Meet Our Graduate Assistants

The graduate assistants in the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media are a diverse and talented group of students who help with research, teaching, and administration. For fall 2022, these six Master of Arts students are serving as graduate assistants in our Department:

JRSM GA Audrey Firrone


Audrey Firrone received her B.A. degree in journalism with a concentration in creative mass media and minors in French and political science from the University of Memphis in May 2022, graduating summa cum laude with university honors. Firrone has experience in content creations and communications management for nonprofits, specifically in the fields of human rights and pro-democracy. Her research is centered around digital diplomacy and political communication. Firrone hopes to one day work in communications or marketing for a nonprofit focusing on human rights or politics.

JRSM GA Haley Hale


Haley Hale graduated with high distinction from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in May 2021 and was awarded a B.A. in journalism with a concentration in news/editorial writing and political science with a minor in marketing. Hale served as an intern for U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R- Ark., in the summer of 2018. In her final semester of undergrad, she worked as a reporter and weekly broadcaster for Arkansas Covid, an online news publication managed by the University of Arkansas School of Journalism and Strategic Media. She is currently the social media coordinator of Crittco Cable & Fiber, Inc., in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

JRSM GA Ari Johnson


Aureon Johnson graduated from Whitehaven High School in Memphis, Tennessee, where she finished in the top 30 percent of her class. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a B.A. in journalism and a minor in marketing. She worked as a social media influencer with brands such as Covergirl, Maybelline, and Anastasia Beverly Hills during her undergraduate years. Her experience includes social media management at Treasured Spa and marketing internships at Methodist Le Bonheur Hospital, where she leveraged her digital and traditional marketing skills. As a graduate student at the University of Memphis, she studies integrated strategic media. She plans to pursue a career in branding, strategic digital marketing, and design within the beauty industry after graduation.

JRSM GA Maddie Jones


Maddie Jones received a B.A. in public relations with a minor in political science from the University of Memphis in 2022. As an undergrad, Jones served as president of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and was a senator in the Student Government Association. When she wasn’t on campus, she worked various internships with experience in social media management, event planning, and merchandise design.

JRSM GA Ilaria Pisoni


Ilaria Pisoni received her bachelor’s degree in Applied Foreign Languages at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, in Milan, Italy. While there, she also participated in the foreign exchange student program in business administration at Louisiana State University. Thanks to her background, Pisoni has developed an international mindset, as well as skills such as strategic thinking, project management, and multitasking. She has had the opportunity to become fluent in both English and German as well as become conversational in other languages. These skills have allowed her to excel in her role as a quality assurance assistant for a multinational company where she started as a back-office intern until she was offered a full-time position.  


JRSM GA Oakley Weddle


Oakley Weddle is a public relations professional and graduate student. He graduated in 2022 with a B.A. from the University of Memphis in public relations with minors in social media and marketing. He is also president of the Memphis chapter of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America). Weddle works as the marketing manager at a local IT and staffing company. Previously, he worked with Tennessee State Parks as a communications intern, done freelance work for startup businesses and run his late brother’s non-profit, The PEYitforward Foundation. His research is centered around social justice court cases affected by the evolution of media and mass communications. Weddle aspires to work for the National Park Service in public affairs.