By Rachel Raiford
After a yearlong search for new professors in the Mass Communication department, Dr. Kayley Martin, a Montevallo alum, has returned to teach alongside the professors that shaped her.
Dr. Bruce Finklea, Martin’s former professor and now colleague, was a part of the search committee that elected her as a candidate.
“Kaley was an outstanding student, and she’s done some incredible things with her research during grad school. Now that she’s back at UM as a professor, I love getting to see her teach and influence the next generation of storytellers,” said Dr. Finklea. “When she did her teaching demo during her on-campus interview, students really responded well to her teaching style, and we knew that she’d have no problem fitting back in at UM as a faculty member.”
“I had job offers from three other universities, but as soon as Montevallo entered the chat, I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” Martin said. “Getting to come back to the place that shaped me, and work with the same faculty that shaped me is an amazing, interesting experience.”
After graduating from Montevallo, Martin worked in UM’s admissions office, where, aside from her admissions work, she also did some marketing. In order to consolidate their messaging within the office, she actively worked on marketing through their social media channels and through email campaigns.
Martin also aided in upholding the university’s image across all platforms. Not only did she run campaigns on the university’s main social media accounts, she also worked with campus organizations to manage the university’s social media image across other platforms.
At the time, the University of Montevallo didn’t have a videographer, so Martin also ran a few social media campaigns as the acting videographer.
Throughout her time working for the university, Martin also ran her own small videography business, Kaley Martin Co. She started her company while she was a student.
“I wanted to gain out of the classroom experience. I wanted to keep practicing the fundamentals and learning about video,” said Martin. “It all began through a close friend who asked me to be the videographer for her wedding.”
Martin was extremely successful through her business. She expressed how she eventually had to turn some clients away due to the demand she was getting. From styled bridal shoots to corporate branding, Martin’s work has been featured in a number of magazines including “Bride’s Magazine” and “Shelby Living.”
In 2019, she decided to close her business to pursue her master’s degree. She continued to do some freelance work while in the classroom.
Martin is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Alabama. She’s set to graduate with her Ph.D. in the spring.
While attending the University of Alabama, Martin was one of six videographers on the university’s Strategic Communications team. Here, she held the positions of Broadcast Producer and Senior Creative Producer. The team completed all of the marketing for the university, including the “Where Legends are Made” commercial, which won her a Southeast Emmy earlier this year.
“I was the only girl on the team, but it was a lot of fun!” said Dr. Martin. “Getting to work for, basically, a video production house but under a brand. It was all of the things I liked combined into one.”
The “Where Legends are Made” campaign consists of a thirty-minute commercial for the university. It premieres at the first home football game.
Martin expressed how thrilling it was to be immersed in working on the campaign—which included spending several months planning the project, followed by seven months of shooting the commercial.
“We wanted to feature about four students while combining little breakout stories about their lives as students at the university,” said Martin.
The campaign ran on social media, email campaigns, billboards and other platforms.
“The Emmy’s are thought of as a news or broadcast thing, but they’re branching into corporate and social media documentaries. It’s so fun to tell people that I won one for a social media campaign,” said Martin.
Before her business success and time at UM, Martin attended Gadsden State Community College for two years. She expressed her frustrations with picking one major while at the college. She was interested in many different fields, so when it came time to picking her second university, she was drawn to the Montevallo’s Mass Communication department.
“I came for a tour and as soon as my feet hit the bricks I knew that this is where I was supposed to be,” Martin said.
She completed the mass communication program along with her minors, business and public relations, in two years, leading her to graduate in 2016. Social media wasn’t offered as a minor at the time, so these programs were the closest she could get.
Aside from her scholastic life, Martin is married and has a son, Henry. She expressed her love for her golden doodle, Baker, and cat, Piper. She lives in Clanton, where she enjoys her life with her family.
“Other than some freelance work I really just mom,” Martin said.
Although she doesn’t work weddings anymore, she says she’s at a place in her career where she can do what she chooses. She does do family shoots, portraits and some corporate work. Due to her new life as a mom, she says her time is a lot different right now, so picking and choosing is her “cup of tea.”
Martin plans to continue teaching at the university for the foreseeable future, and she has plans to help nurture and grow the department.