Alumni Updates

Rachel Byrd—B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2016—Rachel is currently working as a Management Assistant at Enterprise Holdings in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jordan Cofer – B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2015 – Jordan is a Restaurant Manager with Four Star Restaurant Group in Chicago, Illinois.

Carolyn ‘Lorrie’ Coldiron – B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2017 – Lorrie is the owner of LoColdi, Fashion Frenzy, and Buy Fashion 4 You in Lexington, Kentucky.

Robbie Collier—B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2012—Robbie is now a Human Resources Manager for Lowe’s Companies, Inc. in the Nashville, Tennessee area.

Minh Dao – B.A. Communication Studies, 2014 – Minh is currently a Marketing Specialist at English as a Second Language International at WKU in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Austin DeMuth—B.A. Communication Studies, 2016—Austin is a Fulfillment Coordinator at Quest International Users Group in Lexington, Kentucky.

Natalie Gilliam—B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2015—Natalie is a Group Travel Planner for Enterage Management  in Jacksonville, Florida.

Clint Jarboe—B.A. Communication Studies, 2015—Clint is a production worker at General Motors in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Lindsey McClain—B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2003 – Lindsey is the new Assistant Vice President for Business   Development and Marketing for Bowling Green’s American Bank and Trust Company.

MacKenzie (Keaster) Morley – B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2007 –       MacKenzie is a business owner of     Kenzington Alley Boutique in    Huntington, West Virginia.

Chris Nation – M.A. Organizational Communication, 2009 – Chris is the Director of Client Services at QtheAgency in Louisville, Kentucky.  He was named 2015 AAF Hot 10 Award winner, and serves as President of the Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL).

Brian Ohning – B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2005 – Brian is the Director of Sales over North America for NIIT Technologies located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Karen Powell – B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2016 – Karen works as an Associate Client Partner at Gartner in Fort Myers, Florida.

Maggie Shelton – B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2015 – Maggie is currently a Chapter Consultant of Phi Mu National Headquarters out of Peachtree City, Georgia.  She will go on to a graduate assistantship at Texas A&M’s Department of Student Activities, pursuing a master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education.

Ashley Vahrenhold—B.A. Corporate and Organizational Communication, 2016—Ashley is a Wish Coordinator at Make-a-Wish in St. Louis, Missouri.

Alex Wilson—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2017—Alex is currently the Director of Communications at Ridgenet Network Group.

Let us know what you are doing. We would to hear from you, too! Send news to Laura Wagoner at


International Internship abroad in London, England – Winter 2018

This winter (December 26, 2017 – January 8, 2018) Imagewest is offering an International Internship abroad in London. Imagewest is currently still seeking interns for the trip. The internship is perfect for any Graphic Design, Advertising, or Public Relations students with Adobe skills wanting to study abroad.

The internship is in addition to an Advertising and Public Relations course and all students participating will receive six hours of upper-level credit.  The course and study abroad trip are both offered by CCSA (Cooperative Center for Study Abroad).

The Imagewest Internship will give students the chance to:

  • Work with real clients on a real deadline.
  • Expand their portfolio.
  • Gain experience in their field.
  • Collaborate on a team of graphic design, advertising, and public relations students.

Imagewest will execute a campaign for a study abroad cooperative that will go live during the trip.

The cost of the trip is $3,189, which includes:

  • Unlimited local travel pass for London.
  • Entry to museums and activities for class-related trips.
  • Breakfast every day.

Students traveling abroad will be staying in an upscale, art-deco hotel located in Central London.

The trip is December 26, 2017 through January 8, 2018. The deadline to apply for the program is October 25. Applications for the study abroad trip can be found at

Imagewest is an award-winning advertising and public relations agency at Western Kentucky University. They work with clients to provide successful advertising and public relations, while expanding students’ creative and professional development.

international internship abroad in London

Photo courtesy of Imagewest, featuring students from their last study abroad trip to London.

The Alumni Spirit Makes the Master!

In an effort to help alumni stay connected, The    Department of Communication recently formed an M.A. Alumni Group made up of alums who work at WKU.  Department Head Helen Sterk was looking to establish an alumni group that was more intimate than just the general WKU Alumni Association.  Since being formed, the group has met periodically for happy hour at popular Bowling Green restaurants such as Mariah’s.


With such an impressive group of alumni, it was important for the Department to offer a venue for members to connect and reminisce about their time in the program. The Department was pleased to see Dr. Tim Caboni, WKU’s newly appointed president at its first gathering.

The Communication MA Alumni Group uses Facebook to spread the word about events and provide information on other ways Communication alumni can get involved with the university and department.

Alumni of WKU are also encouraged to take advantage of the Alumni Association available to all graduates of the university.

~Kayla Jo Board, Student

Blair Thompson Plans Major Conference, Assumes Presidency at Central States Communication Association

Dr. Blair Thompson planned this year’s Central States Communication Association’s (CSCA) annual conference, held in Minneapolis. This is no small feat considering that the conference is attended by 900-1000 professors, theorists, and authors that are part of Communication departments across the nation.


Even with inclement weather conditions, which stranded many conference attendees, at least 800 members were in attendance.  The conference included individual paper presentations, research panel discussions, and panel sessions about family communication, organizational communication, and interpersonal communication.  Many receptions were also held as well as award ceremonies to congratulate highly accomplished scholars.

Dr. Thompson had the difficult job of planning the entire event.  He explained the difficulty of scheduling so many sessions and avoiding overlaps with conference presenters.  His two assistants Madison Loyd-Webster and Cathryn Ellis, helped him with planning. They also worked from 6:00 a.m. to 12 a.m. each day of the conference.  “Really the whole point of this event is to discuss research, make connections, and to really just enjoy yourself when you can,” explained Dr. Thompson.

According to Dr. Thompson, the event couldn’t have gone any better.   Hopefully next year’s event will be just as good.  Information on Central States Communication Association and the conference can be found at

~Tyler Bennett, Student

Lambda Pi Eta (LPH) Spring Update

WKU’s Rho Nu Chapter of Lambda Pi Eta had a very eventful semester in the spring of 2017! On February 6, 2017, at the chapter meeting, the current officers welcomed some of the nine new members that joined the organization in the fall, discussed NCA, and discussed possible community service activities for the chapter. Later, in April, several of the chapter members participated in community service at the Warren County Humane Society.


On April 12, 2017, an induction ceremony was held for the new members from both the fall and spring semesters. These students included: Lauren Risinger, Jonathan Sahlman, Nicole DiMatties, Ashely Hickman, Erin Wilkerson, Elizabeth Settle, Sarah Harrington, Andrew Henderson, Allison Waggoner, William Brandon, Claire Smith, Mary Madison Lyons, Alexandria Hoefler, and Breanna Carter. With this addition, the Rho Nu chapter now has twenty-seven members.


After the induction ceremony, the chapter held a meeting to elect officers for the coming year. The following individuals were elected: Emily Anne Pride (President), Hayley Armstrong (Vice President), Elizabeth  Settle (Secretary), Sarah Harrington (Secretary), Mary Madison Lyons (Treasurer), Nicole DiMatties (Scholarship Officer), and Allison Waggoner (Public Relations). The chapter also voted to honor Dr. Angie Jerome as the department’s Outstanding Faculty Member for her work with the graduate program, her crisis communication research, and her commitment to her students. Overall, it was a very successful and exciting semester for the Rho Nu chapter!

~Taylor Hillard, LPH President

Communication Organization for Graduate Students

As we end another semester, the Communication Organization for Graduate Students (COGS) would like to recognize our graduates for the 2016-2017 school year. Our graduating graduate students include Brian Becker, Mizuho Tatebayashi, Scott Branton, and myself! These last two years have brought amazing experiences that will serve each graduate well in either industry or academia.

Looking forward I am proud to announce that Marshall Covert and Cathryn Ellis will be our co-Presidents for the 2017-2018 school year. I am so excited to see the great events, workshops, and gatherings they plan for next year’s cohort. Marshall and Cathryn both are exemplary students and do a great job supporting and encouraging their peers. I especially want to commend Marshall and Cathryn for setting an example of egalitarian based leadership by sharing the title of COGS President!

Lastly, I just want to thank everyone in the Communication department for such a great experience these last two years. Moving here from the West Coast without knowing anyone in KY was hard, but each one of you welcomed me like a family. It has been an honor to serve as COGS President this year. Thank you!

~Gavin Kirkwood, COGS President


Graduate Program Undergoes 10 Year Assessment

Our graduate program in Organizational Communication recently underwent a ten year assessment. Written by Dr Angie Jerome, the assessment highlights the fantastic work of both professors and students and their achievements over the past ten years.

The WKU Department of Communication hosts a great group of faculty who teach in this well respected program. They have racked up many accomplishments, including an academic book, two scholarly edited books, thirty-three academic journal articles, along with book chapters and encyclopaedia entries. Six of these faculty members also created an App, which now serves as a text book for students in COMM 200. Five of these faculty also hold or have held leadership positions in state, regional or in national associations. This shows the high calibre of faculty that we have in our department.

However, it is not only our faculty that create such impressive honors, our students do, too. In the past five years, ten of the faculty publications were co-written by students. One student published an article they had written themselves. We have also had fifty-six students present papers at state, regional, national and international conferences. With both faculty and students combined, there have been 15 top paper awards received along with 23 top paper panel honors and top panel honors in peer-reviewed competitions. All of these accomplishments have helped to put the WKU graduate program on the map. According to Dr. Jerome, “This program is strong on research production and collaboration. All faculty and most students are actively engaged in presenting their research beyond the classroom.”

graduate students.png
Marshall Covert, Katie Lever, Gavin Kirkwood, Mizuho  Tatebayashi

Being part of the Organizational Communication graduate program opens opportunities. Since 2011, seven students become part of doctoral programs including Texas A&M University and Purdue University. In spring 2017, several WKU students received fully funded offers to enter Ph.D. programs at Arizona State University, Kansas University, University of Missouri, University of California Santa Barbara and University of Colorado-Boulder. Not only has there been success in graduate school admission, but our program also helps graduate students prepare for work in  education, sales, consulting, media production and business management.

This graduate program has so much to offer and has achieved so much. If you are interested in becoming a part of this program please contact our new Graduate Program Director, Blair Thompson, Ph.D.,

~Georgina Blackman, Student