PREM Faculty Experience
Dr. Gay Wakefield is associate professor of communication studies and PREM area coordinator, and also is Tarleton's director of assessment. Dr. Wakefield came to Tarleton after a decade at TCU, where she directed the Center for Professional Communication. She has headed public relations degree programs at four universities. Previously, Dr. Wakefield directed PR and advertising for the Hyatt Regency Dallas/Reunion Tower/Union Station complex, worked in creative services for a major agency in Dallas, and taught for the US Defense Information School. Her public relations and event consultancy spans Texas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Dr. Wakefield has dozens of PR publications and presentations to her credit, has been named an Honored Member of Strathmore's Who's Who Registry of Business Leaders, and was proclaimed an International Woman of the Year. She has been listed in such publications as the International Who's Who of Professionals, International Who’s Who of Professional & Business Women, Who's Who in the World, International Authors and Writers Who's Who, The World's Who's Who of Women, and Who's Who in American Education.
Dr. Sarah Maben, assistant professor of communication studies, joined Tarleton State University after several years at TCU's Schieffer School of Journalism. She taught journalism and public relations courses at Baylor University and the University of Georgia, was director of communication at a large trade association for the multifamily housing industry, and worked for a daily newspaper and for magazines, before serving as director of communication for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce—where she worked with White House officials and foreign dignitaries when President Bush (“43”) traveled to his nearby ranch. Her media-relations efforts led to stories in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, and other national news sources. Dr. Maben uses her public relations background to help Rotary International spread its message and has served as an assistant public-image coordinator for Texas Rotary Clubs. She also is a fellow for the Texas Social Media Research Institute. Her research interests are focused on organizational public relations (especially non-profit), public relations education, experiential learning, and social media in the classroom.
Dr. Jennifer Edwards, assistant professor of communication studies, previously was coordinator of Multicultural and International Services at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). There she planned campus events, including the SHSU Diversity Leadership Conference, Diversity Week, and annual Tree of Light celebration. While working on her doctorate, Dr. Edwards coordinated public relations and advertising for the SHSU Educational Leadership and Counseling Department. She also created and sustained a university-wide SHSU volunteer program in conjunction with the Presidential Volunteer Student Service Award program. Dr. Edwards has more than 50 presentations and publications to her name. In her spare time, she volunteers with non-profit organizations by writing news releases, creating electronic media kits, and producing quarterly newsletters. In addition, she is passionate about planning and managing special events for non-profit and for-profit groups. Dr. Edwards plans to continue her research related to the impact of new media on the public relations field.
Ms. Cristi Horton, Tarleton communication instructor for twelve years, has publications emphasizing the importance of the public's voice in influencing environmental policy. Her research interests include improvement of public participation formats and processes so that grassroots environmental and conservation groups' voices are heard in the environmental decision-making process. She was a Co-PI for the Yellowstone River Cultural Inventory, part of an interdisciplinary riparian-corridor cumulative effects study sponsored by the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Greater Yellowstone River Conservation District Council. Project objectives included documenting various groups' perceptions of the river and its ecology, uses, and conflicts. Ms. Horton's doctoral studies at Texas A&M University focus on issues related to environmental communication.