The Department of Communication Studies Introduces a New Course, RooComm


RooComm allows students to work with peers from other departments to simulate real world work situations.

Catia Montelongo, Writer

  The Department of Communication Studies has launched its first semester of RooComm, a class that allows students to work with nonprofits and gain real-world experience in areas regarding graphic design and marketing. 

  Jaysen Van Sickle is an executive leader, and consultant with over 26 years of experience in national advertisement, marcomm, and nonprofit organizations. He is part of the Communication Studies Department and the professor and advisor for RooComm. 

  “Whether you are in the Communication Studies department, the Bloch School, or the School of Fine Arts the three of these programs will not actually meet until you get a real job. This course allows cross-listing where marketing, journalism, and graphic design students can enroll together and work on projects in the real world but in a fail-safe environment,” said Van Sickle

 Students in the class work with a variety of companies including, Happy Bottoms, TurnStyles Thrift, The Golden Scoop and Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center. In total, the class partners with 17 companies and nonprofit organizations. 

  Abigail Wendlandt is a senior at UMKC studying graphic design and studio art. Working as the agency manager for RooComm this semester, Wendlandt helps keep the production moving forward. 

  “Agency manager means that I’ll be helping the professor stay organized by making sure I keep students accountable and on track with their clients,” said Wendlandt. 

  Wendlandt was in Egghead last spring semester; a student-led advertising and design agency on campus, which inspired her to take advantage of what RooComm had to offer. 

  “Egghead helped me understand what it would be like in the real world by doing graphic design but RooComm is even bigger so I decided to take the opportunity, I’m really excited,” said Wendlandt.

  Brynn Fuqua, a third-year majoring in media art design is the RooComm project manager.

  “I’m happy I decided to take RooComm. It’s pulling what I’m doing in my current job and what I want to do in the future and I enjoy that,” said Fuqua. “It’s actually more similar to a job than any other class, which is good in many aspects. It’s like working in an agency where you have a team and deadlines you have to follow for the client.” 

  Fuqua and her team are doing a number of tasks for RooComm, including constructing the logo, t-shirts, press releases, and social media.

  While this is only the beginning of RooComm, there are high hopes of what the program will provide to the university. 

  “I hope it becomes a university beacon; for example, one of our clients is the Kansas City Schools Education Foundation; I will have college students become role models to high school students, which will lead to them wanting to attend UMKC because they want to be just like that college student they saw,” said Van Sickle. 

  Find RooComm’s headquarters in Hagg Hall.

[email protected]