communication day 2018

Tuesday, October 23rd —
Bluebonnet Ballroom in the UC.

Great Speakers

All speakers are well-established in their fields and have a passion to share their insights with you, the next generation of successful Maverick Communication graduates.

Practical Insights

Our panels will help prepare you to be engaged in your professional pursuits. Many of our panelists are Department of Communication alumni--a great chance to learn and network from our very own.


In order to be engaged for the next step in your professional journey, you will need to present yourself in the best possible manner. We have resources like professional headshots, resume critiques and professional dress advice to get you on your way. Perhaps you may even land an internship!

Schedule of Events

Time Event
8:00AM - 8:30AM Opening Coffee
8:30AM - 9:20AM Keynote - Jim Grimes
9:30AM - 1PM Networking Expo
9:30AM - 10:05AM Alumni Panel: Choice of CTEC or Advertising
10:15AM - 10:50AM Alumni Panel: Choice of Comm Studies or Journalism
11:00AM - 11:35AM Alumni Panel: Broadcast
11:45AM - 12:20PM Alumni Panel: Public Relations

Keynote Speaker: Jim Grimes Television News Anchor - KAKE-TV, Wichita, Kansas

Jim Grimes, anchor at KAKE-TV, Wichita, Kansas

Follow Jim

Jim Grimes is a television news anchor for KAKE-TV in Wichita, Kansas. He's spent three decades working in newsrooms both as reporter and news consultant. He's also held positions in corporate communications and helped to develop several successful online media brands. During his career, Grimes has changed job titles numerous times, but his background in communications has always been at the forefront.

Grimes attended the University of Texas at Arlington in the mid 80's and was interested in pursuing a degree in Advertising. All of that changed when he was offered an internship at WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas. "I still remember walking into the studio, I said this is what I want to do." In 1989 Grimes proudly graduated from the UTA Communications Department with a degree in Journalism, but his dream to work in TV news would have to wait.

Right after graduation, he was offered a terrific opportunity to work as a marketing representative for an Austin, Texas-based diamond and jewelry manufacturer. In his new role, Grimes quickly learned the value of building relationships and the importance of planning an effective advertising strategy. Nearly two years into the job, he was wrapping up with a client in the small West Texas town of San Angelo. On his way out, he drove past a TV station and on a whim, decided to walk in and introduce himself. An hour later the news director had hired him as the station's new cop beat reporter.

Over the years Grimes would work in eight different TV stations across seven markets. He's covered many natural disasters, including the deadly Jerrell, Texas Tornado and Hurricanes Andrew, Rita, and Katrina. His stories and live reports have aired on national cable news outlets such as MSNBC and CNN. He also provided live news coverage for several station groups nationally during the Murrah Federal Building attack in Oklahoma City and the mass shooting at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. He's interviewed Presidents, celebrities and countless everyday people with extraordinary stories to tell.

In 2011 the television news industry was undergoing a dramatic transformation, and Grimes decided to take a job in Corporate Communications with a Redmond, Washington startup. The company was the nation’s first 4G internet provider, and with 5 billion in assets the telecom company seemed to be a great opportunity. His news background was well-suited for pitching stories and the creating video and content for the company’s newly emerging social media efforts.

In 2012 Grimes went to work for Talent Dynamics in Las Colinas, Texas. The company is considered one of the nation’s premier coaching and talent consulting agencies, and for Grimes, it was another great opportunity. As the company’s newest consultant, he would travel from city to city calling on TV stations and working with news reporters and anchors on their presentation skills, writing, and delivery. He would provide input to news directors on content, competitors and the overall look and feel of their newscasts. His techniques came from years of audience research, but much of his teachings came from the basic communications concepts he first learned in college. As part of his role, he'd also trained corporate executives, political leaders and pro athletes for public and broadcast appearances. He developed talking points and media strategies for Fortune 500 executives, political candidates, and labor unions. His sessions focused on improving body language, voice, delivery, and overall image.

In 2016 Grimes was asked to be the primary anchorman for a station with a rich history of excellence in journalism. Today he works as the 5, 6, and 10 o'clock news anchor for KAKE-TV in Wichita, Kansas. Grimes also shares editorial privileges at the ABC affiliate and is part of its prestigious investigative team. Additionally, he dedicates some of his free time to several non-profit groups in the community. He credits his wife Carolynn and his family for their encouragement and support throughout the journey.

Alumni Q&A: Comm Tech or Advertising (9:30AM to 10:05AM)

  • Farha Syed ADVT - Co-founder of Full-Time Friends and Account Executive at Idea Grove
  • Farha Syed, account executive at Idea Grove

    Farha is the co-founder of the blog Full-Time Friends. In her role as Account Executive at Idea Grove, she is responsible for day-to-day account management, media pitching, writing public relations and marketing materials, managing and building strategies across both digital and public relations accounts and executing integrated communications strategies. Farha has gained experience and knowledge in a variety of industries, including SaaS, cybersecurity, web hosting, information management and marketing technology.

    Previously, Farha worked as an Account Coordinator at Publicis Hawkeye and as Publicist Intern at Sunshine Sachs in West Hollywood managing social media and digital platforms, strategically planning digital and print campaigns, and coordinating music and film events.

    Farha’s diverse career experience, which ranges from knife sales to entertainment PR to retail media to advertising and digital marketing, provides a unique point of view and has contributed to her passion for integrated communications.

  • Christopher Dinh CTEC - User Experience Designer, Fidelity
  • Christopher Dinh, User Experience Designer at Fidelity Christopher Dinh is Senior User Experience Designer coordinating both design and engineering to build user-friendly experiences in the enterprise. He is a self-professed foodie, concert goer and noobie photographer.

Alumni Q&A: Communication Studies or Journalism (10:15AM to 10:50AM)

  • Krista Torralva JOUR - Education Reporter, San Antonio Express-News
  • Krista Torralva, education reporter for San Antonio Express-News Krista Torralva is an education reporter at the San Antonio Express-News. Previously, she covered courts and criminal justice issues at the Orlando Sentinel and Corpus Christi Caller-Times. During her time at UTA, Krista worked for The Shorthorn and interned at The Dallas Morning News. She was offered her first fulltime job in 2013 before completing her degree. She later finished her courses and graduated in 2016.

  • Gentrie Pool COMS - Mid Market Vice President for ConnectYourCare (CYC)
  • Gentrie Pool, Mid Market Vice President for ConnectYourCare (CYC) Gentrie Pool is Mid Market Vice President for ConnectYourCare (CYC). Throughout her career, Gentrie has served in leadership roles in employee benefits specifically related to: Production/Consulting, Director of Operations, Account Management, Production, Human Resources, Payroll, Corporate Training and Communication and Compliance.

    Gentrie is the former president of the Fort Worth Association of Health Underwriters. She holds her L&H and P&C licenses in multiple states, as well as her GBA, RHU, REBC, RPA, SGS and CSA along with her CEBS designation.

    She consistently develops and teaches continuing education courses for L&H, P&C, HR professionals. You can find several articles written by her in various national industry magazines as well.

    Gentrie also has a Masters of Science in Communication Studies from Texas Christian University. Gentrie resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her family.

Alumni Q&A: Broadcast (11:00AM - 11:35AM)

  • Josh Sours BCMN - Voice of UTA Mavericks
  • Josh Sours, voice of UTA Mavericks Athletics Josh Sours is entering his 5th season as the Voice of the Mavericks. A graduate of The University of Texas at Arlington in 2013, he began work for the UTA Athletics department in January 2013. His responsibilities include play-by-play broadcasting for Maverick sports, including volleyball, men's and women's basketball, softball and baseball. He also creates a wide variety of video content which includes highlights of games, student-athlete and coach interviews and features to be promoted on and social media. He also produces in-game content for the College Park Center.

    Before graduating UTA, Sours worked with UTA Radio for three years, including sports director in his senior season. During that year, he also was a broadcasting/in-game intern for the Dallas Cowboys.

    Sours continues work with the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium as a cameraman/camera utility. He also is on the FC Dallas camera crew at Toyota Stadium, and has worked a select number of Dallas Wings game for Fox Sports Southwest.

Alumni Q&A: Public Relations(11:45AM - 12:20PM)

  • Colton Hightower PREL - Assistant Account Executive at Idea Grove
  • Colton Hightower - assistant account executive at Idea Grove Colton, assistant account executive, contributes to Idea Grove’s Public Relations team by producing client deliverables, developing beneficial relationships with key members of the media and managing client needs. Colton has worked across many industries including higher education, insurance, non-profit and enterprise technology. Before joining Idea Grove as a Public Relations intern, Colton worked for years to hone his culinary knowledge.

    Colton earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a focus in Public Relations from The University of Texas at Arlington.

Resume Critique Stations

  1. Nikki Dickens - UT Arlington - Assistant Director for Career Development Programs
  2. Beth Francesco - Student Publications at UTA/ Shorthorn - Director
  3. Jeff Giraud - UT Arlington Adjust Assistant Professor
  4. Brandon Hurtado - ANKR Agency (social media marketing co.) - President
  5. Erikka Neroes - Medical City Arlington Former Director of Communication & Public Relations
  6. Ayanna Parker - UT Arlington Career Consultant Lockheed Martin Career Development Center
  7. Donna Pirkle - UT Arlington Lecturer, Communication Studies
  8. Crystal Posada - UT Arlington Career Consultant Lockheed Martin Career Development Center
  9. Jeff Giraud - UT Arlington Lecturer, Communication Studies
  10. Lynne Swihart - Balcom Agency - Director, Production Services
  11. Clayton Waters - Brushfire - Operations Director
  12. Kirsten Woodard - Master Plan Communications, Inc. - Senior PR Strategist

Professional Image Critique Stations

  1. Danielle Clarke - City of Kennedale - Director of Human Resources & Admin. Services
  2. James Casarez - Grit Talent - Talent Agent
  3. Kirsten Woodard - Master Plan Communications, Inc. - Senior PR Strategist