KSPA conference welcomes over 500 high school students to KU

KSPA executive director and KU instructor Eric Thomas stands before hundreds of Kansas high school student journalists at the KSPA fall conference at the Kansas Union on Sept. 28. 

The Kansas Scholastic Press Association (KSPA) hosted its first fall conference since 2019 at the University of Kansas on Sept. 28 with more than 575 students and teachers attending. The conference offered sessions from KU instructors, professors and alumni after a keynote address by Kevin Willmott, a KU film school faculty member and Oscar-winning screenwriter. The Kansas Scholastic Press Association supports student journalism throughout Kansas from its office at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The fall conference series, which started in Hays on Sept. 26, concludes today in Wichita. More than 1,000 students will attend the three events that kick off the KSPA programming for this academic year.


Matt Tidwell, assistant dean for graduate and professional studies, was the featured speaker at the September monthly meeting of the Kansas State PRSA chapter in Wichita. His presentation was titled “Navigating Ethical Dilemmas.”

Gerri Berendzen had two sessions accepted for MediaFest 22 Oct. 27-30 in Washington, D.C. She will be presenting “Using Conscious Language” and “Editing Your Own Work.” MediaFest 22 is a joint effort of the College Media Association, Associated Collegiate Press and Society of Professional Journalists.

Assistant Professor Melissa Greene-Blye was an invited presenter on the Presidential Panel at the 2022 American Journalism Historians Association Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. The panel discussed the need for a more inclusive, interdisciplinary approach to historical media research. 

Professor Yvonnes Chen led more than 20 high school students through a series of meditation exercises Sept. 30 for a 45-minute mock class during Scholar Day. Mock classes, a signature program from the Honors Program, provide an opportunity for high-achieving students to learn about the academic life of the university. Connecting with faculty and other prospective students is an important part of the experience.

Professor Yvonnes Chen joined Mary Icenogle and Deana Wilhoite (School of Nursing faculty) as well as Rachel Auten (student program manager of Student Affairs) in a Future Professoriate Session on wellness and mental health on Sept. 30. Chen, Icenogle and Wilhoite gave an introduction to resilience, discussed Mental Wellness Action Plan and guided students through two brief meditation exercises. Auten shared policy and resources that can support graduate students in their teaching. Thanks to Professor Hyunjin Seo, associate dean for research and faculty development, for curating the topic and for inviting panelists to share their perspective. 



in Teaching reception

Lisa McLendon was honored with other recipients of the Bob and Kathie Taylor Excellence in Teaching Award at a reception last week. Three years of honorees – 2020, 2021 and 2022 – were included. McLendon received the award, which recognizes non-tenure-track faculty committed to outstanding teaching and student success, in 2021. 


Student writers recognized

at Kansas Sports Hall of Fame event

Journalism students Nathan Swaffar (pictured), Madelynn Hartley and Caroline Soro wrote the 10 biographical sketches for the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame official program. The Hall of Fame ceremony was Sunday at Kansas Star Casino. Jordan Poland, president and chief operating officer of the Hall of Fame, recognized the students at the event.

The Lewis Scholarship is a new scholarship program that will provide free housing and a monthly stipend to support student journalists of color who plan to intern at news media outlets in Washington, D.C., beginning in 2023. The Lewis Scholarship has an estimated value of $10,000 and will be awarded to one undergraduate student journalist of color each fall, spring and summer semester. The scholarship will provide a stipend of $1,000 a month and free housing provided through Washington Intern Student Housing for the duration of the student’s internship, usually four months. Learn more and apply here.

The KU Public Relations Student Society of America will meet at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 in Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 303. A guest speaker will discuss why Nike is so successful and will look at a few PR fails.

The University Career Center is hosting Mocktober Fest during October. Eighty-seven KU alumni have volunteered to conduct mock interviews with KU students Oct. 5 (4-5 p.m.), Oct. 18 (4:30-5:30 p.m.) and Oct. 24 (5:30-6:30 p.m.). The interview is designed to help students increase their confidence, build their network and provide helpful feedback and techniques. This is a fun, relaxed and engaging opportunity for beginner and experienced interviewers. Interviews take place via Zoom and consist of one KU alumnus and two KU students, which allows for peer-to-peer and alumni feedback. For more information, contact the University Career Center at or call 864-3624.

Listen to Grad Path podcast

J-School alumni Dr. Matt Blomberg and Dr. Muhammad Ittefaq join host Fernanda Silva on the latest episode of Grad Path, a new podcast produced at the J-School. In this episode, they discuss finding strategies to be productive and avoiding procrastination, which is essential to succeed as a graduate student. Listen to the podcast.


Cheers to Careers: Brianne Pfannenstiel and Annie Gowen

J-School alumni Brianne Pfannenstiel, j'10, chief politics reporter for the Des Moines (Iowa) Register, and Annie Gowen, national correspondent at The Washington Post, were recent guests on the Cheers to Careers podcast. Pfannenstiel (pictured), who was inducted in the Lawrence Lions Alumni Association’s Hall of Honor on Sept. 25, visited the J-School while she was in town for the ceremony.


Job opportunities

Digital communications specialist, City of Overland Park (Overland Park, Kansas)

Media salesperson, KOLN (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Grant developer, Wyandotte BHN (Kansas City)

Brand manager, Barkley (Kansas City)

Video coordinator, Barton County Community College (Great Bend, Kansas)

Internships and student jobs

Environmental fellow, Green Corps (various locations)

Communications/social media assistant, KU School of Education and Human Services (Lawrence, Kansas)

Find more job and internship postings on the J-School website.

J-School Career Fair set for Oct. 20

The J-School Career Fair is two weeks away! All students are welcome to attend from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 20 at Stauffer-Flint Hall. Learn more about internships, part-time positions and full-time positions. A professional photographer will take portraits from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Clarkson Gallery for students’ LinkedIn profiles. For more information, contact Steve Rottinghaus at

These companies have committed to attending the fair and more may be added:



Build your tech skills

JSchool Tech is hosting a Design Challenge to push your design skills! Express your creativity within the given guidelines for a chance to be showcased on social media and throughout Stauffer-Flint! Get details on Instagram (@jschooltech). Designs are due Oct. 20. Don't miss out!

Learn Adobe skills and build your portfolio with JSchoolTech and make sure to visit the Class Hub.

Buy Creative Cloud from the KU Bookstore for a discount! Pay $150 for the year.

We can help

Evening labs: Labbies will be in the Resource Center for checkout and help after hours. Evening hours are 5-8 p.m. every Monday-Thursday and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

Students can find Heather Lawrenz at the JBar in the Clarkson Gallery (check out the menu board for hours) or make an appointment.


Rebecca Rumptz, j’17, an intelligence analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will speak virtually to KU Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (ICCAE) students at 4 p.m. Oct. 4. Rumptz has over 14 years of experience in all-source intelligence analysis, and information, physical and personnel security procedures. The virtual event is free and open to the public. RSVP to the event by contacting Ashley Urban at

Doughnuts with the Dean

J-School students are invited to meet Dean Brill and pick up a sweet treat Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 9 a.m. at Doughnuts with the Dean in the lobby of Stauffer-Flint Hall.


Alumni visit The Studio

J-School alumni had an opportunity to visit the school's production studio last Friday. Through KU Endowment’s Homecoming “KU & You” event, alumni were given a tour by Cal Butcher, director of Media Crossroads. Butcher shared details of the many ways students get involved, including daily productions of Good Morning KU and Good Evening KU, Take a Side, Jayhawk Jukebox, KUJH News, The Playmakers and other student shows. Several recent graduates shared their own experiences as students working in The Studio and expressed how their time at the J-School helped launch their careers. The KU & You visitors stayed for about two hours and watched The Playmakers from pre-production to the end of the show. 

Three KU graduatesJohn Marshall, Murrel Bland and David Powls — were honored at the Kansas Press Association President's Gala on Saturday in Newton. Marshall, j'69, was inducted into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame. He has covered Kansas government and politics and culture for more than 50 years. Bland, j'63, was a photographer and writer for The Kansas City Star from 1964 to 1968 before founding The Wyandotte West, which he published until 2004. Powls (pictured), editor and publisher of the Holton (Kansas) Recorder, was recognized as the Clyde M. Reed Jr. Master Editor Award recipient.

Alumni Takeover

Alumni visited Stauffer-Flint Hall last Friday for the J-School’s Alumni Takeover event during KU’s annual Homecoming weekend. Students had the the opportunity to meet and network with alumni during presentations and portfolio reviews. Pictured are: Amie Just, sports journalist at Lincoln Journal Star: Angel Tran, marketing Coordinator II at Populous; Jackson Kurtz, reporter at KMBC Channel 9; Malik Jackson, reporter at WDAF-TV Fox 4; Jesse Newell, Chiefs beat reporter at The Kansas City Star; Kameron Mack, director of original content at Westbrook Inc.; and Himee Kamatuka, senior recruitment coordinator and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging (DEIB) curator.


Oct. 4: Doughnuts with the Dean, 9-10:30 a.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall lobby

Oct. 7: Strategic Communication faculty meeting, 1-2 p.m., online

Oct. 12: Technology Committee meeting, 9:30 a.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 312

Oct. 20: J-School Career Fair, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall

Oct. 21: Strategic Communication faculty meeting, 1-2 p.m., online

Oct. 24: Curriculum & Assessment Committee meeting, 1-2:30 p.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 201

Oct. 26: Technology Committee meeting, 9:30 a.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 312

Oct. 28: Faculty and staff meeting, 1-2:30 p.m., Clarkson Gallery

Oct. 28: Promotion and Tenure Committee meeting, 3-5 p.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 303

Nov. 4: Concur training session for faculty/staff, noon-1:30 p.m., Clarkson Gallery

Nov. 4: Strategic Communication faculty meeting, 1-2 p.m., online

Nov. 7: Curriculum & Assessment Committee meeting, 1-2:30 p.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 201

Nov. 7: Graduate Committee meeting, 1-2 p.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 312

Nov. 9: Technology Committee meeting, 9:30 a.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 312

Nov. 11: Future Professoriate session for Lawrence graduate students, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Clarkson Gallery

Nov. 21: Curriculum & Assessment Committee meeting, 1-2:30 p.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 201

Nov. 23: Technology Committee meeting, 9:30 a.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 312

Dec. 2: Future Professoriate session for Lawrence graduate students, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Clarkson Gallery

Dec. 5: Curriculum & Assessment Committee meeting, 1-2:30 p.m., Stauffer-Flint Hall, Room 201

Dec. 5: Concur training session for faculty/staff, 3:30-5 p.m., Zoom

Dec. 9: Faculty and staff meeting with lunch afterward,10:30 a.m.-noon, Clarkson Gallery

Feb. 10: Faculty and staff meeting, 1-2:30 p.m., Clarkson Gallery

March 31: Faculty and staff meeting, 1-2:30 p.m., Clarkson Gallery

May 5: Faculty and staff meeting with lunch afterward, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Clarkson Gallery

William Allen White School of Journalism

& Mass Communications

Stauffer-Flint Hall

1435 Jayhawk Boulevard

Lawrence, KS 66012

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