Category Archives: UTC Interns

Articles by students at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Inaccurate Depiction of Autism in Film – by Vanessa Willis

In a world where diversity and inclusion in popular media is becoming a more commonly discussed topic, the possibilities of meaningful stories being told are endless. The push for diversity encompasses people of all races, abilities, ethnicities, and genders, including people with intellectual disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. As the push to create media that tells the stories of people of varying backgrounds and life experiences continues and production companies purposefully try to create inclusive content, it is important that these stories are told with grace, truth, and reality. 

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Do Better, Brands – by Hannah Hall

Imagine this – you work for a popular, international retail brand that has spent an abundance of money on their marketing strategy across all platforms, such as social, broadcast, and print media. You are given specific, detailed distribution instructions to follow based on the elaborate strategies they have paid to create, yet you notice flaws in their plans. Do you alter their plan on your distribution end in an effort to correct the issues, or do you ignore what you know is wrong because it is technically not your decision? Does your opinion change if it is a diversity-related issue, and it becomes an ethical feeling that the brand should have done a better job?

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Colorblind Casting in Bridgerton – by Mackenzie Bradford 

Bridgerton, released in December of 2020, is a popular television series on Netflix created by Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rimes. The show is based on Julia Quinn’s novel series which depicts the Regency-era in London during the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. The show follows the many romances and dramas of London’s elite and is narrated by an unnamed writer who shares the town’s latest gossip in her weekly column. The series caught the attention of many viewers not only for the dramatic plot line, but for the inclusive and diverse cast, which is uncommon among many historical dramas. Although the series certainly grabs viewers’ attention and has quickly made its way to being one of Netflix’s most viewed shows, it has been met with much criticism about what seems to be a colorblind cast. 

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Afflictions of American Health Care – by Eliana Teel

When I was seven years old, I had my first MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging – a medical imaging machine that generates internal images of the body. The tubular machine was quite large in comparison to my petite body. I can still remember how scared I was as they placed headphones twice the size of my head over my ears and pushed me back into the small cylinder. Or how the nurse called the IV that shot cold, contrast dye throughout my bloodstream a “butterfly clip” to ease the nerves. The MRI was ordered to examine my neck and upper spine because I was experiencing a lot of unusual pain there for a child that young. What my family and I didn’t expect was to be in that room for two more hours as they caught a glimpse of something concerning in my lower back.

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Religious Diversity In Corporate America – by Meg Eslinger, Vivian Schlabritz

Editor’s Note: Article from DEI in Communications class at the University of TN / Chattanooga where I spoke on religious diversity.

Corporate America makes up nearly 45 percent of American employees. Each of those employees represent diversity in some form or fashion, representing an array of languages, cultures, classes, and religions. With these diverse aspects comes considering dealing with differences between employers, co-workers, CEO’s, etc. Religious Diversity seems to have the most significance when it comes to conflict or dealing with strategic communication. Religious Diversity plays an essential role in Corporate America, especially today in the age of Social Media and the public seeing what corporations are “all about.”

How a big corporation such as Delta, Nike, Target, Verizon, etc promotes being accepting of religion, no matter what religion, is essential from a Public Relations standpoint. Yes, they might look good on the outside to the public for consumer satisfaction and revenue, but it’s not always equally reflected within these corporations. Religion is defined by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by saying; “Religion is not limited to traditional, organized religions, but also includes religious beliefs that are practiced by a small group of people and are not part of a formal church or sect.” (SHRM 2008) Religious diversity really shows itself with respect in how employers handle accommodating time off for religious holidays. According to most corporate Human Resource Managers, they report they work with ”most” religious holidays meaning Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc- and not including holidays such as Diwali, Yom Kippur, Ramadan, etc.

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The New Business of Church – by Justin Glover

Editor’s Note: Article from DEI in Communications class at the University of TN / Chattanooga where I spoke on religious diversity.

When discussing the idea of someone’s religious ideals and upbringings, it is important to treat these topics with the utmost respect. However, the church you may attend is much more than a business than you might expect. Religion is a $1.2 trillion dollar industry, and yes that is trillion. This can ultimately bring into question the character of those who operate these businesses. Does this mean that these establishments are ultimately trying to trick or confuse those who attend? Not necessarily, but it is shallow to operate behind closed curtains much like many church business markets.

It is also important to break down the similarities with a business and a church. The church offers a public speaking attendance for its viewers and does things such as play music. These things are often services that require payment to attend. Concerts and motivational speakers do not often offer the contents within their acts to the public for free. According to the Theology of Business Institute, annual collections for churches averaging 162 attendees is just south of $215,000. It is important to note as well that a church is a legal entity. They employ a group of people at each general location across the country and strive to ignite the community. If a church is operating for a long period of time, it is safe to assume that they are generating a profit.

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Are Advertising Companies Making Changes – by Jessalee West, Taralyn Wiley, Caroline Coppock

Editor’s Note: Article from DEI in Communications class at the University of TN / Chattanooga where I spoke on religious diversity.

Many aspects of communication have changed over the years to become for the most part more inclusive. However, one part that seems to be falling a bit behind all the others is the inclusion of religious diversity. This topic is not one that is discussed a great deal when thinking about advertising, branding, or marketing. There is a lot of discussion about racial inclusion as well as gender inclusion, but the religious aspect does not get as much attention. This idea seems to be changing a bit at a time, especially with companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Google.

Advertising is a big part of media and communications, however there is not a lot of religious talk in regard to what is included in advertisements. It is not one of their main focuses within many companies when researching and determining what will generate the most success for their advertisements. When dealing with religious holidays it is taken into consideration that some things should be included, such as when dealing with Easter and Christmas, however there is rarely any research done into how best to reach those religious minorities. It is considered a general rule in advertising to not use generic religious symbols that could somehow offend a person of that religious affiliation. And while this is a good step there is work to be done in regards to making advertising a religiously inclusive part of marketing and communications. There are some companies who are making good progress in the right direction, such as Facebook.

Continue reading Are Advertising Companies Making Changes – by Jessalee West, Taralyn Wiley, Caroline Coppock

Christianity in 2021 – by Cole Fischer, Sydney Hermann, and Liv Ellis

Editor’s Note: Article from DEI in Communications class at the University of TN / Chattanooga where I spoke on religious diversity.

As we get older and merge into the world, we are often faced with meeting increasingly more diverse people. It is important to listen to each other with open minds to understand others and how they have lived their lives. Learning and understanding new points of view is the best way to be an active member of a diverse community. Generalizing religious people groups can be dangerous as everyone has different experiences even within the same religion. As Christians, we have different walks of faith and yet, we have had our own experiences in life. The following three testimonies are from college students who identify themselves as members of the Christian faith.

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Learning Diversity from the Past – by Jennifer Smith

In the midst of the chaos I call life these days, I find that I frequently desire to lose myself in the pages of a good book. I have recently discovered a nugget of gold. This book has a way of reaching out and connecting to its readers through a series of compelling short stories. The author, Deborah Levine, is a phenomenal communicator of real life lessons through deep personal accounts of challenges that leave you wanting more. I was entertained as well as academically stimulated and felt as if I was experiencing a larger part of the world.

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Tales from the Archives of a Diversity Pro – by Joseph Moore

Have you ever stopped to explore what drives your life? What about your family history has prepared you for the work you feel most passionate about? In Inspire Your Inner Global Leader, Deborah Levine shares what it is about her Jewish American heritage that has made her the natural advocate, director and trainer of diversity that she is today. Her many stories are catalysts to illustrate and educate, but ultimately to inspire the reader to fulfill his or her potential as a diversity pro. By sharing her own story, Levine hopes the reader will come away with a new appreciation for storytelling as a tool for self-discovery and the enlightenment of others alike.

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