SMC Students Shine

School of Mass Communication students have had a banner year with accolades, internships and jobs.

Senior Jennifer Ellis, the Forum’s 2011-12 executive editor and president of the UALR chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, became the first UALR student ever to attend the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute.  The invitation-only program sponsored by the national Society of Professional Journalists, helps participants focus on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills, as well as sound chapter management practices. Only 50 participants from across the country were invited to attend the June program in Indianapolis.

A group shot from the SPJ Scripps Institute Class of 2011.

Senior Kenesha Shirlee, a broadcast journalism student, was this year’s UALR recipient of the prestigious Paul Eels scholarship, which honors the memory of the longtime KATV sportscaster and Voice of the Razorbacks. Shirlee is a Little Rock native who grew up in Europe and Japan in an Air Force family.  Along with a guest shot on 103.7 the Buzz and KATV, Shirlee was spotlighted at the 2011 Eels Memorial Golf tournament. “I know how successful Paul Eells was and loved by many so to be awarded something in his honor is amazing to me,” said Shirlee.  “I really appreciate the people that cared enough to make sure that his legacy still lives.” 

Rachel Hood, a May 2011 graduate and the 2010-11 Forum executive editor, has done so well as an online news intern at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the newspaper has hired her full time as an online news editor. Before leaving UALR, Hood won first place in feature writing at the April Arkansas College Media Association annual convention. Her winning feature was a profile of Hotdog Mike, a now well-known Central Arkansas hotdog vendor who proclaims to have the coolest – and possibly only – hot dog cart in town. (You can read Hood’s story at Mike’s blog).

Strategic Communication seniors Leslie Baker and Kasheena Green are putting their public relations skills to work as interns this semester.  Baker is pursuing her love for sports pr with UALR Trojan Media Relations Director Joe Angolia.  Green is working in the health care field as a pr intern for Susan Van Dusen, Communications Coordinator for the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at UAMS.

While you’re reading Arkansas newspapers and web sites, be sure to keep an eye out for these SMC names:  Matt Johnson, a senior and current sports editor of the Forum, is an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette stringer covering high school football. Several of Johnson’s photos have received prominent display in the Democrat-Gazette’s Saturday sports section. Johnson often shoots the same games covered by May graduate Jim Stallings, a member of the DemocratGazette’s sports department and Johnson’s predecessor as Forum sports editor.
Tony Lenahan, a December 2010 graduate and the 2010-11 Forum sports editor, has become assistant sports editor of the Saline Courier.

Kyle Troutman, a May 2011 graduate and the 2010-11 Forum news editor, has taken a position with the Searcy Daily Citizen, where his duties include writing news and sports, and working as a photographer and page designer.

Keep an ear as well as an eye out for senior Nathan Vandiver, who worked as summer intern at Arkansas Business and continues as a news reporter for public radio station KUAR.  Fellow senior Lisa Venis had a similar internship with Arkansas Business last spring.

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