Communication Students Make a Statement with Research

Communication Students Make a Statement with Research

Good communication is all about saying something in a clear and concise way that has the power to move those who are listening.

And a group of College of Charleston communication students definitely had their say at a recent communications conference.

As part of the Theodore Clevenger Undergraduate Honors Conference at the Southern States Communication Association Convention, which took place in Nashville, Tenn., from April 4-8, 2018, the students presented research on a variety of topics, including online anonymity and civility in comment sections on the internet, how community is created in a work environment, the role of narrative in sustainability, the experiences of women in the sports industry, and the role of social media in the event planning industry. These projects demonstrated a depth of methodological perspectives that included surveys, interviews, content analysis, participant observation and ethnography.

The students who attended the conference include junior Kiersten Helmey, who completed her communication research methods project with professor Jenifer Kopfman, and seniors Haleigh Donovan, Bonnie Hansley, Christopher Reese, Emma Berry, and Cat Caplan who completed their communication capstone projects with professor Beth Goodier.

Goodier believes the value of attending a conference such as the Theodore Clevenger Undergraduate Honors Conference is that it helps students see themselves as academics and underscores the fact that their work is worthy of recognition.

“It really is an honor to be invited to present at this conference,” says Goodier. “Only 60 percent of papers reviewed were accepted this year, so the competition was significant and to have so many CofC students participating was impressive. It is a wonderful experience to watch a student, who started with just a tiny germ of an idea at the beginning of the year, making a presentation to room full of academics on a project they designed and carried through to completion.”

Goodier continues, “It’s fun to watch them field questions from the academics in the room on their methodology or their results, and see them really embrace the role of researcher as they defend their choices and get excited about their findings. With feedback from other scholars, they begin to see the value of the effort they put into the project more than when they simply present to their peers. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

While at the conference, students attended sessions with other undergraduates from across the country as well as learned about graduate programs in communication and networked with scholars from across the field.

“Opportunities like this conference definitely help bolster their resumes as students start looking for jobs after graduation,” says Kopfman, who chairs the College’s Department of Communication. “It gives them something interesting to talk about in job interviews, too. For those considering graduate school, the conference provides ample opportunities to learn about communication programs in various parts of the country.”

Pictured in the featured image: (from the left) Cat Caplan, Emma Berry, Kiersten Helmey, Bonnie Hansley, Haleigh Donovan and Christopher Reese at the Theodore Clevenger Undergraduate Honors Conference.