SoC faculty that participated in the NCA 108th Annual Convention: Honoring PLACE: People, Liberation, Advocacy, Community, and Environment

This year a number of our faculty members participated in the National Communication Association’s 108th Annual Convention: Honoring PLACE: People, Liberation, Advocacy, Community, and Environment. This year’s convention took place in New Orleans, Louisiana. Below we have listed the SoC faculty members and their participation in the convention. 

Corey Anton: 

Role: Presenter A Roundtable Discussion of Surfing the Anthropocene: Digital Affect and the Big Tension

Valerie Peterson: 

Role: Presenter A Roundtable Discussion of Surfing the Anthropocene: Digital Affect and the Big Tension

Richard D. Besel:

Role: Chair and Respondent Mediating Environmental Communication

Carl Brown:

Role: Presenter Communication Centers Section Business Meeting

Role: Chair Communication Centers Section Paper Session

Dr. Carl Brown Top-Ranked Panel Award

Anthony Spencer

Role: Presenter COVID-19 and Government Trust: A Spiral of Silence Analysis in South America

Role: Presenter Pandemic migration: The role of media to and from Latin America

Photo of Dr. Anthony Spencer (right) and Dr. Paola Albarrán from Telemundo Television (left)

Adrienne Wallace 

Role: Presenter Media Mastery: Redefining Media Literacy in the Digital Age

Role: Presenter SPARK A ‘Diversity First’ IDEA: An Approach to Equitable PR Campaigns

Role: Presenter Mitigating Harm: To PLACE PR Ethics at the Center of AI and IoT Strategy

Won Teaching Idea Award

“The X” Marks the Spot. New Student AM Radio Station.

The School of Communications has a new AM Radio Station! WLSX or “The X” is a student-run educational radio station that will allow students to get comfortable behind the mic and learn the mechanics that go into running a station. Students have had access to the student-run radio station – WCKS – The Whale and will now use WLSX as their “lab,” where they will work on their radio personalities and gain on-air confidence in the radio course.

We got a chance to sit down with Dr. Len O’Kelly, Associate Director in the School of Communications and faculty advisor for both student radio stations to find out more information about the new station and get some tips on the broadcasting field.

A quote in the Lanthorn article mentioned that students would have “material to go work in broadcasting” after having experience working in a lab setting such as the WLSX station. Can you give us examples of what this end material would include?
The final project in the class has students apply to me for a job. Their “package” includes a cover letter, resume, and a demo reel. The reel is an edited sample of the work that they did throughout the semester. This package is identical to what an air personality seeking work would submit to an employer. Over the years, we have had students complete the class and send the contents of their final package out to employers – and find work. I’m quite proud of that.

What are some of the things learned in the classroom that students will now have a chance to get hands-on practice with because of WLSX?
I like to tell the students that it’s not enough to simply know how a radio station works – you have to do the work for it to really click. I see the on-air component as a supplement to the classroom work. Likewise, while I can teach the skills needed to operate the station, I can’t teach personality and confidence. That only comes through time over the course of a semester and beyond.

What classes within the program do you begin working in the Radio Station?
Students in CMJ 265 Introduction to Radio do their “lab work” on the station. Students are expected to work on the air for two hours a week outside of class time as an ongoing regular class assignment.

What advice would you give to students interested in broadcasting but are uncertain if it’s the major for them?
I’d say to give it a try. When I started in college I was convinced I would remain my first choice – a pre-medical major. I took the radio course as an undergrad because it was something that I was always curious about/fascinated with. Something clicked immediately for me. I discovered my voice, and I felt comfortable as a communicator. Had I not tried it, I may have never discovered a talent that took me around the world – literally – in a 25-year career.

When will the radio station be available online?
Hopefully very soon! We are working with GVSU IT to make the necessary connections to get the audio signal onto an easy to access stream. I am hopeful that we will see this done within the next couple of weeks. Until then, it’s analog listening on 900 AM on campus. Subscribe now to ensure your the first to hear the station once its available online!

The opening of WLSX has garnered a lot of attention on and off GVSU’s campus. WLNS News, WOOD TV, The Lanthorn, The Holland Sentential, and GVNext have all covered the opening of the Radio Station, and are ready to tune in!

Follow WLSX – “The X” on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates!

Confessions of an M.S. Com. Student: Elizabeth Ketcham Kheder’s Top Five Takeaways

Hey, I’m Liz! I received my B.A. in Strategic Communication from Cornerstone University in 2018 and I will be graduating with my M.S. in Communication from GVSU this semester. I am currently the Graduate Assistant to the School of Communications and I am also the VP of Communication for the Graduate Communication Association. Upon graduating I will start a B.A. in Arabic Language and Linguistics at the International Open University. I also plan to pursue a Ph.D. in the future related to international communication. My current academic interests and research focus on women’s studies, Middle Eastern studies, Muslim studies, and media studies. Essentially, I care a lot about the way Middle Eastern and Muslim women are portrayed in various media today. But let’s talk about the M.S. Com. program that so many of us have benefitted from and love. Here are my five takeaways from my years in the program…

  1. Know why. Although graduate school is a lot of exploration and research, it is important to know why you’re in the program in the first place. Find what interests you. This is the best way to take advantage of all your classes. In almost every class that I took, even the elective, I always related the material back to my core interests and it made all the difference. It helped me think about my interests in new and innovative ways, it helped me settle on project topics, and it also made choosing my final research topic so much more simple.
  2. Make a friend. It’s important to have a key person or two in the program with whom you can journey through classes together. It makes those long nights of research and paper-writing so much easier when you can rant to someone who understands!
  3. Participate. First, go to class. I know it’s not always easy. We have lives. Sometimes we’re just burned out. But going to class not only means you are learning more but it also means you’re less anxious about what you’re missing. Second, speak up! Graduate classes are almost always formatted seminar-style. Don’t be the kid who never says anything…build rapport with your professors and peers by participating.
  4. Find your flow. Finding a process that works for you in research and writing is something that grad school forces you to do. My writing process has become very specific. I research and type up quotes as I go – I make sure I am citing as I go too because this saves time – and then once I have finished this process, I open a separate document and begin writing the body of my paper. Having my pre-prepared document of quotes/citations makes all the difference for me.
  5. Thank Alex. Alex is the king of the M.S. Com. program. A benevolent and sarcastic king. With his prompt email replies, quick solutions, and invaluable feedback, he really makes the program what it is. If you haven’t met Alex at Starbucks or encountered his yellow legal pad, I highly doubt that you are or ever were in the program.

Confessions of an M.S. Com. Student: Sam Elliott-Mosley’s Top Five Takeaways

Hi, I’m Sam! I received my Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from GVSU in 2017, and after taking a year off to focus on my career and plan some future goals, I will be graduating again this spring from the Master of Science in Communication program. I am the current president of the Graduate Communication Association and work at Spectrum Health as a project specialist. I have plans to continue to pursue higher education in the future through a doctoral program focused on Communication. Here are five takeaways from my years in the program:

  1. Find what you like. I know this is easier said than done, but take every new thing you learn into consideration for your path. Notice the materials you make connections with and seek out more. I took an interpersonal communication class from community college on a whim, when I was young and still undecided with what I wanted to do with my life. Curiosity can open you up to the life you’re meant to have. 
  2. Do the work. Read as much as you can, even if you don’t want to. Talk about what you read with someone (in class or otherwise). The more you read, study, and explore, the more you’ll be able to understand what you like – and what you don’t. Also, I’m not just talking about reading for your classes, reading for pleasure is part of what keeps me sane during the bustle of the semester.
    Currently reading: “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
  3. Get cozy & appreciate yourself. I find coziness and comfort VITAL for success. Over time, I have tried to set up my ideal study space and make studying part of my self-care practice. It becomes so much easier to incorporate study into your life when it comes with soft pillows, multi-colored pens, and nice candles. Putting in the effort is hard enough, so you don’t need to be hard on yourself. Seek out and revel in delights, both large and small. Finally, pet all the dogs you have a chance to. 
  4. Ask questions. It’s okay to not know things, that’s why you’re here. Ask your professors, your classmates, your co-workers, anyone. Listen, discuss, ask more, repeat. 
  5. Do it for yourself. Although some people may face external pressures around attending college, I think I started to be most successful when I realized I wanted to do it for me. Education is expensive, so treat it like an all-you-can-eat-buffet. 

Confessions of an M.S. Com. Student: Jeannine Lane’s Top Five Takeaways

I’m Jeannine! After earning my B.A. in Communication Studies from Grand Valley in December 2018, I decided I wasn’t done learning and enrolled in GV’s M.S. Com. program, which I started in January 2019. I’m the Graduate Director of the Speech Lab, where I’ve found mentorship, opportunity, confidence, and a sense of passion that some people spend their entire lives searching for. In addition to my borderline unhealthy obsession with my job, I’m also the Vice President of the Graduate Communication Association here at Grand Valley! I’m graduating from the M.S. Com. program in December 2020, a date that is coming up far too quickly for my liking. Here are some of the most important things I’ve learned during my time in the program:

  1. Graduate school can be for everyone. I spent a long time believing that I wasn’t good enough for grad school. Once I started, though, I realized my program was a perfect fit for me and I’ve actually done much better than I did in undergrad! Don’t let fear and insecurity hold you back from getting what you want.
  2. If you love what you’re learning, it won’t feel like work. It’s no secret that graduate school is a lot of work, but my time in the program has flown by because I genuinely love my classes. Sharing classes with peers who love communication studies as much as I do has been a really empowering experience for me.
  3. Take advantage of your resources. As an undergraduate, I was usually too nervous to visit my professor’s office hours. Now, though, I know that faculty members are a wealth of knowledge, support, and experience. I make a conscious effort to build relationships with my professors and appreciate knowing that we trust and respect one another. 
  4. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. The first time I was assigned a writing response on a reading that may as well have been written in a foreign language, I was certain that I was doomed. It’s really not fun––and even a little scary––to feel like you’re in over your head. While anyone can throw their hands up and decide they aren’t smart enough, it takes grit to decide that you’ll read that article again and again until it makes sense (even if you have to Google every other word). 
  5. Take time to be proud of yourself. Grad school can be a whirlwind of homework, coffee, and (hopefully minimal) mental breakdowns. It’s so, so important that you take time to pat yourself on the back. Having a master’s degree is a special thing that no one can take away from you, and you deserve to celebrate your successes.