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Graduate students in Point Park's School of Communication are taking advantage of a learning environment that enables their personal growth by encouraging students to create their own research agendas.

Six graduate students will be presenting their juried research papers and competitive posters at the 74th annual Pennsylvania Communication Association Conference, Communication as a Liberal Art: The Historical Roots of the Discipline, Oct. 18-19 at Gannon University in Erie, Pa.

The research projects stemmed from work the students completed in Communication Theory, Applied Mass Communication Research Methods, and Directed Research courses under the guidance of Associate Professor Tatyana Dumova, Ph.D. These courses provide students with the opportunity to apply communication theory and research methods to explore the dynamic media landscape of today.

The presentations will include:

  • Erin Carlin, M.A. in journalism and mass communication student, "Application of Rhetorical Strategies, Semiotics, and Framing on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report"
  • Tinamaria Colaizzi, M.A./M.B.A. student, "A Rhetorical Analysis of 'Discovering China': Advocating Falun Gong to the West"
  • Pamela Diana, M.A. in journalism and mass communication student, "Internet Uses and Gratifications: Implications for Social Networking, Blogging, E-Shopping and E-Learning"
  • Caitlin Kelly, 2013 M.A. in journalism and mass communication graduate, "Fashion as Communication: A Semiotic Analysis of Non-Verbal Expression through Clothes in a Popular TV Series Gossip Girl"
  • Tasha Pokrzywa, 2013 M.A./M.B.A. program graduate, "A Study of Political Polarization Through Social Media Among Young People"
  • Ligaya Scaff, M.A. in communication technology student, "Social Media and Collaborative Storytelling: Implications of the Narrative Paradigm and New Media Theories," and "Sharing City Stories: A Content Analysis of Pittsburgh Tumblr Blogs"

"The profound changes in new media systems and emerging communication technologies require a new type of professional to be able to understand the complexity of such an environment, both theoretically and practically," explained Dumova. "The School of Communication's graduate programs offer a balanced combination of coursework and practical experience and can suit anyone interested in media related careers ranging from journalism to public relations to media management."

"Conducting research is both challenging and rewarding. It has encouraged me to think analytically and provided me the chance to work closely with a faculty mentor," said Ligaya Scaff, who will be presenting a paper and a poster at the conference. "It also creates an opportunity to connect with the communication research community and to learn valuable presentation and professional networking skills."

By participating in local and regional professional conferences, School of Communication graduate students are honing their research skills and actively preparing themselves for successful careers after graduation.

Learn More

For additional information on Point Park University's graduate programs, contact the Office of Graduate Admission at 412-392-3808 or email


More About: M.A. in media communication, research, M.A. in communication technology, graduate programs, conference, M.A./M.B.A.