Media Communication Association Online Event


Photo courtesy of Mass Communications Department

The West Texas A&M’s Mass Communication Department hosted a Media Communication Association meeting Thursday, Oct. 15 over zoom.

The West Texas A&M University’s Media Communication Department hosted a Media Communication Association meeting Thursday, Oct. 15th over Zoom. The event included words from panelists Jill Whitfield, a recruiter for Google; Ryan Hazelwood, News Director for KOAA-TV; Kelly Ramos, Junior Social Media Specialist for NASA and Trisha Franks, Corporate Account Manager for British Airways.

Many media communications professors joined together in order to allow students the chance to hear advice from WTAMU alumni concerning careers related to their majors.

“All of the media communication professors started discussing the plans for this MCA meeting in August as we met to plan for the fall semester,” said Emily Kinsky, associate professor of Media Communication. “We decided to have one really big MCA meeting with a panel of amazing guests this semester. We discussed the topic and who might be good to invite. We wanted to make sure we covered each of our majors. The MCOM professors then divided up who we would each contact. Once we received confirmation from the different panelists, we requested headshots and bios to promote the meeting.”

Various career fields have experienced changes within their work, and the communication field has not been an exception. All panelists began the meeting by sharing what their jobs have been like pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19.

“My job has been impacted so much. I’m sure you’ve all been impacted, but the airline industry was the first to go and is going to be the last to come back,” Franks said. “Obviously I’m not flying to see customers face to face. I’m doing everything virtually, and also everyone just kind of doesn’t really know what to expect.”

“We’re on phase two to return to work so a couple producers are back in the building. There was one point where we were completely producing everything, punching the shows, everything was done remotely. It was a Herculean effort by our engineering department to make that happen,” Hazelwood said.

With diversity in jobs, panelists were able to share a range of insights and opinions. As well as useful advice for students.

“You always have to have a plan B,” Hazelwood said. “You never know, you know, when they’re gonna come with the machete and start whacking things, right. And, and so absolutely I mean my advice is to make sure you’ve got a couple months of savings saved up so that way you know you can get through that.”

Ramos also brought to light that having a backup plan is not the only piece of advice that could be beneficial for students as they look towards their futures.

“Networking is where it’s going to be really important. So, whether that’s your Wi-Fi network or whether it’s other students that you’ve worked with, or if you have, you’re part of clubs or organizations on campus or other speakers come to WT, start curating a network. Because knowing people is what’s so helpful in getting jobs elsewhere,” Ramos said.

With a diverse panel, various job insights, planning done by multiple WTAMU professors, the MCA meeting received positive responses from students and professors alike.

“I was pleased with the attendance and, you know, obviously the interest. I just don’t think it really could have gone better,” said Kim Bruce, associate lecturer of Media Communication.

“It went very well. The guests shared incredibly valuable information with our students. We have one other MCA session for graduating seniors planned for this semester,” Kinsky said.

Many jobs have been affected, but the four panelists were able to shed light on the topic. Students were able to learn and connect with WTAMU alumni, as well as begin to look forward in their careers. Overall, this meeting was able to be beneficial for many and allowed attendees to widen their view of the communications career field.

“There were many takeaways: plug in while you’re here so you can gain experience and build your network; maintain some savings for when things don’t go as planned; learn how to use LinkedIn to its full potential; don’t be afraid to reach out to alumni who want to help you; know that you can make it through hard times; and be afraid to knock on the doors you want to enter,” Kinsky said.