By Tayana Lewis, Journalism Major
A select group of local high school students visited Texas Southern University (TSU), Monday, April 20, as guests of TSU’s School of Communication.
The High School Open House event was the start of a week-long schedule of activities planned for the school’s 35th Intercultural Communication Conference. The students had a pretty full day designed to help them explore the campus and also experience new media opportunities in education and industry.
One of the highlights of the day was Entertainment, Recording, and Management Professor Mathew Knowles, who took the stage with lots of enthusiasm.
“I don’t like the mic,” Knowles said. “I like the energy I bring.”
Jumping with excitement, Knowles tried his best to make sure he got through to every student.
“I had no clue TSU had Beyoncé’s dad teaching here,” said Alexis Randle, a Jack Yates High School sophomore. “That’s crazy, but inspiring at the same time. Knowing the person behind Beyoncé’s career is right here, at my finger tips, is overwhelming.”
Journalism and social media Professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker, the “Queen of Social Media,” at TSU and a true pioneer in the use of new media in university journalism classes, was another dynamic speaker who took the students by surprise. Her presentation began with the Nae Nae and the Whip, a popular dance move among the black community. Stunned for a second, students laughed and joined in.
“That lady is crazy,” said Henry Boss a junior at Hightower High School. “I didn’t think she was going to come in all happy and stuff, but I like that. I bet her class is fun.”
Professor Walker finds ways for students to utilize social media in most of her classes. She is most active herself on Twitter and encourages her students to do the same.
“I use social media as an education and reporting tool,” said Walker.
The Queen of Social Media had high praise for a special team she put together to create full news packages, using only a smart phone. Those students video tape, record audio, and edit everything from one device.
According to Walker, no other institution offers these skills to students majoring in print and broadcast journalism.
“It doesn’t sound possible to make a whole news package from a phone,” said Randle. “It kind of makes me want to take her class just to see how possible it really is.”
Walker shared the do’s and don’ts of social media and the effects it can have on a life.
“There’s a lot of good, a lot of bad, and a whole lot of ugly to social media,” said Walker
She warned students not to bully, promote or participate in violence, or talk bad about teachers.
She encouraged students to be powerful, uplifting and inspirational when using social media.
“I know social media can be a very bad thing,” said Randle, “but it’s all about how you use it. If you wouldn’t say or do what you do in real life, don’t do it on Twitter behind a computer screen.”
Students seemed aware of the endless possibilities of social media so to end the lecture Walker made sure to get a group selfie with the whole room.
Mathew Knowles also left students with some words of encouragement.
“People are going to say no to you. That’s part of life, but pick yourself up and keep on moving.”