Alumni Scoop

DwaynaDwayna Haley, vice president at Porter Novelli Atlanta and a 2005 alumna from the MTSU School of Journalism, guest lectured in Dr. Hanna Park’s Public Relations Principles class on March 29, 2017. She shared her professional experiences and advice with the students.

She has more than 10 years of consumer brand marketing and communication experience, leading cross-functional teams of PR marketing and digital associates. Currently, she leads an integrated team for Bayer Crop Science, HoneyBaked Ham, Atlanta Ballet and Alvin Ailey America Dance Theater. She earned a B.S. in public relations. She resides in Atlanta with her husband, Bryan, and her children, Noah and Lillian.



MTSU College of Media & Entertainment alumnus Tim Hunze returned to his alma mater to speak to Assistant Professor Gloria Green’s Artist Management class about song publishing and working in the music industry.


Hunze, who graduated in 1990, started his own record label right out of college, but later sold it when he went into publishing. He then worked for Stage Three Music, where he helped c

ultivate the talents of writers like 2009 BMI Songwriter of the Year, Bobby Pinson, and 2010 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Brett James. He has also worked with hit songwriters Tom Shapiro, Tony Martin, Lee Miller and Jon Mabe.

In 2011, Tim started Parallel Music Publishing, a partnership with JP Williams of Parallel Entertainment. In their first five years, they have scored five No. 1 singles, including “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert, “Better Dig Two” by The Band Perry, and “Love Me Like You Mean it” by Kelsea Ballerini.

“We have extensive contacts in the TV, motion picture, video game, and music industries,” Hunze said. “The opportunities and possibilities for Parallel Music Publishing’s songwriters are endless.”


Clay TiptonClay Tipton, an EMC alumnus, has been with the company DWP Live since graduating from MTSU in 2013.

DWP LIVE provides projection mapping, video projection and related technology rentals. Founded in 2007 by Danny Whetstone, a 20-year industry veteran, DWP Live is headquartered in Nashville and maintains an office in Los Angeles. Tipton creates show content ideas, assists in video engineering design and serves as on-site media server technician. He is also a certified d3 instructor. d3 is the world’s first fully integrated visual production system for video professionals, combining a real-time 3D stage visualizer, timeline, video playback engine and projection mapping tools into one product.

“Everyone learns differently so it is my job to quickly understand how an individual learns and tailor my teaching style accordingly,” Tipton says. “A trial version of the d3 software is available for download to anyone at anytime. We recommend that individuals take a look at this before taking the class, but other than that, no previous knowledge is necessary.”

DWP Live recently moved into a newly renovated 33,000 square foot building which includes a large conference room perfect for classes as small as one or large as seven. Also, on-site is The Hall, a 3,500-square-foot event space where large group demonstrations and seminars can be scheduled — perfect for college class curriculum. For more information visit


Bill Steber

MTSU alumnus and renowned photographer Bill Steber was featured in the September 2016 issue of Nashville Arts magazine.

Steber, a native of Middle Tennessee, became interested in photography as a child. He published his first photograph at 11 years old after practicing with his dad’s camera. He graduated from MTSU in 1989 with a degree in Mass Communication and English.

Steber spent the next two decades working as a photojournalist for Nashville’s The Tennessean, winning multiple local and national awards. Steber is now a freelance photographer living in Murfreesboro, where his editorial work is in regional, national and international magazines. His work focuses on the distinctive culture in the Deep South of the Mississippi Delta. He hopes to publish multiple books on the Mississippi Blues project, combining the still photos with extensive interviews, writings, audio and video collected in the field to create a comprehensive survey of Mississippi blues culture that represents more than a decade of the region’s history.

For more information, please click here.


Roy Vaughn

Roy Vaughn

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has appointed Roy Vaughn as senior vice president and chief communications officer. Vaughn, an ’82 MTSU alumnus in journalism and public relations, will oversee all communication functions at BlueCross including public affairs and media relations, internal communications, brand strategy, market research, marketing and provider communications. He will also be responsible for the Blue BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation and community relations.

Prior to BlueCross, Vaughn was a partner in the Nashville public relations firm of Katcher Vaughn & Bailey Public Relations and spent 10 years in leadership positions with other Nashville public relations agencies, specializing in health care and reputation management.   Vaughn holds an Accreditation in Public Relations from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), where he served as chair of the organization’s Counselors Academy. Vaughn is a member of the board of trustees for the MTSU College of Media & Entertainment. In 2002, he was inducted into the college’s Wall of Fame, an honor that is given to select graduates who have achieved significant success in the fields of media and/or entertainment.



Armanda Constanza was recently presented with the Nashy Award for outstanding contributions to the growth of Nashville’s filmmaking community. Constanza graduated from the College of Media and Entertainment (formerly the College of Mass Communication) with a concentration in film in 1983. She is the founder and owner of A.C. Inc., a company that provides state of the art cameras for feature films, television series and events, documentaries, commercials, and corporate and music videos. She started A.C. Inc. in her basement right out of college, growing it into one of the top camera rental businesses in the country and then selling the business to a family member in 2006. Constanza is a freelance camera operator and has worked camera, served as cinematographer and directed many films over the course of her career, both in Nashville and abroad.



Music producer Michael Knox, a 1991 graduate of the Recording Industry Department, celebrated his 25th year working in the country music industry in January. Knox is most noted for his production work with country singer Jason Aldean. He produced Aldean’s My Kinda Party, which won the Country Music Association (CMA) award for Album of the Year in 2011. Knox has also worked with Thomas Rhett, Trace Adkins, Kelly Clarkson, Ludacris, Luke Bryan, Eric Church and produced songs for the hit TV series Nashville. He earned three Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards during his career, including two in 2012 for ACM Single Record of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year “Don’t You Wanna Stay” (performed by Aldean and Kelly Clarkson) and one in 2013 for ACM Musical Event of the Year “The Only Way I Know” (performed by Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church).  Knox also opened Nashville’s first song plugging company, Hit Pluggers, and was the vice president of Writer and Artist Development for Warner/Chappell from 1992-2002. Knox now serves as vice president for peermusic Nashville while managing singer, songwriter Michael Tyler through his production/management company, Music Knox.

Emily West

Emily West

Emily West graduated in December 2014 and already has started work as the county government reporter for The Greeneville Sun in Greeneville, Tennessee. Emily served as editor in chief of MTSU’s student newspaper, Sidelines, from May 2013 to May 2014 and has interned for The Tennessean, WPLN-FM in Nashville and WMOT-FM in Murfreesboro. Her MTSU student journalism awards have included Best Multimedia Journalist and Best Feature Writer. A native of Manchester, Tennessee, Emily led student coverage of her hometown Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June 2013 for the Music City Project, an offshoot of MTSU’s John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies.

Douglas and Britnee Kinard with service dog Gunner.

Douglas and Britnee Kinard with service dog Gunner.

Recording Industry alumna Britnee Kinard (’05) is the recipient of the 2014 Lincoln Caregiver Award, given to those who display outstanding achievement and excellence in providing care to veterans. Since 2010, Kinard has been a full-time caregiver for her husband, U.S. Army Purple Heart recipient Douglas H Kinard Jr., as well as a full-time mother to their two boys, Blayne and Maks. The Kinards’ eldest son, Blayne, was diagnosed in 2013 with Autism Spectrum Disorder and sensory and language problems.

In July 2014 Kinard founded the SD Gunner Fund, through which she provides assistance to soldiers and their families. The organization was inspired by Kinard’s own 15-month struggle to get her husband’s service dog, Gunner, approved by the Veterans Administration. The SD Gunner Fund assists veterans and disabled children with the financial expenses associated with owning much-needed service animals.

A native of Mississippi, Kinard has also teamed up with Wounded Warriors of Mississippi and several other organizations to provide mental health support, battle buddy support, and assistance to military families with autistic children. She and her husband frequently speak at schools and other community organizations to raise awareness about PTSD, service animals and caregiver support.

SEC Network logo

Lewis Harkness (’93), a television sports journalist, joined the production team in August for the new Southeastern Conference’s television network, SEC, located in the ESPN headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Harkness worked at MT10, the Mass Comm student television station, and his senior-year internship with WKRN-TV in Nashville led to a full-time position. He worked for WKRN-TV for 18 years before becoming a producer of ESPN’s  popular “Sportscenter” show. “I never really wanted to be in front of the camera,” Harkness said. “Probably the creative side of me is what drove me to be behind the scenes.” He was interviewed this summer on WMOT-FM’s “MTSU On the Record.” You can listen to his interview here.

Reza Baktar

Reza Baktar

Reza J. Baktar (’95) won a national Emmy Award in 2013. Baktar is a 1995 Mass Comm graduate and inductee into the Mass Comm Wall of Fame in 2006. The Emmy category was “Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story – Long Form” for CNN’s presentation of Election Night in America. Baktar is director of CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper.

Craig Boswell

Craig Boswell

Craig Boswell (’93) is a correspondent for CBS Newspath, the network’s 24-hour TV news service for CBS stations and broadcasters around the world. Boswell began his broadcast-journalism career as a producer at WKRN-TV in Nashville, and later was an anchor and reporter for the station, serving as an embed reporter with the 101st Airborne Division. He was also an anchor for WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Ala., and WTTO-TV in Birmingham, Ala., before joining Fox NewsEdge. There, Boswell reported on major events including the conclave election of Pope Francis, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Republican and Democratic conventions, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Haiti earthquake. He also served as a fill-in overnight anchor for the Fox News Channel in New York. Boswell is based in Washington, D.C.

Jason Cox


Jason Cox (’05) works as a communications specialist for the Oregon School Employees Association. The job entails writing, photography, design, messaging development, media relations and print services for members. Prior to joining OSEA, he was managing editor of the Keizertimes in Keizer, Ore., where he won 15 first-place awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. While at MTSU, he was editor of Sidelines, president of the Student Journalists Association and involved with WMTS.

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