By Lizzie Wilcox
University of Miami School of Communication welcomed three new professors this fall.
Winston Warrior, a double alumnus, joins the Department of Journalism and Media Management after working for more than 20 years in the marketing industry. After receiving his B.B.A. in International Finance and Marketing and his M.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Miami, he worked for Vintage Consulting and Entertainment, the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign, the College Football Hall of Fame, media and entertainment personalities, real estate companies, financial institutions, and wellness centers.
Even post-grad, Warrior remained very involved in UM. He’s on the board of directors for the Alumni Association and has worked with United Black Students and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He is also a member of Iron Arrow, the highest honor attained at UM.
Warrior found himself on campus several times a year, which is why he ultimately decided to return to teach at his alma mater.
The alumnus’ interests extend far beyond the marketing and communications realm. Warrior is also a model, serving as the brand ambassador for several products and services, and a recording artist. He was part of an R&B group during his time at UM and released his debut solo album, Lifeology 101, in 2011.
“It’s kind of always been a part of who I am,” Warrior said. “Even when I was pursuing my corporate career I was still leaving the corporate job and going to sleep in the studio and going to do gigs.”
Looking back on his career and looking forward to this semester, Warrior hopes to teach his students to “go for it.”
“Don’t define yourself by the four corners of what people want to see for you, but color outside those lines and be as bold as you want to be,” he said.
Rechna Varma joins the Department of Cinema and Interactive Media from Toronto. Varma attended undergrad at the University of Windsor in Ontario and received her M.B.A. at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management. She also completed a Global Executive M.B.A. at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.
Previously, Varma worked at the Canadian Film Centre as the executive in charge of production and was the director of development at Sphere Media Plus right before coming to UM. She has also produced several movies. Her most recent film, Keely and Du, is currently in the post-production stage and she hopes it will be released this fall.
The reputation of UM’s program is what ultimately made her want to teach.
“The University of Miami’s Cinema and Interactive Media [department] is very unique in the sense that it’s very hands-on along with theoretical, but it combines the interactive media side, which most film schools don’t do,” Varma said.
New to teaching full time, Varma is looking forward to talking about what she loves with students who appreciate the industry.
“My goal is to learn as much from them as they’re learning from me,” Varma said. “I’m not doing my job unless I’m learning something.”
This semester, Wesley “Jack” Miller makes the transition from being an adjunct to a full-time professor in the Department of Strategic Communication. Professor Miller did 20 years of active duty with the air force and the military. He taught ROTC at UM from 2001 – 2004 before returning to the armed forces to serve in Korea, Afghanistan, the horn of Africa, the Pentagon, and Virginia. After retiring from the military and the air force, he began working in public relations, as well as for the Wounded Warrior Project. Miller became an adjunct professor at UM in the fall of 2014.
Miller is teaching a range of classes from Principles of Public Relations to Crisis Communication and Management.
“[It] is a nice mix because I love getting the intro freshman coming in. They’re bright-eyed, I give them that great intro and I love working the dynamics of a class,” Miller said. “Yet at the same time I get the intimacy of the smaller classes.”
Becoming a full-time professor at UM was an easy decision for Miller.
“I love the idea of being able to take 20 plus years of strategic communication experience and being able to share that with students,” Miller said. “[I’m] hoping I can make a real difference in their lives and hopefully I can maybe give them that inspiration to love the career field like I do.”