Student Group To Address Diversity Issues In Journalism School Organizations

5 Feb

Real TalkThe Student Voice Team will work with student media and organizations in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) to identify and solve diversity issues in its “Real Talk: Uncut & Uncensored” event Monday, February 9, at 6:30 p.m. in room 340 Franklin Hall.

The Student Voice Team is a group of student champions for diversity commissioned by JMC in 2014 to identify areas for improvement in both academics and student life. After speaking with the leaders of student media and organizations in the School, the Student Voice Team discovered a growing need to increase diversity in extracurricular activities.

“We, including some professors in JMC, feel that we’ve been coddled here in terms of [diversity in] the media and the real world,” Julia Adkins, Student Voice Team co-chair, said. “We want everyone to be prepared when they leave Kent State to go out into the real world and succeed, but we can’t do that if we don’t have a firm grasp on reality outside of college.”

“Real Talk: Uncut & Uncensored” will be a student-only conversation about tough topics in diversity, including underrepresentation, cliques within media organizations and what diversity means in journalism and mass communication.

Both the Student Voice Team and student media and organization leaders will lead the discussion. Students can share their concerns with representatives from TV2, Black Squirrel Radio, The Kent Stater, Public Relations Student Society of America and more.

“It’s an important conversation that needs to happen; we need to talk about things that are happening without the fear of backlash from our peers and our professors,” Adkins said. “That’s also why it’s a student only event. We wanted to create a safe space for students to talk about the things that are most important to them in regards to the media within today’s society, a place where we can all speak freely with each other and not be afraid to voice our opinions.”

Students Collect 2,300 Books for Reach Out and Read

27 Jan

Reach Out and ReadThis is a story about a student group project that is certainly one for the books – 2,300 books to be exact.

Five students in the School of Communication Studies’ Small Groups and Teams course, taught by Professor Rebecca Cline, Ph. D., last fall collected 2,300 new and gently used children’s books to donate to the Reach Out and Read Program at Akron Children’s Hospital.

With a course requirement that students choose a project to help a population in dire need, team members John Birkbeck, Skyler Chill, Sarah Courey, Kurt Freiberg and Eli Martin decided they wanted to participate in a project that would help children.

By the end of the fall semester, the collection of 2,300 books more than doubled their original goal, making the total one of the largest Reach Out and Read donations from a university to Akron Children’s Hospital.

“All the members in our group have a heart for children, and after researching organizations which assist children’s needs, I found Akron Children’s Hospital’s Reach Out and Read Program,” Courey said.

Team members collected the books through partnerships with libraries, donation boxes placed in strategic locations and through a book drive competition at Tri-Valley High School. Members stored books at their houses or their residence halls and later transported them to a storage facility in Akron.

Akron Children’s Hospital’s Reach Out and Read Program gives away more than 40,000 children’s books (ranging from toddler to teenage reading level) each year. Books are placed in lobbies and patient rooms at the hospital’s 22 campuses; when a child finds books he or she enjoys, the patient is encouraged to keep them. Many of these children have cancer and are hospital bound most of their life; these books could be the only ones they will ever receive.

Through Reach Out and Read, pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioners give the parents or caregivers of children ages 6 months to 5 years new, age-appropriate children’s books and suggestions for how to help their children develop a love of books and reading.

“This project not only benefited children with cancer at Akron Children’s Hospital, but also impacted our lives in a positive way,” Courey said.

Kent State Intern Creates New Face For Local Company

3 Dec

By Endya Watson, Flash Communications

Kent State interns perform a variety of tasks at work. All internships provide real-world experience and a chance to grow as a professional. Some internships, though, provide a chance for Kent State students to not only perform “duties as assigned,” but to make a lasting impact on companies who hire them. For Emily Beal, senior visual communication design major and entrepreneurship minor, her experience proved to be the latter.

Beal began an internship at Price Builders & Developers Inc., LLC, a Cleveland construction company, in February 2014. She worked through the spring performing standard design tasks such as creating brochures and organizing product presentations. Over the summer, however, owner David W. Price challenged her with revamping the company image.

“I sat down with Mr. Price at the end of the school year and asked, ‘What are the threePrice Logo main goals you want your company to portray?’” Beal said. “Mr. Price wanted to be friendly, have a green, sustainability focus and to have his name be prominently strong.”

With these three objectives in mind, Beal transformed PB&D from merely friendly and patriotic to sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Recreating the company image wasn’t a scary idea, Beal said. Her Kent State experiences, combined with the support from the Price Builders team, made Beal eager to dive into the job.

“I was excited to see someone so passionate about his company and then recognize my talent as a college student that could take this on,” Beal said. “Mr. Price really gave me free reign; he said he trusted me, and I should go with whatever I felt was best for the company.”

According to Price, Emily has taken on revamping all company marketing materials, redesigning the logo, writing articles for local magazines, recreating the website and taking company photos, among other tasks. Price said he has been pleased with her attitude toward the work.

“Emily is really independent, motivated and driven,” Price said. “We both put ideas down on paper, but she really takes off with them.”

With her major and minor working in tandem, Beal said she understands the creative steps that need to be taken to take the company image to the next level.

“The VCD program has taught me to be thick skinned and take criticism,” Beal said. “In addition to that, my entrepreneurship classes have led me to understand how business works outside of the creative side, so I am able to incorporate my creative mindset to enhance the image of Price Builders.”

Beal said she finds her internship most rewarding because she is treated like a professional.

“I am given the opportunity to be a professional, not just a college intern,” Beal said. “When given an opportunity I am able to take the initiative to exceed expectations and others recognize that.”

Price said he is proud of what Beal has done so far, and he would like to see her continue to grow with the company.

“She’s really great at what she does, and I have high hopes for her,” Price said. “I anticipate her being with the company for a long time, hopefully as head of our graphics team.”

Beal continues to work at Price Builders part-time while taking classes at Kent State. She agreed with Price, saying she would love the opportunity to continue at Price Builders.

“They’ve talked about me working with them after graduating, which would be awesome and ideal,” Beal said. “They’ve been so supportive of me.”

To see some of Beal’s finished design work, visit the Price Builders website at

Communication Studies Student Named Finalist For Ryan Seacrest Cover Contest

17 Oct

by Shannon French

Ohio’s Got Talent competition winner Marina Strah of Westlake is now a top-three finalist for the Ryan Seacrest Cover Contest for her YouTube cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.”

“Two days after Ohio’s Got Talent, I come home from class to unwind and check my email, and I see an email from Ryan Seacrest. My first thought was that it was spam,” Strah said. “But I open it, and it said I was selected by the Ryan Seacrest production team for the Ryan Seacrest cover contest for my cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off.’”

The contest is trending at number two on Seacrest’s website, Supporters can vote for her on the website. The online contest will announce the winner Monday, October 20.

Strah, a communication studies major at Kent State University, said talent scouts picked eight artists from YouTube they think best covered particular songs. Next, there were weeklong rounds of voting for each cover.

Strah admitted she did not expect to make it this far in the competition. “I was not expecting to even make it to the top five because I have the smallest following on YouTube with about 1,500 subscribers; every other artist has thousands and thousands,” Strah said.

“It’s been crazy. I don’t think I’ve fully grasped it yet, especially when I think about how fast everything has happened. First, I unexpectedly win Ohio’s Got Talent, my first ever competition, then I am entered into a contest with Ryan Seacrest,” Strah said. “Never in a million years did I think I would ever be associated with this person, let alone have my face all over his website. Now, I’m getting ready to start recording my first ever album. Just to know that I’m one step closer to actually achieving my dream feels really good.”

Shake It Off Marina StrahStrah said her ambitions regarding a music career are recent even though she has been involved with music since about age 12 when she learned to play the drums. “This all started about 3 years ago, during my freshman year of college,” Strah said. “I just picked up playing the guitar and singing went along with it. My entire family is so supportive and they always tell me, ‘If you’re going to go for it, go for it. Don’t hold back.’”

Strah said the combination of talent and good communication skills will help turn her musical ambitions into a career after college.

“Everything I’m learning in my communication studies and public relations courses I’m using on a daily basis,” Strah said. “It’s taught me how to communicate and interact with an audience. You’re always on your toes in communication studies, which I love because it’s a real-life experience. The skills I’ve been learning have directly translated into a music career, which is more than I could ever ask for.”

“I’ve been extremely lucky to have talked to some of my biggest inspirations in music,” Strah said. “They told me to never treat this as something that isn’t tangible and not to be too hard on yourself or put limits on yourself before you even know what you’re capable of.”

What’s It Like To Be A Senior?

6 Oct

by Chelsey Elkins

Chelsey ElkinsMy first week as a senior at Kent State flew by quicker than I could have ever imagined. I could not believe it would be the last first day of school for me. As a freshman, you sit in your first class thinking that four years of college is going to take forever, but before you know it, you’re a senior thinking about graduation.

Senior year is definitely everything I thought it would be: slightly stressful, lots of assignments, readings and homework. It’s nice to know that I am in the homestretch…I’m almost done with my undergrad!

I really enjoyed going to all my classes that first week; all the things I am learning about are things that I love. I am very excited to be graduating soon and possibly going on to grad school.

It is also cool to see my dad excited for his first child to graduate college at his alma mater! I am so proud to be a student at Kent State University. It has given me numerous opportunities that have shaped me into the person I am today.

COMM Student Shares Her WhyCCIKent Story

29 Sep

by Amanda Azzarelli

When brainstorming a topic to write about for my first post on the WhyCCIKent blog, it seemed fitting to share my “Why CCI Kent” story.

Why I chose CCI Kent
As a senior in high school, I had no idea what the future had in store for me. I knew I did not understand science, and I could not do simple math without counting on my fingers. I knew I liked to write, and I was good at talking to people. I did not know how any of this translated into a career. When filling out my application for Kent State University, I was prompted to pick a major. After doing a little bit of research on the KSU website, I did something I don’t typically do: I made a spontaneous decision. Normally, I spend a lot of time analyzing (possibly over-analyzing) all of my options before I decide on one. But this time, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this decision, I said to myself, “Hmm, Communication Studies sounds good.” And that was that.

Amanda and friends Kristen Kobe (left) and Alyssa Mazey (right) at the 2014 YouToo Social Media Conference.

Amanda and friends Kristen Kobe (left) and Alyssa Mazey (right) at the 2014 YouToo Social Media Conference.

Why I stayed at CCI Kent
During the second semester of my freshman year, I was enrolled in the course Foundations of Communication. Part of this course was giving a presentation about why I chose to be a Communication Studies major. I felt embarrassed of the answer to that question. All of the other students in the class chose Communication Studies because they had their futures planned out. I picked it almost randomly because I didn’t know what else to pick. I had no idea what I would say in my presentation until I started thinking about all the classes I had taken so far. In that moment, I realized it didn’t matter what brought me to CCI. All that mattered was that I was here. So what if my decision had been spontaneous? That spontaneous decision turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made.

Why CCI Kent is perfect for me
Starting off my junior year, I still don’t have my future planned out…and that’s okay. A degree in Communication Studies is versatile enough that I can apply it to almost any career I decide on. I have narrowed down my concentration to Public Communication and added on minors in Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Communication, and Public Relations. While I am unsure of what direction I want to go in with these degrees, I am confident that I am in the right field because I love all of the courses I am taking. No matter what the future holds for me, I know my experiences with CCI Kent will prepare me for it!

A Kent State Family: Going To School With A Sibling

16 Sep

Meghan and Kayby Meghan Caprez

I’ve always gone to school with my sister Kay. We’re two years apart in age and grade, but no matter what, we’ve always ended up at the same school. After attending our combined elementary and middle school, she decided to go to high school with me. After attending high school, she decided to follow me to Kent State.

I love my sister. We share the same interests and hobbies, so we’re constantly chatting about the most recent Disney movie or the next Broadway musical that will be at Playhouse Square. But having a sibling with you on campus has definite advantages and disadvantages.


You have a built-in support system, especially if you’re homesick. Missing mom and dad? It’s okay! Your sibling can help you adjust to college life with the familiarity and comfort of home their presence brings.

A sibling can help you figure out what’s what on campus. Because I’d all ready been in college for two years, I Meghan and Kay Playhousewas able to show my sister some of the best places to eat and hang out and give her advice about dealing with different programs and advisers.

You’ll always have someone to go to campus events with. I have a lot of friends in the musical theatre program, and I love seeing the different productions on campus. Before my sister came to Kent, I’d find myself feeling awkward sitting by myself because none of my friends were really interested in that kind of thing. Now, I count on my sister to attend shows with me. If your sibling isn’t into the same things you are, you’ll probably still be able to guilt them into it.

You can meet new people and encounter new perspectives on campus. Before my sister came to college, I was really only concerned with the things I was learning in the public relations program. My sister is in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, so I’m able to learn a little bit about cutting-edge topics in her field on our drive home every day.


Transportation. My sister and I both commute from our parents’ house, and we only have one car. What does that mean? A lot of waiting around because our class schedules and work schedules don’t match. It’s tough, and there isn’t anything you can do about it; you just have to compromise.

Depending on how close you are with your sibling, you might fall into the trap of hanging out with him or her TOO much instead of making new friends. You have to make sure that you’re being your own person and making your own connections. Making new friends is one of the best parts of college, so live it up as an independent person!

Overall, the advantages really do outweigh the disadvantages. It’s great to have a sibling on campus!


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