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knowledge USCA Communications Alumni News

Save the Date

Campus on the move

Homecoming February 8, 2014

Keep in Touch When you move, take a new job, or have other news to share, please let us know. E-mail WilliamH@ or post/ send a message on USCA’s Department of Communications Facebook page.

Look Inside News jockeys ...3 Electronic Media Course ...3 Alumni Profiles Joe Treviño ...4 Stephanie O’Bryan ...4 Michael Houdesheldt ...5 Beata Szabo ...5 Rico Hall ...6 Department News ...7 Chances to be involved, give ...8

Photo courtesy of USCA Student Daniel Wayne Burkett (center, top) leads “Here’s a health, Carolina,” toast that is part of the Alma Mater sung at the May 2013 commencement. At left is USC President Harris Pastides, at right is Chancellor Sandra Jordan, and holding the scepter is Sam Lamunion.

Chancellor steps up degrees, targeting

Five years have passed since USCA has adopted a new major. The campus provides only the first two years of engineering education, forcing those students to transfer to another university. USCA offers no Master’s in Business Administration degree. These were just a few of the comments meeting Dr. Sandra Jordan when she arrived on campus in July 2012. Over the last year, she has led perhaps the fastest strategic plan-

ning process possible, received reports of eight task forces that have recommend changes to improve USCA, and set into motion new academic offerings. The first effort was to establish a Liberal Arts MBA (for non-business undergraduate majors) which may be offered as early as this fall. The university also now offers equestrian management courses. Plans for the complete engineering degree are underway.

Jordan has also set goals for modest growth of the student body based on target marketing and retention. “Over the course of this year... I’ve grown more and more assured that USC Aiken will be one of the universities that survives this transitional period and succeeds in the future,” Dr. Jordan said in the May issue her newsletter. You may access the newsletter and other information at web.

Summer 2013

‘University of Choice’ becomes new brand A marketing, recruiting and enrollment effort larger than ever before started last fall. Supporting the effort is the theme “University of Choice.” Billboards proclaim, “Choose Excellence. Choose USC Aiken.” A five-minute video allows students to tell why they chose USCA. A set of television commercials developed for special audiences such as equestrians are airing in target markets inside and outside South Carolina. Each department at USCA was given an opportunity to create its own “I chose USCA because...” Statement. The Communications Department “I Chose” statement appears on page 2. The university will continue to use the thematic statement “Focused on You” internally, as a promise to students who are already enrolled. To watch the video, go to and click on Choose USC Aiken.

From H&SS 204B Dear Communications Alumni: It has been an exciting year in the Department of Communications. We hired a new faculty member, Elizabeth Webb, to teach public speaking, health communications, and gender issues in communication. Dr. Charmaine Wilson, who is now President of the Carolinas Communication Association, organized the Association’s annual convention, held in Aiken in October 2012. The conference brought together students and scholars from across the Southeast. Dr. Spring Duvall received a USC research grant for her study of media reporting of the Haiti earthquake. Ms. Webb is teaching a new course in Health Communication, and Ms. Elliott is teaching a special topics course in electronic communication. Faculty members are integrating electronic technology into classes across our curriculum. Communications honors students Olivia Melton and Anna Blizard presented their honors capstone projects earlier this month. And, of course, our alumni are making contributions across the globe. It means a great deal to your professors when we hear from you. You can always e-mail the department at Please drop by to visit whenever you are in the area. Of course, don’t forget to come to Homecoming next February 8. Keep an eye on our website, http://web.usca. edu/communications, and follow us on Twitter ( Sincerely, William D. Harpine Professor and Chair, Communications

“I chose USC Aiken’s

Department of Communications

because it helped me


& taught me find my

how to use it.”

Congratulations to alumni earning graduate degrees

Katherine Brenneke M.A. public communication, American University Cameron Conover M.A.administration & leadership, SUNY Plattsburg Andrew Cox J.D. Mississippi College School of Law Brooke Cubbage M.S. communication disorders, USC Jonathan Dunbar J.D. University of Montana School of Law Bethany Fuller M.A. secondary education, UNC Charlotte Rico Hall, MBA Eastern University Sarah Keeling M.Ed. higher education/student affairs; Ph.D. higher ed administration USC Whitney Price Moore M.A. counselor education, USC Antonieta Reyes M.A., marketing communications, Florida State Wesley Riddle M.Ed Student Affairs Administration, Ph.D. in International Affairs, University of Georgia Misty Kelley Sharpe MSN, clinical nurse leadership, Georgia Health Sciences University Beata Szabo MBA, Central European University Jenny Taylor, MBA, Southern Wesleyan Nichole Westphal M.Ed. higher ed administration, USC IF YOU BELONG ON THIS LIST, PLEASE LET US KNOW.

New marketing theme chosen from student entries Students know best why they choose a major and how it benefits them. At the end of the 2012-2013 academic year, Dr. Harpine asked communications students to put their reasons into words, with one winner to be chosen. He received almost 20 entries, from which the quote to the left was chosen. The winner received a gift certificate and, of course, her name will be used on the new handbook, fact sheet, and other frequently used departmental materials.

Carol Anne Fulcher, Class of 2013 comm

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Summer 2013

News is lifeblood of recent alums It’s hard to predict which graduates will gravitate to careers in the news media. Sometimes, it is experience with the Pacer Times student news. Other times, it is the result of a gratifying experience during an internship. At least four recent alumni are working in news media: Brendan Robertson ’08, Christina Greene ‘10, Israel Butler ‘11, and Eric Russell ‘12. Robertson was Sports Editor for the Pacer Times and interned with the USCA Sports Information Department. But it was his internship,





then his part-time job, then his full-time assignment to do a weekly segment that got Brendan hooked. He is now the Sports Director at NBC 26 in Augusta. Christina Greene ‘10 had such a fulfilling internship at WRDW - Channel 12 that she produced a video about it for her cap-

stone presentation. She also made commercials for Pacer sports. The Annapolis, Md., native is now living in Jacksonville, Fla., where she is Morning Show Producer at Action News, WAWS FOX 30/ WTEV CBS 47. Israel Butler ‘11 was Editor-in-Chief of the Pacer Times for two years, but when

he got his hands on a video camera and production software, he was hooked, and he went on to win the Parks and Recreation top award for a video about Pacer basketball. Also a rapper, Israel is a multimedia journalist for WRDW - Channel 12 and owns Kingdom Come Productions. Eric Russell ‘12 was

also Editor-in-Chief of the Pacer Times, and during a student media convention he attended in Orlando, latched onto a sports radio internship in Washington, D.C. that lasted for more than a year. He returned to Aiken a few months ago to become a sports writer for the Aiken Standard.

Old-new course offered in fall, spring Electronic Media Production. (3) An introduction to writing and producing electronic video and audio materials, with a focus on preparing the student to produce entry-level work suitable for live and recorded broadcast and internet media. Topics include video camera recording and editing, audio recording and editing, and distribution. (Course description for the 2013-2014 Bulletin.) In the new media era, students benefit from proficiency in creating for radio, television, the Internet, and emerging electronic media. In addition to the limited job market in radio and television, students seek preparation in creating and distribution podcast, vodcast, and streaming video. Dramatic advances in video and audio technology have made professional-quality recording and production enormously more practical than even a few years ago. During the typical semester, students

Summer 2013

will work in groups to produce videos suitable for distribution to the public. This course has been offered four times under special topics numbers with substantial success. The Department of Communications has most of the camera equipment needed for 3-4 person teams. Course instructor Peggy Elliott welcomes alumni who would like to contribute expertise by guest lecturing, leading a hands-on project, or giving students feedback on their productions.

Chris Robinson, Michael Kucharski, Maurice Hubbard (holding camera) and Olivia Melton take turns trying out upgraded camera equipment. The department is using Nikon 3100 and 5100 cameras for the electronic media course. All of those pictured became alumni in May 2013. comm

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Senior Instructor Peggy Elliott’s class in Public Relations Writing sought out a few Communications graduates to learn what they are doing now. Some of the stories appear in this issue of Common Knowledge. All of these stories were written by students.

Joe Treviño ‘06 Stephanie O’Bryan ‘07

by Kaleigh Collins ‘ 14 USC alumna Stephanie O’Bryan ‘07 is now senior credit operations manager at Veracity Payment Solutions, supervising a team of four. Born and raised in Aiken, O’Bryan has worked her way up with experience and a little help. O’Bryan started at USCA as a biology major. Finding it wasn’t for her, she switched to English, with the goal of attending law school. Then she took communications classes with Dr. Charmaine Wilson, and fell in love with both her professor and the major. “I started to get tired of writing papers. I wanted a challenge,” O’Bryan said. Her first goal was to become a news reporter, but her internship a News Channel 12 proved that wasn’t for her. Then she received the prestigious Aiken comm

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Where is th

Veracity Payment Solutions Aiken Electric Cooperative internship, which opened her eyes to marketing. “Aiken Electric Cooperative was such a great experience,” O’Bryan said. The internship gave her the confidence to become a leader. She built relationships, composed press releases, planned events, helped with community outreach, and wrote articles for the Co-op newsletter and Living in South Carolina magazine. Nealie Morgan ‘07 shared the internship. “I watched Stephanie grow to become an amazing leader,” said Morgan, who also now works with Veracity. “She is a great co-worker, listener and gives honest feedback.” O’Bryan would like to grow with Veracity, and since it is expanding, she would like to travel internationally. “I never thought I would be where I am today,” O’Bryan said.

Apple (pictured with wife, Yais) Salt Lake City by Katie Morgan ‘13 In the seven years since graduating from USCA, Joe Treviño has experienced how flexible a degree in communications can be. “Communication has been essential in all of the jobs I’ve had in the past few years,” said Treviño ‘06. He is a Genius Administrator for Apple in the Greater Salt Lake City area. He credits his communications degree with his success, because he uses the skills every day, “writing emails to co-workers and to the entire store, providing face-to-face feedback, and discussing policy and procedure with managers,” he said. At one time a computer science major, his love for hardware and software also comes into play. “Joe is a go-to resource when it comes to system and technical knowledge,’ said co-worker Alex Perry. The ‘07 editor-in-chief of the Pacer Times has used his skills with a newspaper, television station, printing

company, and marketing company before settling with Apple. Treviño’s extensive work experience and professional nature are just one side of his personality. He is known for his dry sense of humor and his random knowledge of pop culture. “In my estimation, he’s a wild party trapped in a formal event shell,” Perry said. After relocating to Texas shortly after graduating to work with Apple Retail, Treviño was invited to participate in an intensive ministerial training course as a Jehovah’s Witness, which he had practiced throughout his life. After the eight-week course, he was assigned to Salt Lake City. Treviño said he could be assigned to another part of the country at any time. In the meantime, he continues to train through Apple and keep up with trends in video editing and graphic design.

Melissa Hanna ‘00

is now Executive Editor of the Aiken Standard

Cathy Shaw ‘00

is now Sponsorship Sales Manager for the USCA Convocation Center

Kathryn Hilton ‘11

is now Community Organizer at Mountain Watershed Association in Melcroft, Penn. Summer 2013

hat graduate now? Michael Houdesheldt ‘07

Omega Consultants, Inc. Knoxville by Michael Welch ‘15 After graduating from Aiken High School, Michael Houdesheldt ‘07 attended Spartanburg Methodist College to train to play soccer with the University of South Carolina team. That was not to be. While training with the USC team, Houdesheldt tore every ligament in his left knee, ending his soccer career and sending him home to Aiken. “It took me a while to come around to USCA,” he said. “Nothing against it, but given my circumstances I was simply in a bad place.” Houdesheldt doesn’t remember why he chose a communications major at USCA, but said he was glad he did. “Dr. (Charmaine) Wilson was, at that moment, a saving grace for me and became one of the most influential people in my life,” he said. “My final three semesters saw a new focus and determination and were crucial in my development as a student, professional and as a man, and she was

there every step of the way.” Also his last year at USCA, Houdesheldt took a job with Student Life to direct intramural sports. “That was one of the best experiences of my life. I finally grasped the whole idea of getting involved.” Houdesheldt also interned at two places and worked two other jobs during his senior year. One of the internships was at Omega Consultants, Inc., where he got a full-time job after graduation. “I see and know a lot of people who could care less when they shook the chancellor’s hand. That was a defining moment in my life,” he said. Houdesheldt is now with Omega Consulting as a Contract Manager in Knoxville,Tenn. He is responsible for financial management and upholding requirements of the U.S. government. He negotiated a 75 percent pay increase in his first year, and believes exciting things still lie ahead.

More individual profiles written by students are planned for future issues of Common Knowledge. If you would like to recommend a profile for future issues, please send your idea to Summer 2013

Beata Szabo ‘05 TUI Travel London

by Olivia Melton ‘13 Beata Szabo ‘05 was drafted from her hometown of Budapest, Hungary to play basketball. She has been quite busy since graduation. In the past year alone, she has gotten married and worked in the London 2012 Paralympics games. “Beata was a topnotch student athlete ... she was a hard worker on and off the court,” said Mike Brandt, women’s head basketball coach. Communications Instructor Jeff Wallace agreed, noting that Szabo overcame many challenges as an international student. “Whenever there was a language issue, she took it in good humor and learned,” said Wallace, who as Editor of the Aiken Standard worked with Szabo during her newspaper internship. Since leaving Aiken,

Szabo has lived many of her dreams. She earned her Master’s in Business Administration degree from Central European University and worked with Live Nation and Malev Hungarian Airlines. Her current job is with TUI Travel, and she lives in Brighton, England with her husband, Andrew. The couple were married last summer and have traveled to many countries together. “Traveling is one of my passions,” Szabo said. Szabo also found a once-in-a-lifetime experience to volunteer at last year’s Paralympic games in London. “I worked as an usher at wheelchair basketball,” she said, “which was the perfect sport for me to work at.” She said she was one of 70,000 selected from a pool of 200,000 candidates to volunteer. comm

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Hall helps start school in Kazakhstan Rico Hall was an athlete, Pacesetter, member of a fraternity and an outstanding communications student at USCA. When he left Aiken, few people heard from him. We caught up with him and asked him to write about his adventures in graduate school and as a world traveler. At the right is an update from his newsletter, The Assist. After graduating from USC Aiken in the spring of 2010, I moved up to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to pursue a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership. As apart of my degree, I had to intern with a non-profit organization. I choose to work with Athletes in Action (AIA), the athletic arm of Campus Crusades. One opportunity lead to another, and over the last few years I have had the opportunity to travel to several different countries including: South America, Israel, Puerto Rico, Europe and Central Asia, to assist in AIA’s global basketball efforts. This past December, I finished my degree from Eastern and took a short term position as an AIA Basketball Liaison in Almaty, Kazakhstan (Central Asia). As a Liaison, my job is to: • Assist with launching the Drive School of Basketball – a comprehensive strategy involving coaching and training individuals, building and renovating basketball courts in impoverished communities, and educating youth and families through sport. • Help teach English at the local schools. • Serve and mentor children from the state’s orphanage. • Build relationships and network with college and pro basketball players as well as coaches and federation members. • Compete on a professional international basketball tour team that travels throughout Kazakhstan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. The biggest challenges that I face being in Central Asia is that they speak several different foreign languages, primarily Russian. It makes communicating very difficult. I have to rely on a lot of non-verbal cues and gestures to figure things out. Thankfully, the education that I received as a communication major has helped me to adapt. Daily I have to practice the skills that I learned from my former professors. I am also grateful for the professional training that I received as an undergraduate. Public Speaking, Visual Communication, Interviewing, and the Capstone Internship have all prepared me to serve on this project in Kazakhstan. comm

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(Above) Rico Hall ‘10 is surrounded by basketball campers in Colombia while working with Athletes in Action, the athletic arm of Campus Crusades. (Below) Rico makes friends as well as teaching English and helping youngsters with their basketball skills.

For questions, comments or to get involved, contact Rico at (ask to receive his newsletter)

facebook- rico hall twitter- RiC_the_KiD

We launched the School on April 15th! We have about 30 kids between the ages of 9 and 19 in the two programs, “English in Action” and “Drive Basket”. We meet four times a week for the English lessons and basketball training. I love the kids! They’re really smart and always ready to learn. Every day they come in with huge smiles and a million questions. After practice we all bike home together. Most of us live in the same district so it’s an opportunity to make sure they get home safely, meet their families and just show that we care about them. We were able to find space and a gym at “Tomas Education” a nearby private school. Right now we are coming to the end of the first session and preparing for summer camp and “DRIVE Pro”, a basketball training program for local college and professional players in the area. We are also doing a court renovation project at “Gorky Park”, Almaty’s version of Central Park. There we will host “Summer Jam” the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Kazakhstan. There’s a lot work to do, and my hope is that were making an impact on the lives of the Kazakh people. Summer 2013

Elizabeth Webb, who joined the Communications faculty in August 2012, prepares to participate in a contest at the end-ofyear faculty-staff luncheon.

Dr. Spring-Serenity Duvall looks lovingly at her new daughter, Rowan, who is held by Dr. Duvall’s husband, Court, at the end-of-year faculty-staff luncheon. Their older daughter, Lily, was at school at the time and could not attend.

Communications Department News The Comm Department has had a busy academic year with many changes. New Faculty Professor Elizabeth Webb joined the faculty in fall, 2012, and teaches public speaking and health communications classes. She came to us from the University of Kentucky, where she is completing her Ph.D. in Health Communication Course Offerings Dr. Charmaine Wilson offered two special-topics courses. One was Community, Communications and Empowerment and the Summer 2013

other was Leadership Communications. The department is also considering a certificate or minor set of courses in leadership communications. Curriculum The curriculum was rewritten over 2011-2012 and began implementation over the last year. The new curriculum adds a research methods course to the 18 hours of core courses, deletes the four areas of specialty, and allows students to take any selection of non-core classes to fulfill their degrees. Research Award Dr. Spring Duvall

has been awarded a 2013 Research Initiative for Summer Engagement (RISE) grant by the University of South Carolina. Her topic is, “Hope for Haiti?: Framing Celebrity Activism and the Haiti Earthquake in U.S. news, 20102013.” Dr. Duvall is rapidly becoming a noted expert about celebrities in the media. New Scholarship Dr. Wilson and her husband, T. J. Voss, have funded a new endowed scholarship for communications students. The official name of the scholarship is The T.J. Voss

/ C.E. Wilson Communications Endowed Scholarship Fund. The recipient must have at least a 2.8 GPA to be eligible. The scholarship reflects the couple’s longstanding commitment to higher education and recognizes how important the study of communications is. An endowed scholarship is available every year in perpetuity. The annual award will come from the endowment’s income. Chamber Work Dr. Deidre Martin, Vice-Chancellor for Advancement, is ChairElect of the Aiken Chamber of Com-

merce. Task Forces Professor Peggy Elliott chaired the Marketing and Recruitment Task Force for the chancellor in the spring semester. Dr. Wilson co-chaired the Retention, Progression and Graduation Task Force. Committees Dr. Bing Han was elected to USCA’s Course and Curriculum Committee; she also serves on the International Recruiting and Study Abroad Committee. Dr. William Harpine is a member of the Honors Program Steering Committee. comm

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Alumni giving encourages others While tuition and living expenses continue to increase, state appropriations for higher education continue to drop. The South Carolina legislature has cut funding so that now it is only 7.5 percent of the USCA annual budget. Continuous change in communication technology also create demands on the department. Alumni giving helps make up for the loss of state funding and increased needs for equipment, hardware, and software, preparing students for demands of today’s jobs. Any amount is welcomed and appreciated. If every graduate of our program were to donate just $10 a year to the department, a huge benefit would result. The largest scholarships offered to communications students require an interest in being involved with news media, especially newspapers. They are: • Aiken Standard Scholarship goes to a student majoring in journalism whose area of concentration is the news/editorial sequence. • Sam Cothran Scholarship is awarded to a student who has a career objective to work in news print journalism, which includes all aspects of the newspaper industry. • Kay Lawrence Memorial Scholarship is made to journalism students to encourage well-written, objective, honest, unbiased, covering all sides, news articles and features and editorials that are concise, easily read and express clear points of view. • Chris Whitlaw Memorial Scholarship goes full-time student majoring in journalism at USCA. The greatest area of need is in scholarships for communications students who have non-media career goals: • A Speech Communications Scholarship is available for students focusing on rhetoric. • Sandy Hochel Scholarship and the Charmaine Wilson Scholarship are awarded to students focusing on any area of communications study. The Pacer Times Scholarship provides additional funds for editors in the student news operation. Stipends for Pacer Times editors have been the same since 1985; this scholarship was established to recognize the time commitments made by the student editors. A donation to USCA Department of Communications can provide much-needed encouragement.

Alumni may contribute at to an established scholarship fund, create a scholarship, or make a gift to the Department of Communications. For details, contact Randy Duckett, Director of Alumni Affairs (Randyd@ or 803.641.3480 ) or Deidre Martin, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement ( or 803.641.3448).

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER Common Knowledge is a publication of the Department of Communications at the University of South Carolina Aiken. The editor of this issue is Senior Instructor Peggy Elliott, who also wrote articles and completed the layout. Alumna Megan Elliott served as associate editor for this edition. Student writers are noted on bylines. Photography is provided by those featured or by the USCA Marketing Department’s Flickr page. Send address changes to Department of Communications, 471 University Parkway, Aiken, SC 29801. Changes may also be emailed to or williamh@ The department’s administrative assistant, Ann Gordon, may be reached at 803.641.3481.

Four ways graduates can get involved The Communications Department welcomes alumni involvement in any fashion. We love it when alumni drop in to see us when they are visiting from out of town; alumni provide special moments with e-mails or notes about how a professor or an experience has helped them. More formal opportunities are available, too. 1. Career Panels Many of our alumni remember career panels, which take place in October of each year. A group of 4-5 panelists describe their career journeys and answer questions from students about how they should prepare for their careers. For more information about this, contact Corey Feraldi at or call 803.641.3280. 2. Guest Speakers The specialty of a graduate or an extraordinary experience may comm

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be welcomed in one or more of our classes. Skype, anyone? 3. Provide a service learning or internship opportunity Communications students are always seeking ways to boost their experiences, build their resumés, and make new networking contacts through service learning and internships. To discuss your potential for providing such an opportunity, contact Dr. William Harpine at or call 803.641.3604. 4. Work with a student group Lambda Pi Eta, the communications honor society, welcomes opportunities to perform a community service. Dr. Charmaine Wilson’s Group Communications classes need projects, too. The student affiliate of the International Association of Business Communicators also welcomes IABC members or other alumni to help them decide, develop and fulfill a community service public relations project. Contact Elliott at Summer 2013

Usca communicationsnews summer2013  

Common Knowledge newsletter for alumni and friends of the University of South Carolina Aiken Communications program

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