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Spring 2018


In this issue

The spring 2018 issue of the Department of Communication alumni newsletter includes stories about the department’s new second undergraduate major program and the department’s participation in events about the ever-changing communication industry. 


  • The department’s new Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies is welcoming its first class of students. Story here.  
  • Media Week 2017 addressed a wide variety of issues, from fake news to global branding. Story here. 
  • The latest Patterson Scholarship recipient helps students with autism. Story here. 
  • Kayla Beckmann Barnhart, class of 2011, and Guy Barnhart, class of 2013, talk about how they found each other while pursuing successful careers in advertising and marketing. Story here.
  • The department co-hosted a workshop with the Florida Scholastic Press Association. Story here
  • You are invited to join the department's expanded mentorship program for undergraduate and graduate students. Story here
  • The department is co-sponsoring a Social Media Day workshop for media professionals. Tickets are now on sale. Story here.
  • The “Tech Tips” column discusses public relations-related features in Facebook as well as new apps to fix data and storage space issues on your mobile device. Story here. 
  • Stay current with faculty members’ most recent research and awards. Story here. 
  • If you want to get more involved, there are eight great ways to stay connected with the Department of Communication. Story here. 


John H. Parmelee, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair



Students excited about the department's new major in communication studies

By Margaret Stewart

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies


Communication studies students

Communication studies majors engage in a group learning engagements while in their Principles of Communication Studies course (from left to right: Melissa Yesse, Sabrina Matthews, Brittany Wagner and Kendall Gast).  


The Department of Communication’s second undergraduate major, the Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, is attracting students who are interested in a comprehensive knowledge base about human communication across a variety of contexts and industries to foster their development into versatile communication professionals and leaders.


Students who choose to major in communication studies have the opportunity to discover more about the human communication process in personal and professional relationships, and utilize their newly discovered knowledge and skills to pursue career roles in corporate training, corporate communication, sales, nonprofit leadership, talent recruiting, health communication, policy and government and social media. About 30 students declared as communication studies majors in the first semester of its existence.


“After UNF introduced its new communication studies major, I was instantly intrigued,” said Melissa Yesse, a junior and communication studies major. “The thought of studying how individuals connect and communicate seemed to fit perfectly into my academic goals. There are endless job opportunities with a communications degree, and I am extremely excited to see what the future holds." 

Dr. Tina Holland, who was in charge of the faculty committee that developed the new major, said, “This is something I have been looking forward to for 15 years. I am so thrilled to see our department being able to offer this major. I am sure we will see students who are looking for the tremendous flexibility this program offers.”


The new major in communication studies joins the department’s existing Bachelor of Science in Communication, which focuses on public relations, advertising, multimedia journalism and production, and the recently introduced Master of Science in Communication Management. In the Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, students are required to take COM 3003-Principles of Communication Studies, COM 3332-Mediated Communication, COM 3042-Interpersonal Communication, COM 3120-Organizational Communication, COM 3752-Listening, and COM 4958-Communication Studies Capstone. Other courses include 4301-Communication Theory and Research Methods, COM 4561-Strategic Social Media, COM 4044-Lying and Deception, COM 4373-Consequences of Cyberculture, COM 3346-Interviewing: Theories & Methods, COM 4430-International Communication, COM 3440-Small Group Communication, and COM 4022-Theory & Research Methods in Health Communication. The new major also has a foreign language requirement.

Communication studies students

Communication Studies majors Melissa Yesse (left) and David Wisehart (center), collaborate with multimedia journalism and production student Isaiah Jenkins (right) in their course Strategic Social Media.   

Dr. Christa Arnold, who teaches courses in listening and lying and deception in the major, notes that “a degree in communication studies can apply to a variety of career paths, and the degree joins an already wonderful and established communication department.”


The communication studies degree is rapidly growing in popularity across the country as employers are aggressively seeking out graduates who can solve problems, think critically, express ideas effectively, resolve conflict, appreciate diversity, recruit talented personnel, and understand the nuances and best practices of human communication in the workplace and in a global society. Students participating in the Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies are expected to achieve the learning outcomes stated in the program’s Osprey Eight, which include communicate effectively, conduct valid research, apply theory, think critically, employ media, embrace diversity, practice ethically and engage civically. 


The supportive climate and the genuine commitment among students, faculty and staff towards student success in the program are among the greatest assets of the new major. According to junior David Wisehart, “Five weeks into four courses within the communications studies major I feel this was the best academic choice I have made. The program focuses on my existing skill deficits, while improving upon my strengths to pave the way for new professional endeavors in the future.” Another communication studies student, Melissa Yesse, is equally pleased. “All in all, what I love about the communications department so far is the brilliant professors I get to learn from and work with,” she said. 

Traci Mathies, who teaches interpersonal communication and speech courses for the program, sees the students’ passion for the program. “The enthusiasm and energy inside and outside the classroom is already contagious,” she said. “This program will meet needs in the marketplace and will open many opportunities for students.”

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Media Week takes on fake news and other timely issues


Media Week 2017 fake news panel

Mary Kelli Palka, editor of The Florida Times-Union (second from left) talks about fighting fake news. Fellow panels include (left to right) Katrina Greco, Jason Mudd, Frank Denton and Mike Miller. 


The UNF Department of Communication’s fifth annual Media Week event, which ran Oct. 23 - 27, 2017, once again helped students in advertising, public relations, journalism and production engage with media professionals at panels and over lunch. The panel "The Spin on Fake News," co-sponsored by The Florida Times-Union and held in its auditorium, especially sparked conversation. Speakers included Mary Kelli Palka, editor of The Florida Times-Union; Frank Denton, editor at large at The Florida Times-Union/Jacksonville.com; Jason Mudd, CEO of Axia Public Relations; Katrina Greco, corporate communications manager at FIS; and Mike Miller, retired broadcaster and manager of business development for Jacksonville Transportation Authority. They talked about fake news in terms of its history and current notoriety. They also gave examples of how to spot and combat fake news. The panel video can be seen on the Media Week 2017 website


Media Week 2017 keynote address

Tuan Tu, Revlon's marketing director, speaks to advertising and public relations students during his keynote.


Another well-attended session was the keynote address titled “The Importance of Advertising and PR in Building Successful Global Brands.” The speaker, Tuan Tu, is marketing director at Revlon and an award-winning business leader in the beauty and personal care industry. Tu emphasized to students the importance of finding a job for which they have a passion. He also shared anecdotes on how Revlon builds its global brand.


Other panels addressed global and domestic diversity issues, the value of a communication-related master’s degree, and the benefits of the department’s mentorship program.


Media Week 2017 alumni mixer

The department’s alumni mixer combined food, wine and a love of golf.


Alumni participants included Toni Boudreaux, SJC Chamber of Commerce; Haleigh Dunning, Bold Brands; Frances Hanold, Shepherd Agency; Mike Madden, Fanatics; Holly Morse, V is for Victory; Stephanie Jarrett, JetBlue; Zach Sweat, Void Magazine; and Ken Thomas, UNF. They took part in various panels, including the alumni panel, and the alumni mixer. The alumni mixer took place off campus this year at Top Golf. 


Those who attended the events discussed what they saw and heard using the #UNFMediaWeek hashtag. A 20-minute summary of all the events can be seen on the Media Week 2017 website.



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Robert Rittenhouse wins Patterson Scholarship



The First Coast News show Good Morning Jacksonville featured Rittenhouse’s efforts.


The Patterson Scholarship, named after former communication department chair Oscar Patterson, has especially high standards. Only those who maintain a 3.5 GPA, take at least 12 hours every semester, and demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply. The current recipient, Robert Rittenhouse, is focusing on advertising and is minoring in creative writing and community leadership. He is active in Awaken Church and is a student leader in UNF’s THRIVE program. The THRIVE program helps students with autism acclimate to college life. His goal is to get a master’s degree and then work for a children’s nonprofit managing their communication. He’s also an avid reader, and he says he especially enjoys Gulliver’s Travels because of its “penchant for normalized absurdity.”



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Electronic media alumni find love while working in advertising

By Kayla Beckmann Barnhart

Class of 2011


Guy Barnhart and Kayla Beckmann Barnhart  

Guy Barnhart and Kayla Beckmann Barnhart are a team in their personal and professional lives. 


Before you ask, no, we were not college sweethearts. In fact, we didn’t even attend UNF at the same time. Now that that’s out of the way, here’s our story. 


The story is different, depending on which one of us you ask, but since I’m telling it, here’s my version. I met Guy at the production studios of Digital Video Arts. He was an intern starting his path back into college (second time is a charm), and I was an ambitious fresh-out-of-college girl on a mission to create a TV show out of the same content I was writing about in Void Magazine. Well, the show happened. And so did we. 


While I finished up my time at Void, Guy finished up his degree, all while moving in with each other way too quickly. Guy began an internship, then job, at advertising agency Burdette Ketchum, while I went to competing agency Shepherd. Both of our first assignments were to work on the biggest pitch of the year – one to land the Jacksonville Jaguars as a client. We weren’t allowed to talk to each other about it, and let’s just say things were a bit tense in our one-bedroom apartment. Shortly after, Shepherd offered Guy the opportunity to come and work alongside me, and against both our reason he took the job. Together we shared the CSX account, among others, and were a dynamic duo. Guy’s attention to detail and my deadline-driven Type-A personality made us the perfect yin and yang. 


After a little more than a year, we both started to feel a bit stagnant and knew some changes were in our future. Then the rest happened really fast. I left Shepherd to start my boutique creative agency, Small Fox Media, in August 2014. Guy proposed in October the next year. We planned a wedding. Then canceled it. Then eloped in Rome in April 2016. 


Small Fox had an amazing first year, taking home local and regional ADDY Awards for our work with Drug Free Duval. Feeling confident in our trajectory, it was Guy’s turn to take a risk. He left the agency to become the marketing manager at ICEMULE Coolers, a startup out of St. Augustine. Being the wonderful husband that he is, he hired his wife to make a few videos for them and handle their social media, thus continuing our work together. This past year, Guy led ICEMULE through an entire rebrand that has led to significantly increased awareness and sales, making it one of the fastest growing outdoor brands. 


I celebrated three years as a business owner this past August and am excited to see Small Fox really hit our stride in the social media sphere this year, working with national clients and collaborating with like-minded agencies. 


I guess this is where we tell you what’s next. This March we’ll be heading west to Denver to keep doing exactly what we’re doing here, but with a little different scenery. Why? Why not! 


We both took something very different from our time at UNF (for Guy: the tools to be confident in taking chances in his professional career; and for me: the confidence to be the leader my professors recognized in me early on). We’re honored to represent UNF and hope that we can be as influential to students as the past alumni and professors were to us. 


Find us at:





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The Department teams up with the Florida Scholastic Press Association


FSPA program


The Department of Communication played host to the Florida Scholastic Press Association’s fall workshop on Sept. 23, 2017. There were 17 presentations by 14 speakers from newspapers, TV stations and the department’s faculty. Around 50 high school journalism students attended. The event was an opportunity to showcase the department’s facilities and recruit the next generation of communication students.


UNF participants included Dr. Paula Horvath, who spoke about how to write engaging editorials, and Dr. John Parmelee, who talked about how Twitter is changing the journalism industry. The Department of Communication’s senior broadcast engineer, Ken Thomas, gave a videography/photography work­shop involving cell phones and cov­ering topics such as framing and composition, angles and perspectives, and focus.


Other speakers included Tia Mitchell, the Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Florida Times-Union, who spoke about how to cover decisions made by school administrators and advisory councils, school boards and elected officials that affect school calendars, athletics, dress codes, grad­uation requirements and prayer in schools.


Paige Kelton, an award-winning journalist who recently moved from the anchor desk to the man­agement team at WJAX-TV and WFOX-TV, participated in two timely sessions: “Reportage: Diversity, Distrust & battling #FakeNews” and “Social Media: The Perks & Pitfalls.”


For more than 70 years, the Florida Scholastic Press Association has trained and supported scholastic journalists and their advisers. More information about the workshop is on the FSPA website.





Join the Department of Communication's expanded mentorship program


 Mentorship page to join


The department is looking for more alumni to join the communication mentorship program, which gives current undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to connect with communication professionals. This is not your typical mentorship program. The process takes place online. The department’s students connect with mentors via email. Then, if need be, student mentees and mentors can continue to email or select a communication method that works best. Mentors assist students with academic advice, career guidance and life lessons. Students are able to choose their mentor based on the professional’s background and expertise.


About 50 communication professionals are already on the mentor list, and there is always room for more.


To join, visit the mentorship website and complete the online form based on the instructions provided. It’s that simple.



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Social Media Day workshop coming in June 


Social Media Day organizers

Communication studies assistant professor Margaret Stewart (left); Erin Gordon, a UNF aluma and co-owner of Savvy Outsourcing (center); and Carlos Gil of Gil Media Co. (right) are planning Social Media Day Jacksonville 2018.

Anyone who wants to use social media more effectively on the job is invited to Social Media Day Jacksonville 2018. 


The event will be held June 29 - 30 at the UNF Adam W. Herbert University Center. Speakers include top social media influencers, such as Dennis Yu from BlitzMetrics, Rebekah Radice from Post Planner, Derral Eves from VidSummit and other marketing experts.


Event sponsors include the UNF Department of Communication, the American Marketing Association of Jacksonville, the Advertising Federation Association of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Online Marketing Meetup, Gil Media Co. and Savvy Outsourcing. 


Early bird registration is $147, which includes the workshops, lunch and a reception. More details are on the Social Media Day Jacksonville 2018 website. And there's also a preview video of the event.   



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Tech Tips

By Dr. Chunsik Lee

Associate Professor, Department of Communication


Introducing the two important sections in Facebook’s official PR webpage  

Newsroom.fb.com has long been a weekly check-up place for any social media manager or anyone working in the emerging media industry. Two sections give you important updates: Hard Questions and News Feed FYI. Since Facebook started reckoning with the ethical issues raised by critiques, it has used Hard Questions as a PR page. It tackles tough issues like social media addiction, hate speech, foreign intervention, misinformation spread on Facebook, user’s mental well-being, and social media and democracy. In News Feed FYI, you can find Facebook’s big and small News Feed algorithm changes, their potential impact and their justifications. You will learn how to minimize the potential negative impact from the most recent algorithm changes and the prioritization of close friends’ content over organization and publishers’ Facebook Page content.  


Introducing Android apps Datally and File Go  

Datally is a long-overdue feature on Android to catch up to a built-in iPhone feature that shows how much data is used by each app. Datally provides insights on what apps consume your mobile/cellular data in real time and delivers daily and weekly report as well. It also gets you personalized recommendations to save more data. It tells you if you are near public Wi-Fi and helps you to connect. Files Go helps users free up storage space on their smartphones by finding unnecessary files. It works like CCleaner, the steady seller on PC. Files Go also offers offline file transfer features between adjacent Android phones like AirDrop features on iPhones.  


Introducing Adobe Spark

Adobe, the industry leader in the photo editor and video editor market, has finally launched consumer products. It’s all free (with Adobe Spark watermark on your artifacts) and provides an easy-to-use interface (a $9.99 monthly service is available to replace with your own brand logo). In iOS, it also offers three separate apps: AdobeSpark Post, Page and Video. Adobe Spark Post provides easy-to-use photo editing tools that are customized for social media publishing. Adobe Spark Page offers step-by-step webpage design tools. It remains to be seen how Adobe will do in the competitive webpage design tool market.  



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Faculty activity 


Dr. Christa Arnold received the 1st place Competitive Communication Scholarship Paper Award from the Florida Communication Association for her paper “Listening Skills and the Medical Encounter: Perceptions from Practicing Physicians.”


Dr. Berrin Beasley presented “Evolution of the Social Media Journalist: Integrating the Roles of Gatekeeper, Reporter, and Copy Editor” at the American Journalism Historians Association’s convention. 


Dr. David Deeley won Best of Competition in the TV Sports Event Direction & Production category of the 2018 Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts for his work on the UNF vs. Jacksonville Men's Basketball ASUN Quarterfinal Game. 


Dr. Christine Holland presented “Develop a Culture Workshop: Team-Based Learning Project for Intercultural Communication” at a communication pedagogy workshop at the Florida Communication Association convention. 


Marcia Ladendorff participated in a panel discussion on “Storytelling: How to Get People to Read You” at PRSA Florida. 


Dr. Chunsik Lee and Dr. Junga Kim published “Testing a Cultural Orientation Model of Electronic Word-of-Mouth Communication: A Comparative Study of U.S. and Korean Social Media Users” in Asian Journal of Communication. 


Dr. John Parmelee, Dr. Nataliya Roman, Dr. Berrin Beasley and Dr. Stephynie Perkins published “Gender and Generational Differences in Political Reporters’ Interactivity on Twitter” in Journalism Studies. They also published “Comparing Interactivity on Twitter by Political Reporters at TV Networks, Online-Only News Websites, and Newspapers” in Electronic News. 


Dr. Margaret Stewart and Dr. Christa Arnold presented “Social Listening to Improve Customer Relations: A Case Study of an American Academic Library” at the Florida Communication Association convention.



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Get involved


There are eight great ways to stay connected with the Department of Communication:  


1.     Join the Department's Professional Advisory Board. The board helps us make sure we are getting students prepared for the current media environment. If you have risen to a position of leadership at a news organization, PR firm, advertising agency or other media outlet, please contact the department chair, John Parmelee. Even if you don't want to be on the board, feel free to email the chair with any advice on making the curriculum better.   


2.     Join the Department's alumni association. This is a great chance to interact with fellow communication alumni and current students. To join, please contact the department's alumni association, mention your interest in joining and please include your name, contact information, year of graduation and track. Also, all communication alumni are invited to be a part of the conversation on Facebook. This is the “go-to” spot for UNF communication alumni. The Facebook group includes information about alumni social events, recently posted communication jobs, tech tips, departmental news and pictures/video from departmental events such as Media Week. In addition, communication faculty members have joined the group, so you can connect with your old professors. Here’s how to join the alumni Facebook group: Search for UNF Communication Alumni and ask to join.    


3.     Let faculty know how you're doing. Below is a link that lists faculty and their email addresses. Faculty love to hear what their former students are up to and are always happy to offer advice


4.     Participate in the Internship Fair. Every spring, representatives from companies such as WJXT, The Florida Times-Union, United Way and Mayo Clinic meet with communication students to discuss upcoming internships and jobs. If you are a leader at a company that is looking for interns to do advertising, public relations, journalism or production, please contact professor Bobbi Doggett to participate.   


5.     Be a guest speaker. Your expertise in advertising, public relations, journalism or production could be a real benefit to current students. We are always looking for such guest speakers to come to communication classes. A good time to do this comes during the fall semester when the department hosts Media Week, an opportunity for media professionals to speak with students and faculty about the media landscape. Contact John Parmelee for more information.   


6.     Contribute to Alumni Notes. This is your chance to let faculty and fellow alumni know of any big career or personal changes in your life. Also, consider contributing a 300- to 500-word piece on which professors made the biggest impact on your career. Submissions will be published in the alumni newsletter. Contact John Parmelee to submit.   


7.     Donate to the Department. Even a small gift can help us enhance our facilities, academics and recruiting of top-quality students and faculty. To contribute, please click here


8.     Join us on Twitter and Facebook.   



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