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Beyond the Hardwood: UT Basketball Players Majoring in CS/JEM

College basketball tournament time presents special challenges for student athletes including CCI majors Cierra Burdick (CS), Andraya Carter (CS), Quinton Chievous (CS), D’Montre Edwards (JEM), Isabelle Harrison (CS), and Jarnell Stokes (CS).  These six UT basketball players spent a few minutes with CPN before heading to the NCAA tournament.
Burdick, Carter, HarrisonCierra Burdick (CS major) – “I love the fans in Tennessee,” remarked Burdick. “They come in every description.  It really inspires me to see older folks who can hardly walk be so determined to come to our games.”  Burdick began her time at UT as a journalism and electronic media (JEM) major but ultimately decided to change her major to communication studies.  She has found the major to be a perfect fit.  Her advice to students considering a communication studies major is to “enjoy the ride” because the time passes quickly.  Burdick has enjoyed her coursework with her favorite class so far being Interpersonal Communications.  Burdick says taking exams on the road is tough, but her communication studies professors have always been willing to help.  She and Andraya Carter had a 15 page paper due for a class during the week of the SEC tournament and somehow managed to win the championship and get their work done on time! Burdick will be doing an internship this summer with Good Morning America.
Andraya Carter (CS major)– Carter also started out in JEM but decided to change her major to communication studies.  Her goal is to one day be in sports broadcasting or a sports related field where her education will be broad enough to serve her well.  “Development of my networking skills is one of the best aspects of my communication studies classwork,” says Carter.  She also says the writing skills she has developed through her communication classes have benefited her in other classes.  Time management skills are taught to student athletes when they enter the university and Carter says “the Thornton Center has been a great resource for helping me get on and stay on the right track.”
(l-r) Stokes, Chievous, EdwardsQuinton Chievous (CS major) – A red-shirt sophomore from Chicago, Chievous likes the variety of learning experiences he has had within CCI, especially communication studies  classes that challenge students to interact with each other in a variety of circumstances.  “My classes have helped me understand others better by becoming more aware of cultural and generational differences in communication styles,” said Chievous.   Being from Chicago and seeing kids impacted by drugs and gangs, Chievous hopes to utilize his communication studies major to pursue a career that will allow him to make a positive difference in the lives of kids in his hometown. He plans to graduate early and participate in CCI’s May 2014 Commencement.
D’Montre Edwards (JEM major) – A senior from South Carolina, Edwards was attracted to journalism and electronic media because of his interest in sports broadcasting. “The biggest challenge for me and for many student athletes is getting organized so I can prioritize my time and get everything done when I need to get it done,” said Edwards.  His favorite class has been Media Promotions taught by JEM lecturer and WUTK General Manager Benny Smith.  Edwards also said his favorite thing about UT is the fans.  Edwards has been named to the 2014 SEC Community Service Team for his work with children’s organizations.  He plans to graduate in August and participate in CCI’s Spring Commencement.
Isabelle Harrison (CS major) – “I’m a very social person and I like working with people,” remarked Harrison.  “Communication Studies was a perfect fit for me.  I was hooked from the very first class.” Harrison will graduate in May and plans to pursue a Master’s in advertising and public relations beginning in Summer 2014.  She also noted that CS faculty members are good communicators. They put into practice what they teach by making assignments clear with no confusion about expectations. They are also accessible to students.  On the latter point, Harrison said this has been especially helpful when she travels with the team to road games because she can get help clarifying assignments or lecture points even though she has to miss a class because she is out of town.
Jarnell Stokes (CS major) – Stokes is a junior from Memphis.  He changed his major to communication studies because he felt the course work was more practical and beneficial for his future career.  He was sold after his very first communication studies course, CMST 201.  “You know I’m from Memphis and I have a lot of the Memphis accent,” Stokes said with a grin.  “I want to be prepared for a career in broadcasting and my classes are helping me work on my speech and accent.” Stokes also mentioned that learning how to manage the hours of practice, games, classes and study time has been the toughest part about being a student athlete. He stressed the importance of learning to prioritize in order to effectively manage all of his responsibilities.  “The best part of coming to Knoxville has been how genuine the people have been to me,” said Stokes.  “I’ve never felt like I was treated as just a basketball player. People treat me as if they are truly interested in me as a person.”