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Guest Comm Panel Shares Insight with TAMIU Communication Students
Posted: 12/18/14

Guest Communication Panel Shares
Insight with TAMIU Communication Students

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Communication students had a chance to gain keen insight and career feedback from a panel of local communicators, including TAMIU alumni.

Melva Lavin Castillo, The Laredo Morning Times; Roque Vela, City Councilman; Adam Geigerman, TAMIU Sports; Tim Gutierrez, KGNS-TV; and Jeffrey Castillo, Digital Republic

Visiting Panelists at TAMIU

Texas A&M International University communication students were recently visited by a guest panel of Laredo’s top communication professionals. Left to right, Melva Lavin Castillo, The Laredo Morning Times; Roque Vela, City Councilman; Adam Geigerman, TAMIU Sports; Tim Gutierrez, KGNS-TV; and Jeffrey Castillo, Digital Republic. Not pictured, Victoria Young, KGNS.

The panelists included KGNS-TV anchor Tim Gutíerrez, Victoria Young  (’13) KGNS promotions director and account executive; Roque Vela, District 5 City Councilman;  Jeffrey Castillo (’11), Digital Republic Co-Founder; Adam Geigerman, TAMIU sports information director and Melva Lavin-Castillo, Spanish editor for The Laredo Morning Times

All were guests in Dr. José Lozano’s Communication Theory and Practice class, an undergraduate class offered this Fall.

The panelists described their career path and fielded questions from students, the majority focused on the job prospects.

Panelists were frank, describing changes in their fields and challenges, but assured students that their futures are not as bleak as some may have thought. Specifically, they encouraged students to present themselves uniquely and find a way to be hungrier then their competitors.

Melva Lavin Castillo

Presenter Lavin Castillo noted her previous jobs were vastly different from her current post at The Times.

“My father used to say that if I’m going to clean windows, I should be the best at cleaning windows…and be the best salesperson in the store, ” she recalled, noting that this ‘be the best’ philosophy has helped her to excel at The Times since 2006 and fuels her additional aspirations.

Tim Gutíerrez

A face familiar to most Laredoans, Gutíerrez considered himself an outsider, but said he loves his new home. “I love it here,” Gutierrez said, noting that Laredo is considered a big market. He also shared tips on making resumes and reels that stand out --  encouraging students to “Be persistent…you want to stand out from the rest by leaving your red mark.”

Roque Vela

Roque Vela, perhaps one of the city’s most passionate politicians, said he was surprisingly shy as youngster.

“When I wake up, I’m a councilman, when I go to sleep, I’m still a councilman. I know most people don’t like Mondays, but I look forward to Mondays,” he revealed.  Vela noted the importance of factual versus speculative information in the media and how developing his communication skills helped him to grow out of his shell.

Victoria Young

As a recent TAMIU graduate, Young recalled the familiarity of the classroom the panel was held in and said she was grateful for the lessons learned at TAMIU. Her presentation focused on students getting ready to graduate and how TAMIU had helped prepare her for the challenges of the job market that lay ahead.

 Jeffrey Castillo

Castillo, also a TAMIU alum, said he began his journey in somewhat abrupt fashion. Married young, he feared that he would not be able to sustain his dreams of working with film.  Nonetheless, while working two part time jobs, he created a blog, recording and editing the content and leading him to the creation of Digital Republic.

Adam Geigerman

Geigerman, discussing his love for his hometown Atlanta Braves, said he wanted nothing more than to be a Braves baseball manager until he “stopped growing in the fourth grade.”

His love for sports did not stop growing, and he used his writing skills to stay involved. He’s since been recognized for his sports writing in the Armstrong Atlantic State University “Inkwell” for his articles on sports and continues his love for sports at TAMIU.

Dr. Lozano frequently invited members of the professional communication community and related professions to meet with students to provide students with an opportunity to share information and inspire students further.

This Spring, the University is launching its new Master of Arts in Communication, providing a new graduate option for students.  The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the program’s launch for January 2015.

The innovative program combines practical and applied knowledge with theory and practice, alongside a special focus on communication practices in both binational and international contexts.

The Spring Semester 2015 at TAMIU begins Tuesday, January 20, 2015.  Online registration is underway at tamiu.edu.  University offices close in a State-authorized holiday at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 23 and re-open Monday, Jan. 5.

University registration for the Spring continues online at tamiu.edu.  University information is also available on the University’s social media sites on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu