Tell Your Story: Dr. Danna Young Speaks at Drexel University

Dr. Danna Young, an Assistant Profesor at the Department of Communication, visited and spoke at Drexel University on Tuesday, May 6. Her talk, entitled “Satire, Citizenship, and the Strong Case of Irony,” was a part of the Drexel ”Great Works Symposium.”

In her talk, Dr. Young specifically discussed satire and parody, focusing on Colbert’s SuperPAC and his coverage on the Citizen’s United decision. Dr. Young also referenced the recent drama of the Twitter “#CancelColbert” trend and how irony is a dangerous rhetorical device.

danna young drexel u

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Tell Your Story: Francesca’s 2014 Boston Marathon Experience

Congratulations to Communication student, Francesca! She recently ran in the 2014 Boston Marathon. Check out her post below to find out how she won.

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To people outside of New England, Patriot’s Day is just like any other Monday.  To New Englanders, Patriot’s Day is Marathon Monday, the greatest day of the year. From Hopkinton, MA, all the way to Boylston St. located in the heart of the city, streets are packed with runners and spectators from all over the world, covered in both sweat and filled with smiles.

It’s hard to think that just one year ago, Marathon Monday was nothing like this.  On April 15th, 2013, I was sitting at my desk at my internship in Wilmington, Delaware when my boss came running into my office.  Knowing that I was from the area, she informed me there was an explosion at the marathon finish line. I quickly called my family and friends who were in the city that day, but could not get a hold of any of them. I knew something was wrong.  Two bombs went off at the finish line that day, killing three people and injuring over 260.  As the events of that week unfolded, I had never felt more helpless in my life. I just felt like I had to do something. IMG_0781

As a full-time student, I never imagined I would have the time to train for a marathon.  But, here I am. I ran the 2014 Boston Marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and for all of those affected by last year’s events. With the help of my amazing friends and family, I raised over ten thousand dollars for an extremely worthy cause and took part in restoring the finish line for the city of Boston. The range of emotions felt on Marathon Monday can hardly be put into words, especially during this year’s event. The nerves you feel on the bus to the starting line.  The pain that your body encounters around the halfway marker.  The tears you form when you think about the lives that were tarnished from last year’s tragedies.  And finally, the happiness that consumes you when you cross the finish line on Boylston St.

My favorite moment of the marathon was finding my friends and family along the course. It came at mile eight, where I found my longtime family friend, with an enormous sign, “Go FRANNY!” It came at Mile 21, after the infamous three-mile incline titled “Heartbreak Hill,” where I found my best friend, screaming, crying, and sending me on my way.  And it came at mile 25 where I found my parents, sorority sisters, and University of Delaware friends, chanting my name.

Although the 2014 Boston Marathon was my first marathon ever, it will certainly not be my last. This year, the marathon ensured that we will always remember the victims, honor the heroes, and pray for those affected.  I am truly blessed to have been able to run in this historic event and experience such a life-changing event.  See you next year!

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Tell Your Story: Communication Student Wins 2014 Broadcast Pioneers Scholarship

Congratulations to Communication student, Briella! She recently won the Broadcast Pioneers Scholarship. Check out her post below to find out how she won.

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I discovered the Broadcast Pioneers Scholarship while scrolling through my emails. I came across an email from my COMM345 professor, Dr. Juliet Dee. She sent me the link to the entry form on the committee’s website and I filled it out. The entry form was very simple and required basic information such as my name, major, GPA, and campus involvement.

A few weeks later, I received another email informing me that I was selected one of 40 finalists out of almost 300 applicants! As a finalist, I was required to write an essay about where I envisioned myself in 10 years, send in my official transcript, and send a letter of recommendation (written by my adviser, Dr. Signorielli).

I found out that I was one of 20 winners (the largest number of scholarships the Broadcast Pioneers has ever awarded) when the committee chairman, Gerry Wilkinson, called me personally. He called me on April Fools’ Day when I was laying out by the pool in Florida, so I was skeptical at first and thought it was a prank from my friends.

I met many connections in the radio and television industry on Wednesday, April 16th, at the scholarship recipient luncheon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I mingled with current broadcasters, as well as, some veterans in the industry from whom I gained some great advice. I even had the opportunity to walk up to the podium and formally accept my award. I have a great interest in the field of meteorology, so I am looking forward to gaining an internship in the TV industry and am very excited for what lies ahead!

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Tell Your Story: Elynsey Price, UD Communication Class of 2013

Everyone loves stories. Learning from others, gaining insight, and sneaking a peak into someone’s life is all a part of the fun in Communication! We learn from others, whether it be through a blog post, a Tweet, a photo, or a face-to-face conversation. We constantly tell our stories and today, Elynsey Price, UD Communication alumna from the Class of 2013, shares her’s.

Interested in telling your story? Email our Independent Study student, Keri Betters, today:kbetters@udel.edu

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What year did you graduate from the University of Delaware?

Last year- 2013!

Where are you currently employed?  

I currently work as an Account Coordinator at Stanton Communications, a multi-specialty mid-sized Public Relations firm headquartered in Washington, DC. We serve corporations, industry associations and non-profit organizations throughout the US and abroad. We focus on education, energy, technology, health care, travel & tourism and industrial services sectors.

What are some of your every day responsibilities?

Every day I work closely with account managers and directors to execute public relations programs for our clients. I spend most of my time conducting outreach to journalists, media monitoring, coordinating interviews and briefings, assisting with event planning and developing content for social media platforms.

What is one thing someone would be surprised to know about you?

When I was younger, my dream job was to be an actress!

How did the University of Delaware prepare you for the workforce?

While I certainly had some great professors and classes at UD, I truly believe that PRSSA prepared me the most for the workforce. Between guest speakers, skill slams and many opportunities to be involved on the executive board, I feel as though I received a thorough understanding of what my future career path would be like after UD.

From one Blue Hen to another, do you have any advice for current COMM students?

Find the right balance between living in the moment and preparing yourself for the future. Enjoy your time at UD now (you have the rest of your life to worry about work!)- But also make sure you take small steps to make yourself a desirable future candidate. Companies are making a big investment when they hire you!

What is one piece of advice you received that has helped you get to where you are today?

“Never give up.”

What is a favorite memory from your college years? 

My favorite memory would have to be the priceless time I spent hanging out with my floor-mates freshman year. They turned out to be my best friends throughout college and even after graduation!

What is a favorite memory from a Communications class you took and who was the professor?

My favorite memory is whenever Professor Bartoo would give her infamous “Tip Time” In COMM309!

Will you be attending Alumni Weekend 2014? 

Yes, of course. I can’t wait!

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Tell Your Story: Abby Ecker, UD Communication Class of 2012

Abby Ecker currently serves as the Connecting Director at The Journey Church in Newark, Del. Before coming into her role at The Journey, she spent a year and half as the public relations coordinator for ATI Physical Therapy’s East Coast division and developed and implemented the company’s progressive social media strategy. A 2012 graduate of the University of Delaware with a B.A. in Mass Communications, Abby served as the president of PRSSA-UD from 2010 through 2012 and led a team to present at the 2011 PRSSA National Conference.
Her work experience includes internships at the Delaware House of Representatives Democratic Caucus, Inside Out Creative Agency, Autism Delaware, American Cancer Society, and the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union. Forever a student of the digital age, Abby actively contributes to a variety of online publications about social media and public relations, and her work has been featured in USA Today College, Pitching Notes, Get Busy Media, the PRSSA National blog, and Start Networking Today. Abby is currently No. 5 on Jeremy Pepper’s “Future PR Pros To Watch” list and was recognized as one of the ”Top 100 Twitter Account Every Job Seeker Needs To Follow” by Youtern.com. In 2011, she received the PRSA National Government and Public Affairs Grant and was named a “Woman of Promise” by UD’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. Abby is currently serving her second term of the PRSA Delaware Board of Directors.
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What year did you graduate from the University of Delaware?

May 2012

Where are you currently employed?  

I currently work at The Journey as our Connecting and Church Development Director.

What are some of your every day responsibilities?

As our Connecting Director, I oversee all areas that deal with connecting people to The Journey. One of my main roles is communication and branding; I oversee all of our website and digital content writing, as well as social media strategy, management, and content development. From a leadership perspective, I oversee our small groups ministry, hospitality team, follow-up team, care team, and missions. On a regular day, I am working hard to empower and develop leaders in those key areas.

What is one thing someone would be surprised to know about you?

I absolutely love long-distance running, so they may be surprised to know I didn’t run at all up until about two years ago! I started training for my first half marathon in January 2012 and completed it five months later. In 2013, I took the plunge and finished my first full marathon. It’s definitely a new hobby for me, but I love it!

How did the University of Delaware prepare you for the workforce?

I don’t think I can say enough great things about UD! I absolutely loved my time as a student. I was able to blend a variety of classroom learning, undergraduate research, and real-world internships to graduate well-rounded and ready for the job search. I had a few great professors who took a personal interest in me and really mentored me throughout my years at UD.

From one Blue Hen to another, do you have any advice for current COMM students?

Get real world experience! It’s so important to go into the real world with a resume full of internships and related activities. UD offers great resources through the COMM Department and Career Services, but don’t feel limited. Go out and pursue what you want to do, and you’ll be surprised how many potential employers would love to have you as an intern or volunteer.

What is one piece of advice you received that has helped you get to where you are today?

Professor Bartoo shared so many important tidbits of wisdom with me in my time at UD, but one of the most important things she ever taught me was the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. I’m naturally a more passive person, but I also have a strong interest and love for leadership. Sometimes those two can be at odds with each other, but Professor Bartoo really showed me how to passionately pursue what I want while still being myself.

What is a favorite memory from your college years? 

I have to give just one?! It’s tough, but I think I’d have to go with attending the Joe Biden rally in October 2008. Biden, who was Delaware’s senior Senator at the time, came to UD four days before the presidential election for a rally. While I was walking through security, I had someone from the Secret Service stop me and ask if I would want to stand up on stage with now-Vice President Biden. Um, yes! I love political communication, so being at UD in 2008 was such an exciting time. Between having one former Blue Hen acting as campaign manager for President Obama and another for Sen. McCain, as well as Biden running as VP, Delaware was really the “epicenter” of politics!

What is a favorite memory from a Communications class you took and who was the professor?

Again, it’s hard to choose just one…but it’s pretty hard to beat Professor Dee’s rap from Media Law!

Will you be attending Alumni Weekend 2014? 

I just might! Thankfully I am still local, so I love being able to pop in and out of UD whenever I can.

abby ecker

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From Newark to Spokane: How Niki Flew Across the US to Chase After Her Dream

Last week, Niki found out she was going to fly to Spokane, Washington to watch the Blue Hens Men’s Basketball team take on Michigan State during March Madness. A proud Blue Hen, Niki didn’t want to settle for watching the game on TV. She wanted to be there. So, distance didn’t stop her. The story of how Niki received this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity proves that nothing is impossible. You just have to jump out of your comfort zone and try it. Because of this, the memories she made will last a lifetime!

Curious about how she did it? Read all about Niki’s adventures in the article below.

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Before Spokane, had you followed the Men’s basketball team throughout the season? 

I started following the Men’s basketball team during winter session this year. I wasn’t on campus, but I would watch when we played on TV and I would constantly check scores on BlueHens.com as well.

Who did you contact to see if you could go with the team?

I contacted the Vice President at the Office of Communications and Marketing about going to Spokane with the team. Once I found out we were playing Michigan State in Washington, I sent the VP an email Sunday night asking if there was a possibility that I could go. I figured the answer would be no because it was across the country, but I received a response around 6 AM the following morning saying the OCM would let me know what Athletics said later that day. It wasn’t until 6 PM Monday night that it was confirmed I would go (Oh, and I needed to be at the Bob at 6 AM)!

What was your first thought when you realized you were going? 

The first thing I did when I received the email confirmation that I was going to Spokane was call my dad. I basically freaked out. We were texting each other all day talking about how this probably wasn’t going to happen and everyone I spoke to had positive feelings about it but me. I just remember I was shaking, speechless, and I just kept repeating that I somehow pulled off the impossible. If there’s one very valuable lesson to be learned from this is you never know unless you ask. For me to email the VP of the OCM asking to travel with the team as the only Social Media Ambassador the night before we left was completely insane, but if I didn’t send that email, I never would have gone. Worst case scenario, they would have said no. So put yourself out there and ask!

What is your favorite memory from the trip? 

My favorite memory from the trip was just seeing how happy the players were to be there. I was able to go (and tweet/photograph) all 3 games in Baltimore for the CAA Championships so I felt apart of the team, and I knew not only how badly they wanted this, but also how badly they deserved this. These guys really put in so much effort this season, and to be able to witness our first March Madness bid since 1999 was absolutely incredible! The entire team was so excited to fly out to Spokane and represent The University of Delaware! They are the ones who worked so hard this season to be the #1 team in the CAA and win the championships– not the press, not the band, not the cheerleaders– so seeing how grateful and proud they were was definitely my favorite part of the trip.

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What is something you ended up doing that you didn’t know you’d do? 

Going to Idaho for a couple of hours was something I didn’t know we would do. I’m not going to lie, there isn’t a whole lot to do in Spokane, and because we were a #13 seed, the hotel the NCAA put us in wasn’t in downtown Spokane. For a day trip, the administrators had one of the buses take the band, spirit teams, and whoever else wanted to come to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho on Wednesday afternoon. We were about 10 minutes from the Idaho border, so the trip was a nice little break and a fun way to further bond with everyone. It was also our last free afternoon before the game Thursday afternoon, so we got to explore Idaho for a little bit!

What did you do during the game?

My job during the game was to live tweet and take pictures for the UD Social Media accounts. I worked with the NCAA to get a press pass for the week, which allowed me on the court and behind the scenes not only during the game,  but as well as, during practice. The team practiced in front of the public on Wednesday and had press conferences as well. I was able to sit in on the press conferences with the student athletes (Threatt, Usher, Saddler, and Baptiste), as well as Coach Ross, on both Wednesday and Thursday. On game day I had a spot on the court to sit and take photos.

Did anyone famous tweet at you before/during/post game?

Before the game, I saw Gino Gradkowski [University of Delaware alum] was on Twitter, so I sent him a quick tweet asking if he was going to watch the game and he replied with “Absolutely!” That was really cool for me because no one famous had ever tweeted me before so it made the week just that much better for me!

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What was the energy like on the way there? On the way back? 

The energy before the game was super positive. The band and cheerleaders lined the hallway leading out to the buses and when the players/coaches came out we were all clapping and screaming! Every person I spoke with thought we were going to upset Michigan State because we really had nothing to lose. These guys had never been in this situation before so they didn’t really know what to expect, which can be a very good thing in something as big as March Madness. When we walked in and saw the last half of the Harvard-Cincinnati game and saw Harvard had the major upset (along with OSU losing earlier in the day), we all thought “Well, this is it…we’re actually going to do this!” Even when we lost, our spirits were still high because you have to take a second and look at where you lost. No one wants to lose, but to lose (against the team that is probably going to win the entire tournament) on the biggest stage in college basketball after not being there in 15 years…it’s still an incredible experience. The team still went out there, worked hard all game, and played in March Madness. You can never take that away from those guys. We were all going to be proud of them whether they won or lost that game.

What is one thing you learned through the experience? 

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…put yourself out there and take risks! From my own personal perspective, this was a major learning experience because I was the only student representing UD who was covering the game. The Director of Multimedia, as well as one of the photographers for the University was there, but other than those two, there was no one else covering the game from the media side. No one expected me to be there (including myself) but it started off with a short email explaining that I really wanted to go, represent the University and learn more about the sports world since that’s where I want to work, and there’s no bigger stage for college basketball than March Madness. Another thing I would say was a determining factor in them allowing me to take the journey across the country with the team was the fact that I showed interest in this from the beginning. I started getting my own press passes for the football games last year, and that fed into basketball and my Social Media Ambassador bosses saw that. It played a big factor in me being able to fly to Spokane. If you have a passion for something, try everything possible to achieve your goals. Who knows– that could lead you to Spokane, Washington with the basketball team to watch them play in March Madness!

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