Alumni Spotlight: Kevin Tankersley

Kevin Tankersley of Waco, Texas earned his master’s degree in journalism from UA Little Rock in 2004. He’s now in his 14th year of teaching at Baylor University, where he received his undergrad degree in business journalism. He teaches beginning reporting and writing; advanced reporting, where students write for the Baylor Lariat student newspaper; and an introduction to mass communication for freshman journalism majors. Kevin also does quite a bit of freelance writing.

What made you choose the UALR School of Mass Communication?
“I took a job in the athletics sports information office at UALR in 2000, and began grad school shortly thereafter. My undergraduate grades weren’t the best, so I had to talk Bruce Plopper into letting me in provisionally until I could prove myself. I like to think I made him proud.”

What were your favorite Mass Comm classes?
“While all of my classes were beneficial and important, I particularly enjoyed the writing classes with Sonny Rhodes. He and I both came to academia through the newspaper world, and I appreciated the real-world lessons he was able to share.”

Who was a faculty member who made a strong impact on you and your career path?
“In addition to Sonny, Dr. Jamie Byrne-McCollum had a huge impact on my career path. As I was getting close to finishing my degree, she asked if I was interested in teaching a reporting class, which I had never considered. I had gone to grad school in hopes of furthering my career in sports information, but I agreed to teach that one class, and that directly led to where I am now. I am profoundly thankful for Jamie and her offer of that one class.”

What advice would you give to current students?
“Read and write. To become a better writer, you need to read more and write more.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself?
“My wife Abby and I have been married for 22 years. After years as an elementary school teacher, she went to culinary school and is now a freelance chef. We have two children: Sophie is 14, in the eighth grade and plays bassoon. Brazos is 12, in the seventh grade and plays percussion. They both love books, which they inherited from their parents. We’re all very involved at our church, Calvary Baptist, in Waco.”

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