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September 2016: CCI Profiles

Chris GrabensteinGrabenstein bookAlumni Profile: Award winning author and emeritus CCI Board of Visitors member Chris Grabenstein (BS/JEM ’77) announced in September that Nickelodeon is bringing his book, “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library,” to the small screen as an original TV movie. Grabenstein’s best-selling book was published in 2013 and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 94 weeks. The movie is expected in 2017.
“We cannot wait to bring author Chris Grabenstein’s imaginative world to life with kids’ favorite Nick stars at the center of all the fun,” said Michael Sammaciccia, executive producer for Nickelodeon. “This is an epic, action adventure story that taps into every child’s passion for books, games and technology. It’s a movie for kids, families and teachers alike.”
Grabenstein has written a number of books for children and young adults, some co-written with famed author James Patterson, and has written several books for adults.
“Chris has been a great friend to the college,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “We congratulate him on this latest success and thank him for his generosity in giving back to the college in the form of scholarships and encouragement for our students.”
In 2009, Grabenstein received the UT Accomplished Alumni Award.
Evans and Hoy
Faculty Profile: ADPR Professor Mariea Hoy was invited to Washington DC along with Nate Evans (MS/C&I ’10; PhD/C&I ’14) (U. of Georgia) to participate in the Federal Trade Commission’s “Putting Disclosures to the Test” workshop on September 15, 2016. They presented information from their research, part of which was from Evans’ doctoral dissertation for which Hoy served as the chair of his dissertation committee.  The workshop focused on whether consumers understand privacy policies and on consumer disclosure statements. The podcast can be accessed at
Hoy and Evans used tools from CCI’s User Experience Lab to gather some of the data used in their research papers. Hoy was quoted by saying, “Even when you are following FTC guidance, it doesn’t always work. Even if we make our disclosures clear and conspicuous, there might be other factors at play.” See the Tennessee Today story at…&utm_campaign=tntoday
Simpson and Cookston




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Student Profile: Tyler Cookston (PR major) and Kalee Simpson (AD major) are perfect examples of the “early bird gets the worm.” When ADPR Associate Professor Courtney Childers learned she had the opportunity to take two students backstage for the ESPN GameDay broadcast, she quickly emailed her class. Cookston and Simpson were the first to respond. Before finalizing the selection, however, Childers reviewed their social media accounts for appropriate, quality content that would represent the School and College well to ESPN.
Cookston (@TylerCookson33) had tried to be front and center at a previous GameDay broadcast by getting up at 4 a.m. and rushing to the set. He actually got much better position this time by being quick on the draw in answering Childers’ email and having a body of quality work on his social media accounts.
Simpson (@KaleeSimpson), a member of the UT Dance Team which won the National Championship in 2015, found her backstage experience at GameDay even more thrilling than her previous experience of performing on the set. “The biggest thing I took away from this experience was that kindness is key,” said Simpson. “I was shocked by how generous the ESPN GameDay staff and ‘celebrities’ were toward Tyler and me. This made me realize that they were once in my shoes as a college student and worked their way up to where they are now.”
The two students also learned some valuable tips for getting a sign highlighted on GameDay: stay away from company brands on your sign, no comments about Tim Tebow (he works for ESPN’s SEC Network), be creative, be big (larger signs get more attention on TV), represent your team/school well, funny signs are better, and enjoy the experience!