College is a time of personal discovery. No matter how near or far a student travels for college, those years are one of the best times to reinvent oneself and decide to be somebody new. Jillianne Moncrief, of McLemoresville, has used her position as news director at the University of Tennessee at Martin’s campus radio station to find her passion and break out of her comfort zone. In fact, she was named a finalist for best radio news director at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System’s annual conference this past March.
“I figured (working at WUTM) was a great way to really get involved because I’ve never really been an outgoing person…. College has given me the chance to be a new person and put myself in positions I never would have put myself in before,” she said.
Moncrief, a junior communications major, has worked for WUTM 90.3 FM “The Hawk” for four semesters, rising to the rank of news director this past fall. Her responsibilities include not only arriving early to gather and write the daily news broadcasts, but also dividing reporting assignments among her fellow broadcasting students and attending a variety of campus events and speakers to gather audio sound bites.
She also hosts two radio shows aired weekly on WUTM, which she says have helped improve her communications skills both on and off the air. “Rock Out and Chill with Jill” is a music broadcast aired from 7-8 p.m. on Mondays, and “For the Record” is an interview segment featuring UT Martin faculty and staff members from across campus. Moncrief says this segment in particular has boosted her communications skills and forced her to become comfortable with those outside her peer group.
“I have to go not just to students, my peers, but to my professors and other people’s professors and faculty members, and I have to pull them into the radio station to get interviews and get to know them,” she said. “So that’s definitely helped my communications (skills) overall, and it’s definitely helped me get out of my bubble and get rid of some of that anxiety with social events.”
Moncrief originally planned to tour several universities during her senior year of high school but stopped when she found UT Martin.
“I toured UT Martin first, and I just instantly fell in love with the campus. I did a lot of research on the (communications) department specifically,” she said.
The advice she gives to underclassmen and future college students is to take on new opportunities and do things that might seem intimidating at first.
“Be involved in everything you can. Try to get as much hands-on experience as you can,” she said. “Do as much as you can around campus. … If you see events going on, go to them. Make friends. Do things.”
Moncrief plans to graduate in May 2020 and ultimately hopes to work in television production.