School of Communication

Graduate Programs Prepare Students to Present Research, Network at Conference

Monday, November 04, 2013

School of Communication graduates students Ligaya Scaff and Tinamaria Colaizzi at the panel session during the Pennsylvania Communication Association conference.
Graduate students (left to right) Pamela Diana, Erin Carlin and Ligaya Scaff at the poster session at the Pennsylvania Communication Association Conference.

Six School of Communication graduate students presented their juried research papers and posters at the Pennsylvania Communication Association Conference, held Oct. 18-19 at Gannon University.

All student submissions went through the scrutiny of blind review by faculty from colleges and universities other than Point Park. "The fact that these submissions were accepted for presentation speaks highly of our students' diligence and hard work," said Associate Professor Tatyana Dumova, Ph.D.

According to Dumova — who works one-on-one with students during the research process — there's an increased interest among Point Park graduate students in communication research. Since 2011, she has attended three state and two regional professional communication conventions, with 20 Point Park students making refereed paper and poster presentations.

"I advise students that they should conduct research if they are passionate about it or are genuinely interested in it," Dumova said.

For Erin Carlin, an M.A. in journalism and mass communication student, this was her first opportunity to present at a communication conference. Her poster, "Application of Rhetorical Strategies, Semiotics, and Framing on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report," was based on a paper she wrote for a class in communication theory.

"When I realized that I could examine the application of rhetorical theory within some of my favorite television programs, research became interesting. It doesn't seem like work when your professors encourage you to select a topic you love," she said.

Ligaya Scaff, a student enrolled in Point Park's new M.A. in communication technology program, presented a full-length paper, "Social Media and Collaborative Storytelling: Implications of the Narrative Paradigm and New Media Theories," and a poster, "Sharing City Stories: A Content Analysis of Pittsburgh Tumblr Blogs" at this year's conference.

"I received valuable feedback on my work, and I also made connections with those in the academic community," said Scaff. "I spoke with professors who offered advice about how to apply to a Ph.D. program, and had the chance to respond to questions about my findings, which allowed me to think about my research in new ways."

A first-time presenter, M.A./M.B.A. student Tinamaria Colaizzi, said she had a rewarding experience at the conference.

"To be in a place with other researchers ready to discuss current and new trends in communications research was awe-inspiring," she said. "My graduate experience at Point Park has been a great mix of learning theory and using it practically inside and outside of the classroom. The classes I've taken have helped me stand out as a competitive employee entering the job market."

Added Dumova, "Research helps develop critical and analytical skills highly valued in the workplace. It teaches how to apply knowledge in practice and how to think analytically, as well as how to overcome mistakes and constructively react to critique. It improves presentation skills and helps learn professional networking."

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