Brittney’s whirlwind to success

Written by Taylor Moore

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville has various stand out college programs, especially within the College of Communication and Information. Many students have gone on to get jobs at the world’s largest publications and television media. One southern girl, Brittney Bryant, proves you can make the most of UT’s communication program and land a pretty amazing job.

UT alumna, Brittney Bryant, is a meteorologist at the Mid-South’s leading multi-media company at WMC Action News 5 in Memphis, Tennessee. Nevertheless, this goal-driven young woman didn’t get where she is without putting in the work.

Bryant graduated from Ridgeway High School in 2007 in east Memphis. Her college selection process in her senior year didn’t exactly go as planned.

“I had all these different schools I applied to. Most of them were out of state; I think UT was the only school I applied to that was in state,” Bryant said. “When it really came down to it, I started looking into costs versus gain.”

With hopes to attend an out-of-state college, Bryant realized that a degree from an out of state college wouldn’t be as valuable as a degree from UT in “one of the finest journalism programs in the U.S,” as stated by Bryant. She visited the campus and fell head over Tennessee hills.

“The broadcasting program was fantastic,” Bryant said. “For someone that lives in Tennessee, you cannot beat the value and the gain that you get from going to the University of Tennessee.”

Bryant honed her skills in broadcasting, writing and reporting during her time at UT.

“As far as learning to be a better broadcaster, Dr. Swan was really great at showing us what needed to be done in order for you to be better; be more creative, do more stand-ups, do more things, etcetera.”

Dr. Swan, director of internationalization and outreach, is still a vital part of the communication program many students come in contact with during their time here. Bryant took two classes from Dr. Swan: TV news reporting and producing. He said Bryant worked hard in school to get where she is.

“She was very personable, excellent on-camera skills and a great student.  She took advantage of all opportunities including a special trip to New York to tour the networks.”

Bryant realized that she didn’t have to stay in the broadcast bubble when it came to joining media outlets. She wrote for the Tennessee Journalist and was on WUTK 90.3 The Rock.

“Benny Smith at WUTK is one of the best people,” Bryant said. “He literally just pushes you to be better. He welcomed me into that station. He eventually promoted me to music director there to pick different music and talk to different promoters from record labels. And he made it to where I even got a paycheck eventually. It also really helped me work on my broadcast voice.”

Benny Smith is the general manager and program director for Volunteer Radio 90.3 The Rock. He shared a lot about “Brittney B,” the name she became known as on the air and around the station.

“Brittney was part of a very successful music department group while here, and she did a fantastic job for us.  She learned how to juggle many responsibilities, and it was a rare occasion that I ever had to remind her of what was needing done as far as her respective tasks,” Smith said.  “ I admired her even-headed approach to her tasks, and her determination to make sure a job that she started was also completed, and in the way we needed it to be done. She did an amazing job while here, and we miss her.”

By the time she was a junior, Bryant knew she wanted to be a meteorologist.

“I suggested a master’s degree offered by Mississippi State,” Swan said. “And that’s what she did.”

Bryant graduated in 2011 with her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Information with a focus in broadcast news and went to Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi for meteorology.

It was a tough four years for Bryant. Physics, math and other complex things went into her major, but by the end of the program, she knew those subjects had made an impact on her as a broadcast meteorologist.

“Thankfully from UT, I already knew how to do the broadcast side of things. I already had my broadcast voice and look.”

While at MSU, Bryant was an instructor for the beginning TV production class and enrolled in a storm chasing class where she was taught how to follow tornadoes while out in the field.

Bryant got a job in South Carolina straight out of school in 2014 at WMBF-TV where she did traffic on the weekdays and weather on the weekend. Although it was enough pay to cover living expenses, there wasn’t much money left for anything outside of that. Because of this, she had to nanny on the side.

She later transferred to her current job and was later promoted.

Bryant credits her inspiration for becoming a meteorologist to her stepfather Brian Teigland, who was also a Memphis meteorologist.

“I got to grow up having someone who could answer my questions about the weather. He really sparked my interest in weather,” she said. “I was really scared to go on with this path and follow in his footsteps, but he was always super encouraging and with him being in this business, I had a lot of allies at UT and at Mississippi State.”

Bryant advises students to network and meet people who can help you get to the pinnacle of success. She found out about a lot of different jobs and opportunities through people she went to school with or people she had met at internships.

“Find someone that can mentor you and already has that job you want,” Bryant said. “Chances are, that person would love to help you.”

In addition to being a meteorologist, Bryant also has a fashion blog that she started in college. She got into it at MTSU so she could tell people what they want to know, which is what to wear based on the weather.

“It’s nice to have something that’s just yours. It’s likely going to be something that makes you happy.”

Bryant advises those wanting to achieve their dreams to hustle. She worked endlessly to know everything about the business front and back. The more you know, the more successful you’re going to be and the more people are going to respect you.

“If you want to be on top, every single day you have to be working to be better,” Bryant said. “No one is going to work as hard for you as you work for yourself. It’s not easy, and it can be stressful, but there’s a lot of reward in this business.”

Featured image courtesy of Taylor Moore

Edited by Taylor Owens

VOLT bids farewell to seniors, spring semester

On the final Monday evening before exams, a cappella group VOLT hosted its spring concert in Alumni Memorial Building.

The co-ed a cappella group debuted in 2015. Though relatively new to UT, the group does not shy away from any challenge, performing a wide variety of songs. “Mi Gente” originally performed by J Balvin and Willy William became an early crowd favorite.

Spencer Morrell, a current VOLT member, weighed in on his favorite piece from the evening.

“I’d have to say my favorite song that we performed at this concert was ‘Moonlight’ by Ariana Grande which we mashed up with ‘Moonlight Sonata’ by Ludwig van Beethoven,” Morrell said. “The song has beautiful jazz beats and the sonata meshes incredibly well with the pop song. It’s fun to perform and our soloist, Allison, does an incredible job.”

Morell sings bass in the group. However, joining VOLT never occurred to him until a previous member on Pedestrian Walkway asked him about his singing background. “The rest is history” he said.

Morrell, a history major, represents the diverse backgrounds of VOLT. The group, coming from various academic departments, looks to be active across campus. Recently, the Imagine campaign for SGA invited them to perform in Presidential Court.

Like the singers’ backgrounds, their sound encompasses a mix of sounds and genres. While the concert proved lively, bittersweet feelings permeated the end as the members bid farewell to graduating seniors. In the final song, VOLT alumni joined members on stage to perform their swan song, “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay.”

VOLT plans to keep growing and will return in the fall.

Written by Lauren Claxton

Featured Image courtesy of VOLT on Facebook

Design by Sarah Smith

 

 

‘I Heart UT’ week celebrates service

Classes ended at the University of Tennessee this week with plenty of celebration.

The alumni office and Student Alumni Associates (SAA) hosted “I Heart UT” week from April 23 to April 27. According to the UT alumni website, the week “[educates] students about the importance of volunteerism and philanthropy.”

The week started out with donuts, free food and gifts provided by SAA members. Students also participated in a “Cash Cab” game.

Tuesday, everyone walking down Pedestrian Walkway could grab a fanny pack, hot dogs and snow cones. Tuesday also marked a day of service. Students volunteered their time to serve at the UT Gardens. The day ended with the Multicultural Graduation Celebration in Cox Auditorium.

Wednesday brought an opportunity for students to write five thank you notes to UT donors in exchange for an “I Heart UT” tank top. Students recognized professors by writing notes Thursday afternoon.

The final two days offered students a wide range of free food options. Students ate food from Moe’s at the Philanthro-PARTY, breakfast for dinner at the Chancellor’s Pancake Supper and free lunch to celebrate the last day of classes.

Chancellor Davenport served pancakes in Hodges library Thursday night.

“We wanted to fill you up so you could study for finals. Good luck to you all,” Davenport said in a tweet.

UT students celebrate the last day of classes with Volapalooza Friday night. Volapalooza is a free concert series for opted-in students and the biggest “I Heart UT” event. Artists include headliner Juicy J, Zella Day and more. The event, usually held in World’s Fair Park, moved to Thompson-Boling following several days of rain.

BlackBear originally planned to headline the concerts but cancelled due to a medical emergency.

Students get back to business when final exams begin Tuesday, May 1.

 

 

 

Student talent, art reveals passions

UPerk, the coffee shop located at the UKirk House, showcased a wide range of student artwork April 24. As students toured the full room, UT student Alayna Cameron took the stage with a ukulele in hand.

Cameron’s setlist included a personal touch. She played songs of Tennessee natives as attendees toured the gallery.

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Students Caleb Pittenger, Caroline Rowcliffe, Maggie Stroud and Emma Vieser presented some of their favorite pieces as Cameron played. Their artwork represented different mediums – from wood to photography.

At the end of the evening, some of the artists walked away with fewer pieces than they brought, selling several pieces of art. Maggie Stroud, one of the contributing artists, elaborated on one of her favorite works.

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“This was just a simple line drawing I did, but it’s very much based on my hometown of San Antonio, Texas and the aesthetic that is so unique to Tejano culture,” Stroud said. “In the springtime, we celebrate Fiesta, and everywhere you look there are dancers with ‘halo’ flower crowns and traditional Mexican dresses. It’s so gorgeous and it reminds me of home.”

Stroud is not new to the art scene. Although she majors in English Literature, art has always had a place in her heart. Her upbringing keeps her interested in creating.

“I’ve always been drawing obsessively. My family is very creative, and my mom is an artist herself, so I grew up watching her,” she said. “But, I think more than anything, it was my love of stories. Illustration is just visual storytelling, and even before I could read, that was something I understood.”

Caleb Pittenger told his stories through spoken word. He recited poetry recently featured in UT’s Phoenix magazine.

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Through different creative mediums, students displayed their passions and character.

 

Written by Lauren Claxton

Photos by Lauren Claxton

 

Languages department hosts annual soccer tournament

The sixth annual Modern Foreign Languages and Literaturs soccer tournament kicked off at the Regal Soccer Stadium Wednesday. The Italian club created the event, and a total of nine language programs (French, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German and Russian) participated. Each game lasted 20 minutes with five minutes of halftime break.

“It’s much better this year,” Savannah Householder, who represented the Chinese team, said. “There are more people who came to support. The jerseys are much nicer and everyone is more excited.”

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The first round featured matchups between the Japanese and the Russians, Spanish and Arabic, German and Portuguese and the reigning French champions and Italian team.

Italian supporters came out in full force; the Italian team had never won the tournament.

After the first round of tournament, the Japanese dance team performed during halftime.

Students organize teams and practice leading up to the tournament. The language programs provide the jerseys.

Students like Jacob Isber enjoy the opportunity to play against other language students.

“It’s bringing a bunch of people together,” Isber, who represented the Arabic team, said. “It’s my first time. We love it. We are having a great time, because it’s like a mini-world cup. It’s pretty sweet.”

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However, not everyone remained happy during the tournament. The Chinese versus Spanish matchup included a goal controversy that heated arguments between coaches and referees.

The Spanish fouled a Chinese player four seconds before the end of game, and the Chinese earned a free kick. With an automatic clock, the time never stopped, and the game ended.

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The referee kept his own time accounting for extra time, however. The Spanish team became agitated because time expired. The team thought the judge awarded an unfair penalty kick. As no Spanish goalkeeper showed up, the Chinese kicked the ball into the open net and won by 3-2.

The Italian team ultimately swept the tournament, marking its first win.

 

Featured Images: Jeff Park

Edited by Lexie Little

Sex Week dances its way back to UT

Sunday, April 8, the University of Tennessee’s sixth annual Sex Week kicked off with a cabaret show at the Clarence Brown Carousel Theatre. By popular demand, this year’s Sex Week featured two shows at 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

UT’s own Boss Dance Company took the stage accompanied by a live band. Many different acts graced the stage for exclusive performances. Due to performers’ privacy and venue, organizers prohibited videography. However, the intimacy allowed for the audience to be more engaged in the show.

If students reserved tickets ahead of time, they received the option to sit in the “consent zone.” This zone allowed for more audience-performer interactions. This aspect certainly came into play during the second half of the show. A performer serenaded an audience member with Khalid’s “Location” in the middle of the stage.

Katie Petrie, a sophomore attendee, enjoyed the rendition of  “Bad Idea” from the Broadway hit musical “Waitress” and loved its humor. She also enjoyed seeing friends dance with the company.

The show brought old friends together. Freshman Rachel Griffin reunited with a friend she had not seen in four years. After benefiting from her first Sex Week event, she hopes to attend more despite crazy scheduling near the end of the semester.

While the show started off fun and friendly, the second half featured emotional ballads. Many songs conveyed the theme of sexual identity to unite the crowd and encourage acceptance.

The cast joined together for the finale, encouraging the audience to join in song. The cast sang “Love Train” to end the night.

Sex Week continues through April 12.

 

Written by Lauren Claxton