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Baylor Student Media Positions and Promotions November 19, 2021

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Christy Soto

Former LTVN anchor/reporter

Weekend News Anchor at NBC2 – Fort Myers, Fla.

(Weekend anchor?)


Shehan Jeyarajah

Former Lariat sports editor/writer

National College Football Writer for CBS Sports

Podcast co-host of national College Football Survivor Show


Jenna Frisby

Former Lariat Social Media Editor

Manager of corporate social media communications

Monumental Sports & Entertainment (Washington, DC)


Adam Gibson

Former Lariat sports writer

Corporate communications associate

KPMG US (Dallas)


Kaitlyn (DeHaven) Orred

Former Lariat digital managing editor/social media editor/design editor/arts & life editor

Digital Marketing Specialist

Text-Em-All (Frisco)


Meredith Pratt

Former Lariat assistant news editor/staff writer

Social media coordinator

SIL International (Dallas)


Liesje Powers

Former Lariat photo editor/photographer

Multimedia Editor

Advocate Media (Dallas)


Jessika Harkay

Former Lariat sports writer

Breaking news reporter

Fort Worth Star-Telegram


Matthew Soderberg

Former Lariat editor-in-chief/city editor/sports writer

Assistant Sports Information Director

University of North Texas (Denton)


Meredith Aldis

Former LTVN reporter

Reporter at WRCB-TV

Chattanooga, TN


Jakob Brandenburg

Former LTVN reporter

Sports Director KOSA-CBS7 (Midland-Odessa) 


Baylor Student Media off to Strong Start November 19, 2021

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Baylor Student Media is off to a strong start this year, earning an impressive 40 national awards in the past two months from collegiate and professional organizations.

The Lariat was a finalist for a prestigious Editor & Publisher’s EPPY Award for best campus website,  in good company with the eventual winner, Syracuse University’s Newhouse Communication Center.  Our students also were named an Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker finalist. The Lariat also earned first place editorial cartoon and first place special section (“Baylor Backstory”) from the College Media Association.

Lariat TV News also earned a finalist Pacemaker recognition from ACP. LTVN has been racking up the accolades, in fact. Notable awards: first place Pinnacle in sports broadcast from the College Media Association; first place video news package and video newscast in CMA’s film and audio festival; first place Best of Show for broadcast news story and broadcast news program from the Association Collegiate Press; and first place feature news reporting from College Broadcasters Inc.

Roundup has received numerous awards for design as well.

We are early in the contest season, so we look forward to seeing the students’ hard work recognized from other organizations later this year.





Andrea Gaul Accepts New Role as Internal Communications Manager at the National Safety Council November 19, 2021

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Baylor JPR&NM alumna Andrea Gaul recently accepted a new role as Internal Communications Manager at the National Safety Council, America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate.

Gaul was previously employed at Neighborly, the world’s largest home services franchisor. There,  she managed both internal and external communications functions for five national home service brands.

Gaul earned her bachelor’s degree in 2017 at Baylor University in Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media with a Business concentration.

At Baylor, Gaul served on the Baylor PRSSA board and was a journalism department ambassador. She recently moved from Waco to Austin and will work fully remote.

Lately, in her spare time, she has been planning her wedding! She and her fiancé Sean (who she met at Neighborly!) got engaged earlier this year in Portland, Oregon, and will get married October 2022.

Gaul is excited to “fling her green and gold afar” in this new role.


Alumnus Shehan Jeyarajah Joins CBS Sports as a National College Football Writer November 17, 2021

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Baylor Journalism, Public Relations and New Media alumnus Shehan Jeyarajah (BA, Class of 2016) joined CBS Sports as a National College Football Writer. His first day was Aug. 29.

In his new job, Jeyarajah takes a leading role in multimedia coverage at CBS, regularly contributing news writing, columns, picks and features that appear on http://CBSSports.com. He will also appear on the 24-hour CBS Sports HQ streaming channel heading forward.

Jeyarajah serves on the national board of the Football Writer’s Association of America (FWAA), works as one of 18 national selectors for the FWAA All-America team and votes for numerous other college football awards, including the Biletnikoff, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose, Nagurski and others. He is also a proud member of the Asian American Journalists Association.

Prior to CBS Sports, Jeyarajah worked as college football editor and insider at Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine, leading comprehensive coverage of the 47 institutions that play college football at all levels in Texas and writing cover stories for three football and two basketball magazines. He previously covered Big 12 and SEC football for Cox Media Group and contributed to college coverage at the Dallas Morning News.

Jeyarajah was the youngest writer honored in the FWAA’s Best Writing Contest in 2020 for his enterprise story on SMU’s Dallas Campaign and was named Outstanding Young Alumni by the Baylor Line Foundation in 2021.

While at Baylor, Jeyarajah served as the Lariat Sports Editor and a member of the editorial board.

The Coppell-native lives in Dallas with his wife, Bhargavi, a fellow 2016 Baylor graduate.


Baylor’s Editor-In-Chief Takes on Difficult Job November 17, 2021

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By Lucy Ruscitto

Editor-in-chief is no simple job. It involves extreme attention to detail, countless hours of brainstorming, a team player attitude and a talent of delegation and balance.

Ava Dunwoody, a junior and Baylor Lariat editor-in-chief from California, is a bit different than your typical Lariat staff member. Her plan is to become a high school teacher post-graduation.

Dunwoody is a secondary English-language arts major in the Baylor School of Education, and is minoring in news editorial, a track within the journalism major.

“When I was in high school, I joined the newspaper not really knowing what it was. But I was looking for an organization that I could devote some time to, and I knew that I liked writing so I gave it a shot,” she explained. “I fell in love with the program and decided that journalism was something that I wanted to pursue.”

Her passion for writing and storytelling was sparked, and ever since she has had her heart set on becoming a high school journalism teacher, overseeing and managing the student newspaper.

A year ago, she began her college journalism journey as a staff writer for the Baylor Lariat.

“I knew that I wanted to work for the Lariat ever since I went to Baylor. But I was nervous my freshman year,” Dunwoody admitted.

After taking Professor Amber Adamson’s “Reporting/Writing for the Media” class, Ava decided to take the jump and asked her how to go about writing some contributing pieces for the Baylor Lariat.

Through the encouragement and advice of her professor, she applied to the student publication the following semester as a staff writer. Falling in love with news writing, she continued up in the ranks into the arts & life editor position the next spring, and she says she loved the different duties the role presented and challenged her with.

“I actually wasn’t going to apply for editor-in-chief until my advisor approached me and told me that I should throw my name in the hat,” Dunwoody said. “I was super nervous, but I did it.”

Ava described the interview process as being very “intense”​​— she had to interview with 10 faculty members on a selection board and pitch herself to them as to why she deserved the position.

“I ended up getting it and I have loved it ever since,” she said.

Dunwoody revealed that this experience has pushed her out of her comfort zone in more ways than one, and she is proud not only of herself but especially her staff and their accomplishments.

“I’ve absolutely been the proudest of my staff on print night. We started off on our first edition five hours past deadline, and it was devastating,” Dunwoody described. “We’ve made a ton of progress, in terms of meeting deadlines and the content that we’ve been pumping out has been great. And so, I have just been as proud of all the products that we’ve created as a team. And we had a lot of fun doing it too, which is great.”

While there have been some very defining and impressive moments, Ava said she had also struggled with being one of the newer ones on staff, while also holding the most executive position within the student organization.

“My biggest challenge so far has been the fact that all of the staff members that came before me that I looked up to and relied on for a lot of my advice comes to journalism. They have all graduated,” Dunwoody said. “While I still can reach out to them, and I call them sometimes, and they share their wisdom with me, and I tell them what’s going on in the newsroom. Still, it’s different now that they have moved on.”

Despite some initial roadblocks that she and her staff overcame through time and teamwork, she said she has been inspired to encourage non-journalism students to apply for Baylor publication positions— especially if writing, photography or design is one of their passions.

“There’s room for everyone, in everything that you do. There’s room for new people in journalism, there’s always room for people to write contributing pieces in the Lariat,” she said.

“There’s always people that are willing to teach you a certain skill, whether it’s as simple as learning how to play chess, or something or as advanced as learning how to be a broadcast reporter. My advice would be to just go for it and try it because the worst that can happen is they find out that’s not their passion, it will lead them to what is.”

Rick Bradfield Award for Breaking News and Investigative Journalism November 17, 2021

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Veteran newsman Rick Bradfield’s legacy will live on forever with the Rick Bradfield Award for Breaking News and Investigative Journalism.

Individuals who want to donate to the Rick Bradfield fund online may click directly on the below link, or visit wacofoundation.org, click “Donate” at the top right, and search for the Rick Bradfield Award for Breaking News and Investigative Journalism. From there, they can follow the prompts to submit a donation via credit card.

Direct link to fund: https://waco.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=2436.

If a donor wants to give a donation by check, they should make the check out to Waco Foundation and include “Rick Bradfield Fund” in the memo line. The check can be mailed to Waco Foundation, 1227 N. Valley Mills, Suite 235, Waco, TX 76710. The donation will be deposited directly into the fund.

All donations are made to Waco Foundation, a 501c3 organization, for the benefit of the Rick Bradfield Award for Breaking News and Investigative Journalism, and therefore are tax-deductible. We recommend donors visit with their tax professionals to determine deductibility. If donors have questions or would like more information, they can call me at 254-754-3404.

Waco Foundation is also able to accept non-cash assets like publicly traded stock, real estate, business interests, etc. If a donor is interested in a non-cash gift, we can certainly meet with him or her to visit about the best options.

Natalie Kelinske
Senior Director of Communications & Donor Services

1227 N. Valley Mills Drive, Suite 235
Waco, Texas 76710
P: 254.754.3404
F: 254.753.2887

Christina Soto Promoted to Weekend Evening Anchor November 16, 2021

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Congratulations to JPR&NM alumna Christina Soto for her recent promotion to weekend evening anchor at NBC2 News in Florida.

Soto started her career in Waco, Texas working for KWTX. There, she covered the death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, which gained national attention.

She also stormed chased an EF3 tornado which ripped through a small Texas town and followed the Baylor Bears to the Sugar Bowl for the first time in decades.

She graduated from Baylor University in 2018. After six years in Texas, she is excited to be back in Florida.

Born and raised in Miami, she is happy to be closer to home.

In her free time, Christy enjoys spending time with her dog Sammy, going to the beach, or spending the day out on the boat.

We are proud of you, Soto!

#baylorjprnm #Baylor

Q&A with BizCom Employees Madeline Rockey and Sarah Gill November 16, 2021

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Established in 1999, BizCom Associates specializes in helping international business leaders, entrepreneurs, and franchise companies promote their products and services around the world. For the past 20 years, BizCom has been named one the nation’s Top Independent PR Agencies by industry trade publication O’Dwyers and is ranked as a Top Franchise Supplier by Entrepreneur magazine.

BizCom’s PR, digital marketing, design and publishing divisions provide a range of marketing communications services for such high-profile brands as Neighborly, Edible, Little Caesars, Restoration 1, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, 9Round, Best Life Brands, School of Rock, Friendly’s Restaurants, Gold’s Gym, Getaround, asTech and others.

JPR&NM Advisory Board Member and BizCom President Monica Feid recently hired two Baylor University graduates: Madeline Rockey and Sarah Gill.

Feid shared this Q&A with the two recent graduates.

Madeline Rockey

Rockey joined BizCom as an intern during her last semester at Baylor, and Feid invited her to accept a full-time position upon her May 2021 graduation. She is now leading client calls with national and international organizations on BizCom’s roster and organizing quarterly PR programs to produce national, trade and local media coverage. Additionally, she is one of the most creative minds the agency has added to its team, according to Feid.

Sarah Gill

Gill is May 2021 Film and Digital Media Baylor graduate referred to Feid by a former client who’s daughter is also a Baylor student. She handles social media handles for founders and CEOs of national and international organizations. She also supports regular social media posting for the brands, themselves, and her video work for BizCom has taken our capabilities to a new level.



Q&A with Rockey & Gill

Alumna Madeline Rockey:

What was your college major/degree?

Major: B.A. in Journalism with a concentration in advertising/new media
Minor: Business administration

What kind of job/career did you want to pursue when you graduated?
Anything that fell within the realm of marketing and advertising

What were your favorite classes and who were your favorite professors at Baylor?

Favorite Classes: Media Design, Advertising Management, Intro to Entrepreneurship, Advertising Procedures
Favorite Professors: Dr. Alec Tefertiller, Dr. Marlene Neill, Professor Maxey Parrish, Dr. Cassy Burleson

Did you feel prepared for job interviews after college?

What would you say to undergraduate students to prepare them for the working world?
Jump on internship opportunities
Form strong relationships with your professors
Focus on your writing while you have time to learn and grow
Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone in the JPRNM department to help you with your job search
Work hard on your projects and assignments, that’s what you’ll show future employers

What do you like about the job you have today at BizCom?
I have lots of independence and I’m often able to take my own creative liberties.
I get to manage and work directly with popular name-brand companies and their executives.
Each day is different and there’s always new and interesting assignments to look forward to.
I am treated with respect and I get the opportunity to have my voice heard throughout the company.

What has surprised you about the job you have today?
I was pretty intimidated moving into PR as I’d just spent four years studying advertising. I quickly realized the foundations Baylor JPRNM gave me prepared me for a wide range of marketing/communications opportunities. The creativity that was fostered throughout my educational background in advertising has made me a better account manager.


Alumna Sarah Gill

What was your college major/degree?
Film and Digital Media

What kind of job/career did you want to pursue when you graduated?
Something related to social media or film production

What were your favorite classes and who were your favorite professors at Baylor?
Preproduction, Set Management and Logic were some of my favorite classes. My favorite professors are Dan Beard, Brian Elliott and Bruce Gietzen.

Did you feel prepared for job interviews after college?

What would you say to undergraduate students to prepare them for the working world?
To prepare for the working world, you should be working! Try to get summer internships, semester-long internships or a part-time job. I can’t imagine my college experience without my job with Lariat TV News. Having to balance work and homework will help you with time management skills.

The career center is a great resource for interview prep and resume feedback.
It’s all about connections! So work on relationships with professors, classmates, etc.

What do you like about the job you have today at BizCom?
I love how I am learning new skills about social media management and analytics, and I am given the freedom to design my clients’ content calendars the way I’d like. Some of my friends in social media don’t get to see their work actually posted, and I am lucky enough to see my work posted multiple times a day!

What has surprised you about the job you have today?
I was interested in social media and have personal experience in the field, but I really didn’t know much. My broadcast experience has helped me because I know about timeliness, newsjacking and channeling different clients’ voices. With my supportive team and boss, I am surprised at how quickly I caught on.

Also – I am surprised at how laid-back the job is. I’m used to being a straight-A student who is always working as broadcast producer/reporter on constant deadlines… completely overworked and stressed out! This job is manageable and so much better for my mental health.

Alumnus Levi Norwood Puts Baylor Skills to Use November 15, 2021

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Working for Uplifting Athletes allows Baylor JPR&NM alumnus Levi Norwood to put to use the skills he developed as a student-athlete, PR major and Sport Management graduate student at Baylor University– for something that is inspiring and changing/saving lives.

“Since finishing undergrad and leaving the Journalism, PR, New Media program, I have been everywhere it seems,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to get a small taste of life as a professional football player with the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers before changing courses and returning to Baylor to pursue a masters in sport management.”

Norwood majored in Journalism, PR, New Media and played football and basketball. Like the children of many coaches who move a lot, Levi Norwood does not consider one place home but currently resides in Denver.

He was a part of the winningest class in Baylor football history and helped the school win its first two Big 12 Conference Championships in 2013 and 2014. As the primary punt returner, he holds the school record in career punt return touchdowns  and as a receiver caught 128 passes with 11 touchdowns. He also has one career point for the Baylor University basketball team.

After graduating from Baylor, Levi spent a short stint in the NFL with the Chicago Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers, then returned to the university to receive his master’s degree in Sport Management. Norwood works full-time for the Rare Disease Community for Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit agency that uses the platform of college football to shine a spotlight on the rare disease cause while providing our student-athletes a valuable leadership experience as well.

His introduction to Uplifting Athletes was made many years ago.

While at Baylor, Norwood developed a relationship with a local high school student battling Cerebral Palsy and, in the Spring of 2014, founded the Baylor Uplifting Athletes Chapter. And in 2015, he was an Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award finalist.

Norwood spent time as a graduate assistant in the Student-Athlete Center for Excellence until he graduated in 2018. His focus was working with Baylor student-athletes as an assistant academic coach and mentor to students across multiple sports. From there, life took him to Albuquerque to serve as a full-time academic advisor in the athletic department at the University of New Mexico.

“An opportunity in the Alliance of American Football League took me away from UNM but that door was swiftly shut when the league folded after only a few months,” he said.

He returned to Baylor in April 2019 to work as the Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement before joining Uplifting Athletes in the winter of 2019. In a relatively short period of time, he has served in many roles and places for the non-profit organization.

“All these changes came with ups and downs emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially but all have led me to where I am now,” he said. “Being able to tie together my love for athletics and love for loving people, especially those in the Rare Disease Community, has been special.”


Baylor JPR&NM Alumna Jillian Price Has Been Busy Since Graduating November 15, 2021

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Since graduating from Baylor University with a degree in Journalism in May 2020, Baylor JPR&NM alumna Jillian Price has been busy. She began the master’s program in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 2020. Since then, she has written for the school’s online publication, Reporting Texas, interned with the Daily Dot and participated in the NPR Next Generation program with the Texas Observer.

Price is now an editorial intern with Texas Monthly magazine.

“After attending Baylor, I went straight to UT Austin, in the middle of the pandemic!” she said. “Some may call this crazy, but it was the best decision for me.”

Price has always been a go-getter. Originally from Atlanta, while at Baylor, Price interned at WSB-TV Atlanta as a Community Affairs intern, and at Caritas of Waco as a public relations intern. She also served as the secretary for the Baylor University chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

“When I first began studying journalism, I learned a lot about writing structure,” she said. “I have continued to study and practice journalism; I’ve learned that it’s way more than just writing the story. It’s what story you are telling.”

Why does Price love journalism so much?

“Journalism means being a voice for the voiceless,” she said. “It means telling the stories of people in communities who have not been heard. This is what I strive to do in my reporting and writing.”

When she’s not writing or in class, Price loves reading books, listening to music, and taking walks around town.
She is planning to graduate from the University of Texas in Austin in December 2021 with a degree in Journalism and Media.