How well do you know your SoC professors? Dr. Sophie Janicke-Bowles has been teaching at the School of Communication since 2016. Dr. Janicke-Bowles is a positive media psychologist who investigates the role of new and traditional media in promoting and affecting character development, self-transcendent emotions, prosocial behavior, and well-being (aka happiness). Her research and teaching focus is positive psychology, media and new communication technologies, and media and spirituality. She teaches undergraduate courses like COM 151 – Mass Communication, COM 360 – Mindful Communication, graduate courses like HCOM 597 – Positive Media Psychology, and occasionally leads grounding yoga sessions for students on campus.
How did your career begin?
“I basically never left school. I love learning, and getting a higher education degree satisfied this need for me. I first got my Ph.D. at Florida State and extended my stay there with a 6-month Postdoc where I co-wrote a big grant proposal that got funded and really propelled my career. After my Postdoc, I took another 6-month visiting professor position in Germany, where I am from, and taught at the Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media. After that, I got a visiting assistant professor position at the University of Arkansas and moved back to the States for 2 years. Then 3 years after graduating, I received my dream job at Chapman University.”
What advice would you give students currently job-seeking?
“I think it’s important to be realistic about job opportunities right after graduation. Your dream job may be 1, 2, 3, 4, or more jobs away, and that’s ok. Each job is an excellent opportunity to fine-tune one’s skills and expand one’s network.”
What benefits did continuing your education have on your career?
“It set me up to work in any industry I liked. I consulted and advised other businesses besides my work in academia, which only my higher education degree allowed me to do.”
Any advice on succeeding in job interviews?
“Practice makes a master. It really is a bit of a performance to practice. Ultimately, we want to make a good impression and only have limited time to do so, so practicing for it and really doing your homework on the people and the job requirements is critical. The more you do it, the better you get at it. It’s something you learn. Just like the skills you learn in your higher education.”
What networking tips would you give students?
“It’s a fun thing to do. At conferences, it’s beneficial to be bold and approach the people you think are essential to network with. Again, practice is key. Have some one-liner ready to go or compliment on something you saw the person presenting. Similarly, reaching out boldly to people via email, introducing yourself, just sharing your interest in their work, etc, is good. It takes effort, but you only do it at the beginning of your career, so it’s not a forever thing. Specifically, as an introvert, this can be tough, so it’s a fun challenge to go beyond your limits and expose yourself, and you soon will realize it’s not that bad after all. I was so nervous in my first “bold” networking moves. I would be sweating and saying all sorts of weird things that later I would say to myself: What did I say? Ohhhh my! But it’s all worth it. I got better at it and now have a great network I can call on if I need to.”
Thank you, Dr. Janicke-Bowles, for sharing your positivity and optimism.