How well do you know your SoC professors? Dr. Jennifer Bevan has been a part of the Chapman family since 2007 and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at the School of Communication. She is also a highly recognized researcher whose research interests include the negotiation of difficult relational interactions, such as ongoing conflict, jealousy, family caregiving, chronic illness, and related psychological and physical health correlates of these experiences.

Dr. Jennifer Bevan currently serves the School of Communication graduate program as the Director of Graduate Curriculum.

Dr. Bevan with Dr. Doug McLeod at her University of Delaware graduation.

How did your career begin? 

“I was an undergraduate communication major at the University of Delaware. I wasn’t sure what I would do for the rest of my life until I got a letter from the communication department encouraging me to apply for their master’s program. I was initially in disbelief that I could even get a graduate degree. But I talked to one of my professors – Dr. Doug McLeod – and he encouraged me to apply. I’ve been in academia ever since.”

Why did you want to get your degree in the communication field?

“In high school, I loved to write. I was the feature editor for my high school newspaper. Communication was a natural evolution of telling stories, writing, and trying to understand others.”

What advice would you give students considering beginning research work?

“First, determine what you might want to study. Was there something in one of your classes that made you think in a new way? Or did you have further questions about a topic you want to answer?
Second, with that knowledge, approach a professor that you know and like. Ideally, this would be a professor who studies the same or similar thing you are interested in. Pitch the idea to them. They might not have time to study that topic specifically, but could be interested in integrating your topic into their own research or having you jump onto a research project that is related. Any research experience is valuable!

The first research project I did was from an independent study with a professor, Dr. Nancy Signorielli, with whom I had taken many classes and who supported my research ideas. From that research project, I was able to present at an academic conference (Eastern Communication Association) as a senior in college.”

What advice would you give to your college self?  

“Honestly, pay more attention :). I had a blast in college and did well in school, even though I didn’t think much about it. I just knew that I loved learning. My love for learning is why I was able to still pursue a graduate degree and be where I am today. I would tell students now to try to have fun. Being a college student is such a serious undertaking these days. But really, it’s just one stage in your life, and you should enjoy it as well as benefit from it.”

How did you prepare for job interviews?

“This will be a specific answer since I have only prepared for academic job interviews. But the most important thing I did was tailor my applications and letters to the specific job and place. I did a lot of research to see where I could fit in specifically to a particular department. For example, I would list classes from the department’s course catalog that I could teach and ways that I could enhance what the department already did. Before a job interview, I would do extensive research on the faculty I would be working with, everyone I was scheduled to meet, the overall university, and the area where I would live. All of that research not only prepared me but made me feel more informed but also more prepared (and a little less stressed!). I also made sure to have targeted questions to ask about the job.”

Thank you, Dr. Bevan, for sharing your experiences with us.

–> Connect with Dr. Bevan on LinkedIn