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Professional Writing


Davis says the writing program is built to prepare students for these types of changes and teach them to be flexible. Students are also intended to graduate with an awareness of the complexities of this art form and have professional attitudes. “There are not many people who can just sit still and write,” he says. “And the people that can do it want the opportunity to do it. They want to be successes, but they really just want to write.” Even though the program has come a long way since the days of Foster-Harris’s teaching methods of students staring at trees for inspiration, the perception of this art form has remained consistent between the two different groundbreaking professors. As Foster-Harris once said, “Perhaps you can write for the great and learned, perhaps not. But, if not, no matter. It is just as honorable and worthy to write for the little people’s magazines, or the simplest pulps, as it is to produce quality magazine tales, and, indeed, it is probably more valuable. You will have a far more appreciative audience in the simpler markets, and a fair more faithful one.”

One of Tarpenning’s recent projects is the Ad Copy and Layout class that uses iPads instead of workbooks. “It’s a really fascinating experience,” he says. “My Copy and Layout class was chosen because I publish my own workbook every year for the students. The dean had suggested that we wouldn’t publish it on paper, and that we would do it on an iPad. So we did it in iBooks Author and put it on an iPad. The neat thing about it is all they have to do is tap the URL and it takes them right to the publication or the online creative resource. It’s so much better than having a book. It’s terrific, and I wish every class could do it.” Tarpenning’s accomplishments and ability to relate to students have not gone unnoticed. He has received five teaching excellence awards over the years, and was recognized for his work as a mentor in 2013. “I got Mentor of the Year Award, and the nice thing about it is my students were asked to write letters that were read during the ceremony at the State Capitol,” he says. “And I had five or six letters and they were very heartwarming and I really appreciated what the students had written about me. It was really nice.” And all true.

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Kirsten Viohl is studying journalism and English writing and used her experience from Pulse to obtain a fashion editorial internship with PaperCity Magazine in Dallas for summer 2013.

Haley Arias is a journalism sophomore from Fort Worth, Texas, who would love to work at a magazine in New York City.



they have a consistent voice in all of their advertising,” Parajon says. “Our goal is to tell the client’s narrative over the Web.” Working at Lindsey + Asp has all the benefits of real-job experience and accountability, but the coolest part of Lindsey + Asp for Parajon has been working with his peers. “There is a core group of us that are a family,” he says. “The people in Lindsey + Asp, they’re all my peer mentors.” Parajon has his eye on the ball and his passion for digital media is his driving force. “His passion for social work … as in social media, has helped me understand the value of it,” Avery says. In 10 years, Parajon hopes to be settled down and working as a director in a digital agency. “They’ve created a new position in a lot of agencies called the CDO, Chief Digital Officer, and I have no doubt that Colin will probably become a CDO one of these days because he’s that smart and he’s that committed to it,” Tarpenning says. But no matter where he is or what he’s doing, the recent grad said he will definitely be keeping in touch with Gaylord College. “The ad industry is all about reaching forward and reaching back,” Parajon says. “You reach forward in order to get whatever you want, but you reach back to make sure that the people behind you do also. So I’ll definitely be reaching forward and reaching back.”

“OU Ad Club and PRSSA provide you with scholarship opportunities and the chance to make connections with your peers,” she says. “A lot of times in class you make those connections, but within the organizations you find out who’s dedicated. It’s a whole other level of dedication to be involved in other things besides your schoolwork.” As a result of her internship in summer 2013, Hunt will work in a digital strategy and consumer insights and analytics capacity, two things she has focused on during her time at Lindsey + Asp. Hunt wants to pursue a career in both of these facets of the industry. “I love it, it’s always moving, always changing,” she says. “I really love looking at the numbers and conveying that to the client — which efforts are working and which aren’t. It’s great because in a traditional campaign you have to wait until it’s finished to see if it worked or not. But in digital that is instantaneous.” Gaylord College Dean Joe Foote also noticed Hunt’s capacity to work with analytics when she worked with Adobe Social. At the end of her team’s beta testing, she led a presentation to Foote about the pros and cons of the program. “She was able to make cogent arguments and I just left that meeting with incredible admiration for her, and I could tell at that instant that she was going to have a very bright career,” he says. “I’m very proud that Gaylord College is launching that for her, because she’s right on the leading edge of social media analytics, which is one of the hottest theories.”

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Marki-MaCaulie White is a journalism alumna from Bethany, Okla., who has a deep passion for glitter and traveling.


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Madeline Alford graduated in May 2013 and moved from Dallas to New York City to pursue a career in the magazine industry. While at the university, she was president of the Magazine Interest Group and an avid blogger.

Pulse 2013  

Alumni magazine of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.