J-School Generations 2016 

Fall 2016 Edition

The William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications hosted its J-School Generations on Oct. 20-21, 2016. The school invited alumni to return to campus to connect with faculty, students and alumni. This year's two-day event started with guest speakers taking over journalism classes on for an entire day and having lunch with students. Later in the afternoon, three of our alumni gave TED-style talks to an audience that included students, faculty, staff and fellow alumni; a reception followed. Friday morning started off with alumni and students creating teams to compete in trivia and games. The winning team, the University Daily Kansan, won $750 for their organization. Friday events also included a round-robin networking session with alumni and students and the launch of The Agency's new entitty, Steam Whistle Creative


New for this year's J-School Generations was J-Talk, a TED-style lecture event featuring three of our talented alumni, who shared stories of inspiration and innovation that has guided them on their path in their lives and careers.

Erica Hawthorne

Hawthorne’s professional career has been a balance of both business and creative experiences leading to positively affecting the city's creative economy from the individual artist to businesses and cultural organizations.

Hawthorne is the founder and executive director of Small But Mighty Arts, an organization that connects Philadelphia artists to resources to advance their creative careers. Before starting the organization, Hawthorne’s resume included work with college-prep programs, nonprofits, universities and small businesses where she was responsible for developing new programs, enhancing marketing efforts, producing events and managing community outreach efforts. Hawthorne graduated from the J-School in 2002.

J-Talk topic: "Extra-Ordinary Powers of a Small but Mighty Jayhawk"

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Andy Marso

Marso is a journalist for the Kansas Health Institute News Service, an author, and a vaccination advocate. Marso's award-winning memoir, "Worth the Pain," chronicles the near-fatal bout with bacterial meningitis he faced in 2004 as he was preparing to graduate from the J-School.

Despite losing parts of all four of his limbs, Marso recovered to earn a master's degree from the University of Maryland and write for several publications, including The Washington Post. Marso previously covered state government for the Topeka Capital-Journal, where he won the Burton W. Marvin Kansas News Enterprise Award. He was named to the University of Kansas Hospital's Rehabilitation Hall of Fame in 2015, and his second book, "The Klinefelter Legacy," was published in January.

J-Talk topic: "Everything Happens for a Reason -- or Does It?: A Personal Examination of the World's Worst Cliche"

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Johanna Maska

Maska was the director of press advance for President Barack Obama, managing the president's public image on trips across the United States and to 40 countries including extended tours of Asia, South America, Europe and Africa. She worked for President Obama for eight years and played an important role on both successful presidential elections, starting in Iowa in 2007 and concluding in early 2015. Maska graduated from the J-School in 2004.

J-Talk topic: "The Audacity of Tenacity"