WKU Alumna Serves the Healthcare Field for over 30 years


Doris Thomas never thought she would end up in the health care field.  “I am very squeamish just thinking about the word, ‘blood.’ However, I learned to look beyond the product and realize that there are organizational factors that must be present behind most products that are for public consumption,” she said.

Doris Thomas, WKU Alumna and Communication Advisory Council member, completed her B.A. in Corporate and Organizational Communication and M.A. in Communication. She served as a spokesperson for the Commonwealth Health Corporation for 32 years, and as of April 2017, she is Vice President of Development and Community Outreach.

Thomas has enjoyed her career and benefited tremendously from her communication degree. She said she uses knowledge and skills she learned in class daily. One of the skills that she uses frequently is listening.

“Listening more than talking, and I mean active listening, is a skill. It is not an easy skill to learn, but it is much needed,” she said.

Thomas feels the Department of Communication prepared her very well for her career. Overall, she believes most communication graduates are easy to communicate with, easy to work with, and are approachable.

Healthcare is one of the many fields where one can use a communication degree. With quite a few years of work experience under her belt, Thomas offers communication graduates some great advice:

“Look beyond the product and see where you might fit in with the bigger organizational picture. Keep learning, and form a good network of people you can trust. Be a truly engaged employee and representative of the company you work for. Remember, it takes everyone to make the organization what it is and what it will become.”

The Department of Communication loves to hear about alumni success.  We are always looking for stories to encourage and inspire our students. If you would like to share your story please contact the Communication Department Head, Dr. Sterk at helen.sterk@wku.edu.

~Tori Bowles, Student


Lambda Pi Eta (LPH) – Fall Update


The Fall semester of 2017 proved exciting for the WKU Rho Nu chapter of Lambda Pi Eta (LPH), the National Communication Association’s official honor society. Officers for the 2017-2018 academic year are: Emily Anne Pride (President), Hayley Armstrong (Vice-President), Nicole DiMatties (Scholarship Officer), Elizabeth Settle (Co-Secretary), Sarah Harrington (Co-Secretary), Mary Madison Lyons (Treasurer) and Allison Waggoner (Public Relations). The officers work within the organization towards six goals, which include promoting and encouraging professional development among communication majors and stimulating interest in the field of communication.

In November, the chapter President, Emily Anne Pride, and the chapter Secretary, Elizabeth Settle, were able to attend the National Communication Association (NCA) annual conference in Dallas, Texas.

LPH members participated in the Confucius Institute Tree Decorating Contest. The LPH tree, along with fifteen other trees from varying WKU groups, was displayed throughout the holiday season in the Chinese Exhibition Center in Helm Library.


LPH welcomed five new members who joined the organization during the semester: Colleen Coomes, Sara Ferguson, Katie Fischer, Cole Funkhouser, and      Rachel Paris. These students will attend an induction ceremony in the middle of the Spring semester.

To be eligible to join this organization, one must complete 60 credit hours (at least 12 credit hours in Communication), have a minimum overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 (GPA of 3.25 in Communication courses), and rank within the highest 35% of one’s class. The Rho Nu chapter of LPH currently has sixteen inducted members, and the chapter is excited to welcome many more!

  ~ Emily Anne Pride, LPH President


Communication Organization for Graduate Students


When reflecting upon the preceding months, one cannot help but to be caught up in a swell of firsts. For the WKU COGS, this semester has been full of them—from first classes taken to first classes taught, to first papers written to first chapters of theses completed, the first experiences with a significantly grown and expanded department, and even to first conferences attended and first papers presented—this has certainly been a semester of firsts.

As a group, there wasn’t much that occurred in the way of COGS events. However, the comradery fostered through class meetings, office visits, departmental events, and conference travels have certainly helped to grow the cohesiveness of our small cohort of graduate students and assistants.

And while we have seen the graduation of one of our beloved friends and colleagues, I am filled with joy and excitement for all the bright possibilities that lay ahead of our proud department in the spring of 2018.

 ~ Marshall Covert, COGS President


Graduate Student Spotlight: Tom Kenley

tom kenley

When asked about the skills he is developing in the M.A. program in Communication, Tom Kenley explained, “The key to being successful in communication is not catchy writing, although, that helps.  Rather, it is the ability to unearth relevant data, analyze it, and use it to create an actionable strategy.”
Tom Kenley, Communications Specialist at Rogers Group Inc. and current President of the Nashville Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), is pursuing a master’s degree in Organizational Communication.

When asked about his passion for communication, Kenley shared, “The value of a thought, an idea, or a strategy is always limited by the ability to express it. When properly communicated, the source of the idea is validated and the intended audience members – the colleagues, the congregation, the team members, and the students – are enlightened, and the organization is more connected. It’s the ultimate win-win.”

Kenley’s career path took him through many doors in the communication world: teaching, writing, editing, public relations, and corporate communications. With his experience and passion for communication, Kenley knew he had the ability to take the communications department of Rogers Group Inc. to the next level, so he began to pursue a graduate degree from WKU. Kenley knew entering the graduate communication program at WKU would expose him to communication research and knowledge that easily translates into his position at Rogers Group, Inc. He is especially grateful for the company’s tuition reimbursement program and encourages other potential students to seek out opportunities such as these.

Kenley is also working closely with the WKU chapter of IABC, sharing his real-world knowledge and experiences. Currently, he is organizing a panel of communication professionals to speak with students on campus.

Tom Kenley is one of many outstanding students in the graduate program. His professional experience is invaluable in the classroom. If you are interested in more information about the master’s program in Organizational Communication, contact Blair Thompson at blair.thompson@wku

~Lauren Cline, Student



Imagewest Promotes Professional Success


WKU prides itself on the ability to provide students with real world experiences. These opportunities provide students with an outlet to apply knowledge they gain inside the classroom to the outside world. One program that takes this notion to the next level is Imagewest.

To gain insight on the opportunities Imagewest provides their staff on a day-to-day basis, I interviewed Dominique Warfield who currently works at Imagewest as the Lead Account Executive.

Imagewest is a full-scale advertising and public relations firm staffed by WKU students majoring in Advertising or Public Relations. They offer six core services (per their website) including, “Branding, Research & Strategy, Web Design, Public Relations, and Advertising.” Imagewest opened its doors back in 2004, and over the past thirteen years the agency has grown by leaps and bounds.

Visiting their on-campus office located in Jody Richards Hall, you will find a space dedicated to forward thinking and professionalism. In this space countless advertising and public relation plans have come together for their clients not only here at WKU, but across the globe as well.

Question one: What has been your favorite project to date?

     My favorite project would have to be one that I am currently working on now for a client. This account requires that I create and maintain a Google Ad for their company.

Question two: What is the most unique component of Imagewest?

     The most unique thing about Imagewest is even though we are on located on campus and we are all student interns, we are a real advertising agency. We operate just like a real agency.

Question three: How has this position prepared you for your future?

     Imagewest has prepared me to take on a career after college by showing me the importance of networking. I started at Imagewest in the Summer of 2017, and as an agency we took a business trip to St. Louis, and networked with a lot of industry professionals. When I returned, I joined PMA which is the Professional Marketing Association which further expanded my network. Over fall break, I set up a job shadow at an agency in Atlanta. I have also connected with several industry professionals from other agencies across the U.S. and sent my resumes to their HR departments. Without Imagewest I would have never done any of that or had any idea what other options were out there.

Question four: Explain one thing you feel everyone should know about Imagewest.

     Imagewest is where you are going to build ever-lasting friendships. Working here brings you closer to your peers, and sets you apart from other students, not just here in Kentucky, but anywhere! Not a lot of universities have something like Imagewest so when you graduate already having some real-world agency experience puts you in a league of your own.

As one of the few PR and Ad agencies in the nation fully staffed by students, the future for Imagewest is bright. In providing this opportunity, prepares students for professional success.

~McKenzie Wilson, Student


World Traveler, Ad Guru, Designer, and Teacher

world traveler

Described as “relatable, brilliantly creative, and just an all-around fun teacher to have,” Professional-in-Residence Kelley Coppinger is now in her sixteenth year of teaching at WKU, following a successful career in advertising.

Kelley, as she insists students call her, was born in Iran, and has lived in many different countries such as Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Scotland,  and Belgium throughout her life, due to her father’s work in the oil industry. She also traveled extensively to India, Japan, Egypt, Europe and beyond.

Kelley moved to the U.S. at 18, and attended the University of North Texas, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and met the love of her life, Chuck Coppinger. While in Texas, Kelley worked with many companies such as Positive Images, Texas Monthly, Southwest Airlines and more.

She later moved to Bowling Green, to follow her husband when he accepted a job offer. Quickly, Kelley began to establish her career experiences in Bowling Green as well. Her professional involvements here included political advertising. She also worked with American Bank & Trust, Eagle Industries, Kentucky State Arson Task Force, Farmers National Bank, Houchens Industries and more.

Becoming a college professor, or entering the field of education, was nowhere in Kelley’s plan for her career path, but she was drawn to the curriculum, which she described as “brilliant,” and decided to apply for a job. She said the curriculum was very professional, and “a good combination of advertising theory and practical application.”

When Kelley was asked about her teaching technique she said… “We have a professional program, and the focus is all about getting the job, so I am going to stress critical thinking and the portfolio.”

She loves being in the classroom and believes “all students are creative, it has just been educated out of them. Students want to use a theory or a formula, instead of their own problem solving skills.”

For more information about Kelley Coppinger visit her website www.kelleycoppinger.com.

  ~Sidney Riney, Student


Witek Transforms Internship into a Full-time Position


Amanda Witek, a senior from Chicago, Illinois, is interning with Mellow Mushroom as the human resource representative and catering coordinator. Internships give students the opportunity  to apply skills learned in the classroom to real organizational situations. Through her internship, Witek was offered a full-time position with Mellow Mushroom upon graduation as the catering coordinator. She accepted the position and her manager started incorporating training for the position into her internship.

Witek studies Corporate and Organizational Communication and is required to complete an internship to get experience in her chosen field. Witek was formerly a waitress at Mellow Mushroom. At work one day, she mentioned she was searching for an internship. Her manager overheard her and asked if she would like to do an internship in the downtown office. Witek accepted the opportunity.

In a typical day at her internship, Witek completes approximately two hours of human resource practices, which consists of completing and filing hiring and firing paperwork, updating payroll and sitting in on performance appraisal meetings. In addition, she completes two hours of catering work such as reaching out to clients and creating catering menus.

She said the Department of Communication prepared her very well for this internship, drawing information from every corporate communication class she took.


“The knowledge and skills I gained while taking Interpersonal Communication helped me build organizational relationships, see from different perspectives, and diffuse situations. I didn’t realize how useful these skills were until I had to put them into practice,” she said.

Witek put her skills to the test when she was catering for the Humane Society. She listened to the needs of her clients and developed a menu to meet them. Witek created a vegan menu for the event and it was a hit. The Humane Society expressed the desire to come back because of the great service.

“I’m proud of this project because it was my first time catering. I did it and it worked. I gained a lot of confidence,” she said.

Witek is looking forward to her future with Mellow Mushroom as the catering coordinator. She loves organizing and building relationships with others; she feels like this position is a good fit for her.

~ Holly Case, Student