UHD Communication Studies Newsletter sponsored by UHD's Chapter of Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society

May 2020

The Communication Studies faculty at University of Houston - Downtown would like to wish all graduating seniors an enthusiastic CONGRATULATIONS for your accomplishments. While we can't celebrate together, we are home cheering for you as you finish strong. Good job, Gators!

Student Internships Offer Real World Experiences

As you plan your next few semesters at the University of Houston - Downtown, consider how the Communication Studies internship program (CSIP) might be a fit for you. The CSIP affords Communication Studies majors in their junior and senior years the opportunity to obtain real-world, hands-on experience pertaining to their degree and concentration. During spring 2020, 12 students enrolled in the internship course, COMM 4380, completing 120 hours of on-site training over the course of one semester. Students can take the course twice for up to six hours of credit towards their Communication Studies degree. In the spring, CSIP placements ranged from UHD iRadio to Fox News, ABC News, a PR Agency, and even a medical nonprofit. Read on for answers to learn more about what Communication Studies students are saying about their CSIP experiences. If you have any questions regarding obtaining an internship or registering for the internship course, please email Dr. Creshema Murray at Murraycr@uhd.edu.

Kayla Dalati [Broadcast Journalism Intern]: "My passion has always been broadcast journalism. I am currently a senior and needed some field experience that would help me become more hirable in the highly competitive and cut-throat industry of broadcast journalism...I started interning with UHD iRadio and it was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself. I have gained so much knowledge and experience throughout the duration of my internship."

Julyssa Bogan [Public Relations Intern]: "Over the course of the spring semester I was an intern at a public relations agency. A week at the office for me consisted of writing blog posts, Zoom meetings, creating social media captions for clients, and lots of research. It has been an adjustment changing my writing from academic essays for school to casual blog posts. Each client had a different type of presence on social media. My favorite task was doing research for the clients. A lot of the research I did consisted of digging through social media accounts looking for content that could be shared through the client's media outlets. All of these tasks have improved me in one way or another, and I could not be more grateful for this internship."

Zuri Cedale [Broadcast Journalism Intern]: "The past four months of interning with UHD iRadio, I have learned several things about myself and the broadcast industry. From researching to fact checking news articles and coming up with interesting concepts for shows, I really had to tap into my creative space. I was able to build connections to gain new perspectives from learning the technique of how to properly structure interviews. I also worked with sound systems and mixing boards, which enhanced my technical skills to produce shows of quality. I was introduced to the world of broadcasting from this internship, and I have gotten the opportunity to see the ins and outs of the industry. I know that I will be able to apply the skills that I have learned from this experience to be successful within my communications career.

News from the Institute for Plain English Research and Study (IPERS) at UHD

2020 Student Research and Community Engagement Grants

In the spring of 2020, two UHD students, Deniece Joseph, a Political Science major, and Luis Romo, a Communication Studies major, each received a $500 grant to complete projects with the Institute for Plain English Research and Study (IPERS) at UHD. Together with Dr. Natalia Matveeva, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Co-director of IPERS, the group worked with Mrs. Fawn Escalante, Public Affairs Associate Commissioner from the Texas Department of Insurance, tested two documents for the agency, and produced a report of findings. The students helped organize focus groups and provided feedback on the documents from the user perspective. The students also conducted research, learned more about plain language, and worked on a personal research project. Kudos to Luis and Deniece for their excellent communication and research skills! If you are interested in receiving an IPERS grant in the future, please contact Dr. Matveeva at matveevan@uhd.edu.

Student Spotlight

Communication Studies Major Munir Nathani to Focus on Human Resources and Deliberation with Graduate Studies

As many students prepare to graduate from UHD without a proper goodbye planned amidst COVID-19, one student's plan brings together his future graduate school plans and his existing UHD relationships. Munir Nathani, a Corporate Communication major graduating this May, will begin graduate work towards a Master of Science in Human Resource Development at University of Houston this fall. As he starts this new chapter, he will also serve as an Intern for the Center for Public Deliberation under Dr. Windy Lawrence. Nathani had the unique opportunity to speak at one of Dr. Lawrence's recent Meet and Greet events with candidates from across Houston - an experience that offers one of his "proudest memories" from his time at UHD. As Nathani finishes his classwork, he notes that "not being able to come to UHD has been one of the many challenges during these difficult times," as he "misses being at the campus more than [he] can describe." Congratulations to Munir Nathani and all our Communication Studies graduates as they prepare to depart UHD and begin exciting new chapters as Gators who have finished strong!

From the Coordinator's Corner

Dr. Creshema Murray, Associate Professor

Two months ago, this time, all I could think about was cowboy boots, Lizzo’s historic rodeo performance, and taking a midday nap during spring break. Like all of you, my spring break plans were drastically altered as COVID-19 brought our university, our city, and our country to a screeching halt. We have all borne witness to how this virus is impacting our families, our communities, and our very way of life. Despite these uncertain times, I am confident that we will return to an improved, healthier, and safer way of life, once again. The UHD community is uniting like never before to continue delivering our essential mission while protecting our faculty, staff, and students. Your Communication Studies instructors have remained resilient and committed to the mission of ensuring that we remain, Gator Strong.

When you read this message, know that the faculty and staff in the UHD Communication Studies program are here to support you as you continue to pursue your dreams of earning your bachelor degree. We check in with each other weekly and share stories of how our families remain optimistic of better days and how our students have persevered despite facing numerous challenges.

I would like to thank all faculty members in our program for adjusting syllabi, rearranging course requirements, and embracing teaching fully online. Many of our faculty members wear multiple hats as caregivers for their parents and homeschool administrators for their children. Their life, much like yours, has been upended, yet they have not once complained and have quickly adjusted to this new way of living. I would also like to thank all of you for being understanding of changing due dates, being patient with virtual working groups, showing empathy to fellow Gator, showing up to virtual class, and putting your best foot forward with your course assignments. We are truly in this together.

For some of you, the end of the spring semester will wrap up your college career. Congratulations, graduates! We look forward to hearing stories of future employment and graduate school acceptance soon. For others, we will see you virtually in summer classes and in the fall either on campus or again via Zoom. While we are unsure how COVID-19 will impact fall classes, know that the UHD community is here for you. Our President, Dr. Juan Munoz, and Provost, Dr. Eric Link will continue to send updates on financial aid, Gator C.A.R.E.S. initiatives, and class schedules, throughout the summer. Even if you do not hear from the collective Communication Studies faculty again until the fall, remember that the Communication Studies faculty are here for you, rooting for your success.

UHD Comm Studies Says Goodbye to Long-Time Faculty Member, Bill Pogue

With just under 40 years of service to the University of Houston-Downtown, Professor Bill Pogue will teach his final classes during spring 2020. Though Professor Pogue remains humble, those who have taught with him and been taught by him know that behind his commanding voice (surely influenced by his wife, a former UHD drama professor) is a wealth of deep knowledge, genuine compassion, and most importantly, deep humor. Professor Pogue connected easily with others, which made him a popular personality across campus. While Professor Pogue said, "I never expected to teach anything" before starting at UHD in 1981, he has brought to life classes ranging from interviewing to advertising. As he prepares for retirement, Professor Pogue looks forward to caring for his lovely wife and spending time with his great-grandchild. Congratulations and thank you for your service to UHD, Professor Pogue!

Fall 2020 Communication Studies Speaker Event to Focus on Health Communication

The Fall Communication Studies Speaker Event will be held on Wednesday, October 14th, 2020, from 1:00 - 3:00 pm, in Robertson Auditorium. This fall will feature the UHD Health Communication program with a panel discussion concluded by UHD Associate Professor Dr. Toni Hoang. The Communication Studies Speaker Event brings together community issues, UHD scholars, and exceptional Houstonians to make a real world connections to communication studies.

Upcoming Spring Communication Studies Events

October 14, 2020: Communication Studies Speaker Event (1:00 - 3:00 pm in Robertson Auditorium)

Recent Publications & Conference Presentations from Communication Studies Faculty

Archiopoli, A.M. (2020, April). 40 Days Case Study: Fitness Communities Serving Physical, Social, and Spiritual Needs. Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, Philadelphia, PA (Conference canceled).

Benton, D. M. (2020, April). Improving the Effectiveness of Workplace Communication: Reviewing Impression Management and Gender. Central States Communication Association Conference. Chicago, IL (Conference canceled).

Denes, A., Crowley, J. P., Winkler, K. L., Ponivas, A., Dhillon, A., & Bennett, M. (2020). Exploring the effect of pillow talk on physiological stress responses to couples’ difficult conversations. Communication Monographs. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03637751.2020.1726424

Harris, F. (2020, May 26-30). Critical Conversations: Strengthening Social Justice Pedagogy with Strategic Campus Collaborations. National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), New York, NY (Conference canceled).

Harris, F. (2020). “After the Mountaintop: Radical Self-Care Practices as Resistance for Black Women in the Academy,” Panel Organizer, National Council for Black Studies (NCBS), March 11-14, 2020, Atlanta, GA.

Harris, F. (2020, May 26-30). Let’s Hashtag About It: What Higher Ed can Learn from IG Therapy. National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), New York, NY. (Conference canceled).

Hatfield, E.F. (2019). Soft masculinity as the new norm: An examination of gender in Paddington 2. Journal Communications Media Studies, 19(11), p. 59-75.

Hatfield, E.F. (2020, April). Negotiating ‘family first’ as a gendered concept. [Winner Top Panel Award]. Central States Communication Association Annual Conference. Chicago, IL (Conference canceled).

Mitha, Z. (2020, March). Service Learning and Its Benefit to UHD and Its Students. Gulf-South Summit Conference. Houston, TX (Conference canceled).

Murray, C. (2020, March). Why Diversity and Mentorship Matter. Diversity in Leadership Conference. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (Conference canceled).

Murray, C. (2020, April). “My Presence is Here”: Power and Provocation in the Transformative Life of Barbara Jordan. 90th Annual Southern States Communication Association Convention. Frisco, Texas (Conference canceled).