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Student News: Spates, Wells, Harville, Johnson

Stephen SpatesStephen Spates, a Communication and Information doctoral student, is UTK’s February 2014 Courage to Climb Award winner.  He was nominated by CCI Associate Dean and Professor Catherine Luther and SIS Associate Director and Associate Professor Suzie Allard.  The award recognizes students who show promise in the areas of research, community service, promotion of civility and inclusion, leadership development and/or campus involvement. 

Spates is currently serving as the chair of the CCI Graduate Student Association.  He will be highlighted in the future on UTK’s Division of Student Life website. 


Patrick WellsPatrick Wells, a senior advertising major, has won a Ketchum Mindfire challenge.  According to Wells, “It’s a strangely liberating experience being creative on your own because these types of projects/challenges are usually reserved for group collaboration.  But for me, as soon as I submitted my work, I felt pretty confident that mine was good enough to win.” According to the Mindfire website, graduate and undergraduate students from 50 global universities provide creative solutions for the real business challenges of Ketchum’s Fortune 500 clients. In return for fresh thinking, students receive incentives including career coaching with Ketchum partners, jobs/internships, exclusive content and prizes. AdvPR Associate Professor Courtney Childers encourages her students to participate in the challenge and was not surprised that Wells received the honor. “Patrick has been a terrific student and we are very proud of his accomplishments,” said Childers.


Conner HarvilleConner Harville, a communication studies senior, has created ‘Ridiculously Awesome Promotional Videos’ of UT basketball players.   Although the creative senior received no monetary payment for his work, he certainly gained notoriety thanks to social media, YouTube and several broadcasting companies such as NBC, CBS and Yahoo Sports. 

Former UT men’s basketball player Skylar McBee and Harville took a class together and became friends.  When Tom Satkowiak (BS/JEM ’05) asked McBee for a recommendation of who could produce the videos, McBee quickly recommended Harville.    To see the video and read about its creation, see To see an interview with Harville about the project, view

Vincent JohnsonA team of UT students were once again on site to work behind the scenes at Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey.  Among the members of “Team UT” was JEM senior Vincent Johnson, of Johnson City, Tennessee. To read the story in Tennessee Today, see