J-School Generations

Fall 2015 edition


Founders of The Agency attended the ribbon cutting during J-School Generations. From left: Don Hunter; Phil Bressler and Jim Brown of Muller Bressler Brown; Jan-Eric Anderson of Callahan Creek; Jason Parks of Barkley; Ali Mahaffy and Rand Mikulecky of Sullivan Higdon & Sink; and Jim Chastain of Reality Check.


Founders of The Agency attended the ribbon cutting during J-School Generations. From left: Don Hunter; Phil Bressler and Jim Brown of Muller Bressler Brown; Jan-Eric Anderson of Callahan Creek; Jason Parks of Barkley; Ali Mahaffy and Rand Mikulecky of Sullivan Higdon & Sink; and Jim Chastain of Reality Check.

Dozens of alumni and students marked the fifth anniversary of J-School Generations this year during KU’s Homecoming Oct. 29-31.

Alumni returned to KU from all around the country to participate in classroom lectures, a networking event and a challenge project involving teams of J-School students, faculty members and alumni. 

Ashley Backhus, (BSJ 2007), founder and owner of PlanMyTournament.com, enjoyed interacting with J-School alumni and meeting the students. 

"I really enjoyed the thoughtful questions from the students during classroom visits," Backhus said. "My career path hasn’t been conventional, but I still use things I learned in school and shared that experience and perspective with the students. I’m looking forward to participating in the event next year."

Junior Ashley Maska, who is majoring in strategic communications, said her favorite part of J-School Generations was the challenge project because she received invaluable advice from the alumni and got the opportunity build relationships with her peers, professors and alumni.

“The challenge project is a great opportunity because it fosters hands-on learning experience and allows journalism students to get to know KU alumni and professors through a full-day simulation exercise,” Maska said. “Through participating, I was able to improve my communication skills through collaborating on a project that we presented live at the end of the day. To sum up the experience in a few words, it was realistic of a job setting, fun, and empowering!” 

Friday's events included a ribbon cutting for The Agency, which was founded a year earlier as a student-run advertising, marketing, and strategic communication business. Several founding partners of The Agency attended the event (see photo above). Learn more about The Agency at its website or read a previous Jayhawk Journalist story.

During the evening alumni reception, J-School Generations co-founders Eric Morgenstern and Joel Zeff were honored for their vision for the event and commitment to its continued growth.

Join us in 2016

We are already planning J-School Generations for next year! If you would like to participate as a classroom speaker, network with students during our round-robin networking event and/or participate during our challenge project, please send an email to jschool@ku.edu. 

Sponsorships

If you or your company would like to become a sponsor of J-School Generations, please contact Patrick Allen at pallen@kuendowment.org. 

J-School Generations alumni guest speakers


Rich Clarkson (1955), founder and president, Clarkson Creative

J.B. Forbes (1973), chief photographer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Teri Sprackland (1976), international reporter, taxanalysts.com

Eric Morgenstern (1978), CEO of Morningstar Communications

Vanessa Gordon (1982), assistant news editor, The New York Times

Mark Mears (1984), Executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Noodles & Company

Bill Ackerly (1987), Strategic communication/PAO, Mission Command Center of Excellence, U.S. Army Command Center of Excellence

Joel Zeff (1990), national speaker, humorist and author

Sherry Scott (1991), chief operating officer, Gagen MacDonald 

Chad Lawhorn (1995), managing editor, Lawrence Journal-World

Robert Allen (1996), managing editor and copy chief, WebMD

Seth Jones (2001), editor in chief, Golfdom magazine and AthleticTurf.net

Chris Steppig (2004), vice president of business and education, Clarkson Creative

Katie Briscoe (2005), vice president, MMGY Global

Fritz Heffinger (2005), president, OutCold Marketing

Ashley Backhus (2007), founder and owner, PlanMyTournament.com 

Kris Kennedy (2007), writer for The Onion 

Kameron Mack (2012), television producer and host for Viacom/AMC Networks