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Alumni Newsletter - August 2021

School of Communication

Kate Gest
Kate Gest (Multimedia Journalism, 2016) poses for a picture from Olympic Stadium in Tokyo as the press officer for the USA Shooting team.



The start of a new semester and the return of students to campus always brings an unparalleled buzz and excitement to the Virginia Tech community. This year, that energy has increased with the return of in-person learning environments.


Here’s an update on all the exciting news surrounding the School of Communication as we head into the 2021-2022 academic year.


On August 23, classes officially began, and we welcomed 150 freshmen to the Class of 2025. It was a record year for admissions with 779 applications, up from 443 last year. The total includes 381 applicants to the Sports Media and Analytics major.


This growth isn’t limited to just the students. We’ve added four faculty and staff members to meet our needs of continued excellence within the School. Kayla Goodwin joins the team as our professional academic advisor. Cemone Paul and Kacy McAllister were hired as instructors for Communication Skills. Len Clark will join us in January as an advanced instructor of sports media.


It’s a pleasure to have these talented individuals join us in Blacksburg. We now have 42 faculty and staff members who uphold the reputation of the School of Communication. This semester, we’ve hired an additional nine adjunct faculty members to expand the horizons of our students and provide the best instruction possible.


The Media Center in the Moss Arts Center was enhanced over the summer with the installation of the Ross Overdrive newsroom automation system. This system puts the School of Communication on the leading edge of journalism programs, providing students with the opportunity to train on the most sought-after systems in newsrooms today. This opportunity will give them the skills that are in the greatest demand in modern newsrooms across the country, and sets them apart from students coming from other institutions.


We are excited to officially kick off our Advertising major this year. Advertising is the fifth major in the School of Communication and joins Communication, Multimedia Journalism, Public Relations, and Sports Media and Analytics. The Advertising major prepares our students to craft and deliver persuasive messages through paid media with the coursework exploring theories, practice, and ethics of advertising.


There have been hopeful signs of progress in our community, but challenges from the past year and a half remain. These challenges make the perseverance and commitment from our faculty and staff, students, and you, our alumni, during these uncertain times all the more special. Please enjoy these stories and images, which highlight the individuals we’re proud to call a part of the School of Communication family.


Robert E. Denton, Jr.
Director, School of Communication

Evan Hughes

Evan Hughes honored with 2021 Jim Nantz Award


Evan Hughes, a 2021 graduate of the School of Communication, won the Jim Nantz Award on May 28. The award recognizes the most outstanding collegiate sports broadcaster in the country.
Read More >

Jessica Mardian

Local news surging with burst of young talent from the School of Communication

Television stations across Virginia are hiring recent graduates from the School of Communication’s multimedia journalism program. These young professionals bring a much-needed energy and enthusiasm to the local news industry.
Read More >




Clark Ruhland

Creating a piece of Virginia Tech history one design at a time

Clark Ruhland, a 2007 communication graduate, has designed many visuals for Virginia Tech Athletics over the years.
Read More >

Joe Jacko

School of Communication alumnus seeks a more inclusive esports industry

Joe Jacko, a 2019 communication studies graduate, uses his undergraduate research to create a more diverse and inclusive space in the esports industry as the League of Legends head coach at the University of Southern California.
Read More >

Hoda_Rhea Hoda Kotb (Communication, 1986) celebrates incoming freshman Rhea Perdue, who will be studying Multimedia Journalism.

In the News

Kyle Cooke Kyle Cooke (Multimedia Journalism, 2017) was recognized with a 2021 Heartland Emmy Award for Interactive Media.

Alumni and Faculty Highlights


  • Kate Gest (Multimedia Journalism, 2016) spent two weeks in Tokyo as the press officer representing and reporting on the Olympic USA Shooting Team.
  • Kyle Cooke (Multimedia Journalism, 2017) was honored with a 2021 Heartland Emmy Award for Interactive Media. Kyle and the team at Rocky Mountain PBS won the Emmy for their project, “Lifelines: Preventing Youth Suicide.”
  • Ashley Wills (Multimedia Journalism, 2017) was honored as a 2021 Capital Emmy Award Winner. WSLS 10 won “Best Daytime Newscast among medium market television stations” for its coverage on the Roanoke River flooding, produced by Ashley.
  • Michelle Emily Garcia (Communication Science and Social Inquiry, 2021) released her solo debut publication: "Cul-de-sac Angels." Her hybrid poetry and creative nonfiction book officially reached the Top 10 Bestsellers List in the Poetry by Women category on Amazon.
  • Adrienne Holz Ivory and 2018 M.A. in Communication graduates Jessica Hotter and Jordan Wolf won the 2021 Article of the Year award by the Mass Communication and Society journal for their work on the article, "All the President’s Tweets: Effects of Exposure to Trump’s “Fake News” Accusations on Perceptions of Journalists, News Stories, and Issue Evaluation."
  • Robin Reed joined The Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter board as a student-chapter representative for the coming year.
  • Natalia Mielczarek, Cayce Myers, and Nneka Logan were all panelists for select sessions at the 104th annual Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference.


Submit content for the School of Communication newsletter or social media by emailing Cory Van Dyke, Communication Specialist, at