Winning Twins: How These Manship Grads Landed Their Dream Jobs

Manship School alums Erin and Erica Washington

Erin and Erica Washington are twin sisters that graduated from the Manship School in 2013. The Manship School provided them with lifelong skills and experiences that opened up opportunities which ultimately led them to their dream jobs.

The Washington twins are New Orleans natives who wanted to spread their wings after high school and leave Louisiana. That quickly changed after just one visit with a Manship School student ambassador.

“Seeing another black female who succeeded in the program was inspiring,” Erin said.

The Manship School offered them a support system that is still in place today.

“From our peers to professors, we still have a lot of great relationships,” Erica said.

Manship School professors such as Dr. Yongick Jeong, Dr. Jinx Broussard and Professor Roxanne Dill taught the twins to take “ownership and pride in their work,” they said.

“You never want to have your name attached to something mediocre,” Erin said.

Professors at the Manship School encouraged the twins to pursue internships so that they could narrow their passion and find the perfect job that was right for them. Throughout their years at the Manship School, the twins interned and volunteered for various organizations including KLSU-FM (the on-campus, student-run radio station), the LSU Football office of recruitment and video production for Kids Across America.

“If you’re a student and you’re not sure where your passion lies, you should intern and volunteer. Try different jobs to see what the day-to-day is like,” Erica suggested.

After graduating in 2013, Erin and Erica took public relations internships in New York. After their internships ended, Erica worked in public relations at the Music Choice Awards and Erin worked in marketing at The Apollo Theater. After four years, they both decided to head back to the south.

Erica left first to follow her dreams of working in Film Production at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Erin soon followed and achieved her dreams of working for the NFL. She is the Grassroots Marketing Manager for the Atlanta Falcons. Erica currently works at the Savannah College of Art & Design on the SCADFILM team.

“During your time at the Manship School, it is crucial that you make sure you are always building relationships with others, staying focused, practicing healthy self-care habits and being present by living in the moment,” Erin said. “You will know you’re in the right field when you work several hours, and it doesn’t feel like work.”

Written by Brianna Jones-Williams

Student Explores Social Media Advertising Trends

Loreal Johnson
Manship student Loreal Johnson

Loreal Johnson graduated from the Manship School in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in digital advertising but not before pursing unique communication research on social media.

In her last semester at LSU, Johnson was selected as an LSU Discover Scholar and awarded an LSU Discover Undergraduate Research Project Grant for her project, “Sharing more than expected: Exploring whether and how young people have privacy concerns related to social media advertising.”

Johnson explored the ways in which ads on Instagram and Snapchat target young African Americans, as well as the potential privacy concerns that may arise when young people give those brands too much power. Under the guidance of her mentor, Erin Coyle, Ph.D., Johnson used qualitative research techniques and conducted one-on-one interviews with students as part of her project. While her research hasn’t yet concluded, it’s already provided her with the opportunity to explore topics she finds interesting while putting her communication skills to work.

Johnson is pursuing her master’s degree at the Manship School, where she will continue her research on targeted ads on African Americans. Choosing the Manship School for her master’s degree was an easy decision for Johnson, who said the small class size was an initial draw.

“The Manship School’s small class sizes made me feel at home, but my favorite thing about Manship is definitely the faculty,” Johnson said. “They are so encouraging and always willing to lend a hand.”

Written by Beth Carter

Faculty and Students Study “Avengers,” “Black Panther”

Meghan Sanders, Ph.D., works in a job that combines her love for media entertainment with her fascination with human behavior. Sanders is an associate professor with the Manship School and is also the director of the Manship School’s Media Effects Lab, a research and teaching facility where faculty and student researchers can study how the media affect consumers emotionally and cognitively.

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Meghan Sanders collaborates with Manship School graduate students on research.

MEL researchers use advanced experimental and survey methodologies and technologies (like reaction time monitors, facial expression analysis, heart rate, eye tracking and more) to investigate theoretical and applied problems, explore innovations and uncover trends in mass communication. Approximately 800 to 1,200 Manship students participate in MEL surveys each semester.

Sanders has been interested in the media since childhood but discovered her true passion for blending media and research during college.

“I found that the questions about media that intrigued me most revolved around how, when and why different forms of media, specifically entertainment, seem to have such a strong influence on how we think and feel,” Sanders said.

Sanders’ most current research focuses on Marvel’s blockbuster “Avengers” movies. She looked at audience sentiments toward the “Avengers” and another Marvel hit, “Black Panther,” to see how entertainment media can serve as a force for positive social change by tapping into viewers’ emotions.

“With ‘Black Panther,’ I’m examining the role that racial identity may play in weakening the internalization of stereotypes traditionally perpetuated by entertainment,” Sanders said. “With ‘The Avengers,’ I was able to explore how emotions help draw people to a cause and feel connected to one another.”

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Meghan Sanders conducts research in the Media Effects Lab.

Sanders said that while media entertainment’s main role is to provide fun and joy to viewers, it is important to study entertainment because our media consumption can explain, reflect and predict society’s values.

“Entertainment can reflect and advance culture and society – connecting us, highlighting both our flaws and our potential for greatness,” Sanders said. “Understanding the ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘why’ of these influences allows us to better understand the significance of stories in our ability to grow, form relationships and broaden our perspectives.”

Written by Beth Carter

Manship School grad works for the largest health care public relations agency

Mary Klemenok, a 2017 alumna of the Manship School, is living proof that what you learn the Manship School can help you build your future career.

Manship School alumna Mary Klemenok

Klemenok is a Texas native who always dreamed of attending Louisiana State University. Her dream came true when she transferred to LSU after her freshman year from the University of Missouri.

“I was an athlete my whole life, so I knew how important it was to maintain a good image in the public eye and that is why I picked public relations as my major,” Klemenok said. 

Reflecting on her time at Manship, Klemenok feels that a lot of the classes that she took helped her prepare for success after graduation. She was fortunate enough to be part of one of the biggest campaign projects produced by Manship School students. Her capstone class, also known as a campaign class, was taught by Professional-in-Residence Sadie Wilks and allowed her group to partner with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency. Klemenok’s press release was soon picked up by top tier outlets and she played a critical role in the campaign being seen by over 100 million people across the world. In addition to the press release, her team created other collateral to help LOPA carry out its objectives in raising awareness on eye, organ and tissue donation. The campaign was also a finalist in the 2018 PRWeek Choice Awards for Best Facebook Live Campaign. 

Mary Klemenok at the premiere of  “A Touch of Sugar”

 “A lot of the work done at the Manship School was hands-on, so rather than sitting in lectures I was able to write, to create things and to grow as a communicator,” Klemenok said.

Klemenok now works for the leading healthcare public relations agency. Her work revolves around Type 2 diabetes. Her firm recently released a documentary that tells the story of four patients with Type 2 diabetes. The documentary even allowed her to work with actress Viola Davis. 

The relationships that Klemenok built with her professors like Sadie Wilks, who she still keeps in contact with, continue to help her to this day. 

“Take advantage of internships and step out of your comfort zone. College is a place that you should explore areas that might interest you. You learn from doing,” Klemenok said. 

Written by Brianna Jones-Williams

The Political Evolution of a Conservative Icon, Ronald Reagan

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Manship School professor and author Robert Mann

Manship School Professor Robert Mann recently published his new book, “Becoming Ronald Reagan: The Rise of a Conservative Icon.” Mann’s book is an extensive look at the beginning of Reagan’s political career.

Mann feels that this compelling biography of Reagan describes “an era where we cared about the truth.” Mann questions if, as a society, “do we care about the truth at all anymore or just want to be entertained?”

These thoughts were provoked because, according to Mann, Reagan was an incredible storyteller, but sometimes his stories were not entirely true. Reagan’s ability to engage an audience derived from his understanding of how “the entertainment industry could serve you well in politics,” Mann said.

The inspiration to write about Reagan began after Mann finished his last book, “Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater and the Ad that Changed American Politics,” which discusses the 1964 presidential election. During the election, one single point stood out to Mann as the most effective and persuasive tool of the entire campaign: the nationally televised speech on Oct. 27 that Reagan gave in support of Barry Goldwater. At the time, Goldwater was the Republican nominee for the presidential campaign. That speech, Mann argues in the book, was the highlight of Goldwater’s campaign and it launched Reagan political career.

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The cover of Robert Mann’s book, “Becoming Ronald Reagan: The Rise of a Conservative Icon

Mann feels that the importance of the 1964 election and Reagan’s speech is the “dawn of modern campaigning; the DNA of what happened that race is in today’s politics.”

When Mann began writing his book, he initially intended to focus solely on Reagan’s speech, but Mann found that Reagan’s life leading up to that speech was much more intriguing. Reagan started as an actor turned liberal union leader and became a conservative icon.

“We do evolve; we do change, Reagan is a good example of that,” Mann said. “His evolution resonates with me because I used to be a conservative, I voted for him both times, but now I don’t agree with any of his policies, but I like him as a man.”