Valerie Spears, a senior mass communication major, has made the most of her time at Texas Wesleyan University.
Spears, 22, transferred to Wesleyan in 2013 and has already participated in a study abroad trip, became a leader in a student organization, won various academic awards and participated in multiple communication related competitions and conferences.
Spears said she is amazed at how much she has been able to experience and accomplish in such a short time.
“When I decided to switch my major from marketing to communications, less than a year ago, I did not anticipate how much my life would change,” she said. “Studying mass communication has allowed me to apply my creative ideas and expand my skill set.”
Dr. David Ferman, journalism instructor and Rambler Media Group advisor, first taught spears how to write a news story in his class last fall.
Ferman said Spears is an extraordinary writer and a great leader.
“She picked up news writing fairly quickly and was the one of my top student in class,” Ferman said. “I have really enjoyed working with her over the past year and watching her pursue her dreams.”
Spears, now editor-in-chief of the student media organization, Rambler Media Group, spent her last summer vacation, before graduation, attending leadership and management conferences for news editors and redesigning The Rambler newspaper and RMG website.
Spears said Wesleyan is a great university for students who want to get involved.
“Being editor-in-chief this semester has allowed me to apply my leadership skills in a professional setting, which has been a great learning experience,” Spears said. “I have learned so much working for Rambler Media Group that I will be able to use in my career.”
Spears was able to attend a weeklong management seminar for college news editors at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia before starting this new role.
“I learned how to manage a news team and how to come up with different news stories for a college campus,” she said.
Dr. Kay Colley, associate professor of mass communication, student media director and department chair, has enjoyed seeing Spears grow both academically and personally, she said.
“Valerie has continued to exceed my expectations every year,” Colley said. “She is always willing to learn and ready for any challenge thrown at her.”
Colley said the Rambler Media Group won two awards from the Associated Collegiate Press this semester under the leadership of Spears.
The newspaper placed eighth amongst Four-year Less Than Weekly newspapers and the RMG website, received second place in the Website Small School category at the 2015 National College Media Convention Best of Show competition.
“She has really set the bar high for the incoming mass communication students,” Colley said. “She has done an outstanding job and presented herself in a professional way.”
Spears said the small environment at Wesleyan has allowed her to get to know her professors and classmates, which is something she believes has helped her toward her ultimate career goal, of owning her own integrated marketing company one day.
“In 20 years from now I will still remember singing karaoke in Dr. Colley’s class on Fridays and saying hello to the maintenance guy outside of the Polytechnic church every day on my way to and from the Rambler office,” she said. “Wesleyan allowed me to come out of my shell and become more social. I learned so much from other students and my professors.”
Spears said pursuing a degree in Mass communication at Wesleyan was the best choice in her academic career. The small environment was a perfect fit for her learning style and personality.
“I have proven to myself that hard work and determination truly pays off,” Spears said. “And graduation means I am just going to have to work harder because now I have another dream to accomplish.”