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Communications Experts to “Join the Conversation” at Comm Week

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More than 65 professionals — including Titan alumni — working in communications-based occupations such as speech sciences, journalism, entertainment, visual effects and advertising are on tap to speak at Cal State Fullerton’s 41st annual Communications Week April 22-25. Most programs will take place in the Titan Student Union and are free and open to the public.

Highlighted speakers include Leslie Licano ’04, co-founder and CEO of public relations firm Beyond Fifteen Communications; Laura Rodriguez ’13, senior social media coordinator for the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs); Barry Westrum ’87, chief marketing officer for Del Taco; and alumnus Cris Abrego, CEO and chairman of Endemol Shine, a leading creator and producer of reality television shows.

The April 23 “SOAR Presents Latinos in the Film and Television Industry” panel will feature several prominent Latinos — including Tony, Emmy and Academy Award-nominated actor Edward James Olmos — discussing the Latino experience and sharing insights on successful careers in the entertainment industry. The program takes place 7-8:30 p.m. in the TSU Portola Pavilion.

Comm Week is planned, promoted and run by communications students in the COMM 497T event planning and management course. The event aims to expose attendees to the wide variety of career opportunities in communications and offer them resources and networks to help them pursue their professional goals.

“The Comm Week class is an extremely challenging and heavily experiential course,” explains faculty adviser Waleed Rashidi, assistant professor of communications. “Students learn important, transferable skills and are forced to make important decisions that have real-world consequences, oftentimes under the pressure of deadlines.

“Such skills are essential in just about every imaginable workplace. I want them to figure things out independently and realize that they are empowered to plan and execute an event that is uniquely their own, ultimately for the benefit of the entire Cal State Fullerton university community.”

Student organizations such as the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, the Student Speech Therapists and Audiologists Nurturing Cultural Enrichment, and the Latino Communications Institute host club events during the week as well.

Communications-public relations senior Joanna Lariz, public affairs liaison for Comm Week, appreciates her involvement in the event.

“At the outset I really had no clue what I was getting myself into. Now that I’m right there in the thick of it, I have so much more respect for event planning and public relations. It’s really great to be able to take what I’ve read in textbooks and heard my professors lecture on and apply it myself.”

The 2019 Comm Week student executive committee includes Madison Foster, senior in communications-public relations; Kadi Ali, junior in communications-public relations; and Tawni Nguyen, junior in communication studies.

For a complete event schedule and speaker biographies, visit the Comm Week website.