three rough drafts until the final copy was established. Her hard work paid off and the grant was approved. The gathering took on a discussion format with questions being interjected while the two professors spoke. Most of the questions were geared to the writing of grant proposals and the feedback given by the board to Lange’s first proposal. Other faculty members discussed their project ideas and how internal funding would be beneficial for such projects. After all was said and done, the food at the beginning of the meeting had dwindled. Kinser and Lange gave their colleagues advice about approaching internal funding and made the subject enjoyable to hear about. Kinser summed up the purpose of grant approval by saying, “Convince us this an investment in awesomeness for ETSU…future awesomeness.”

FALL 2013 PAGE 14


Douglas Reiser. A Dramatic Interpretation of Jake’s Women in an Educational Setting. Melissa Sneed. Blogging in the Fatosphere: A Qualitative Study of Perceptions of Personal Risks and Benefits for Women who Blog about Weight, Weight Loss, and Dieting Issues. Christine Waxstein. Digital Illustration: The Costume Designer’s Process For East Tennessee State University’s Spring Dance Concert 2012

MAY 2013

Meylin Minjivar Andrade. Julian Assange: A Content Analysis of Media Framing in Newspapers around the World. Salma Mariam Ayad. The Effect of Political Advertising on Perceived Bias and Credibility. Deidre Freyenberger. Amanda Knox: A Content Analysis of Media Framing in Newspapers Around the World. Jessica Giuggioli. Framing the 2012 Olympics: A Content Analysis of International Newspaper Coverage of Female Athletes. Jeni Hunniecutt. Infidelity & Identity: Cheating, Children, and the Church.



SPOTLIGHT: ETSU Professor, students collaborate for television show by Hillar y Edwards In an effort to add more television-based projects to the program, Shara Lange, assistant professor and division head in the Radio/ Television/Film Division, wanted to create a show that allowed students to showcase their talents and learn the ropes of a real television production. By inviting faculty and students throughout the university, “Spotlight: ETSU” highlights campus news and events that students might not be aware of. Each show is 30 minutes long and is filmed and edited in the RTVF studios. Dr. Carrie Oliveria, assistant professor in the Communication Studies Division, has been hosting the show for three semesters now. “We’ve had the opportunity to interview several really cool people,” says Oliveria. “My favorite guest so far was paleontologist Blaine Schubert, who brought a bear skull to set.” Each show features a guest who is chosen by Lange. The executive producer then researches and gathers content, sharing findings with Oliveria. “I read the content I’m given, but most of what is covered during the show is because I’m curious and I ask a lot of questions

during conversation anyway,” says Oliveria. The show has featured several faculty members, including ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland, as well as faculty members from the Department of Communication that are working on unique projects in their programs. “This campus has some really great things going on that most people probably don’t even know about,” says Oliveria. “‘Spotlight: ETSU’ is a way to showcase these things, as well as help out our students who are focusing on television production.” The show will begin production on a new season during the fall. “Spotlight: ETSU” is accessible on the campus television channel and on YouTube at com/user/ETSURTVF.


The Divison of Theatre and Dance offers a minor in Dance with courses spanning from Dance as Human Experience to Aerial Dance II. With a growing student base and expanding course list, current dance facilities are straining. The dance program holds classes on the first floor of the Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center and in Brooks Gym. While the facilities are functional, more space and better equipment are needed to accommodate the growing program. On February 14, ETSU President Brian Noland announced the proposed plan for a new fine and performing arts center. Those plans include a gallery space, a 500-seat recital hall and a 1,400-seat concert hall equipped with the necessary tools to allow for various shows. With more and larger rehearsal and performing spaces, the construction of the facility is an innovation that will allow the dance unit to meet the needs of its growing student body. Plans are underway for a new dance major. ETSU hopes to begin construction on the proposed $38 million center in July 2014.

Spotlight ETSU crew & guest ETSU President Dr. Noland

Spotlight ETSU crew & guest Blaine Schubert ETSU CAMPUS NEWS STATION

NSAC continued from page 2 Although the ETSU team placed fifth in the competition, the students are proud of their work. “We were so sure we would be flying to Phoenix to present at Nationals,” says McCurdy. This year’s best moment for Jessee was when the students received recognition for their hard work from an unexpected source. “We returned home and presented again at the DoubleTree Hotel for friends, family and faculty,” says Jessee. “President Noland slipped in the back of the room and afterward congratulated the team and was genuinely astonished at the level of professionalism of the team’s work. That was a great acknowledgment for the hours of work they had poured into this project.” For Marshall, the experience is unmatched. “The best part of the experience is seeing the students go from the beginning to the end,” says Marshall. “Seeing the enthusiasm, rivalry and energy when we take that trip, I would like to bottle that up and take that to students the next semester and say, ‘drink a little bit of this and get so fired up on everything I want you to do.’” Instructors will continue to participate in NSAC each spring, selecting students capable of completing this large, rewarding task. MAGAZINE PAGE 15


layout by Hillar y Edwards. photos by Megan Fannon, Taylor Borum & Kennedee Ford

RECIPIENTS Charles M. Statham Memorial Award for Excellence in Speech and Drama Mary Bomar Herrin Scholarship Paul Walwick Emerging Scholar Award Bud Frank Award for Excellence in Theatre Outstanding Senior in Theatre Bud Frank Scholarship in Theatre Judith Woodruff Award for Excellence in Dance Outstanding Student in Advertising Rod Irvin Award Charline Stansbury Scholarship Outstanding Student in Public Relations WCYB Scholarship Gibbs Award Tom Headley Student Production Award Outstanding Student in Radio-TV-Film Chanticleer Award for Excellence in Writing George Kelly Scholarship John Pitman Prize for Excellence in Journalism Johnson City Press Scholarship Kingsport Times-News Scholarship Richard Cobb Miller Scholarship Max L. Marshall Award for Outstanding Leadership in Communication Murvin H. Perry Creative Achievement Award Outstanding Student Scholarship Outstanding Student in Communication Outstanding Graduate Research Outstanding Contribution by a Graduate Student Alumni Hall of Fame- Advertising Alumni Hall of Fame- Radio/TV/Film Alumni Hall of Fame- Journalism Alumni Hall of Fame- Public Relations Alumni Hall of Fame- Communication Studies Alumni Hall of Fame- Theatre

Lucas Hitechew Zachary Bonar Jennifer Bartell Chelsea Kinser Kacy Tiller Audrey Hammonds & Blakely Bays William Cate Michael Fernando Ashley Bush Eric Whetsel Zachary Vance Dakota Reynolds Mike Fink & Wesley Jester Devon Fails Molly Davis Nick Shepherd April Richardson O.J. Early Thomas Knisley Lurah Lowery William Allen Todd Brison Kacy Tiller Michael Fink Hunter Alexander Cline Ben Shupe Mariam Ayad Jennifer Middleton Pickard Matt Smith Kristi L. Nelson Rachael Fugate Mills Kate McNeill Karen Rowe MAGAZINE PAGE 17


REACHING BEYOND by Kraig Berglund

They say nothing beats experience. You can have all the education you want, but when it comes down to it, nothing compares to real, hands-on application. Students in the Department are doing just that, going beyond the classroom and gaining valuable experience. In the Division of Mass Communication, students studying radio/television/film, journalism, advertising and public relations are putting their knowledge to practice. Journalism majors are getting hands-on experience with local news organizations while students in radio/television/film are capitalizing on opportunities to host radio segments and film for local news stations. Students in the advertising and public relations program had the opportunity to study abroad this summer; one class created an advertising/ public relations campaign for a client in Dubai, UAE, while the other traveled to Italy to immerse themselves in advertising practices there. Furthermore, students in this combined program create real campaigns for local nonprofit organizations. Andrew Herrmann, assistant professor in Communication Studies, asks students to volunteer their time beyond the classroom. “I have students doing community work through my classes,” Andrew Herrmann states. “They have volunteered at the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Control Center, set up and participated in Relay for Life, and worked in various community projects in after-school programs and food banks.” Students are taking skills gained in the classroom and applying them in real-world situations. They are interning both locally and nationally at sites such as Mountain States Health Alliance, the Johnson City Cardinals, News Channel 11, the Elizabethton Chamber of Commerce, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in Washington D.C., in the political offices of Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, in New York working with CBS Sports and in Nashville working with CMT and the Country Music Awards. The opportunities that Communication students have enjoyed are a direct reflection on their desire to succeed and the professors’ desires to see students accomplish their dreams. Without experience, you have an education. With experience, you develop a drive and a passion that take your abilities to new heights.

FALL 2013 PAGE 18

Members of the East Tennessee State University chapter of The Public Relations Student Society of America traveled to the 2012 PRSA/PRSSA National Conference in San Francisco, CA, in October. With the help of ETSU Student Government Association funds and organizational fundraising efforts, eight Buccaneers united with fellow public relations students from across the nation to enhance their skill set and embrace the future of communications. Led by then-chapter president, Ashley Bush, students traveled across the country for a weekend-long conference. The conference offered a variety of seminars that the students could attend based on their personal preference. Topics included personal branding, networking, and how to deliver the ever-important “elevator speech.” “Matt Prince’s personal branding seminar was by far my favorite session,” says Kristen Pierce. “Not only was his delivery comical, but the content was on point.” Besides Disney’s Matt Prince, other keynote speakers at the conference included Pandora co-founder Tim Westegren and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

Learning how each of these widely popular companies came to be was a highlight for many, students and professionals alike. “The highlight for me was seeing Tim Westergren,” says Hillary Edwards. “As a music lover, I have listened to Pandora for years, and it was amazing to hear how he started from the bottom and worked his way to the top.” Aside from the conference, the students explored a city that most of them had not yet been to. City tours, Lombard Street, and Chinatown were among the sights they explored. Being a relatively new chapter of PRSSA, the students used this opportunity to connect with their peers and take notes on how schools across the nation run their respective chapters. Using the tools acquired in San Francisco, the chapter has already begun preparations for the 2013 National Conference in Philadelphia. “We learned a lot from the larger schools,” says now president Logan Wagenseller. “I can’t wait to go to Philadelphia this year and show how much our chapter has grown.”


Ten years ago, Ellie Kotsianas was a patient at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, Tenn. She was diagnosed with a staph infection that was slowly taking over her body. While in a coma for over three weeks, the doctors were convinced she would not make it, but her story didn’t end there. “I ended up rallying and pulling through,” says Kotsianis, a senior at East Tennessee State University majoring in advertising and minoring in art. “I had over a year of recovery and therapy, but I am so blessed to be alive.” Kotsianas had an opportunity in the summer of 2012 to give back to the hospital. Her godmother, Varlan, works in the development office and told Kotsianas that the office was planning to create a children’s book, titled East Tennessee from A to Z. The winner of a local middle school writing competition would have his or her story in the book and hospital patients created illustrations. “(Varlan) thought that with my creative background I would be a great help to the making of the book,” says Kotsianas. Her role in the project was artist

facilitator and responsibilities included contacting patients and former patients’ family members “to see if their child would be interested in being an illustrator for the book,” says Kotsianas. After Kotsianas had 26 volunteers, one for each letter of the alphabet, she scheduled group sessions for the children to paint their specific letter and page in the book. She helped the children decide what to paint, often visiting patient rooms. Kotsianas also had the privilege of illustrating the beginning and ending pages of the book. “East Tennessee Children’s Hospital saved my life. I will forever be grateful to them and owe them my life. I may not be in the operating room saving lives but I know that my working with them to raise money and awareness is making a difference,” says Kotsianas. “By purchasing a book, you not only will be supporting an amazing cause but you will be learning, as well,” says Kotsianas. East Tennessee from A to Z, can be purchased online at

TOMS ONE DAY WITHOUT SHOES AD CLUB HOLDS EVENT TO RAISE AWARENESS OF CHILDREN IN NEED by Michelle Wilson The Advertising Club hosted “One Day Without Shoes” at the ETSU Amphitheatre this spring semester. “One Day Without Shoes” is an annual, national event sponsored by shoe and accessory company TOMS. TOMS is more than a business; founder Blake Mycoskie launched the company after traveling to Argentina and seeing children walking without shoes. For every pair of TOMS shoes sold, a pair of shoes is given to a child in need. The event attempts to raise awareness of children who live day-to-day without shoes, without protection from illness and injury. ETSU students and employees were asked to donate a pair of gently worn shoes. These shoes were then donated to Johnson City’s Haven of Mercy, a local nonprofit organization and thrift store. In addition to asking for donations, the campus community was invited to participate in a barefoot walk around campus. This was no walk in the park as participants were challenged to walk over dirt and gravels, mimmicking the terrority that children without shoes often walk on. The goal of this activity was to give participants a glimpse of what it is like to live shoeless. Advertising Club President Hali McCurdy hoped that the event would make a difference in the Tri-Cities region. As stated on the club’s Facebook page, “While helping people is always wonderful, we wanted to focus more on giving back locally, instead of globally, since there are people in our own backyard that are in need of shoes.” Club members put their advertising and public relations skills to use, promoting the event through posters, banners and news releases. 19The Advertising Club set up games for students to try their chance at winning TOMS swag, such as t-shirts, coupons, stickers and temporary

tattoos. Local outdoor reatiler Mahoney’s Outfitters participated in the event as well, sponsoring a giveaway. Furthermore, students and faculty stepped in red paint and then left their footprints on a banner to be displayed at Mahoney’s. Computers were available on site to order TOMS shoes with a discount. The event was a success as over 50 people participated in the barefoot walk across campus and over 85 pairs of shoes were donated. In response to the success, McCurdy says, “I’ve always felt fulfilled after working hard to provide for others and I’m glad I got to pass that feeling on to others; hopefully it will inspire them to do something similar.” The Advertising Club plans to organize this event again in April 2014. photo by: Taylor Borum




The Department of Communication welcomed a new lecturer in the Fall of 2012. Erin Blankenship, a graduate from the University of Alabama with a master’s degree in Communication Studies, joined the Buccaneer family as an instructor in general education courses in Communication Studies. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication, Blankenship joined the school’s forensics team and developed a passion for education. “I discovered just how much I liked school. So, I decided I wanted to go back to school as a teacher to continue my journey of learning,” says

Blankenship. She carried her interest in forensics to graduate school. There, she took on the role of coaching. As a new faculty member at ETSU, Blankenship has contributed most of her service to the forensics and debate team: coaching, teaching and organizing debates. Blankenship approaches the classroom with an open mind. “I like to create an open environment in my classroom,” says Blankenship. “I enjoy giving students the opportunity to have a conversation so that they learn critical thinking skills in their own way.”

SPOTLIGHT ON FACULTY RESEARCH Professors Complete Projects While On Research Leave




Back in 2007, Dr. Dorgan began working with Dr. Sadie Hutson (now at UT-Knoxville, Nursing) on a special research project: gathering the stories of women who were surviving cancer in this region of Appalachia. This kind of survivorship research hadn’t been done before, making them all the more determined to carry out the project in responsible, respectful, and ethical ways. In 2008, Dorgan and a team of researchers sat down with a group of women in a day-long storycircle. Funded by the ETSU Research Development Committee, the project enabled the researchers to collect the stories of area cancer survivors. Then, in Fall 2012, Dorgan spent her Non-Instructional Assignment more closely exploring those stories and writing manuscripts. Ultimately, two of those manuscripts were published in April 2013 in an international peer-reviewed journal. Another co-authored research article (Hutson, Duvall, and Kinser) is forthcoming in the Journal of Appalachian Studies; this article is an especially important one as it examines the impact cancer survivorship has on mothering. Dorgan was able to give close attention to women’s stories about how survivorship and family intertwine during the cancer experience.

Dr. Wesley Buerkle focused on two primary lines of research. One project looked at the rhetoric of the 2012 Republican National Convention, focusing partly on the ways in which the speakers presented a vision of the American dream that emphasized the responsibility of citizens to realize their dreams. He also completed a project looking at what has affectionately been called “kitchen porn,” considering how Williams-Sonoma catalogs suggest the promise of happiness and satisfaction through individuals’ consumption. At the core of both studies is a critique of neoliberalism. The second set of projects is part of ongoing research with Dr. Carrie Oliveira on students’ struggle to correctly and consistently cite research in oral assignments. The team conducted two studies in which data from the second led to the $5,000 grant they applied for and received from the Instructional Development Committee to conduct two experiments this coming academic year on ways to improve students’ oral citation behaviors. Buerkle was also invited to write a book review of Love and Money, based on his research on sexuality in media and discourses of neoliberalism.

Mr. Cronin’s NIA was not planned; it came about in a more unconvential manner. Mr. Cronin received an email from a cousin he never knew existed living Ireland that sparked a creative journey. Cronin decided to research his ancestry further, which led to two visits to Ireland. During those visits, he also prepared for a one-man show about his parents and the Irish Diaspora. That unexpected email and the country’s Year of the Gathering celebration prompted the NIA. Ireland’s Year of the Gathering invites those with Irish heritage to come home to Ireland to celebrate all that is Irish. Cronin became a part of that official celebration thanks to an NIA and as a result starred in a production of Death of a Salesman, produced by Michael Barker Caven of Lond’s West End and directed by Sasha Dundjerovic, chair of UCC’s (Cork University) drama program and former artistic director of the Serbian National Theatre. After a highly acclaimed two-week run at Cork’s Everyman Palace Theatre, the production moved to Belgrade, Serbia, for a week’s run at its National Theatre. Mr. Cronin is at present working on his one-person show and is planning creative trips to both Ireland and Serbia.


FALL 2013 PAGE 20




The Department of Communication welcomes news for Classnotes. Please email news of personal and career achievements and service to: or mail news to: Megan Fannon, ETSU Department of Communication, Box 70667, Johnson City, TN 37614.


FACULTY NOTES Dr. Wesley Buerkle

Ms. Jamie Collier

Associate Professor, Communication Studies

Lecturer, Communication Studies

Dr. Buerkle and wife Ivy are pleased to announce the birth of their daughter, Eleanor Julie Buerkle, born July 2, 2013, at 1:36 p.m., 6lbs. 7oz. and 19 inches long.

Jamie and fiance Justin Sproles are pleased to announce the birth of their son, Declan Collier Sproles, born June 9, 2013, at 11:06 a.m., weighing 7 lbs. 11 oz. and 22 inches long.

Dr. Kelly Dorgan

Dr. Andrew Dunn

Professor, Communication Studies Research Coordinator

Assistant Professor, Mass Communication

Dr. Dorgan and David Beerman were married in an intimate New Year’s Eve ceremony in the Carnegie Hotel’s Wine Cellar. David is the father of two and a pharmaceutical representative.

Dr. Dunn and Rhiannon Hartman Dunn were married June 9, 2012, in a small ceremony at the Mill Spring Park gazebo in Jonesborough and honeymooned in Europe. Rhiannon is a ninth grade English teacher at David Crockett High School.

Ms. Shara Lange

Dr. Stephen Marshall

Assistant Professor, Mass Communication

Associate Professor, Mass Communication

Ms. Lange and husband Dan VanZant are pleased to announce the birth of their daughter, Madalyn Edna VanZant, born November 10, 2012, at 2:03 a.m., weighing 6 lbs. 7 oz..

Dr. Marshall and wife Ashlee are expecting their first child due late December 2013.

Ms. Lexi Eller Ramey

Mr. Stacy Whitaker

Lecturer, Communication Studies

Assistant Engineer

Lexi Eller Ramey and Chad Ramey married December 29, 2012, in a ceremony at Central Church of Christ in Johnson City. Lexy and Chad are expecting their first child due March 2014.

Stacy and wife Rebecca are pleased to announce the birth of their daughter, Alayna, born August 5, 2013, at 1:09 p.m.


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In 2003 a most remarkable and talented young man by the name of Sam Mays came into our department to be part of our first National Student Advertising Competition class. He was an art major, not one of ours, but he wanted to participate because he wanted to use his design skills in a real world laboratory. Sam was an amazing graphic designer, but more importantly he was a generous person. His talent and love for his classmates propelled our ETSU NSAC class into fourth place in our first regional competition. It would be several years later before we broke into the top four again. Sam found a home and a family in Mass Communication. He graduated and went on to become the premier independent designer in our area. He made downtown Johnson City his passion, advocating for small businesses and independent business owners. He worked for many of the leading companies in the area and created professional identities for his smaller clients. He worked with several ETSU departments helping them create identities or beautiful brochures to attract students. He even helped the Department of Communication develop its new logo and message. He was an artist. He was a friend to all. He believed good things could and would happen. He was a proud ETSU alum. He is missed. - D.J. Jessee

ETSU Department of Communication Magazine August 2013  
ETSU Department of Communication Magazine August 2013  

A look at East Tennessee State University Department of Communication success stories and commitment to innovative approaches from the 2012-...