Seven more area professionals have joined the College of Journalism and Mass Communications as professionals in residence (PIRs) as part of a new college-wide experiential program in fall 2021. Shaun Cummins, senior technical Director at KLKN-TV, Geoffrey Roth, senior director of news at KMTV, Derek Hernandez, director of brand & content at Mentor Collective, Serese Cole, morning news anchor at KMTV, Beau Poehlman, video production manager at Ameritas, Randy Hawthorne, product manager at Nelnet and Mikel Lauber, director of news at 10/11 News, KSNB Local 4 and KNOP News 2 will work with students this fall. Professionals will work one-on-one with program participants to provide mentorship and feedback. The new PIRs join Keri Mesropov, president and chief talent officer of TRG Arts, Kelley Peterson, vice president and nonprofit creative director at KidGlov and Andrew Ward, morning show host and former sports director for Lincoln’s Channel 8 News.
Shaun Cummins is the senior technical director for KLKN-TV in Lincoln. He has more than twenty years of experience in broadcast television production including camera operations, audio master control, graphics and directing. He is a graduate of Wayne State University with a degree in journalism.
Geoff Roth is the Sr. Director of News for KMTV, the Scripps-owned CBS affiliate in Omaha, NE. Geoff has worked in the news industry for more than 40 years as a writer, producer, Executive Producer, and News Director. He has a history of innovation. He was a member of the original staff that started CNN, developed the first all-IP based newsroom for Tribune in San Diego, and created a start-up news department in Charlotte, NC for Fox Television Stations, Inc. At that station he developed a decentralized newsroom with reporters living in the communities they cover and using mobile-journalism kits to shoot, edit and file stories as well as providing live IP-based reports.
At KMTV he is transitioning the newsroom into a multi-platform news content provider and refocusing the mission of a local news department towards covering more community and issues-based reporting as well as creating news content that highlights positive stories within the metro-area's minority communities.
Derek Hernandez is the director of brand & content at Mentor Collective in Lincoln, Nebraska. He has more than 10 years of experience and has helped businesses of all kinds articulate and execute ideas that move internal and external audiences. Derek is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he also mentors underrepresented student-athletes as part of the university's N-Vest mentoring program
Serese Cole anchors the morning news at KMTV in Omaha. She has 25 years of broadcast journalism experience - nearly 20 of those years have been in Nebraska. Before coming to KMTV, Serese anchored the morning and midday newscasts at WOWT in Omaha for nine years. Serese also anchored the evening news at KOLN-KGIN in Lincoln. Prior to moving to Nebraska, Serese was a reporter in Kansas City, MO; Wilmington, North Carolina and Tallahassee, Florida. She attended college at Florida A&M University where she graduated with honors.
Beau Poehlman manages the in-house video production team at Ameritas, a company offering a variety of insurance products, employee benefits and financial services to clients throughout the United States. In his role, he collaborates with marketing professionals in his department to present Ameritas to the World by producing diverse content including commercials, customer stories, product explainers, educational animations, podcasts, training and more.
Poehlman will advise students enrolled in the Experience Lab on all phases of video production from discovery to delivery including project planning, video concepting, production, post-production and motion graphics.
Randy Hawthorne has decades of experience in the nonprofit industry, having served on 12 boards. He was the executive director of Launch Leadership after founding Nonprofit Hub, an educational resource for nonprofits worldwide. He also established The Foundry, a collaboration center for nonprofits and community coffee shop in downtown Lincoln. He currently serves as a product manager at Nelnet, building software for the nonprofit sector.
As a lifelong marketer, Hawthorne speaks and teaches classes on branding and strategy and helps entrepreneurs navigate taking their ideas to reality. He’s been recognized as Lincoln’s first luminary for embodying the values of the community. Downtown Lincoln gave him an Impact Award and Leadership Lincoln named him Servant Leader of the Year.
Mikel Lauberhas been the News Director at 10/11, and the Director of News for KSNB Local 4 in Hastings and KNOP News 2 in North Platte since 2017. A native of Nebraska, Mikel was a reporter and anchor at WSAW in Wausau, Wisconsin before becoming News Director in 2011. In 2014, he moved to lead the newsroom of KWTX in Waco, Texas.
The Experience Lab is an innovative program that provides students with real-world experience working in college-sponsored media outlets related to their area of study and career aspirations. Students work four to six hours per week for at least three semesters for advertising and public relations agencies Jacht or Buoy, statewide wire service the Nebraska News Service, news show Nebraska Nightly, sports journalism outfit UNLimited Sports, Nebraska webzine Heartland or the college radio station, 90.3 KRNU. Local businesses and media outlets volunteer their staff time to help mentor these up-and-coming journalists and communicators as professionals in residence.