SJMC Monday Memo | May 6, 2019

Tirumala to join SJMC faculty

Lakshmi Tirumala, currently an assistant professor at the Department of Communications Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, will join the Drake SJMC faculty in the fall, teaching primarily in the digital media area. Tirumala previously taught at University of Cincinnati, Wright State and Texas Tech.

He was recently elected vice chair of the Interactive Multimedia and Emerging Technologies division of the Broadcast Education Association. The division is devoted to keeping members informed about the latest advances in communication technology, including teaching, hardware and research. After his two-year term as vice chair, Tirumala will ascend to division chair.

2012 alum to discuss her job with Kenny Chesney — and give away concert tickets, guitar!

Public relations alum Monica (Papuga) Gray, JO’12, will visit campus on Wednesday, May 15 to discuss her job in Nashville as marketing director for country star Kenny Chesney’s Blue Chair Bay Rum brand. Gray oversees all marketing aspects of the company, including national campaigns, events, social media, PR and tour marketing. She will meet with students at 11 a.m. in Mer. 104 — and give away two tickets to the Chesney concert on Thursday, May 16, as well as a signed guitar!

SJMC junior awarded Goldwater scholarship

Congratulations to Lorien MacEnulty, a junior news, physics and math major, who was one of two Drake students to win a Goldwater post-graduate scholarship this spring. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established in 1986 and is considered the most prestigious award in the United States to undergraduates in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.

SJMC students recognized for leadership

SJMC students were recognized recently at the year-end Adams Leadership Convocation. News major Courtney Guein was named a top sophomore. Public relations major Ashley Blazek was named a top senior.

Give us feedback on advising

As you are looking forward to your last couple of weeks on campus, please take a couple of minutes to complete our SJMC advising survey.  This survey is an opportunity to tell us how your SJMC advising experience has been throughout your time so far at Drake and it is a critical component of our accreditation.  The advising survey is anonymous and should take less than five minutes to complete.

Thank you in advance for your honest feedback!  We appreciate you taking the time to help us improve our advising processes.

Alumni news

Kyair Butts, JO’11, was recently named public school Teacher of the Year in Baltimore. “Mr. K” teaches middle school literacy and coaches debate.

Ken-Matt Martin, JO’12, was honored as a finalist for Iowa Campus Compact’s community leadership award. Martin is co-founder and executive director of the local Pyramid Theatre Company. The Engaged Campus Awards are designed to recognize the achievements of students, faculty, staff, alumni, community organizations and AmeriCorps members for their work advancing the civic mission of higher education through community engagement and partnerships that positively impact students and communities.

Seniors, pick up your coffee mug

Graduating seniors are invited to stop by Mer. 118 and pick up an SJMC coffee mug.

Check out SJMC history exhibit at Cowles

An exhibit in Cowles Library helps launch the celebration of 100 years of journalism and mass communication education at Drake in 2019-20. The exhibit, which features photos from the Drake Archives and tells the story of the SJMC since 1919, will be on display through the summer. It is in the Collier Heritage Room, which is the gallery next door to the Cowles Reading Room on the second floor.

Meredith Hall building hours

Meredith Hall is unlocked during the following hours when classes are in session:

Sunday: 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Monday-Friday: 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Saturday: 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Students with SJMC majors can swipe into the building with a Drake ID even when the building is locked from 7 a.m.-2 a.m., Sunday-Thursday. Students who are already in the building when it is automatically locked are allowed to stay in the building. Students who need 24/7 access to swipe into the building should talk to their faculty member or adviser about how to obtain all-hours access.

Have a news item for the Memo?

The SJMC Monday Memo is a weekly newsletter to keep members of the wider SJMC community updated on School news, achievements, events and opportunities. If you have an item for the Memo, please send it to Dean Kathleen Richardson ( or SJMC webmaster and multimedia professor Chris Snider ( SJMC alums and other professionals can also contact Chris to have the Memo delivered via weekly email.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication strives to create a community of scholars that represents the complexity of the human experience in regards to race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, economic status, political views, gender identification, religion, age and physical abilities. We are committed to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all our faculty, staff, students and visitors, and celebrating our differences through the lens of the First Amendment value of freedom of expression.