Lexi Symonds, often described as driven, has all the qualities of a perfect Account Manager – creative, organized and left-handed! Since coming to the University of Missouri School of Journalism from Overland Park, Kansas, she has dedicated her time to academic and other campus organizations. Serving the University of Missouri, Lexi is the Public Relations Coordinator for Strategic Communication as well as the Strategic Communication Intern for Mizzou Athletics Department.
Lexi, being a team player, prides herself on her ability to work closely with everyone in the team – she is excited to be an integral part of each step in the process and learn from all her team members. She applied to MOJO to gain real-life opportunities and experience, learn from her peers who are like-minded and be a part of something bigger than herself!
Applying the Missouri Method, she scored a position as the Public Relations Intern for Perfect Game Midwest and is currently a mrkt marketing intern as well as a member of the marketing team for Willie’s and Fieldhouse, a popular campus restaurant/bar, where she continues to serve the community as a bartender.
Outside of academics, Lexi represents the Delta Xi chapter of Tri Delta as their Vice President of Membership Experience which involves coordinating and overseeing formal recruitment and new member education events. She also serves on the public relations steering committee for Mizzou Greek Week and is a proud member of the American Advertising Federation, the Association for Women in Sports and a Journalism Academic Mentor.
When she’s not at the J-School or working on her portfolio, she is volunteering at the Church of The Resurrection and Lizzy’s Walk of Faith or donating to St. Jude, a cause to which she contributes actively. During Lexi’s free time she enjoys journaling, listening to audiobooks and working out. When it comes to post-graduation plans, Lexi knows she would thrive in the sports and entertainment industry because of the fast-paced environment and her ability to think on her feet. By the end of the semester, Lexi plans to obtain a post graduation job that she’s passionate about and challenges her to her fullest potential in a city that feels like home.
When it comes to visually compelling content, the Art Director is a key part of the equation. Megan describes herself as innately creative and someone who brings imagination to all her work.
Originally from St. Louis, she found her roots during her time as a Graphic Design and Event Programming Intern for the Saint Louis Art Fair. In that role, Megan helped promote the annual event and ensured the year’s theme was represented across all visuals. As a Communications Intern for the Missouri State Teachers Association, she gained experience in magazine writing and editing, logo design and video editing and production. Supporting a good cause and aiming to make a difference through her work, led Megan to her role as a Graphic Designer for Y STEM and Chess, an organization that helps underserved youth pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Most recently, Megan was selected to participate in the VMLY&R internship program through the Mizzou School of Journalism Global Programs in New York City as the Art Director for her team. During this position she, along with her team, created the winning campaign pitch for Dell Technologies. Megan is determined to make her way back to NYC sometime in the near future. All of these opportunities have led Megan to a well-rounded skill set in all things visual, making her the perfect team member for the role.
On campus, Megan is involved in a variety of clubs that allow her to both strengthen her career-related skills and support causes that she’s passionate about. Previously, Megan served as the Vice President of a campus organization, which helped to ensure success and build community for MU’s various students.
Megan is now a member of the Tiger Animation Guild which is an organization for Digital Storytelling majors interested in pursuing motion graphics and animation. Megan’s adventurous spirit means she’s already very well traveled, especially after her one month trip to Europe after high school graduation. Over the course of the trip, she was able to visit nine countries, and she’s very proud of the keychain collection she has to show for it.
“Heavily involved” is an understatement for this Content Manager. Grace Chapo, often considered to be competitive, driven and thoughtful, sets the bar high with her loads of extracurriculars and experience since being in college.
Currently, Grace works at Aspire as the Influencer Marketing Intern where she vets influencers and builds influencer-based campaigns for clients ranging from Pinterest to Lancome. Her previous experiences range from interning at FleishmanHillard as the Agency Marketing Intern working on SEO, new business research and employee-advocacy to interning at Grove Communication in London, England, managing two luxury watch companies’ Instagram profiles. Grace is a go-getter and has proven how devoted she is to her work. She even spent her winter break participating in the Missouri School of Journalism’s New York City competitive campaign program where she interned at VMLY&R. Over the course of two weeks, she collaborated with a team to create a social-first campaign for Dell to reach Gen Z, college students. Back on campus, Grace works in Mizzou’s admissions office and is a loyal member of the American Advertising Federation and Missouri Alpha chapter of Pi Beta Phi. Additionally, Grace has interned at b.good PR.
When Grace isn’t working, you might find her doing a plethora of other activities including playing tennis, running, reading, baking and cooking among many other interests. But one thing that has really left an impact on her life is the study abroad program she participated in her junior year of college. During this time, she had the opportunity to travel to 11 countries including England, Portugal, France, Monaco, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Scotland, Greece, Croatia and Spain. But Grace holds London near and dear to her heart. After neighboring with the Queen for a semester, she is determined to call Londontown home again.
In addition to running her first half marathon and reading 20 books throughout this next year, Grace is already planning her next European adventure to continue embracing the cultures in new countries, but it’s hard to believe she’ll find anywhere she admires more than London.
Overall, Grace is an impressive individual between her experience, involvement on campus and community service with Merch STL, St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen and Caring for Columbia. While she hasn’t ended up hosting her own HGTV show just yet, currently she is a great asset on team Syzygy!
Collin Clark, Digital Strategist from St. Louis, is a goal oriented individual that has a wide variety of experiences from many interest areas within the field of strategic communication. Previously, Collin has worked as an Account Assistant at Coegi where he managed both programmatic and social campaigns across multiple channels and as a Social Communications Intern at HLK where he developed social media strategies in coordination with internal communications planners and HLK clients.
Most recently, Collin traveled to New York City to work as a Campaign Intern at VMLY&R. During his time there, Collin worked alongside a team of interns to generate a comprehensive campaign toward a targeted audience and ultimately won the new business competition after successfully pitching his team’s campaign against other intern teams.
This semester Collin is also working with Fight Night for Pediatric Cancer Research. In this role Collin evaluates marketing strategies based on knowledge of establishment objectives, market characteristics and cost factors as well as manages a team of designers, creators and marketers to generate content on multiple platforms.
While Collin’s academic and professional life is very important to him, he has other interests as well. This includes his fascination with the Mandarin Chinese language which started his freshman year of high school. During this time, Collin had no idea that he would end up pursuing the language past the requirements set up by his school, but eventually ended up taking the class for a total of three years in high school and an additional two semesters in college. The complexity and uniqueness of the language and culture continue to make Collin want to further his knowledge on the subject today.
In the next year, Collin hopes to land a job is well suited to his strengths and interests which, in turn, will allow Collin to flourish and grow in his professional career right out of the gate. As a creative thinker and problem solver, our team believes this will be yet another goal Collin will have no problem accomplishing.
Public Relations Account Manager
Hannah Barnes, a Public Relations Account Manager from Shawnee, Kansas, is not only a dreamer but is also a doer. Similar to her idol Martha Stewart, Hannah is a gritty woman that thrives off of her relationships and connections she’s made both academically and professionally.
Hannah has held many roles throughout her college experience. This past summer, Hannah worked as an Account Management Intern at the Jack Morton’s West Coast office. While there, she got the opportunity to fly out to San Francisco to be onsite for one of the client’s events/brand activations. Currently, Hannah works as a Campus Team Member for a start-up company, Home From College. Home From College is a platform designed to help Generation Z kick start their careers by connecting them with professional development tools, plus employment opportunities with other startups and companies. Through this role she has been able to help with product testing and development of their overall marketing efforts.
When Hannah isn’t working you’ll likely be able to find her either volunteering at a local festival in Columbia, such as the True/False Film Fest or the Roots N Blues Festival, or at her sorority house, Chi Omega. Hannah is very involved within her sorority and has held two executive board positions over a two-year span as both the New Member Educator and the President of her chapter.
As a child, Hannah was always jumping around to possible future career choices. One day she wanted to be on Broadway, the next, she wanted to be an Olympic volleyball player. However, there was always a little part of her that knew she wanted to be in the job of event planning/creating experiences. Hannah is making her 10-year-old self proud by accomplishing the plans she set out for herself with the hopes of getting a job in experiential marketing serving tech + start-up clients after graduating this year
Kristian Morrow, originally from St. Louis, is known to have a growth mindset. While she didn’t end up being an astronaut like her 10-year-old outer space-fascinated self once might have hoped, Kristen has been extremely successful in her role as a LEAP Management Trainee Intern with Penn National Gaming.
In this position, Kristian served as a creative consultant and strategic planner where she pitched creative ideas for promotions, launched the company’s largest giveaway to date and worked with cross functional departments. Plus, she participated in CORE rotations, where she spent time in each functional area including marketing, human resources, information technology, finance, planning & analysis, sales and operations. Kristian was also able to gain valuable professional knowledge by participating in company-wide training programs, attending key meetings with executives and conducting/implementing market research strategies to attract the target audience.
Kristain is a lover of languages, spoken and unspoken. When Kristian isn’t building upon her knowledge as a Strategic Communication student, you might be able to find her practicing American Sign Language or singing in Japanese, Spanish or French! Kristian is able to sing four different songs, ranging from Le Festin from the Ratatouille soundtrack to Como la Flor by Selena, in all of these languages.
Additionally, Kristian is a dedicated member of the PR Club and wants to create a very lucrative form of passive income for herself within the next year. And if all goes well, one day you might find her traveling with her family to the middle of the ocean to go whale watching or way up north admiring the breathtaking Northern Lights!
Kristian plans to put her skills of conflict resolution and collaboration to the test in her role as Media Planner and we are excited to see what she can accomplish this semester.
Kate Cupp, Video Producer, of Marceline, Missouri, brings the same creativity as her hometown celebrity, Walt Disney. Kate continues to show her dedication to her academics and peers through her collaborative work ethic and passion.
At the University of Missouri, Kate has been involved with the student agency, Matchbook Marketing, as a graphic designer, social media manager and now, videographer. Kate is also a member of the American Advertising Federation, the Alpha Psi chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha and a Leading Through Literacy volunteer. Kate also strives to give back to her community through initiatives such as Ronald McDonald House, Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri and North Central Missouri Humane Society. Kate is also a strong supporter of her chapter’s philanthropy, Breast Cancer Awareness, and raises funding for research through Pink Out games and other campus involvement.
Along with being a dedicated student, Kate has also acquired an impressive professional portfolio having experience at both student and professional ad agencies. Kate’s involvement as a Seaside Marketing Intern and MMGY Advertising campaign team for Beach Bound in the Spring semester of 2022, make her a highly valued member of the Syzygy creative team.
If you knew Kate as a child, you might assume she would finally be opening up her long awaited bakery and coffee shop “CuppCakes” or bringing another one of her many new business start-up ideas to life following her graduation this May. But in reality, Kate aims to work in the field of hospitality and tourism, doing social media/brand management. Her summer plans include taking a trip to Europe to fulfill her love of traveling and constantly planning new adventures. She hopes to call the small, coastal beach town in Florida, where she spent the past few summers, home and continue exploring the ocean.
Elizabeth Ballew, Graphic Designer, describes herself as a passionate, creative and daring individual which is proven true through her vast variety of experience since being in college. Elizabeth, originally from Leawood, Kansas, right outside of Kansas City (Go Chiefs!!), isn’t one to just stay put in the Midwest. She has previously worked for FleishmanHillard as a Studio Design Intern at the Brussels Office in Belgium and is an incoming Jr. Copywriter for Apple following graduation in May.
Additionally, Elizabeth has been a Graphic Design Intern for Mizzou Athletics, a Digital Producer for KOMU-TV and the Creative Director of Matchbook Marketing, a student-led marketing agency with over 100 members providing services to small businesses. However, Elizabeth’s experience doesn’t just stop there. While design is something she’s captivated by, Elizabeth is also interested in writing. In the past few years, Elizabeth has had the opportunity to intern at Apple as a Copywriter and work as a Content Writer for TicketSmarter. Her combined experience could be considered the byproduct of her manifestation at the age of 10 when she dreamed of being an author and artist. But this manifestation doesn’t just stop there, Elizabeth is working on writing a novel right now!
Outside of professional and academic life, Elizabeth enjoys spending quality time with her friends. Whether it be going for a walk or getting dinner and drinks, she is a true extrovert and thrives in an environment where she is around people at all times. This is just one part of Elizabeth’s goal she has for herself this year, which is to foster good habits. Besides checking in on her friends, she plans to kick her phone addiction, run daily and eat well. Elizabeth believes the way you spend your days is how you spend your life so she wants to start strong lifelong habits now.
Julia Dehner, our brilliant 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. While working for these magazines she was able to hone in on her written communication skills. Flash forward to her 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 enhanced her understanding of the young adult demographic. Later on, Julia began working at Matchbook Marketing, formerly Relevant Youth, as a PR Specialist where she optimized new target audiences for clients, such as the Thompson Foundation for Autism, to broaden their reach within the community.
Most recently, Julia interned with Capitol Christian Music Group in Tennessee through the Universal Music Group Internship Program. Julia enjoys 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 Julia can’t play an instrument herself, unless you count her many failed attempts at guitar, piano and clarinet in her childhood, the behind the scenes at a record label fascinated her. During her internship in the marketing and national promotion departments, she gained a profound understanding of the music industry while organizing and executing consumption and streaming reports for her label.
Julia is a determined and motivated individual who sees the importance in a constantly changing and evolving industry. She values her past opportunities and is looking forward to building upon her knowledge during her last semester at the Missouri School of Journalism.
Madalyn Murry, more commonly known by our team as Maddie, is dedicated and enthusiastic about her work as a Quantitative Strategist. As an optimistic and curious individual, Maddie is always looking to learn and gain more experience that will better herself in the future.
Maddie has interned at Phrenos, a communications agency in Brussels, Belgium, for a four-month period this past year, and, most recently, completed a two-week program at VMLY&R in New York. During her time at VMLY&R, Maddie developed a new business pitch for Dell Technologies consisting of primary and secondary research, a media plan, creative executions and a presentation to representatives from VMLY&R and Dell. By the end of the two-week period, her team’s plan was chosen as the winning pitch of those presented. Additionally, Maddie currently holds the position of President for PRSSA, Public Relations Student Society of America, where she, along with her team, is working on a pro bono project for a cervical cancer awareness non-profit. At the same time, Maddie was able to complete primary and secondary research last semester and is working to execute strategy and creative this semester.
Even with Maddie’s busy schedule, she wants to take time for herself throughout this next year by prioritizing the time she spends out in nature. Between doing what makes her the happiest like hanging out with her cat or reading a good book, Maddie is determined to have a good work-life balance this semester.
Although Maddie is originally from Odessa, Missouri, she definitely doesn’t let her Midwest roots hold her back. Maddie once swam in “hot” springs in Santorini, Greece, but in order to get there she had to swim through the 68 degree ocean water! And, unfortunately, truth be told, the springs weren’t much warmer than the ocean.
While Maddie’s hopes of becoming a doctor as a child might not have worked out as well as she had once hoped, team Syzygy is glad she changed career paths because she is a creatively minded and thoughtful leader, not to mention, the perfect Quantitative Strategist!
Gehazi Whitehurst, Qualitative Strategist, is just as involved with the University of Missouri as one could be. Part of the MU Theater Department, Gehazi performs in a variety of shows as well as a proud member of the National Theatre Honors Society, Alpha Psi Omega. His on-stage presence does not outshine his academic and professional performances. Outside of the theater, Gehazi can be found at the Center for Academic Success & Excellence where he is a marketing intern. Originally from St. Charles, Missouri, Gehazi has also gotten involved on campus as a member of the American Advertising Federation and as Summer Welcome Leader.
Despite breaking his left index finger in fourth grade by jamming it into an Army truck door, Gehazi has powered through and conquered his 10-year-old injury. Since then, Gehazi has assisted United Community Builders with their marketing efforts, as well as helping the Jack & Jill Columbia chapter collaborate on a wide variety of events. Aside from assisting behind the scenes, Gehazi also donates and volunteers at holiday drives and campaigns for True North of Columbia.
When Gehazi isn’t practicing his next song or rehearsing lines for a show, he can be found outside, enjoying hiking and exploring nature with his friends. He dreams of publishing a book in the future, so look out for him both on stage and on the shelves.
Through his work in MOJO, Gehazi hopes to gain a better understanding of his future career plans by seeing each team member execute their role. Gehazi is exhilarated to be our Qualitative Strategist because he gets to understand diverse groups deeply. Interviewing and researching have always been his favorite things about journalism and communication, so he can’t wait to gather and compile valuable insights and strategies for the team. His goal before graduating was to gain real-world experience working in an ad agency, so naturally MOJO was the perfect fit.
After graduation, Gehazi wants to work for a theater or entertainment company in public relations, brand strategy or some related role. He’s also determined to meet his goal of traveling outside of the country while he’s still young.