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Communication studies students win at international, national, and state levels

Communication studies students win at international, national, and state levelsEWING, NJ … TCNJ Communication studies students have triumphed recently at international, national, and state levels. Carolina Chica ’12 (West New York), majoring in both communication studies and Women’s and Gender Studies,  learned in mid-April, 2012, that she has been selected as a US Fulbright Scholar to teach in India next year. Carolina is the second communication studies major to win that honor, earned previously by Charles Restrepo for work in Korea.  Carolina learned to teach English as a second language through a “Sesame Workshop” and spent a semester abroad in Cairo.  Indeed, her achievements and volunteer work on behalf of Oxfam, TCNJ’s Center for Global Engagement, and the communication studies department earned her the highest honor offered a junior by faculty, the “Promise of Achievement” award. Admitted to Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi as a senior, Carolina is the lead author of a refereed paper on “Nationwide Coverage of Latino Immigration: A Community Structure Approach” presented at the annual conference of the National Communication Association in New Orleans, November, 2011.

Presenting more refereed papers than students from other predominantly undergraduate institutions, TCNJ communication studies students have also triumphed at recent scholarly conferences. On April 21, 2012, Domenick Wissel ’12 (Westfield) and Katie Ward ’12 (Montvale) presented a paper on “Cross-national Newspaper Coverage of Water Handling: A Community Structure Approach” at the nation’s most prestigious health communication conference, the biannual University of Kentucky Health Communication Conference, Lexington, Kentucky. Domenick has enrolled in the master’s program at the Newhouse School, Syracuse University, and Katie has enrolled in the master’s in science in public health at Johns Hopkins University. The paper was co-authored with Allura Hipper ’12 (Little Silver) and biology major Lauren Klein ’12 (Succasunna), who will attend medical school at the University of Virginia.  The paper on “water handling” was the only paper accepted for presentation by undergraduates at the entire conference. Another paper presented by TCNJ alumna Kristen Kiernicki ’09 (Horsham, PA), now a master’s communication studies candidate at the University of Kentucky, coauthored with professors Paul D’Angelo and John Pollock (Communication Studies, TCNJ), professor Donna Shaw (Journalism, TCNJ), and fellow alumnae Janna Raudenbush ’09 MA, Maryland (Hellertown, PA) and Amanda Burd ’09 MPA, Maxwell School, Syracuse (Lambertville, PA), was titled: “Exploring the Impact of Media Systems on Agenda-Setting: Coverage of HIV/AIDS Topics and Frames in Four Sub-Saharan African Newspapers 2002-2007.” A third paper presented at the Kentucky conference by alumna Danielle Catona ’08 (West Caldwell), now Ph.D. candidate in communication studies at Rutgers, was titled: “The Impact of HIV Stigma on Disclosure Efficacy for Individuals Managing HIV/AIDS”.

On April 14, 2011, communication studies students presented five refereed papers at the annual conference of the New Jersey Communication Association held at Monmouth University, Long Branch, New Jersey.  Several papers explored US nationwide coverage of critical issues. Victoria Vales ’12 (Oceanport), Victoria Scarfone ’12 (Malverne, NY), Amy Wilson ’12 (Freehold), Carly Koziol ’13 (Brick), and Patrick Flanagan ’12 (Manalapan) co-authored “Nationwide Newspaper Coverage of Same-sex Marriage (2007 to New York Legalization)”. Michelle Davies ’12 (Long Valley), Ann Marie Effingham ’13 (Flemington), and Brad Heisler ’12 co-authored “Nationwide Newspaper Coverage of Same-sex Marriage after New York Legalization”.  Domenick Wissel ’12 (Westfield), Edward Broderick’12, Matthew Henken ‘12, and Michael Papaianni ’12 (New Providence) co-authored “Nationwide Newspaper Coverage of Medicated children: A Community Structure Approach.

Other TCNJ communication studies student papers compared cross-national coverage of compelling political and social issues. Caroline English ’13 (Chesterfield), Brianna O’Connor ’12 (Freehold), and Kyle Smith ’13 (Ocean) coauthored “Cross-national Newspaper Coverage of Revolution in Libya”.  Emily Mankowski ’12 (Montgomery), Mason Miller ’13 (Rumson), and Robert Tronolone ’12 (Flemington) co-authored “Cross-national Newspaper Coverage of Disaster Relief in Haiti”.

Whether comparing coverage in multiple metropolitan areas in the US or in capital cities in a wide range of nation-states across the world, all student co-authors used a “community structure approach”, reversing traditional scholarly interest in the impact of media on society to focus on a reverse perspective: the impact of society on media.  The “community structure” approach examines links between urban or national demographics and reporting on political and social change and has been featured recently in a special scholarly collection of articles in the November/December, 2011, issue of a leading journal, “Mass Communication and Society”.  All student papers were written for a summer MUSE project (on coverage of AIDS in four Sub-Saharan African countries) coordinated by Pollock, D’Angelo and Shaw, or classes in communication research methods or international communication taught by Pollock.