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Students and faculty from HPU’s Department of Communication visit Austin

Students and faculty from Howard Payne University’s Department of Communication classes recently toured several Austin-area businesses and the Texas Capitol. Twenty-three students from three communication classes took part in the trip, led by Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication and professor of communication, and Richelle Hair, instructor of communication.

The trip was an opportunity for students to visit businesses and organizations that represent high levels of achievement in their respective industries.

“Each spring, as part of our curriculum, we include an experiential learning component in our communication classes,” said Dr. Welker. “By meeting with professionals in the communication field, our students gain valuable insight into future careers. These contacts have provided communication majors with helpful insights and networking.”

The group spent two days in Austin, toured the Texas Capitol and met with the communications staff of Sen. Dawn Buckingham, state senator for Texas State Senate District 24. The group visited GSD&M, an advertising agency whose clients include the United States Air Force, Pizza Hut and Southwest Airlines. Students and faculty also visited Raise Your Hand Texas, a non-profit public education advocacy organization founded by Charles Butt, CEO and chairperson of H-E-B.

Communication majors on the trip were Audrey Binion, senior from Brownwood; Caleb Callaway, junior from Early; Kyra Chapa, senior from Pasadena; Mackynlie Conklin, sophomore from Midland; Katie Cravey, junior from Huntsville; Jaime Dodson, senior from Cisco also majoring in psychology; Bailey Farmer, sophomore from Alvin; Yancy Flores, senior from Plainview; Hailey Green, senior from Kennedale; Haylee Maddox, senior from Bellville also majoring in practical theology; Esmeralda Maldonado, sophomore from Whitney also majoring in social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence; Noah Marlin, senior from Brownwood; Madi Neal, junior from Chandler also majoring in social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence; Aimee Orozco, senior from Shepherd also majoring in Spanish; Seth Rainey, senior from Gonzales; and Spencer Wolverton, senior from DeSoto.

Other students on the trip were Sawyer Fisher, senior from Bertram majoring in business administration; Abigail Fraser, junior from Wylie majoring in Christian education; Jessica Meeks, senior from Bridgeport majoring family studies; Alek Mendoza, sophomore from Bangs majoring in theatre; Tyler Olin, senior from Howe majoring in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, social sciences with an emphasis in jurisprudence and psychology; and Madisynn Thames, junior from Euless majoring in cross-cultural studies.

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: HPU students and faculty from the Department of Communication are pictured giving the HPU Yellow Jackets’ “Sting ’em” sign on the steps of the Texas Capitol during a recent tour of Austin.

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