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School of Communication: Spring 2012 News


News & Events from Fall 2012


Kaitlin Wiggins SOC Fall 2012 Outstanding GraduateOutstanding Senior at Graduate Recognition Ceremony Announced

Kaitlin Wiggins was named Outstanding Senior at the School of Communication Graduate Recognition Ceremony Dec. 14 in Wright Auditorium. Congratulations to Kaitlin and to all of our 2012 graduates!


School of Communication Welcomes Fall 2012 Graduate Recognition Ceremony Speaker

The 21st century has ushered in new jobs and fields that previous generations might not have imagined. Not only can you achieve academic success through online learning, but those online skills may open-up meaningful professional careers. This year’s School of Communication fall 2012 recognition ceremony speaker, Lori Reed, knows all about that. As an ECU distance education student, Reed graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from the School of Communication in 2011. Currently, she is the Customer Experience Coordinator for Novelist, a division of EBSCO Publishing where she oversees support training and customer service for libraries worldwide. Reed is the coauthor of Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Nonprofit Trainer. In 2009, Library Journal named Reed a “Mover & Shaker” for the work she has done to promote lifelong learning in libraries.

Although Reed never set foot on campus, she still felt connected. “The online community created by professors and Lori Reedstudents provided me just as much support as I would have received as an on campus student. I appreciated working on collaborative projects with students who were located all over the world,” Reed said. As a recent graduate, Reed encourages students to network. “Networking is more than just having a lot of friends on Facebook! You need to make professional connections with others who work in the same field you wish to work in,” Reed stated. By making professional connections online, students open themselves up to a virtual world of opportunities. Often, Reed said, jobs are filled online before ever being posted. Posting meaningful content through professional associations can boost students’ chances to make solid professional connections.

The School of Communication’s fall 2012 graduates participated in commencement on Dec. 14, 2012 in Wright Auditorium.

Pirate Alum Soaring in Germany

Joel Banjo-JohnsonLike a lot of basketball fans, Joel Banjo-Johnson was looking forward to the opening tipoff of the NCAA basketball season Nov. 9 when UCONN and Michigan State faced off at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. She was looking forward to it more than most however, as this 2009 East Carolina University Magna Cum Laude graduate, assisted with the planning of the game.

The game aired live on ESPN and ESPN2. Banjo-Johnson, currently the acting Chief of Public Affairs at the base, said it took five months to plan but the event was a success. She is pictured here, about an hour before Sports Center was going to air live.

“I definitely had a lot of fun and all the interviews and coverage turned out well. Everyone learned a little about what we do at Ramstein Air Base,” Banjo-Johnson said. “I’m grateful for these different experiences. I’m completely exhausted afterward but excited as it’s going on. I learned a lot about production behind the scenes and programming.”

Banjo-Johnson said now that her major is deployed she has taken over the position. “I now am the Chief of Public Affairs for the largest wing in the entire Air Force. It's certainly a challenge but I’m doing well. Hope all is well in Pirate country!"

SOC Hosts Successful High School Media Workshop   

HS Media Workshop 2012Nearly 300 students from 20 North Carolina high schools converged on the ECU campus Oct. 25 for the Fifth Annual High School Media Workshop. Students participated in a variety of workshops addressing media basics like news reporting and writing, as well as other areas like online publishing, yearbook design trends, sports marketing and social media. This year, students also had the opportunity to see the new multiplatform newsroom and studio in the School of Communication, located in Joyner East.

Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition, keynoted the event with a presentation in Hendrix Theatre. As head of the nation’s top arts and entertainment advocacy group, Bronk has created partnerships with leading independent film producers and distributors that address national and global issues.

Professionals from news and publishing organizations such as PURPLE! Magazine, WITN-TV, WTVD-TV, WNCT-TV, PIRATE Radio, as well as ECU School of Communication faculty, hosted breakout sessions throughout the day. Caitlin Hunnicut, editor of The East Carolinian gave the closing presentation, “Getting the Scoop: Life as a College Journalism Student.

The ECU School of Communication presented the workshop in conjunction with the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association.

Christiane CorderoECU Soccer goalie and aspiring broadcast journalist plays well on both fields

Christiane Cordero, a senior communication major and ECU women’s soccer goalie, gives her all on and off the field. Recently, East magazine spent time in Cordero’s world, including class, training, team practice, and the women’s soccer game against ODU. Cordero, a student-athlete with 3.34 GPA, earned a spot on the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll as well as the ECU Director of Athletics Honor Roll. Several weeks ago, Cordero was named First Team All-Conference USA for her impeccable athleticism. In addition, Cordero interned with CNN in Atlanta this past summer as Kyra Phillips’ personal assistant. To read more, visit:

School of Communication Going Global: Poland program to begin summer 2013

Linda Kean in PolandThis summer, Dr. Linda Kean, Director of the School of Communication, traveled to Krosno State College in Poland for a two-week summit on migration and narration, making connections with other professors from around the world. Another focus of her visit was to learn about educational opportunities in Poland as the School of Communication develops a partnership of team-taught courses utilizing the global classroom, as well as creating a new summer study abroad program.

Kean spent her time primarily at Krosno State College in Krosno, but also visited Jagiellonian University in Krakow. These two universities, plus a site in Slovakia, have been chosen for the study abroad program in summer 2013. Both institutions offer courses and degrees of study in English and Communication, but each has its own respective atmosphere. Students who participate in the summer program will have the opportunity to compare their experiences in the United States with students from other countries and have the chance to become familiar with two diverse regions of Poland. Both undergraduate and graduate students can apply for the program. [ FULL STORY ] [ Download Brochure and Application ]

2012 Visiting Scholar: Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition

robin bronk

The School of Communication recently welcomed Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition, as its fall 2012 Visiting Scholar.

Bronk was in Greenville from Oct. 23 – 26 as a guest of the School of Communication. She served as the keynote speaker for the School’s Annual High School Media Workshop on Oct. 25, as well as a guest presenter in select public relations classes. Bronk also spoke at a community event at Emerge Art Gallery in Greenville on Oct. 25.

Robin Bronk is Chief Executive Officer of The Creative Coalition--the leading national, nonprofit, nonpartisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment industry. As CEO, Bronk is dedicated to educating, mobilizing, and activating the entertainment industry and arts community on issues of public importance, particularly the First Amendment, arts advocacy, arts in education, and media literacy. Since being appointed to the position in April 2010, she has exponentially grown The Creative Coalition’s operating budget by designing and instituting corporate sponsorship programs and cause marketing opportunities.

To learn more about Robin Bronk and The Creative Coalition, visit

From Standby Line to 'Today' Girl

Gretchen Lindsay on Today

Gretchen Lindsay, a communication major from Charlotte N.C., always wanted to visit New York City. When she finally made the trip a few weeks ago, she got to experience more than the typical tourist; she was, briefly, an interviewer on Today at NBC.

“I have been wanting to go to New York forever. My friends were going to a concert and I decided to take the trip with them,” Lindsay said. “I never thought I would get the chance to be on TV.”

Lindsay went to NBC Studios on Thursday to wait in the standby line for tickets to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. While in line, a Today show intern approached Lindsay and asked her if she would like to be on the Today show. “I just couldn’t believe it,” Lindsay explained.

Through this opportunity, Lindsay had the chance to see the inner workings of production, a valuable experience for a communication major. “It was interesting to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into a show, even the things that seem spontaneous, like an audience question, really take a lot of time and preparation.”

The Today correspondent told Lindsay what to ask Kathie Lee. “She just said, ask her, ‘Why did you name your dog Bambino?’. I literally just kept practicing because I was so nervous. I kept reading the wrong teleprompter,” Lindsay laughed.

“I was nervous but I am glad I did it,” Lindsay said. “It definitely was a chance of a lifetime.”

2012 Homecoming Weekend - Saturday, October 13

This fall's Homecoming Weekend offered a variety of School of Communication/CommCrew events. There was a breakfast on the terrace at the Leo Jenkins Fine Arts Center Saturday during the Homecoming Parade, an alumni tailgate before the ECU-Memphis game, and much more. [ View CommCrew Alumni Homecoming Brouchure ]


carlton purvisOutstanding alum returns to classroom, addresses special interest reporting

Carlton Purvis, December 2009 Outstanding School of Communication graduate, returned to ECU in September to speak to Dr. Cindy Elmore’s Feature Writing and Basic Reporting students.

After graduation, Carlton worked as a multimedia journalist for The Morning News in Florence, S.C., before making the move to Security Management Magazine, based in Alexandria, Va., where he is assistant editor and web editor.  Today, he does special interest reporting involving the regular, sustained use of data and FOIA requests, primarily focused on biosecurity, bioterrorism and health-related security topics.

“One of the reasons I wanted him to come was because I think a lot of journalism students do not realize the great journalism that can be done at specialty publications,” related Elmore.


Communication major 'The Lucky One'

Virginia Dutton and Nick SparksVirginia Dutton, an ECU Communication major, had the opportunity to work with Nicholas Sparks, pictured with her here, during the Nicholas Sparks Celebrity Family Weekend in New Bern, N.C. From April 20 to April 22, Dutton assisted ESPN Anchor Hannah Storm with her weekend duties, met Drew Brees and Kellie Pickler, and even attended the premiere of Nicholas Sparks’ newest film, “The Lucky One.” [ READ THE INTERVIEW ]

Spring 2012 Graduation Recognition Ceremony Photos

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John Cooper ’89 Presented Distinguished Alumnus Award

John CooperJohn Cooper, who earned his Communication degree at East Carolina University in 1989, was given the School of Communication’s Distinguished Alumnus Award at a reception Saturday evening, April 21.

Cooper, Deputy Manager of the Live Desk at NBC News Channel in Charlotte, has worked at the NBC news service for more than 20 years. NBC News Channel distributes national and international video news stories to NBC stations around the country. At the Live Desk, Cooper acts as a producer for field reporters.

Last fall, Cooper visited ECU to be the keynote speaker for the fourth annual High School Media Workshop, which the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association co-sponsored.

“John Cooper has been an outstanding supporter of the School of Communication for a number of years, and we are delighted to recognize his significant contributions by giving him the Distinguished Alumnus Award,” said Dr. Linda Kean, director of the School of Communication.

The 6th Annual Spring Reception is organized by CommCrew, the School of Communication’s alumni and supporters’ organization.

School of Communication Faculty Participate in Service-Learning ‘Immersion’

The School of Communication showed that students are not the only ones who live by the East Carolina University motto ‘servire.’ Dr. Rebecca Dumlao, associate professor of communication and chair of the University Service-Learning Committee, recently organized the 9th Annual ECU Conference on Service-Learning at ECU.

The event included a ‘Service-Learning Immersion’ at the Eastern North Carolina Food Bank in Greenville. Dumlao, along with fellow faculty member Mike Cavannagh, received a hands-on experience of what students do at the food bank, including sorting cans.

“We had to go through and sort the sweet potato cans and decide which ones needed to be thrown out,” Dumlao said. “We went through an entire flat.”

Following the event at the food bank, the group held a discussion on how to connect the work they did to classroom theories.

“Service-Learning is a chance for students to reflect on how they saw theories from class in action or how they saw them not working,” Dumlao said.

The three-day event featured key speakers: Dr. Patti Clayton, senior scholar with the Center for Service and Learning at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and visiting fellow with the New England Resource Center for Higher Education; Dr. Barbara Jacoby, faculty associate for Leadership Community Service-Learning at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union-Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Rachel Castro

Fulbright Scholar Reflects on Unique Experience in Berlin

Studying abroad and traveling the world are things many students dream of doing, but the opportunity is not always available. However, when it is, the School of Communication and its faculty are there to help students seize it. Senior English major Rachel Castro experienced this first-hand when she received a Fulbright Scholarship to Berlin, Germany in December. Castro is shown here at the East Side Gallery, located in central Berlin. It is the largest open-air gallery in the world. In 1990, artists from around the world transformed this portion of the once untouchable Berlin Wall into an international memorial for freedom. [ FULL STORY ]