Abby Blasingame, our Account Manager, is a driven individual, which her experience in the field goes to show. Her curiosity has also inspired her to get involved in an array of extracurricular activities and experiences.
Abby previously interned at the Dallas Morning News and D Magazine and uses her background in journalism to inform her work in strategic communication. She currently explores her passion for climate communication as a Communications and Social Media Consultant at Resources for the Future (RFF), an environmental think tank based in Washington, D.C. In this role, Abby directs the company’s Instagram strategy, writes newsletters and learns more about electric vehicle subsidies than any reasonable person should know. This past summer, she worked at a remote boutique agency, Just Drive Media, as a Public Relations Intern. Throughout the duration of her internship, she drafted award submissions, created media strategy, conducted influencer research, pitched media and worked for notable clients, including LinkedIn.
Abby is also the co-director of Marketing and Communications for Fight Night for Pediatric Cancer Research and was a member of the 2021 Homecoming Steering Committee. On top of that, she is an AAF member, a Walter Williams Scholar and a Discovery Fellow.
Abby is from Richardson, Texas, but doesn’t like to stay confined to the South and Midwest. She loves to adventure to new places and explore. So far, she has visited 10 countries and at least 30 states. This past semester, she studied abroad in Barcelona and created a TikTok account to document her experience. Check out her account @whereabbygoes to see where she travels next.
Evanna Momtaj, our Quantitative Strategist, is detail-oriented, charismatic and optimistic and has immense experience in several areas of strategic communication, making her a versatile asset to any team.
Working as an analytics fellow at Ketchum this past summer, Evanna had the opportunity to work on a variety of high-profile client campaigns, such as Clorox, Pfizer, Cottonelle and Hyundai. Currently, Evanna is continuing her work at Ketchum in a part-time role while simultaneously working as the Director of Insight at Relevant Youth, a student-run creative agency, and as a social media intern at the MU College of Arts and Science. Prior to her current role at RY, she worked as a creative strategist for the agency on a team with MMGY to create a full campaign for Beach Bound. Through her social media internship at MU College of Arts and Science, she revamped the college’s Instagram from the ground up by integrating social analytics into social media strategy and she is currently focusing on optimizing the college’s LinkedIn. Evanna loves to keep busy, always learning new, innovative strategies, and aims to continue to do so to further develop her skills for career opportunities after graduation.
Evanna is originally from Plano, Texas and, while living there, found a passion for trying fun, new foods. She brought this passion along with her to Columbia, Missouri, and looks for fascinating restaurants in our college town as well. As a foodie, Evanna strives to recreate these foods at home. Even if the recipe doesn’t turn out as planned, though, she continues to love learning about food preparation and the science behind it.
Erin Manis, our Qualitative Strategist, is a critical thinker and has fine tuned her ability to do so through several positions in the field, which will benefit our work this semester.
Previously, Erin worked at Signal Theory as a Brand Strategy Intern where she applied behavioral science to brand messaging that effectively built relationships with the consumer. She gained experience in conducting market research and competitive analysis to identify new business opportunities, which is telling of how insightful she can be. Erin also worked for H&R Block as a Voice of Consumer Intern. At H&R Block, Erin researched and organized consumer feedback on H&R Block’s DIY Software and presented her findings and recommendations for improvement to management. Her findings and key insights were based on consumer trends in hopes of bettering the overall tax software experience.
While Erin enjoys looking at research from a technical perspective, she is also empathetic in nature and strives to make a difference in the world around her. As the University of Missouri’s Greek Week Director, Erin organized 10 days of events for thousands involved in Greek life and the MU student population, effectively raising $105,000 for local beneficiaries. Erin is also involved in other campus organizations, some of which include Chi Omega and the KC Ad Club Foundation.
During her internship this past summer, Erin was known for her “outfit personas.” She thought through what persona her specific outfit would resemble in day-to-day life. Everyone in her office found out about it and it became a running joke for her colleagues to give their outfits personas as well. So, don’t be surprised if Erin walks into the room describing her outfit persona as, “thought about going into pharmaceutical sales, but wanted more of a work-life balance.”
Sabrina Tran, our Digital Strategist, is what most would consider tech-savvy in all aspects of her life. From a professional standpoint, Sabrina has a wide variety of experience in the digital space.
Since 2020, she has been the Mizzou Esports Social Media Lead. In this role, Sabrina manages the organization’s online presence by developing strategies, analyzing data and KPIs, and leading a social media creative team to produce content. As a true innovator, Sabrina loves to gain experience in various industries to identify ways to introduce new ideas to any company. This attribute inspired Sabrina to try out a position with Tinder from 2017-2019. During her time working at Tinder, she was tasked with overcoming the challenge of bringing influencer and experiential marketing to Mizzou’s campus via Tinder U campaigns. Sabrina also worked with the J-School to help develop course assignments dedicated to esports research, digital strategy and content creation.
Outside of her academic and professional endeavors, Sabrina is a hard-core gamer. She loves playing video games and appreciates the opportunities for competition, strategic thinking and community in the gaming world. Sabrina has been playing video games for as long as she can remember, which inspired her passion for learning about new technology and advancements in the gaming industry. Through her experience gained as a leader in the Mizzou Esports program, she fostered this passion.
Elle Wilkinson, our Media Planner, is always eager to learn, whether that be about the strategic communication field or other things that pique her interest.
This past summer, Elle was accepted into an internship at the United States Golf Association in the communications department. During this time, she gained experience that is sure to pay off in future roles following her graduation this December. Specifically, Elle managed social media accounts, promoted giveaways and partnerships and wrote press releases. She also was able to take photos at the tournaments and conducted interviews with participants.
Additionally, Elle has worked on the ROARS Social Media team and is a member of the PR Club at the University of Missouri. Elle’s experience doesn’t just stop there, though. She also had the opportunity to move across the country last summer and do freelance work in San Diego, California. After graduation, Elle hopes to move back to the West Coast to live out her oceanside dreams. If Elle isn’t in Columbia or traveling back to San Diego, you will most likely find her back at home in Kansas City, Missouri, visiting her family and three-legged beagle. About eight years ago, her pup was hit by a truck and has been a “tripod” ever since, but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying some quality time with Elle.
Public Relations Account Manager
Sophie Walding, our Public Relations Account Manager, loves to experience the world and all it has to offer, which is just one of the many reasons she enjoys traveling and trying new things. This Texas girl grew up playing a variety of sports and also has backgrounds in music and dance. Sophie has played clarinet for more than six years and was in her high school marching band. During this time, she had the opportunity to go to Disneyland to attend a workshop that recorded music from the soundtrack of popular Disney movies. This passion for music and dance taught her about discipline, productivity and time management, which is evident given her experience in the field of strategic communication.
Sophie’s ability to multitask came in handy during her time at Tegan Digital. As an Account Management Intern, Sophie worked on clients like Lennox and Safe Harbor Marinas to create strategy and insights to inform their future endeavors. She also had the opportunity to create a new business pitch to Salood to expand their brand awareness to Gen Z. An extremely tactical individual, Sophie also worked as a MU Undergraduate Research Student Assistant. In this position, she managed and branded social media accounts and created content for daily postings, which ultimately increased social media following and clicks by 200%.
Sophie is currently a member of MU organizations AAF and Sigma Kappa, the Vice President of PR Club and a Campus Manager at South By Sea. Her attention to detail and organizational skills set her apart from others.
Claire Hamlin, our Content Manager, loves to find new ways to meld creative and strategy and has had the opportunity to do so through a variety of work in the field. Her passion for her work and her experience make her an asset to any team.
This past summer, Claire worked as an New Product Development Researcher with a small MU research team and as a PR Coordinator at MU Strategic Communication. While working as an NPD Researcher, she was provided the opportunity to conduct a series of two qualitative research projects for Mastercard to inform the launch of a new food service product in Memorial Stadium. The first consisted of 19 in-depth interviews and the second included four focus groups. After her team’s data collection was complete, they communicated their findings with the client via visual and written deliverables. Known to be organized and detail-oriented, she fine tuned these traits during her time in this position. While working as a PR Coordinator for MU Strategic Communication this past summer, Claire identified timely stories that were of particular interest to the MU Strategic Communication community, interviewed their sources and wrote features about them. These features live on the department’s website and help bring the community together. Currently, Claire is continuing her work at MU Strategic Communication and aims to continue to help bring the community together and gain experience that will benefit her career in public relations.
Claire is driven and detail oriented when it comes to her academic and professional endeavors, but also has a huge soft spot for her rescue dog, Lily. Right now, their favorite thing to do is walk Columbia’s beloved MKT Trail. They are excited about scoping out new trails in a new city, though, following Claire’s graduation this December.
Julia Dehner, our Copywriter, has gained experience through an assortment of positions.
While in high school, she became fascinated by the world of journalism and interned at two magazine companies, LO Profile and Roundball, which intensified her passion for writing. The summer before going into her junior year of college, she wrote articles for the Mizzou affiliate HerCampus online magazine. In this position, she researched trending topics in pop culture and expanded upon her understanding of the young adult demographic. Later on, Julia began working at Relevant Youth as a PR Specialist where she optimized new target audiences for clients, like The Thompson Foundation for Autism, to broaden their reach within the community. Currently, she is still working at Relevant Youth but as a Paid Ad Specialist.
Most recently, Julia interned with Capitol Christian Music Group in Tennessee through the Universal Music Group Internship Program. Julia has always enjoyed going to see live music any chance she gets and appreciates a variety of different musical genres and artists, which originally sparked her interest in the music industry. While she can’t play an instrument herself, unless you count her many failed attempts at guitar, piano and clarinet in her childhood, she was interested in what happens behind the scenes at a record label. During her internship in the marketing and national promotion departments, she gained a deeper understanding of the music industry and hopes to start a career in the industry after graduation.
Julia is also a member of AAF and Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society, but even with a full schedule, she is determined to create work that represents her team well.
Samantha Novak, our Art Director, is creative and artistic but, most pertinent to our work this semester, is also able to carefully articulate her imaginative thoughts and ideas to paint a picture in the minds of others. These attributes led to her acceptance into her current multi-media position.
As a Multi-Media Senior Intern at MU News Bureau, Samantha writes feature stories, takes photos and edits audio and video for the Show Me Mizzou website. Samantha is also currently working as a Lab Monitor at Mizzou’s Fine Art Photography Lab.
In Samantha’s downtime, you most likely will find her doing one of two things, snuggling up to her cat, Pippin, or taking photographs. Pippin is a 15-pound black cat who doesn’t shy away from a road trip. In May, Samantha took Pippin on a 15-hour drive from Columbia, Missouri to Virginia and successfully beat the stereotype that cats hate cars. Samantha has also had a passion for photography since she was 13 years old. She is a creative at heart and has the talent to express herself in a variety of different ways. Her interest in photography started with her dad. When he was Samantha’s age, he was also a photographer, which piqued Samantha’s interest in the medium. Her dad originally learned about photography from his uncle, who was a photographer for the U.S. government and had his own darkroom. It’s apparent that having a keen “eye for photography” runs in her family. Samantha’s dad has given her all of the cameras she has used for almost 10 years, two of which were once his own. The second camera her dad gave her was a gift when she first left her home in Virginia to study at the University of Missouri.
Samantha Johnson, our Graphic Designer, is a divergent thinker with a passion for creativity. This isn’t a surprise to the people that know Samantha well, though. Samantha comes from a family of artists of many mediums. Within her extended family, she grew up around sign and traditional painters, tattoo artists and photographers. She often attributes her artistic ability and adaptation of her hobbies in calligraphy and bullet journaling, unique mediums of artistic expression that remind her of home, to her exposure to such diverse mediums.
Samantha is driven and dependable, making her an asset to any team. Previously, she worked as a Graphic Designer at Relevant Youth and has since been promoted to Creative Lead. Samantha has also worked at AOA Dx, a Boston-centered medical start-up seeking to provide the first non-invasive, early-stage ovarian cancer test to medical facilities across the country, as a Marketing Intern. In this role, she primarily created social media graphics along with posters, flyers and other presentation materials. This past summer, Samantha worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Missouri School of Journalism. In this position, she co-facilitated the Strategic Communications and Public Relations workshop and led high school students through a variety of big idea, logo and other design exercises.
Throughout this school year, Samantha hopes to grow her graphic design skills and build off of the experience and knowledge she’s gained in previous positions.
Anna Buturla, our Video Producer, is a creative individual with big goals for her future. The Texas native has had many previous work experiences at the University of Missouri.
Currently, Anna shoots and edits game footage as a Mizzou Athletics Creative Video Producer. In this role, she works with a variety of college sports in order for them to publish footage for their social channels. Anna also helps run and create photo and video content for Mizzou’s Strategic Communication social media accounts as a Strategic Communication Social Media Coordinator. Additionally, Anna works with the Office of Advancement to produce meaningful videos that reach Mizzou students, faculty and alumni across different platforms during her time as a Mizzou Digital Ambassador.
Anna has also been involved in campus organizations. She is one of the Executive Producers for student-run film club, Shot Reverse Shot, and held leadership positions in Mizzou’s multimedia outlet, MUTV23, for two years.
Anna enjoys her time spent at the University of Missouri, and in the state of Missouri, but is constantly looking to explore elsewhere, inspired by her desire to experience other cultures. This past year, Anna had the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica and to travel to Israel with the Mizzou Hillel. Her goal is to travel as much as possible, these two experiences having sparked her passion for travel and cultural immersion. She will definitely be adding more passport stamps to her collection in the years to come.