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Alumni Newsletter - August 2022

School of Communication Alumni Newsletter

Black College Institute
We've had a fun summer hosting different groups in the multimedia center like the Black College Institute, an enrichment program for high-achieving rising high school juniors and seniors. 





Once the calendar turns to August in Blacksburg, a lot of transitions occur as students return to campus, the liveliness of the town receives an uptick, and the semester is set to begin. The School of Communication experienced a number of transitions of its own this summer. They begin with Dr. Robert E. Denton’s retirement after the 2021-2022 academic year. We’re sad to see Dr. Denton leave, but we know his retirement is well-deserved because of his many contributions.


As a result, I was appointed director of the School of Communication, effective July 1. It’s truly an honor to assume this position in the school where I’ve been a faculty member since 1999. It’s been a whirlwind the last month and a half, but I’m excited to continue building and strengthening the reputation of our school. There’s great work to be done, and I am looking forward to keeping everyone informed of our progress throughout the academic year.


Here’s an update on all the exciting news from the summer as we head into the fall semester. Shortly after the spring semester ended in May, two of our sports media and analytics students were recognized by the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (STAA), a nationally recognized organization that hosts the Jim Nantz Award to honor outstanding collegiate radio and TV sports broadcasters.


Kevin DiDomenico was named a first team All-American. He is one of the top five collegiate sportscasters in the country. It’s the third year in a row that Virginia Tech has had a student named an All-American in the program. Giovanni Heater was recognized as an honorable mention — the first freshman from the school to ever be honored by STAA. We’re incredibly proud of the accomplishments by Kevin, Giovanni, and everyone in our sports media and analytics major.


It’s been a time of growth for our faculty this summer. We’ve brought four new faculty to our team. Charmayne Brown and Anthony Amey bring rich media experience as professors of practice while Ancheska Parchman and Katie Thomas bring a wealth of knowledge as new communication skills instructors. Three current faculty received promotions this summer. Syrenthia Robinson achieved the title of senior instructor while Zack Sowder and Dorothy Conner were promoted to advanced instructor.


Classes officially begin Monday, Aug. 22, and we will welcome 160 first year students and 35 transfer students to the School of Communication. Our application numbers continue to hit record highs. In 2022, we received more than 1,000 applications, a jump from 817 in 2021. Our graduate degrees in communication and reputation management continue to grow. We have our highest graduate student enrollments to date and expanded our offerings to include a graduate certificate in organizational communication management.


There’s so much happening in our community. All these developments create an optimism for the return to a full in-person experience for our students. They bring an energy to our classrooms. Please enjoy the sights, stories, and sounds below. They capture a portion of what makes the School of Communication family so special.


John Tedesco
Director, School of Communication

John Tedesco

John Tedesco appointed director of the School of Communication


Tedesco spent the last 23 years as a faculty member in the School of Communication. He takes over a flourishing school that continues to see vibrant growth.
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Clint McLeod

From fighting fires to chasing local news, this alumnus thrives on helping his community

Clint McLeod, a 2021 alumnus who majored in sports media and analytics, moved to Michigan after graduation and works as a bureau reporter for WLUC-TV and volunteer firefighter for the Breitung Township Fire Department.
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Erica Sullivan Feggeler

Protecting skin the fashionable way

While working toward her communication degree at Virginia Tech, Erica Sullivan Feggeler '20 used her mom’s melanoma diagnosis and her own scare as motivation to start a sun-protective clothing line. She built a team of students from multiple colleges and entered a contest put on by the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs. Her idea won for the fan favorite category.
Read More >



Kevin DiDomenico

National collegiate sportscasters program recognizes two Hokies for work behind the microphone

The Sportscasters Talent Agency of America honored School of Communication students Kevin DiDomenico and Giovanni Heater as two of the nation’s top collegiate sports broadcasters.  

Read More >

Frank Waddell

Media and news research the right route for School of Communication alumnus

Frank Waddell completed his undergraduate and graduate education at Virginia Tech. Now he’s achieved national recognition for his research in media effects.
Read More >




Danielle Hagenseker

Danielle Hagenseker, a rising senior in public relations, has spent the summer interning with Retirement Unlimited Inc. in Roanoke where she's been mentored by another comm Hokie, Beth Kolnok '99.


Fulbright Scholars

Three students from the German Fulbright Summer Institute stopped by the Moss Arts Center to tour our multimedia center.

Super Carlin Brothers 2010 alumnus Jonathan Carlin and his brother Ben own a YouTube channel — Super Carlin Brothers — that has amassed over 2 million subscribers. The duo dives into fandom and wild Marvel theories.

In the News

Women in Industry Jummy Olabanji '06 (top far left) and Liz Hart '07 (middle far left) were recognized in Virginia Tech's Women in Industry series.

Alumni and Faculty Highlights


  • Associate professor Nneka Logan received the Karen Russell Award which recognizes the most downloaded article in 2021 in the Journal of Public Relations Research.
  • Professor W. Wat Hopkins received the Distinguished Service Award from the Law and Policy Division of AEJMC at the annual conference in Detroit.
  • Associate professor and director of graduate studies Cayce Myers was recognized for outstanding service and dedication as head of the AEJMC History Division, 2021-2022.
  • Jummy Olabanji '06 and Liz Hart '07 were featured in Virginia Tech's Women in Industry series that highlighted trailblazing women who have made their mark on the world.
  • Nick Biddison, a communication science and social inquiry student, was drafted in the fourth round of the MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. 
  • Faculty members Cayce Myers and W. Wat Hopkins published Mass Communication Law in Virginia, 5th edition (Stillwater, Oklahoma: New Forums Press, 2022) with Megan Rhyne.
  • Kristy Morrill '91 was named the director of alumni relations for Virginia Tech's College of Science.


Follow us on social media!

There is always so much happening in the School of Communication. We hope you will consider keeping in touch with us via social media. We love to hear from our alumni!


Submit content for the School of Communication newsletter or social media by emailing Cory Van Dyke, communication and marketing specialist, at