Four years ago, I had little idea where college would take me.
Four years later, I could not be more amazed and thankful at where it did.
Stepping onto Chapman’s campus for the first time those years ago, I knew I was at my dream school. And, knowing my deep passion for news, television, and mass media in general, my Television/Broadcast Journalism major was right where I wanted to be. But there was more to learn, more to grasp. I knew that the hands-on, practical approach to news and journalism was an experience I would get nowhere else. But I also knew that I wanted to understand our world, our society, and the theoretical underpinnings of mass media to better understand my work and, broadly, the way that communication, whether effective, ethical, or illogical, plays its part in every moment of our being.
So, here I am, alumnus of the Class of 2017, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Television/ Broadcast Journalism, Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, a minor in French, experiences of a lifetime, and extreme pride and appreciation for the School of Communication.
To start, the most informative and enlightening educational experience I have had in college was the unbelievable opportunity to conduct my own independent, faculty-mentored research as an undergraduate. I was fortunate enough to be mentored through the entire process by Dr. Riva Tukachinsky, a renowned expert in media and communication and someone who I admire in research, and deeply respect as a professor and advocate. Dr. Tukachinsky and I formulated a topic that was of deep interest, that I was passionate about learning, and
that was relevant to both our societal considerations, and theories, lessons, and concepts I learned in my communication classes. I, as an undergraduate, was able to experience and get one-on-one mentorship from the very beginning of conceptualizing a problem or unknown in the world, all the way to presenting findings and implications at our Student Research Day.
But my learning did not halt at a paper written or a presentation. Another project I was able to experience was Dr. Tukachinsky’s media literacy program, which involves outreach by the School of Communication and specifically Dr. Tukachinsky’s senior
seminar students to our local community. It is quite an important and inspiring project where Dr. Tukachinsky and her student presenters teach young children and adolescents, as well as their parents and/or caregivers about media literacy and safe, beneficial, media consumption.
But while the niche of media and mass communication was of great interest, the beauty of Communication Studies, and specifically, the programs of our School of Communication, is that you get to enjoy levels far beyond your original pursuit and open your eyes to the ever presence of communication by learning just how many areas your degree and knowledge can be applied to. One such area for me was health communication. Ironically, and to attest to the diversity of communication studies and our exploratory classes, I am a 4+1 M.S. Health & Strategic Communication graduate student. What this means is that last year, as a senior finishing my last undergraduate year, I got to take graduate courses that applied to both the remaining requirements of my undergraduate communication studies degree, AND to my graduate degree, which I will be graduating with this Spring 2018. Pretty awesome deal if you ask me!
The HCOM program is an eye-opening new way to look at health disparities, marketing, research, campaigns, and so much more, and I have learned that it is very broad and applicable to a wide variety of fields, interests, and job opportunities. As a student, I get to work more deeply with the incredible educators and learn from equally-passionate and driven peers, while pursuing my own sub-interests.
The School of Communication has taken me farther than I knew I ever could go. While studying abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris, France for my French minor, I got to take communication classes that applied my knowledge from the SoC to the historical and cultural elements and experiences of living and learning in the most beautiful city in the world. The skills, experiences, and knowledge I learned from my degree informed all of my experiences, from leadership positions to multiple internships. I got to simultaneously experience the interplay between my majors, and even apply both to a successful Chapman Radio show I co-hosted with a friend.
Broadcasting in the Chapman Radio StudioThis year, I am extremely excited to be working with the Dean of the School of Communication, Dr. Lisa Sparks, as a graduate research assistant, and to be representing the HCOM program as an HCOM ambassador, sharing my love for the program with others. The School of Communication and its incredible team goal of
giving a voice to the unheard. Chapman is my (C)happiest place on Earth, and I am so proud to be a part of the School of Communication.