College of Social Sciences
“Those who are blessed with the most talent don’t necessarily outperform everyone else. It’s the people with follow-through who excel.”
Listen • Speak • Engage
I chose the field of Communication Studies as my major because of my fascination with the communication process itself and how it impacts the ways we, as human beings sharing the same space, interact with one another. Since we can not, not communicate, I felt the study of this discipline would be the perfect forum to further explore this phenomenon and my overall interest in the human condition.
Being honored as President’s scholar and chosen to appear on the Honors Convocation website is awesome, and very humbling. This award means the world to me. I am so proud to have been nominated and to have had the department recognize my accomplishments thus far. My thanks go out to Dr. Stephanie Coopman, Communication Studies Chair, and all other faculty who may have had input regarding my nomination. My future commitment continues to include producing works that are hopefully new and interesting and ones which will contribute something meaningful to the field of Communication Studies and the educational community.
This award, however, belongs not just to me, but to many others in my life who encouraged and supported me during my journey. To my patient and loving husband, David, who was initially apprehensive about my newfound late-life passion for further schooling. He has since come to appreciate my love of education and supports me in every way, to include proofreading my papers and testing me on exam information. Thank you sweetheart! To my mother and younger sister, thanks for always expressing how proud you were of me and lighting up my day. And of course, to my friends, who have always had my back and have encouraged me to excel (as in excellence.) It’s our belief, “it’s never too late to educate.” Education is not age specific and, in fact, I find my teachings more interesting and valuable now than I did in my earlier years of college.
It has been my professors, however, who have contributed most and added invaluable worth to my educational repertoire throughout the years. Their contributions of shared knowledge, motivation, patience, and attention to detail are truly appreciated and can not be understated. Each instructor brought their own strengths to the table, influencing my behavior, thought process, and understanding of material in a different way. My student-faculty relationships have been the heart and sole of my academic success and I look forward to furthering them and developing new ones.
My thanks to the following professors and I’m sure I’ll see more of you during my Graduate years! (Alphabetically): Genelle Austin-Lett, Deanna Fassett, Kathryn Kahn, David Terry, Rick Webb, Andrew Wood, and Nicholas Zoffel. Also, Global Climate Change professors, Alex Gershenson, Cynthia Rostankowski, and Richard Sedlock as well as others who were there for me such as Elizabeth Harris andwriting center professor, Linda Mitchell, and associated tutors.
A special thanks to:
- Dr. Andrew Wood for his instruction in Rhetoric in Public Life. Dr. Wood’s pedagogical style of teaching really worked for me, making it easier to grasp the material. His interactions with the class were always high energy and made me feel “connected” to the experience. The class had fun! The two most important messages imbedded in my mind were: First, was to act responsibly as a community member. Perform some kind of daily act which benefits society as a whole, and don’t tell a soul. (His is picking up garbage from the ground.) Second, was to enhance our written communication skills. Dr. Wood tells it like it is; whether we like it or not, the harsh and “real world” world will often judge us based on our mastery (or lack of) of the written word. He emphasized how “writing matters…pay attention to detail…there is wisdom to the realization that errors in form are closely related to errors in function.” He continued to encourage students by telling us, “A university degree means you can communicate your ideas with precision and persuasion.” This is powerful and insightful feedback. Thank you Dr. Wood.
- Dr. Nicholas Zoffel for his insight into qualitative research and his belief and encouragement in my work as I moved throughout the process. Dr. Zoffel was also a high energy instructor who took the time to listen and provide articulate feedback regarding my research papers and progress. Our long talks and attention to detail conversations have helped guide me and develop me as a student. Thank you Dr. Zoffel.
My suggestions to students seeking academic excellence are:
- Student-faculty relationships are important. Develop and respect them and you will be a much more educated person when you graduate. That’s the goal, right?
- Writing matters! Pay attention to detail and ask questions. Make the corrections. “Learn” from your mistakes.
- Establish your own “voice” on paper--don’t just mindlessly pen someone else’s journal version of works. What “you” have to say has value.
- Develop excellent study habits. Order your books ahead and scan them. Annotate, highlight, and circle words you don’t know. Make a list and look them up.
- Utilize all available resources. Writing labs, computer labs, the library, athletic center etc.
- Have fun on campus! Take pictures, walk new paths, explore buildings you've never been in before, and study the pictures on the wall. This is your campus- play it smart and play it hard, make this school your own backyard!
My future goals are to further explore my potential as a student and scholar and to see where my Masters degree here might take me!