CommDay 2021 - Comm + Unity

Tuesday October 26 9:45AM to 1PM - Bluebonnet Ballroom


Schedule At A Glance

9:45AM to 10:45AM Keynote - Terri Nolan

11:00AM to 11:35AM Panels

  • Giving Back to the Community (Bluebonnet Center)
  • Picking / Negotiating Your First Job (Bluebonnet South)

11:45AM to 12:20PM Panels

  • Building Community at Work (Bluebonnet Center)
  • Achieving Work/Life Balance (Bluebonnet South)

12:30PM to 1PM Special Event

  • Creating a Work Wardrobe (sponsored by Comm Attire and PRSSA student organizations) (Bluebonnet Center)

Professional Opportunities

10:30AM to 1PM
  • Networking Expo with DFW organizations (Bluebonnet North)
  • Mock interviews and headshots (Lockheed Martin Career Development Center)

Mock Interview and Headshot Signup

Reserve your spot to practice your interviewing skills to land your next interview. Get that killer professional headshot for your LinkedIn profile. Due to high demand, we can only provide this opportunity for people who made an advanced reservation.


Terri Nolan - Crime Novelist, Investigative Reporter and UTA Alumna

Terri Nolan - Keynote Speaker

Alumna Terri Nolan, noted crime novelist and former crime reporter, will be giving the keynote for our 13th Annual Communication Day.


Alumni Panels

The Department of Communication has brought back several successful alumni to provide you cutting edge information and best practices on what is happening in industry. Be prepared to take away important insights and network with your fellow Maverick alumni.

giving back at work

GIving Back to the Community

Join Nadajalah Bennett (Project Manager at Texas811), Anita Foster (Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Arlington ISD), and Seehum Isa (Demand Generation Specialist at as they lead an important panel discussion on why they choose to give back to their communities of interest.

building community at work

Building Community at Work

Public Relations specialist Ashley Hardeman (Brinker International) and Software Engineer Kord Hickson (RKD Group) will lead a fascinating discussion on how to build community at work, the site where you will spend most of your life.

picking your first job

Picking and Negotiating Your First Job

Broadcast Journalist Alanna Quillen (KXAS) and Sales VP David Hynson (iHeart Radio) will provide wisdom and guidance on a topic that many current students wonder about - how to negotiate your first job. Just as important, they will also touch upon some important factors to consider when choosing a job.

achieving work and life balance

Achieving Work /Life Balance

Deputy Editor Rachel Snyder and Marketing VP Josue Mercado (Trudela) round out our panels by discussing the importance of achieving work/life balance. Is it even possible in the modern workforce? Come ready with your questions for the crucial topic.


Fashion Show (Bluebonnet Center)

Creating a Work Wardrobe - Sponsored by Comm Attire and PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America)

12:30-1:00 p.m.

This work wardrobe fashion show featuring attire from the Comm Closet will provide some do's and dont's to dress for professional success. We will raffle off four gift cards from clothing retailers, so be sure to stay until the end!


Networking Expo (Bluebonnet North)

10:30 a.m-1 p.m.

Confirmed Professional Organizations

  • Univision
  • Dala Communications
  • Fort-Worth Star-Telegram
  • City of Arlington
  • AAF (American Advertising Federation - Fort Worth Chapter)
  • AWM-DFW (Alliance for Women in Media - DFW Chapter)
  • SPM Communications
  • The Country Network

Confirmed Departmental and Student Organizations

  • UTA News en Español
  • UTA Radio
  • UTA Comm Grad studies
  • UTA Comm Student Organizations
  • UTA Comm Study Abroad
  • UTA new Philanthropy major
  • UTA Comm Internships
  • The Shorthorn


Mock Interviews and Headshots (Lockheed Martin Career Development Center)

10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Meet Our Panelists

Before attending CommDay, take a moment to familiarize yourself with panelists for the sessions. Most are UTA Department of Communication alumni and ALL are highly qualified representatives in their fields.

Nadajalah Bennett - Broadcast Alumna and Project Manager of Texas811

Nadajalah BennettNadajalah Bennett received a B.A. in Organizational Communication with a minor in Broadcasting from UT Arlington in 2015. She also holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a specialization in Emergency Management from the University of North Texas. Bennett has more than 4 years of emergency management experience, including positions with IBA as a Sr. Training Site Administrator, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) as an Emergency Management Specialist. Today, Bennett is the Project Manager of Texas811.

Ashley Hardeman-Wilkett - PR and Advertising Alumna and Internal Corporate Communications Specialist at Brinker International.

Ashley Hardeman-WilkettBrinker International is the multinational hospitality industry company and parent to Chili’s Grill and Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy. In her role at Brinker, Ashley works with cross-functional partners to communicate business updates and priorities to Team Members in more than 1,000 Chili’s restaurants and more than 500 Team Members at the Brinker headquarters. She strategically communicates to restaurants during crises and supports operators during industry challenges on a weekly basis, from COVID-19 to supply chain and staffing challenges. Before joining Brinker two years ago, she spent three years at Tenet Healthcare. While there, she supported internal communications through newsletters and events and external communications through media reporting, pitching and strategic planning. Ashley graduated with public relations and advertising degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2018. She is married and enjoys cheering on her husband’s high school football team.

Kord Hickson - CTEC Alumnus and Software Engineer for RKD Group

Kord HicksonKord Hickson has 10 years of IT experience at which time he decided to go back to school and pursue his dream of becoming a first-generation college graduate. Kord accomplished that dream at UTA in 2019 and has since worked as a Software Engineer where he specializes in Data, Analytics, Marketing Technology (MarTech), & Financial Technology (FinTech). Kord also leads a team of developers and acts as a liaison between the Technology, Digital Strategy, Media, and Analytics teams to design and implement data-driven solutions that align with their client's needs and help drive innovation in the ways we approach media mix modeling, digital attribution systems, and information engineering.

David Hynson - VP of Sales at iHeartMedia

David HynsonDavid Hynson is Dallas-Fort Worth Vice President of Sales at iHeartMedia, where he leads a team of marketing sales professionals. David has worked in Sales and Sales Management in the radio and media industry for more than 30 years, and he was recently awarded 2020 Talent Superhero in the Center for Sales Strategy’s Annual Talent Magazine for his commitment to Recruitment and Training. David volunteers in his church and at Bridges to Life, where he helps men on a restorative path to recovery in the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. He and his family sponsor 6 children in Colombia through Compassion International.  David graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1986, with a B.A. in Marketing from the College of Business Administration. 

Seehum Isa - PR Alumna and Demand Generalization Specialists and Internal Marketer for

Seehum IsaSeehum Isa is a 2017 graduate in Public Relations at the University of Texas at Arlington. She spent her time on campus as the Public Relations Director for PRSSA, the Advisor for Freshman Leaders on Campus and a TEDx Speaker for the UT Arlington event.

After graduation Seehum took her skills to Sundance Square in Fort Worth and worked directly as their communication specialist. There she was able to develop key relationships across the city, manage creative teams to promote events and messaging and help senior leaders in the community build a strategy for Sundance Square.

While very appreciative of her time at Sundance, Seehum has since worked at is a Fort Worth company that specializes in programmatic advertising. She worked as an Associate Account Coordinator at her start helping clients optimize their campaigns, but has since transitioned to a Demand Generation Specialist and spends her days doing internal marketing for

Seehum has been able to put her skills from UT Arlington to the test and excel in her career. While she very much enjoys her career, she is an active triathlete, caring dog mom of her dog Matcha and children’s book author. Outside of this Seehum is an active member in Everytown for Gun Safety and actively helps them in external relation efforts to help end gun violence in America.

Josue Mercado - Advertising Alumnus and VP of Marketing at Trüdela

Josue MercadoJosue Mercado is a VP of Marketing currently living and working in the DFW metroplex. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2016 from the Communications department, obtaining a degree in Advertising with a minor in Spanish.
Josue has nearly ten years of experience in the marketing industry and has managed all marketing aspects of small local businesses to large national companies. He began his marketing career in 2013, during his senior year of high school, designing, creating, and managing print and digital marketing. In 2017, Josue became a freelancer while being in the legal industry. By the age of 25, he became the head of marketing & sales for a national company. He currently is the VP of Marketing at Trüdela, where he oversees all marketing sectors to grow the business.
Besides enjoying marketing, Josue likes to hike, travel, work out, and spend time with his family. His most significant and motivating quote is from "Rocky Balboa," "It ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward".

Alanna Quillen - Broadcast Alumna and Morning Reporter for NBC5

Alanna QuillenAlanna Quillen joined NBC 5 in October 2019 as a morning reporter for NBC 5 Today.

She is a North Texas native who was born and raised in Mesquite.

Before returning home, she made several stops across the South, most recently at WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida as a reporter and fill-in anchor. While there, she reported on the tragic school shooting in Parkland, covered President Donald Trump at the Winter White House, and filed field reports throughout Hurricane Irma. She also reported on the ground in the Bahamas as a relief volunteer following Hurricane Dorian.

Her on-air career began in Midland, Texas as a weekend anchor and reporter. She also spent nearly five years in Louisiana working in Monroe and Shreveport as an evening anchor and reporter.

She's a proud graduate of Mesquite High School (Go Skeeters!) and the University of Texas at Arlington, where she studied broadcast journalism and worked on the school newspaper, The Shorthorn. While there, she studied abroad in France and also held internships in the metroplex including D Magazine and NBC 5. During her internship at NBC 5, she wrote feature stories for and shadowed the same reporters in the field whom she works alongside today.

Alanna has spent hundreds of volunteer hours working at animal shelters and soup kitchens for the last several years, most recently as an education docent at a sea turtle hospital in Juno Beach, Florida.

She is thrilled to be living just minutes away from her family and hometown friends. Outside of the newsroom, you'll find Alanna spending time with her animals, playing the ukulele, or getting lost in an antique mall.

Rachel Snyder - Journalism Alumna and Deputy Editor for People Newspapers

Rachel SnyderRachel graduated from UTA in 2013. She started her career as a reporter at daily and weekly newspapers in Oklahoma, worked her way up to managing editor of a weekly publication near Tulsa. She has been a Deputy Editor with People Newspapers, monthly publications that cover the Park Cities and Preston Hollow neighborhoods of Dallas since 2019.