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What’s Happening around Auburn?

Auburn University Alumni Newsletter

“I ask the professionals to offer suggestions of how they feel CLA could improve. We are eager to take their responses into consideration.”

Anna Houk works for CATS

Creating a promising future for the College of Liberal Arts By Meg Beasley Communication major, Anna Houk, interviews Auburn alumni to assist her fellow students in pursuing a successful future while improving the College of Liberal Arts. CATS, is an acronym that stands for connecting alumni to students, and as an ambassador of the program, Houk spends time doing just that. Houk is a senior from Huntsville, Ala. Through her position as Miss Auburn 2009 she has become extremely involved in the university’s affairs, and she find great importance in the success of her peers. Because CATS is an initiative implemented by the College of Liberal Arts, Houk learned of the program through her communication courses and involvement with the college, and Houk instantly noticed the opportunities CATS could create for herself and other liberal arts students. She applied for an ambassador position through Wendy Bonner, program director, and after her application was submitted she received an interview. Houk was selected and hired as one of 10 CATS ambassadors employed by CLA. The ambassadors are the backbone of this initiative. Without them, CATS would not be effective or efficient. Typically as

an ambassador, Houk is in direct contact with Bonner who supplies Houk with the information needed to contact CLA alumni in or around the area of which Houk is planning to travel. Once the contact is made and a meeting time is set, Houk then travels to the location of the professional to conduct a oneon-one interview with the Auburn alum. During the interview, Houk asks the professional questions about their college experience, their path since graduation, and what CLA means to them. Because Houk is a communication major, she generally interviews alumni who graduated with a degree in a similar field such as public relations, communication or journalism. She has enjoyed conducting these interviews not only because it provides critical research for the College of Liberal Arts but also because it has provided her with many connections she otherwise may never had entered into. CATS is an “innovative method of reaching graduates through bright, talented students, and by participating in the CATS Initiative, CLA alumni are not only furthering the mission of the College of Liberal Arts, but also adding value to the education our students receive by sharing their wisdom and real-life experiences” ( of f of CLA

website). Houk conducts most of her contact work in Huntsville, but together the 10 ambassadors have conducted more than 100 interviews with AU alumni in the areas of Birmingham, Montgomery, Atlanta, Auburn and Opelika. “I have found this program is a good way for liberal arts to improve and get better in areas that we may slack on,” Houk said. “I ask the professionals to offer suggestions of how they feel CLA could improve. We are eager to take their responses into consideration.” If you are a professional and an alumni of Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts and you are interested in being interviewed by a CATS ambassador please visit the website at We would love for you to help us improve the College of Liberal Arts.

“From the basics and even deeper into the communication major, my classes at Auburn gave me the amazing foundation I needed to move into the real world.”

Elena Bahar

Auburn Communication – Success Starts Here


“From the basics and even deeper into the communication major, my classes at Auburn gave me the amazing foundation I needed to move into the real world.” Bahar grew up in Arlington, Texas where she lived for 18 years with her parents and brother. Her mother was born in Huntsville, Ala. and her father was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. Her desire for new experiences brought her to Auburn University where she graduated in August 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. She decided to pursue a career in radio after working with the on campus radio station, WEGL, as the director of promotions. “Even though I didn’t get paid, my experience as director of promotions was one I will never forget,” said Bahar. “I had one of the most amazing teams; our personalities and extracurricular actives couldn’t have been more different, but we all had a passion for radio.” After her experience at WEGL, Bahar found herself interning for Quantum Communications. Following her internship, she took a job as Quantum’s receptionist in order to continue gaining experience at the radio station. “I learned so much from being

out on location with the personalities, creating events, working the boards and so much more,” said Bahar. “It was during my internship that I really started to see opportunities outside the university and established relationships with people in the community of Auburn.” After Bahar graduated, several onair positions opened up with WMXA Mix 96.7 and WKKR 97.7 Kicker FM. Quantum offered her a position doing mid-days on Mix96.7 and afternoons on Kicker FM. When the opportunity to become the director of promotions for WMXA, WKKR, WTLM and WZMG opened up, she took it. Bahar currently has this title at Quantum of Auburn. “I hate to even call my job an actual job,” said Bahar. “I wake up every morning, check out the news locally and around the world and relay it to thousands, play games, give away prizes and of course play music that people want to hear.” According to Bahar, the best part about her job is having the opportunity to enlighten others. Whether it is keeping people up to date with the weather, or even telling about different aspects of her personal life, being an informational outlet is rewarding for her. In October 2008, Quantum did an event to raise money and awareness

for breast cancer research with the East Alabama Medical Center. They raised money by locking three of the DJs in a vehicle at a local dealership and surrounded them with cases of water. The promotion was called the “Wall of Water” and supporters were able to purchase the cases in order to free them from the vehicle. Once all of the cases were gone, the DJs were free and Quantum raised more than $2,000 for the East Alabama Medical Center. The Wall of Water promotion received an award in Nashville for the Small Market Promotion of the Year in 2009. “It was such an honor to represent our stations in Nashville and stand before highly acclaimed radio talent and accept this award,” said Bahar. “This was a joint effort of everyone at all of our stations and I was so honored that our hard work was acknowledged on such a large scale.” Bahar’s talent and dedication is evident when looking at her success beyond Auburn. Her advice to other students in the department is: “Don’t be afraid to push boundaries and meet new people; networking is a key to success. Take initiative and always be proud of your work. Everything will come together with patience, persistence and taking risks in life.”

Finding More Than Just a Story

Christian Becraft’s major leads her to volunteering by Megen Heslip AUBURN - Being a journalism major at Auburn University requires a bit more than clever wording and lucky breaks according to Christian Becraft, a senior in the major. It takes zeal and the willingness to go forth, beyond one’s comfort zone in order to truly experience the stories before writing them, she said. Becraft is an example of how the journalism major at Auburn is not a program that just hammers out feature stories and sports exposés; it can shape perspectives and create opportunities. Becraft took advantage of each opportunity given to her by immersing herself in the stories she wrote and capturing them completely. Feature writing, a class in the journalism core taught by Nan Fairley, was Becraft’s favorite journalism class at Auburn. Fairley is a College of Liberal Arts Engaged Scholar. She teaches civic engagement in her classroom

by encouraging students to get off campus and into the community for their feature assignments. “I teach my students that by telling a story, you can make a difference,” Fairley said. In her feature writing class, Becraft wrote a story about Life Savers Ministries, an organization that sends out a slew of buses to pick up underprivileged children from their neighborhoods each Saturday. Becraft actually rode the bus one Saturday and volunteered during the daily activities provided to the children by Life Savers. “Some of the neighborhoods were incredibly rough,” Becraft said. “Many people don’t realize opportunities to help with organizations like Life Savers are right in Auburn’s back yard in Opelika, Ala.” For another story she wrote, Becraft volunteered at the Community Market of East Alabama, a food bank where groceries are

Auburn University 3000 Miller Lane Auburn, Ala. 36830

Christian Becraft distributed at no cost to families in need. This assignment, however, stuck with her and motivated her to volunteer nearly every Saturday for several months following. According to Fairley, the trend of journalism majors getting hooked on volunteering through stories they have written is not limited to Becraft. Many of her students have found a passion for their story topics and continued to be involved with outreach organizations they researched for class. In addition to her volunteer work in the community as a result of journalism, Becraft was Auburn Homecoming Queen and the president of her social sorority in 2009. She also received the Porter and Alice Harvey Advertiser Gleam Scholarship, full tuition her senior year. Yet instead of boasting her accomplishments, Becraft is humbled by them. “Being a journalism major has led me to meet so many people,” Becraft said. “And I get to write about what I love.”

Auburn Alumni Newsletter  

A newsletter sent out to alumni of Auburn University to keep them updated on what is happening around Auburn.

Auburn Alumni Newsletter  

A newsletter sent out to alumni of Auburn University to keep them updated on what is happening around Auburn.