Rogers State University is proving to be a good training ground for those interested in the communications field judging from students and alumni who have secured jobs and internships in the media industry.
RSU alumni and student interns can be found at Tulsa television and radio stations, such as NBC Channel 2, CBS Channel 6, ABC Channel 8, FOX23 and KRMG-FM, as well as several print and public relations companies.
These successful students, regardless of their college major, credited RSU’s emphasis on critical thinking and communication skills as being important to their success.
Morgan King, class of 2012, interned at Channel 2 while earning her bachelor’s degree at RSU. She credits her instructors and the hands-on approach to learning for her success. King now works as a morning show producer at Channel 6.
“I’ve been in news now for two years and use what I learned at RSU every day in the newsroom while putting my show together,” King said. “If you’re going to work in news, deadlines are everything, and RSU teachers do their best to make sure you know that.”
Those who pick up the latest issue of Tulsa Business & Legal News will likely see the work of recent RSU alumna Jessica Turner, a 2013 liberal arts graduate who has been a reporter at the paper for almost a year.
“As a reporter, I network every day, which is one of the many skills I learned at RSU,” Turner said. “When I graduated, I knew I was ready and I was prepared.”
Students also pointed to RSU’s unique campus resources that include a television and radio station that broadcast from campus. Students can get hands-on experience working at the radio station and television stations that are located on campus or writing for the campus newspaper, the Hillpost. RSU is the only university in Oklahoma to operate a full-power public television station, reaching more than a million viewers across Oklahoma and surrounding states. The university radio station, RSU Radio (KRSC) 91.3 FM, can be heard across northeast Oklahoma. The student-run station serves as the only alternative college radio station on a campus in Oklahoma and has earned regional and national recognition for its programming.
Two 2014 communications graduates who had extensive experience at the radio station have now both secured jobs in the web departments of their respective TV stations. Josh Gammon of Broken Arrow is a digital content producer at FOX23 in Tulsa and Garrett Powders of Tulsa is a web content producer for Channel 6. Both credit the hands-on learning opportunities at RSU for preparing them for their current positions.
Internships have been a vital component for student success, allowing them to work in professional settings while getting real-world experience.
Among those landing internships this summer are Kyndal Irwin, a senior from Tulsa, who will intern at News 102.3 KRMG this summer, and Margo Blue, a junior from Tulsa, who just started her internship at Channel 6. Both students are majoring in communications with the radio and television option.
Abby Eldredge, a senior communications – radio and television option major from Tulsa, and Kaitlyn Rivas, a junior communications – corporate communications option major from Claremore, are interning at Clear Channel Radio in Tulsa which includes 106.1 The Twister, 97.5 KMOD, 92.1 The Beat and 101.5 La Preciosa.
Roxana Ninkovich, a junior communications – radio and television option major from Bartlesville, is interning this summer with the Teletul Media Group in Tulsa.
Those in the news business have taken notice of the preparedness of RSU students to immediately plug into a corporate environment and make a difference.
“I love that RSU has a radio program. I’ve recently started to recruit RSU students for internships and future job openings,” KRMG News Director April Hill said. “They’ve been incredibly bright and eager.”
Last year, one RSU student turned her internship into a full-time position. Tabitha Crouch, a 2014 communications-radio and television graduate from Chelsea, interned at Channel 2 in Tulsa and was then hired on fulltime this spring. During the hectic spring, Crouch would serve as a morning show producer, then complete her studies during the remainder of the day. Her persistence paid off, and she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in May.
King and Crouch aren’t alone in morning television in the Tulsa market. Sam McCombs was just named morning producer at Channel 8 after working in the production department there for more than a year. McCombs’ promotion means three of the four morning producers in the Tulsa market graduated from RSU’s Communications Department.
RSU graduate Rachelle Faught didn’t have to go far for her job. She is a full-time producer at RSU Public TV.
“We are proud of our graduates’ specific media skills as well as their overall ability to communicate effectively,” said Dr. Jeff Gentry, RSU Communications Department Head and Professor. “That’s what employers continue to clamor for in surveys, and communications majors bring it in spades.”
RSU graduates aren’t just excelling in journalism. Zack Stoycoff, a liberal arts graduate from 2011, works as a communications manager for the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce following a successful stint working his way from late night/weekend reporter to working the city beat for the Tulsa World before starting his new position with the Tulsa Chamber. During his time at RSU, Stoycoff was instrumental in starting a student newspaper.
“I owe everything to RSU,” Stoycoff said. “The one-on-one attention and the hands-on experience helped me get to where I am today.”
Both Stoycoff and Turner majored in liberal arts with an English option that proved to be effective preparation for their current careers.
Dr. Frank Grabowski, RSU English and Humanities Department Head and Associate Professor, said the RSU liberal arts degree program provides an interdisciplinary approach that fosters critical thinking and communication skills that are in high demand by employers across the board.
“There is no disputing the utilitarian value of effective communication skills. How successful you are professionally will depend in large part on how well you communicate,” said Dr. Grabowski. “But knowing how to use language is just as important to our personal lives. The right words can help one land a job; they can also help one gain friendship, even love. Living well and communicating well are, simply put, inseparable.”