School of Communication

Graduate Experience Prepares Alumna Jenny Snow to Present Thesis at National Conference

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

M.A. alumna Jenny Snow and Professor Heather Starr Fiedler at the Broadcast Education Association conference in Las Vegas. Submitted photoProfessor Heather Starr Fiedler, Ph.D., and Jenny Snow at the Broadcast Education Association conference in Las Vegas.

Meet Jenny Snow

Job title and employer: Assistant Underwriter at Burns and Wilcox
Degrees earned: M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication (now the M.A. in Media Communication) from Point Park University, 2016; and B.A. in Mass Communication from Robert Morris University, 2013
High school: Baldwin-Whitehall High School
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Now living in: Pittsburgh, Pa., but I am moving to New York City this summer
Hobbies/interests: Rock climbing, traveling, hiking, yoga and painting
Dream jobs: College professor, yoga instructor and an artist

Why did you choose Point Park University for graduate school? 

I chose Point Park University for graduate school for four reasons:

  1. I wanted to work and go to graduate school full time and my job is in Pittsburgh.
  2. I want to pursue a Ph.D. and Point Park allowed me to write a thesis to prepare for this track.
  3. I was excited that I could take courses outside of my program for the thesis track within my degree. This allowed me to explore my topic further because I was able to not only research it, but partake in class discussion and projects concerning my research.
  4. I really liked that Point Park structured the graduate degree in a way that I could be flexible with my research topics or in-class projects. Going into the program, I thought this would allow me to be really creative and get more out of the degree in comparison to the other universities I looked at who had more control over research project topics.
"I want to get a Ph.D. and teach at a university. So for me this experience helped as a resume builder, but it also helped because I was able to meet with people from different Ph.D. programs. This conference was a stepping stone in the direction I want to ultimately be in."

-- Jenny Snow


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What are some of your favorite experiences at Point Park University?

My favorite experiences start with in-class discussion. I love hearing opposing points of view regarding topics that interest me. I think it is so much fun and the best learning environment.

My second favorite memory was introducing President Paul Hennigan at the 2016 Scholarships Award Brunch. I was asked to introduce him because I won the Kathleen Bland Smith Memorial Scholarship for my thesis research.

Finally, defending my master’s degree thesis — "A Content Analysis on the Internet News Media and the Growth of Human Trafficking" — was one of my favorite memories because it was truly an accomplishment. I had worked for months and months on edits and making my research the best it could be, so when I finally defended I never felt more proud of myself for sticking with something that challenged me intellectually in every way.

How did your course work and faculty advisement help you defend your thesis?

Before beginning my thesis, I took Research Methods which helped prepare me for the research structure and presentation that I would be utilizing for my actual research. I also took journalism courses with Professor Bill Moushey which prepared me for the media aspect of my research; he further helped me by being on the thesis committee. He always made sure to call me out when I inserted my opinion which was truly helpful and I really appreciated it!

Professors Mark Wintz and Bob O’Gara helped me feel ready to defend because they really worked with me through each edit and gave helpful notes for me to take back and revise my research.

Professor Heather Starr Fiedler, my thesis chair, not only helped me with edits, but she helped me stay calm and positive throughout the entire process. I knew it would be difficult, but it was really challenging and frustrating for me sometimes and I always felt like she and my other committee members were on my side. That helped me on defense day to feel more confident in what I was presenting to my committee.

What did it mean to you to be selected to present your thesis at the Broadcast Education Association conference in Las Vegas?

I was beyond thrilled to have this opportunity. To me it was an honor, and I felt proud of my research. I was even more excited to get the chance to speak with people about my research and human trafficking. 

Tell us about any networking opportunities you had at the conference.

I had more networking opportunities then I thought I would at the conference. I even had business cards made which was a good thing because I had technical issues with my digital poster and had to pass out hard copies of my research with my business cards attached. This worked in my favor because I have already heard from people at the conference who are interested in learning more, sharing news about other conferences and Ph.D. programs. I even had a few people come up to me at the conference who told me I should work on getting my work published, which was the greatest compliment. I have also reached out to others whose research sparked my interest. It was a wonderful experience for me all around.

How did this experience help you for future career opportunities?

I want to get a Ph.D. and teach at a university. So for me this helped as a resume builder, but it also helped because I was able to meet with people from different Ph.D. programs. This conference was a stepping stone in the direction I want to ultimately be in.

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