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UWEC Students Plan and Execute Event for High School Students Interested in Communication and Journalism

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, roughly 100 high school students, staff, and UWEC students in Professor Mary Hoffman’s event planning class attended the 2015 conference of the Chippewa Valley School Journalism Association (CVSJA). The event, held in Davies Student Center at UW-Eau Claire, is used to teach high school students more about career opportunities in the fields of communication and journalism. It also gives them the opportunity to visualize themselves in a college setting, and to increase their interest in attending college in general.




Beginning in September, Hoffman’s students contacted caterers, confirmed parking and transportation, coordinated with speakers, created graphics and promotions, and tried to get inside the minds of high school journalists.  Along the way they also learned how to plan community events.  Students agree that the class teaches skills that will be put to use in their future careers.

Holly Ordinans, a senior student in Hoffman’s class, was the hospitality director for the CVSJA event. When asked about CVSJA and the purpose of the event, Ordinans said that it not only allows students to attend workshops with professionals from the CJ field to learn more, but also enables them to interact one-on-one with the current CJ students. “We want them to envision themselves attending college, and bringing them to UWEC allows them to see that as a realistic option for their future,” Ordinans said.

Another event planning student, Matt Zavoral, was the assistant director of operations for the event. Zavoral said that one of his biggest takeaways from the event has been the importance of determining the objectives for all the attendees early in order to effectively prepare the whole event. Both Zavoral and Ordinans said that the major challenge in planning this event was, surprisingly, communication.

Communicating in a way to receive necessary feedback is a challenge that Zavoral had in his positition while trying to get feedback from high school students, while Ordinans’ main challenge was coordinating with the other event planning students, since it is such a large group trying to successfully execute this event. Both students overcame these challenges, saying the event was executed as planned, and the high school students were engaged.  A survey taken after the event by the high school students revelaed that most had learned something new about the CJ field. Overall, Ordinans and Zavoral stated that these challenges have better prepared them to attack communication problems head-on; these are challenges that can be turned into learning experiences they can apply to their communication and journalism careers.

Hoffman, who attend the event as a high school student, said she enjoys watching her students put what they learn in class into action and is also pleased by the amount of pride and commitment they show for the event. “Students really focus on their jobs and take ownership of the day. The event couldn’t happen without the work of the students in CJ 355.”

To learn more about CVSJA, visit:

Alumni: Do you have any stories about communication problems that helped build your problem-solving skills? Let us know in the comments!

Study abroad program has a lot to offer CJ students, says CJ study abroad returnee

Every fall semester, the UW-Eau Claire Center for International Education (CIE) hosts the Study Abroad Fair. There, students can get more information about study abroad options, and are able to speak with program representatives, and current UWEC students who have studied at program locations. Participating in study abroad is an especially great opportunity for studyabroadfaircommunication and journalism students because they can learn about communication from different perspectives and gain insight into other cultures that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise have by staying on campus.

On September 30th, crowds of students, representatives, staff, and faculty gathered in the Ojibwe Ballroom of the Davies center for the study abroad fair.

Organizational communication major and study abroad returnee, Claire Malchow, is the social media and marketing intern for the CIE. When asked about her study abroad experience, she said, “studying abroad was definitely one of the best decisions I made at UW-Eau Claire. You learn so much about yourself and about the world around you, and it also enhanced my cross-cultural communication and understanding skills. Although I studied in an English speaking country, it was a different culture and I was able to meet a lot of other international students.”


Malchow with friends at the University of Winchester, where she studied abroad.

Studying abroad gives students a chance to also take a wider variety of classes, or classes with a different perspective. “I took a communication class there and it was so beneficial to me to be able to learn about communication from another perspective and in a very different academic system. That’s why I think studying abroad is a great idea for all CJ majors, and the study abroad fair is a great place to start,” said Malchow.

According to Malchow, the CIE’s study abroad fair went very well, with student engagement being a top priority. “What I think is most helpful is that interested students can talk to program returnees about their host university. In this case, excitement can be infectious and it’s always so awesome to see that in action,” Malchow said.

Malchow said that her experience abroad has made her CJ degree at UW-Eau Claire so much richer and that the fair is a great place for students to start their journey.

Alumni–please use the comments to tell us where you studied abroad and what you learned!

CJ alum, Ginna Roe, wins Emmy award for her three-part story on Selma, Alabama


UW-Eau Claire and CJ Department Alumna, Ginna Roe, went to Selma, Alabama last March to report a story she felt needed to be told. The story, Wisconsin to Selma: Bringing History Home, is what won Roe a Midwest Regional Emmy Award this past year. Here is what she had to say about her experience, along with some advice for current CJ majors:

What have you been doing since you graduated from UW-Eau Claire?
I graduated in May of 2014 and I have been working in La Crosse at WXOW-TV as a multimedia journalist.

How has the CJ department at UW-Eau Claire prepared you for your current position?
The CJ department definitely prepared me to work as a reporter. My professors taught me how to ask all the right questions. They taught me to follow my curiosity and believe in my instincts. And of course, they taught me how to write as journalist. What makes a strong lead, A.P. style and so forth.

Tell me more about the Wisconsin to Selma: Bringing History Home story and your work in Selma (and your Emmy award!):
In March of last year I traveled to Selma, Ala. for the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Somehow I convinced my bosses to send me down there all by myself. Well, I wasn’t entirely by myself. Once I got there I actually met up with Jan Larson and her journalism students. They were nice enough to let me stay with them.

While there I interviewed all sorts of people from the original foot soldiers who marched in Bloody Sunday 50 years prior, to an organization I believe is truly leading the movement of today, the Freedom Foundation. I completed three pieces, one that was reflective of the movement back then and the actual events of Bloody Sunday, another that was about the city of Selma and where it is now, that includes all of the poverty and disparity that still exist in Selma. And the third was about the future of Selma and the Civil Rights Movement and how a young man from Wisconsin is helping to lead that movement.

What inspired you to work on that project?
My inspiration began at UWEC when I went on the Civil Rights Pilgrimage. I was changed as person on that trip and it really helped ignite a passion within me.

Do you have any favorite courses or experiences from UW-Eau Claire that have influenced your work?
Once again I would say the Civil Rights Pilgrimage. It opened to my eyes to injustices I had never recognized before and me want to do my part to fight back against those injustices.

Do you have any advice for students graduating as they are entering the working world?
It may not be easy. Your first job may not be what you expected necessarily but if you are doing work that you are passionate about, keep going!

For more information about past Civil Rights Pilgrimage trips, check out the UWEC Civil Rights Pilgrimage Blog!

Alumni: What were your most influential experiences from UW-Eau Claire? Let us know in the comments!

Fall Semester Proves Exciting for New CJ Department Intern

Hello there! Fall is always an exciting time; it’s the start of a new school year here at UW-Eau Claire, the leaves turn colors, and there are new opportunities everywhere. I’m especially enthusiastic about starting this semester because I will be overseeing this blog, as well as the Facebook page for the Communication and Journalism department.

My name is Sarah Hunter and I am a senior advertising and multimsarahhunter_socialmediainternedia communication student. I love being a student at UW-Eau Claire, and I also work at our University’s bookstore and am a member of the Advertising Federation.
I have a passion for media, especially television, and in my free time, I like to run and cycle, as well as spend time with friends. Travelling is another passion I have, especially after I studied abroad in Winchester, England my sophomore year. I’m graduating this spring semester, and am looking forward to backpacking across Europe in the summer, and also starting this new post-collegiate chapter of my life!

I have great plans for this blog; I plan on posting stories about current news and events that are significant to the communication and journalism department. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions!

My summer in the swamp

Editor’s note: Courtney Kueppers is a senior journalism and political science student at UW-Eau Claire. She spent the summer interning for the Star Tribune-DC bureau. Last spring Kueppers interned for the CJ Department and helped run this blog. She will graduate in December.



When I arrived in Washington in late May it was indeed as hot as everyone — including Chancellor James Schmidt — had warned me it would be. I had taken a few short jaunts to the district, including the classic American middle school trip in seventh grade, but this was to be my first extended stay.

I very much brought my Midwest roots with me, and I’m not just talking about the Minnesotan accent my new friends mocked every time I said “bag” or “boat.” I had a number of experiences that connected Washington to “Wisconsin’s most beautiful campus.” Here are some of those accounts of connecting campus to the capital:

For starters, I was in Washington because of a program called Washington Center of Politics and Journalism, which two of my friends and former coworkers at The Spectator, Alex Zank and Nate Beck, are also alum of. The program is run by a man named Terry Michael, whose undergraduate journalism professor in Illinois was UWEC Professor Emeritus Henry Lippold. My first Blugold connection.

A number of the connections I encountered can be attributed to the Ann Devroy Fellowship. Devroy, a 1970 UW-Eau Claire journalism graduate, went on to cover the White House for 15 years until her death in 1997. The first Devroy-related encounter was a trip to The Washington Post to see the newsroom and meet some of the people I’ll work with in January as a part of the fellowship. It was the first time in DC, but not the last, I heard Devroy’s former coworkers talk about her talent and tenacity.

I also received a joyous hug one night from Andrea Mitchell, NBC news correspondent and 2004 Devroy Forum speaker, when I mentioned Devroy’s name. And one day at a lunch time seminar, Ron Fournier, a National Journal columnist, told me Devroy was one of the best and toughest reporters ever to work the White House beat.

One of Fournier’s coworkers at the National Journal offshoot, The Next America, is Janie Boschma, UWEC alumna and Devroy Fellow. She and I grabbed coffee one day in the historic Watergate Complex and also crossed paths at a picnic at the home of Craig Gilbert and Carol Guensburg (a UWEC journalism alumna). Craig and Carol graciously host the Devroy fellows every January. Their generosity and kindness cannot be overstated.

The picnic was the culmination of my UWEC run-ins in Washington. Devroy Fellows Breann Schossow and Taylor Kuether were there, as well as alumnus Brian Reisinger and Ann Devroy’s widower Mark Matthews. As I looked around that picnic, I felt unbelievably fortunate to be receiving my journalism degree from UW-Eau Claire, to be a Devroy Fellow and to be spending my summer working for the paper I was raised on: The Star Tribune.

Devroy Fellows Courtney Kueppers, Taylor Kuether, Breann Schossow and Janie Boschma with Ann Devroy's widower Mark Matthews this summer near Washington, DC.

Devroy Fellows Courtney Kueppers, Taylor Kuether, Breann Schossow and Janie Boschma with Ann Devroy’s widower Mark Matthews this summer near Washington, DC.

When I returned to the Midwest in early August I paid a visit to the Star Tribune’s mothership in downtown Minneapolis. At a morning story meeting, Star Tribune Deputy Sports Editor Chris Carr, the first ever Devroy Fellow, sat next to me. We talked about The Spectator, The Leader-Telegram and the fellowship. He was the final Blugold connection of my summer in the swamp.

What I learned is, we may be a small Wisconsin university, but alumni of our department will go to the ends of the world for each other. I am honored to be in such great company whether it is on campus or from a far.

PR students featured on UWEC website

Katie Miller and other CJ491 students had their articles published on the university website.

Katie Miller and other CJ491 students had their articles published on the university website.

Students in Professor MaureenSchriner’sCJ491 class recently had their work published on the university website.CJ491 is a special-topics course designed to give students hands-on professional experience working with the UW-Eau Claire’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Department to develop content to support the redesigned website and the Power of [AND] branding campaign. Students pitched and produced stories to publish on and UWEC social media.

Senior PR student Katie Miller was among the students in CJ491 during spring semester. Here is what she had to say about her experience:

Talk a little about CJ491 and how you were published on the uwec site:
In CJ 491 we got to practice the single-handedly most important skill one needs in public relations: writing! Yes, in other classes we write reports and beginner stories, but the only person who will see those is the professor. In CJ 491 we had to write for aclient- the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Integrated  Marketing Communication team. Our stories hadto be not just well written, but in a student voice to connect with incoming and current students. Also, who else to write about students than students themselves?One story I had published was about financially affording college. Our professor, Maureen Schriner, acted as the liaison between the IMC and us, the students. She was a critical editing eye and worked with us so we could have our stories published.

What were the benefits to your career from this class?
I got to be published. A lot of PR students have their own blog so they can get his or her writing out into the internet, but it is another level when a separate entity published your work for a public, high-traffic website.Also, I really developed my “writing voice.” People are more likely to connect and continue reading when the story sounds like a human wrote it instead of Siri.

What was the process of being published on the university website?
Professor Schriner gave us a really broad topic to work on and then let ustake the reigns on which direction we wanted to take the story and how we would like itto be written, whether it be a feature piece, student Q&A, etc. We just had to make sure theywere written in a student voice (which works because we are students) and aligned with the UW-Eau Claire brand manual.When we had our stories she would do her quick edit of them and send them off to IMC. If IMC liked the story pitch then we would run with it and make the necessary adjustments to tailor it to incoming and current students.

Anything else?
Even though we were the guinea pig class, it was a really great first round. Since all of our storieswere focused on UW-Eau Claire and its students I felt like I got to learn a lot more about our university. I also got to pick which stories I thought were important for students to know, based off of personal experience and using theUWEC Brand manual.Also, the class gave us a lot of independence. We did not waste time doing a lecture- we just worked and collaborated with other students.

Graduating seniors look back on UWEC CJ experience

In their last week of classes before walking across the stage in Zorn Arena donning caps and gowns, three UWEC Communication and Journalism students look back on their time at UWEC and look forward to how they will apply the skills they’ve garnered to real world experiences. Alexis Benjamin, Kristina Bornholtz and Kelsey Karnopp are among the 2015 UWEC CJ graduates.

Name: Alexis Benjamin



Major: Organizational Communication

Post-Graduation plans: District Manager at ALDI, Inc. starting June 1st.

CJ related activities/accomplishments: student-faculty research (2 years), peer academic advising (2 years), First year experience (FYE) mentor (1 year), Org. Comm scholarship recipient, Academic Assistant (AA) for CJ/WMNS 111 (1 semester).

Highlight of your UWEC CJ experience: Being a peer academic adviser. It was very rewarding to start the program with my co-worker Amanda and help students of all majors and ages within the CJ department to understand degree audits, make a “4 year plan,” and answer any questions they may have had!

Advice to future UWEC CJ students: Network! We have AMAZING faculty in the department who are here to help you and want you to succeed – take advantage of that while you can!

Name: Kristina Bornholtz



Major: Journalism

Post-graduations plans: Interning at in New York City.

CJ related activities/accomplishments: Managing editor at The Spectator, intern at Women’s Health magazine.

Highlight of your UWEC CJ experience: Working at The Spectator. It’s been an incredible experience – it’s taught me so much and has given me so many friends.

Advice to future UWEC CJ students: Go outside your comfort zone. If you have a dream, chase it. You have to fight for what you want out of your college experience and your degree!

Name: Kelsey Karnopp 



Major: Mass Communication – Public Relations

Post-graduation plans: I’m currently working as a social media and copy-editing intern, and I will continue to do that after graduation as I search for a full-time public relations position. I hope to do something in health care because I really want my work to make a difference.

CJ related activities: One of my favorite CJ-related opportunities was working with Dr. Evan Perrault and a team of six other students on a student-faculty research project, which I wrote about for the CJ blog. Getting the chance to take a class project and work in-depth on translating data into a solution for a real life problem was invaluable.

Highlight of UWEC CJ experience: The highlight of my CJ experience was getting an internship working for someone who spoke to my CJ 270 class. That internship started out as a fun, five-hour-a-week job. Now, after nine months of doing that internship, I have learned more than I ever could have imagined. That internship has taught me skills I never would have learned in the classroom.

Advice to future UWEC CJ students: Choose skill-based electives to enroll in that might not be directly related to your major. My computer science courses, CJ 241: Audio and Video Production Process, CJ 321: Intermediate Journalism and ART 312: Computer Graphics were incredibly beneficial to me. The skills I honed in those courses are relevant to every single job I have applied for.

What advice do you have for these and other graduating seniors?

New Media Environment Spurs “Major Merger” at UW-Eau Claire



What in the world is integrated strategic communication? For the first time, students at UW-Eau Claire are seeing the words “integrated strategic communication” appear on their class schedules and course catalogues. It’s not just students who may be questioning what the term means, according to a press release from assistant professor Evan Perrault.

Integrated Strategic Communication is a new program, which is officially replacing the mass communication program in the UW-Eau Claire Department of Communication and Journalism as of Fall 2015.

The ISC program still offers a major or minor degree with a public relations or advertising emphasis. But the curriculum is revised, and the approach is a significant change, according to the press release.

Previously, students learned about public relations and advertising as though a wall existed between the two.

The ISC program tears down that artificial wall with a new curriculum. The introductory and capstone courses for public relations and advertising have been merged, so students learn to develop communications that serve in both PR and advertising, through integrated storytelling.

The new ISC introductory course has a multimedia lab for students to learn hands-on skills about producing integrated content. Upper-division courses have changed as well, to further integrate public relations and advertising knowledge and skill building.



Public relations student Hanna Johnson said ISC involves the objectives, strategies and tactics that underlie professions in the field of communication.

“I believe this program will benefit students by providing them with an inclusive, well-rounded degree in communication,” said Johnson who will serve as an academic apprentice in the fall for the new intro course that is combining Introduction to Advertising and Introduction to Public Relations. “Students majoring in ISC will leave college with a strong base of communication skills, knowledge and ethical standards that will make them marketable to future employers.”

But the ISC program is more than just a change in class schedules. It reflects the professional world of integrated communication, and the sea change in the media environment, Perrault stated in the release.

Organizations interact with the public through digital communication and social media. Mass communication has converged with interpersonal communication. Students will learn about this converged – or merged – environment by focusing on how organizations present their personality, or brand, through integrated communication. In addition to learning how public relations and advertising are developed together, students will also learn how “branded journalism” plays a role in how organizations communicate their brand.

All the changes represent broadening career opportunities for students who earn degrees from the ISC program.

Organizations are placing a priority on having communicators to help the organization interact effectively with an increasingly diverse public. Job growth is on the rise for positions in integrated strategic communication, particularly for positions requiring multimedia storytelling skills, according to Perrault.

“I am looking forward to seeing how this change in the CJ department will positively impact current and future students. I believe it is a step in the right direction for UW-Eau Claire,” Johnson said.

What do you think about this change to our department? Let us know in the comments below!

Two students present research near and far

Erin Hanson and Alexis Benjamin present their CJ based research project at Eastern Washington University for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Erin Hanson and Alexis Benjamin present their CJ based research project at Eastern Washington University for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

For the past two years much of Alexis Benjamin’s time has been committed to the undergraduate research project she worked on with Communication and Journalism Department faculty member Nicole Schultz and fellow student Erin Hanson.

Despite the time commitment to the project, Benjamin, an organizational communication major, said the experience has been among the best of her undergraduate career.

Benjamin and Hanson didn’t know each other before starting work on the project, which focuses on integrative learning, but now are close friends, Benjamin said. Two weeks ago the duo presented their findings at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at Eastern Washington University. They have also presented at CERCA.

Through their research, the team looked at sections of one class — CJ/WMNS 111: Gender, Race, & Class-The Social Construction of Identity — over the course of four semesters to see how well the students performed integrative learning.

The first year of the project, the team focused on seeing how well freshmen students performed. Benjamin said they performed up to par for the most part so the team decided to look at different cohorts.

This year was spent looking at those different cohorts. Results show upperclassmen and honor students performed better than freshman students did in integrative learning.

Based on their findings the team will present a model for general education reform, which includes integrative learning to the university.

“Different cohorts performed at different levels. Depending on how they performed we proposed a model that the university uses to implement integrative learning,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin first got involved with a project after clicking with Schultz freshman year. She will graduate this semester and has a job lined up as a district manager for ALDI in the Twin Cities. Despite finishing up her undergraduate career, Benjamin said she hopes to see the research published someday. A task Schultz will work on after Benjamin and Hanson graduate.

“I think that it has added a lot to my resume to apply to jobs,” she said. “I can talk a lot about being a researcher, me being able to present in front of large audiences and also networking with people.”

Benjamin said her advice to other students looking to get in to research is being sure your topic is something you’re passionate about.

In what ways should integrative learning be a part of the undergraduate experience?

Journalism students to publish Devroy stories on class blog

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on where you can read complete coverage of the 18th annual Ann Devroy Memorial Forum. The Forum is free at open to the public 7 p.m. Thursday in Schofield Auditorium.



The relationship between journalists, and the executive branch have changed, even in the time since the last president left office, a columnist for The Washington Post said last week.

Al Kamen, who writes the column, “In The Loop” for The Washington Post, will focus on those changes and journalism’s transition from print to digital in a speech Thursday at the Ann Devroy Memorial Forum at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Devroy, who graduated from the UW-Eau Claire in 1970, went on to have an esteemed career at The Washington Post. Including her final position, as chief White House correspondent to the Clinton administration.

Kamen remembers Devroy, who died of cancer in 1997, as a dogged reporter. Because of his high respect for Devroy, Kamen said he “couldn’t refuse” coming to Eau Claire as a forum speaker.

“I purposely sat next to her,” Kamen recalled of working with Devroy. “She was a fount of information and was willing to share what she couldn’t use, which was a lot. Devroy was plugged in to so many things, so many people.”

Kamen originally went to Washington to work with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on their book, “The Final Days.” From there his journalism career led him west to the Rocky Mountain News in Denver where he covered cops and the governor’s office.

When Woodward began work on his Supreme Court book, “The Brethren,” he called Kamen back to Washington to help. He’s been working at The Post since.

During his tenure at The Post, Kamen has covered the Washington Superior Court, District Court, U.S. Supreme Court, State Department and immigration. Since the early ‘90s, he has written his column, which focuses on the executive branch.

Kristina Bornholtz, managing editor of The Spectator, said she appreciates UW-Eau Claire’s efforts to bring in world-class speakers, like Kamen.

“It’s special for our department to have this night to celebrate what we do,” Bornholtz said. “This is unique to our campus. Not everyone gets to hear from a national journalist.”

Mike Dorsher, associate professor of communication and journalism at UW-Eau Claire and chair of the Devroy committee, said he hopes students take advantage of the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of Kamen.

“It’s people like Al Kamen who are really the fourth branch to scrutinize the government and hold all three branches accountable,” Dorsher said.

Dorsher said Kamen is among the last full-time Washington Post journalists who worked alongside Devroy.

Kamen is grounded in old school journalism, “He does it the way Ann Devroy taught him to do it,” Dorsher said. Even though that is Kamen’s background, today he uses social media to reach sources and promote his work. This balance of 20th and 21st century journalism makes Kamen a great Devroy Forum speaker, Dorsher said.

Steve Fruehauf, a senior journalism major, has been inspired by the last two Devroy Forums he’s attended. Fruehauf said he enjoys hearing from notable speakers and thinks the fellowship provides great possibilities for UW-Eau Claire students.

“The Devroy Fellowship gives a small own college student an opportunity in a big national market,” Fruehauf said. “It validates what we’re doing here and shows we can have success.”



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