News Archive

Communication Studies Represented at Winter Olympic Games

Michael Burns worked his 7th Olympic Games in Beijing, China and spent one month on site. As part of the production management and logistics team with NBC's TODAY Show, he worked closely with athletes to coordinate their travel and also prepare them for their interviews. Michael also oversaw prop sourcing, research related to cultural segments, technical coordination for taped shoots, and COVID protocols.

Michael Burns Beijing 2022 Ice Rink

Faculty Accolades

Ann Burnette spoke to Dr. Kellie Marin's class on Contemporary Political Rhetoric at Penn State University. She discussed her article, "War Stories: Trump's Narratives and Freedom of the Press," published in Communication Law Review.

Casey Chilton presented “De-centering: Avoiding Emotional Burnout” to The Organization of Student Social Workers (OSSW) at Texas State University. He also presented “Developing and Giving Effective Presentations” to the Texas Youth Preparedness Council as they prepare to give presentations on their individual emergency preparedness projects they have implemented in their schools and communities across Texas.

Rebekah Fox spoke to Dr. Kellie Marin's class on Contemporary Political Rhetoric at Penn State University. She discussed her article, "War Stories: Trump's Narratives and Freedom of the Press," published in Communication Law Review.

Cassandra LeClair on Dr. Judy Oskam's Podcast to share insights on “Reclaiming My Past”.  Cassandra also hosted Dr. Susie Bannon on her own Podcast, on the topic of “Life After Prison: Removing the Stigma and Finding True Healing”.

Student Accolades

Zachary Perkins (B.A., 2021) was featured in the University Star and will soon publish a memoir entitled “How Much Time Do You Have?”. Perkins was mentored through the writing process by Cassandra LeClair.

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  • Communication Studies brings Virtual TEDx to Texas State

    The Department of Communication Studies proudly hosted its 6th TEDx event on February 12th. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events around the world that bring people together to celebrate ideas worth spreading.

    This year’s virtual event focused on the theme: Green. The talks represented a variety of fields and perspectives including climate issues, technology, health, the arts, media, social sciences, the humanities, and the hard sciences.

    TEDx 2022 Speakers

    David Yeomans is a three-time Emmy Award-winning Meteorologist and is the Chief Meteorologist at KXAN in Austin. He is a registered storm spotter and has kept climate records for the National Weather Service office. David has also researched hurricane formation for his Master’s thesis and was a guest scientist aboard an NOAA Hurricane Hunter flight.

    Lawrence Fulton earned his Ph.D. in Management Science and Information Systems as well as his M.S. Statistics from the University of Texas at Austin. A professor in the College of Health Professions at Texas State University, Dr. Fulton’s research areas are sustainability and healthcare. The sustainable construction of his residence (once the highest scoring sustainable residence as verified by the National Association of Homebuilders) was featured on KSAT News in San Antonio.

    Jaz Burgess is the Founder and Executive Director of Hustle Meets Grace, an online Wellness Consulting Company specializing in integrating yoga, meditation and mindfulness-based practices. Jaz is also a life coach for first generation college students UTSA, where she facilitates leadership experiences focusing on personal development, financial literacy and emotional intelligence.

    Jayairus Bryant is a free-spirited 2nd grader at Cooper Elementary in Houston, Texas who possesses a unique combination of grit and wit. He enjoys reading, playing video games, and learning about space.  He discussed mistakes that adults have made regarding environmental issues and how those mistakes have impacted children.

    Wren Vogel is a graduate student pursuing an M.S. in Sustainability Studies at Texas State University and works as a research assistant for the Ingram School of Engineering. Wren is a member of the Hwang Eco-friendly Development for Green Environment (HEDGE) research team and is actively researching upcycling applications of invasive flora found in the San Marcos area.

    Ian McKenna, 17 years old, is from Austin, TX. Ian is a youth hunger advocate who has grown and donated over 20,000 lbs of organic produce to help reduce food insecurity in his community. In addition to developing Ian’s Giving Garden, he works with No Kid Hungry as a youth ambassador and Katie’s Krops where he serves on their Board of Directors. He is also a Travis County Master Gardener. Most recently, he was named as a Top 5 Finalist for Time’s “Kid of the Year”. Ian is currently a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Civil Engineering with a specialization in Environmental Engineering.

    All of our speakers’ talks will be available on the TEDx Talks YouTube channel hosted by TED Headquarters later this semester.

    By the numbers:

    • 303 tickets sold.
    • $1750 in outside sponsorships secured.
    • 6 amazing speakers.
    • 1 very talented undergrad MC (Alex Pittner, Communication Studies major).
    • 3 past speakers were interviewed for the event.
    • 3 acts (Madeline Wong Perez, The Beatnik Bandits, DJ Bartley) kept the crowd entertained before, during, and after the event.
    • 2 artists (undergraduates Anna Zust and Jenna Johnson) shared displays of their work during the show.
    • 2 organizations set up tables during the event for audience members to learn more about recycling and composting

    Faculty Accolades

    Jasmine Austin published Communication Theory: Racially Diverse and Inclusive Perspectives. The book features contributed chapters from established and emerging communication theorists with varied cultural backgrounds and identities. It offers innovative conceptions of communication theorizing centered in and through the perspectives of African American/Black, Latinx, Asian American, and Indigenous/First Nations people. Jasmine also served as Moderator for “Pathway to Graduate School”, a virtual panel discussion aimed at supporting students who have an interest in pursuing graduate school. The panel discussion covered the benefits of attending graduate school and how the experience can help students achieve their goals. Speakers shared their success stories and discussed the influence of intersectional identities and how they overcame challenges in their journey through graduate school.

    Ann Burnette published “Retire like a man: Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, and competing masculinities.” In D. Pompper (Ed.), Rhetoric of masculinity: Male body image, media, and gender role stress/conflict.

    Michael Burns is working his 7th Olympic Games with NBC's Today Show. Dr. Burns is in Beijing China for one month covering the 2022 Winter Olympics in the role of production/logistics manager. The 2022 Olympics will be the most logistically challenging in history because of COVID-19 and Dr. Burns is part of a very small percentage of people worldwide who will be granted access to China for the Games. In addition, Michael’s COMM 5371 class (Communication Training and Development), will be working with a client, Texas State University Human Resources, to help them develop five university-wide training programs this semester

    Elizabeth Eger’s research on presenteeism (working while sick and/or with a health condition) was featured in four Austin live news programs and written articles in January 2022. She appeared in a live interview on KVUE news, Austin’s ABC affiliate. KEYE TV (Austin’s CBS affiliate) featured a profile of her research in an online article, and KXAN (Austin’s NBC affiliate) featured a profile of her research in another online article. Her research was also featured in a national magazine interview for Dame Magazine

    Kristen Farris published "Exploring students’ perceptions of instructor requests for forms of address and likelihood of future interaction" in Communication Quarterly. The manuscript was co-authored with three M.A. alumni: Madeline Martinson, Jovanna Andelkovic, and Luke Dye.


    Student Accolades

    M.A. student Kirara Nagatsuka presented “Objects that Spark Joy in the U.S. and Japan” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association.

    M.A. student Tyshee Sonnier presented “Free Churros and Epideictic Rhetoric” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association.


    Alumni Accolades

    M.A. alum Luke Dye presented "Anchors Aweigh: Organizational Communication in the United States Navy" to the National Communication Association annual conference.

    M.A. alum Livia Hendrickson and M.A. student Carlissia Hamilton presented “Is the NBA Strictly for Profit, Progressive, or Both? An Applied Analysis of the NBA's Organizational Communication about Black Lives Matter" to the National Communication Association annual conference.

  • TEDx Ticket on Sale Now!

    TEDx Texas State is proud to announce the lineup of speakers for its 6th annual event, taking place on Saturday, February 12 from 1:00-4:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall at the Performing Arts Center. This year’s theme is “Green”, and will be a half-day event featuring six talented speakers in an effort to make the event as “green” and sustainable as possible, reduce cost, and streamline the workload. Here is the link to the ticketing website: https://txstatepresents.universitytickets.com/w/?cid=166

    Speakers:

    David Yeomans is a three-time Emmy Award-winning Meteorologist and is the Chief Meteorologist at KXAN in Austin. He is a registered storm spotter and has kept climate records for the National Weather Service office. David has also researched hurricane formation for his Master’s thesis and was a guest scientist aboard a NOAA Hurricane Hunter flight. Currently, David serves on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Advisory Council.

    Larry Fulton earned his Ph.D. in Management Science and Information Systems as well as his M.S. Statistics from the University of Texas at Austin. A professor in the College of Health Professions at Texas State University, Dr. Fulton’s research areas are sustainability and healthcare. The sustainable construction of his residence (once the highest scoring sustainable residence as verified by the National Association of Homebuilders) was featured on KSAT News in San Antonio.

    Jaz Burgress is a Texas State alumna and the Founder and Executive Director of Hustle Meets Grace, an online Wellness Consulting Company specializing in integrating yoga, meditation and mindfulness-based practices. After attaining her professional counseling license, Jaz is looking forward to expanding their offerings to include a counseling private practice and yoga studio to help clients find healing through mindful movement and relaxation. In addition, Jaz is a life coach for first generation college students UTSA, where she facilitates leadership experiences focusing on personal development, financial literacy and emotional intelligence.

    Jayairus Bryant is a free-spirited 2nd grader at Cooper Elementary in Houston, Texas who possesses a unique combination of grit and wit. He enjoys reading, playing video games, and learning about space. He will discuss mistakes that adults have made regarding environmental issues and how those mistakes have impacted children. He may just prove to you that when it comes to preserving the Earth, you may not be “smarter than a Second Grader!"

    Wren Vogel is a graduate student pursuing an M.S. in Sustainability Studies at Texas State University and works as a research assistant for the Ingram School of Engineering. She is a member of the Hwang Eco-friendly Development for Green Environment (HEDGE) research team and is actively researching upcycling applications of invasive flora found in the San Marcos area.

    Ian McKenna, 17 years old, is from Austin, TX. Ian is a youth hunger advocate who has grown and donated over 20,000 pounds of organic produce to help reduce food insecurity in his community. In addition to developing Ian’s Giving Garden, he works with No Kid Hungry as a youth ambassador and Katie’s Krops where he serves on their Board of Directors. Most recently, he was named as a Top 5 Finalist for Time’s Kid of the Year. Ian is currently a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Civil Engineering with a specialization in Environmental Engineering. 


    Career Readiness Hosts In-person and Virtual Events for Students.

    The Career Readiness Program, led by Dr. Michael Burns, hosted several events this semester, all featuring Texas State Alumni. For more information on the Career Readiness Program, click here.

    Rob Patterson (B.A., 1986) presented “An Ear to the Ground: What Top Companies Have Said to Me About the Value of Communication Skills in the Workplace”, sharing what he has learned working with some of the nation’s top companies and business leaders. Dr. Patterson is an Associate Professor in the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and his professional experiences in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors include advertising and business development, executive management and leadership, and postsecondary accreditation/compliance in Washington, DC.

    Justin Garcia (B.A., 2010) presented “Rapport Building at Work: What Executive Presence Really Means”. Justin works for Amazon Web Services as a Lead on their Latin America, Canada, and Caribbean development team. His presentation included walking the audience through parts of trainings he facilitates for AWS’ Sales University.

    Felipe Romero (B.A., 2013) presented “Leading Through Crisis” as part of a two-part event co-sponsored by the Career Services office at Texas State. Felipe serves as Director of Communications and Marketing for the City of Brownsville, and he shared his experiences in leading the City of Brownsville through crises including hurricanes, the pandemic, and the February 2021 winter storm. Crisis communication and planning are parts of many industries and an expectation for many career paths. Mr. Romero also talked about the value of soft skills, or what he calls “Power Skills,” when leading groups and teams. The second part of the event featured a preview of the Career & Coffee Expo that took place in the Rio Grande Valley on November 15th. This career expo featured more than 1,500 job opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley in many fields including: communication, healthcare, engineering, transportation, human resources, government, and skilled trades. Organizations such as SpaceX, the City of Brownsville, SteelCoast, Southwest Key, and many others were represented at the career expo.

    Cara Gustafson (B.A., 2016) presented, “It’s Not Me, It’s You: Political Communication in the Legislature, Governmental Affairs, and Being a Spokesperson”. Cara served as the Communications Director for State Representative Garnet Coleman in the Texas House of Representatives from 2017-2019 and is currently the Communications Specialist at Public Blueprint, a Texas-based public affairs firm specializing in government relations, communications, digital and grassroots advocacy.
     
    Finally, the Communication Studies Career Readiness program hosted its Fall Networking Event, where students met with alumni from several industries to learn what they do and ask for advice.


    CSGA Hosts Development Events

    The Communication Studies Graduate Association (CSGA) is a departmental organization dedicated to unifying the graduate students in Communication Studies at Texas State. CSGA members come together for official and unofficial events including professional development, research seminars, social and philanthropic events.

    CSGA hosted the “Communication 1310 Diversity Event” in response to the many requests to have an event focused on discussing Comm 1310’s diversity activity over the past year. The workshop began with a presentation by Dr. Josh Miller highlighting some introductory rhetoric of diversity concepts then moved to a group discussion about how to best conduct the diversity activity and integrate diversity and inclusion in Comm 1310.

    CSGA also hosted a “National Communication Association Practice Session”, giving students and faculty members the opportunity to practice their presentations for the annual conference and receive supportive feedback.

    During the week of Halloween, CSGA sponsored a costume contest and a pumpkin carving contest with a panel of judges and prizes for the best costumes and pumpkins.

    CSGA closed out the semester by sponsoring a Clothing and Canned Food Drive for the holidays. Donated supplies and food will be distributed to: the Hays County Food Bank, TXST Career Closet, and Hays County Women’s Shelter


    Faculty Accolades

    Jasmine Austin presented “They Said What? Understanding and Decoding Microaggressions” with M.A. alum Andronica Owens. She also presented “The Hashtag Heard Around the World: Social Media Users’ Perceptions and Responses to the #MeToo Hashtag” with Andronica Owens.

    Steven Beebe presented “A Class in Tune: Lessons from Music to Transform and Renew Instructional Communication” and “Communicating Truth in C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity: Applying Communication Transposition Theory” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association. Steven presented “Transforming the Training and Development Course: Renewing the Needs Centered Training Model for the Virtual Trainee” with Kristen Farris and Michael Burns. He also presented “Getting Hired and Securing Employment Post-Graduate School: Exploring On-Ramps to Jobs and Careers Beyond Faculty Positions” with M.A. alum William Jordan Wagner.

    Tricia Burke delivered the Dean’s Seminar for the College of Fine Arts and Communication. Her presentation was entitled “Finding Our Way: Navigating Family Communication Transitions and Challenges”. She presented “Goals and Frames Associated with Weight-Related Support Marshaling in Couples” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association. Tricia also presented “Family Communication Patterns and Social Control: Exploring Emerging Adults’ Weight-Related Outcomes” and “Transforming our Understanding of Interpersonal Health Communication Processes” at the conference.

    Ann Burnette presented "Every Idea is an Incitement:' Holmes and Brandeis Struggle Over the Events Surrounding January 6, 2021 and the 'Big (Easy)' Lie” and “Current Issues in Freedom of Expression” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association with Rebekah Fox.

    Michael Burns authored, "Integrating University Value Messages into the Basic Communication Course: Implications for Student Recall and Adjustment to College” with Kristen Farris that was accepted for publication at the Basic Communication Course Annual. Michael presented “Transforming the Training and Development Course: Renewing the Needs Centered Training Model for the Virtual Trainee” with Kristen Farris and Steve Beebe to the annual conference of the National Communication Association.

    Stephanie Dailey delivered a webinar entitled, "Strategic Interview Preparation for Landing Your Next Job or Internship" to students and young alumni of Southwestern University. She spoke at the University of Texas Communication Council's meeting on a panel titled, "Taking the Spookiness out of Grad School: Tricks and Treats for Exploring the Post-Graduate Education." Stephanie published “Do you dare to compare?: The key characteristics of social media users who frequently make online upward social comparisons” in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. She also chaired a panel entitled “Renewing Research on Cybersecurity Training and Developing Adaptive Organizational Cultures” at the annual conference of the National Communication Association

    Elizabeth Eger presented “’They sent them to stop violence and instead they’re the ones causing the violence’: Analyzing UN Peacekeepers’ Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Through Feminist and Postcolonial Organizational Communication Theory and Praxis” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association. The paper was co-authored with M.A. alumnae Sierra Kane and Logan Kennedy. She also presented “Renewal and Transformation in Nonprofit Communication: Envisioning Research and Teaching in the Post-COVID Era” and “Organizing Difference: Queer Theory, Trans and Gender Non- Binary Identity and Affirmative Action” to the Organizational Communication Division of NCA. Elizabeth served as a respondent on a panel entitled “Transforming GLBTQ+ Identities through the Examination of Movies” at the annual conference of the National Communication Association.

    Kristen Farris authored, "Integrating University Value Messages into the Basic Communication Course: Implications for Student Recall and Adjustment to College” with “Michael Burns that was accepted for publication at the Basic Communication Course Annual. Kristen presented “Enacting Preventative Behavior during a Pandemic: The Role of Health Belief Model, Perceived Credibility and Health Literacy” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association. The paper was co-authored with M.A. alum Ifeoluwatobi A. Odunsi. Kristen presented “Transforming the Training and Development Course: Renewing the Needs Centered Training Model for the Virtual Trainee” with Steven Beebe and Michael Burns. Kristen presented Exploring Students’ Perceptions of Instructor Requests for Forms of Address and Students’ Appraisals of the Instructor” with M.A. alums Madeline Martinson and Jovana Andelkovic. She presented “Renewing and Transforming the Student-Teacher Interpersonal Relationship in the Era of COVID-19” with Marian Houser. Kristen also presented “Restoring the Teacher-Student Relationship amidst Turbulence” with Marian Houser and Erik Timmerman as a Top Paper in the Instructional Communication Division.

    Rebekah Fox presented "Every Idea is an Incitement:' Holmes and Brandeis Struggle Over the Events Surrounding January 6, 2021 and the 'Big (Easy)' Lie” and “Current Issues in Freedom of Expression” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association with Ann Burnette.

    Marian Houser presented “Transforming the Future for Military-Affiliated Learners (MALs): Fostering Intersections between Military and Instructional Communication Research and Practice” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association. She presented “Exploring the Impact of Memorable Messages and Self-Disclosure in the Classroom” to the Instructional Communication Division of NCA. She also delivered a presentation entitled "The Transition is Difficult": Student-Veteran Academic Needs & Implications for Instructional Communication Training.” Marian presented “Renewing and Transforming the Student-Teacher Interpersonal Relationship in the Era of COVID-19” with Kristen Farris. Marian also presented “Restoring the Teacher-Student Relationship amidst Turbulence” with Kristen Farris and Erik Timmerman as a Top Paper in the Instructional Communication Division.

    Maureen Keeley presented “Communicating Health in Personal Relationships” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association.

    Roseann Mandziuk served as Vice President of the National Communication Association, which included planning the 107th Annual Convention in Seattle, with over 900 programs and 3000 attendees. Roseann received the ceremonial gavel and will serve as President of NCA in 2022.

    Josh Miller published "Bolstering Bayard Rustin: Collaborative apologia, heteronormativity, and the 1963 March on Washington" in the Southern Communication Journal.

    Manu Pokharel published “Death narratives, negative emotion, and counterarguing: Testing fear, anger, and sadness as mechanisms of effect” in Journal of Health Communication. She presented “Visual Tailoring and Skin Cancer Prevention: Comparing Personalized, Stock, and Non-Ultraviolet Images” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association with M.A. alum Sophia Taylor-Burton.

    C. Erik Timmerman presented “Restoring the Teacher-Student Relationship amidst Turbulence” with Marian Houser and Kristen Farris as a Top Paper in the Instructional Communication Division.


    Student Accolades

    M.A. student Kirara Nagatsuka presented “Objects that Spark Joy in the U.S. and Japan” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association.

    M.A. student Tyshee Sonnier presented “Free Churros and Epideictic Rhetoric” to the annual conference of the National Communication Association.


    Alumni Accolades

    M.A. alum Luke Dye presented "Anchors Aweigh: Organizational Communication in the United States Navy" to the National Communication Association annual conference.

    M.A. alum Livia Hendrickson and M.A. student Carlissia Hamilton presented “Is the NBA Strictly for Profit, Progressive, or Both? An Applied Analysis of the NBA's Organizational Communication about Black Lives Matter" to the National Communication Association annual conference.

  • Texas State Hosts 33rd Annual Hill Country Swing

    The LBJ Debate Society and Elton Abernathy Forensics Society of Texas State University hosted the 33rd Annual Hill Country Swing Invitational Speech Tournament. The Hill Country Swing is a tournament that is hosted jointly with the University of Texas. This year’s tournament was hosted virtually.

    The University of Texas at Austin took home the championship for the Texas State-hosted portion of the tournament, with the University of Alabama finishing second and Rice University placing third. The Bobcats finished fourth on the first day.

    The tournament logistics and tabulation team was headed by Jeremy Hutchins with the assistance of M.A. students Tyshee Sonnier, Dillon McCoy, Jaelyn Ashford, and Tyler Cole.

    Prof. Ann Burnette served as a judge for the tournament. Also judging the tournament were graduate students Samantha Perez and Terrianna Singletary.

    Several alums joined virtually to judge including Justin Blacklock, Joseph Bahr, Matthew Anderson, Tony-Lydia McKinney, Ben Swenson-Weiner, Miguel Porfirio, Sebastian Frost, and Goyland Williams.

    Ja’Quacy Minter from the University of Alabama finished as the top speaker in the tournament with Evan Ortiz and Carli Hall from UT placing second and third respectively.

    For Texas State, Abby Robertson placed second in Communication Analysis and fifth in Poetry Interpretation. Ashton Rios finished third in Program Oral Interpretation and Johnny Vasallo placed third in Poetry Interpretation.

    During the second day of the tournament, hosted by the University of Texas, the Bobcats fielded a full entry and finished second behind the University of Alabama. Rice University placed third.


    FACULTY ACCOLADES

    Michael Burns gave a presentation titled, "Backstage at the Olympics: It's All About Communication" for the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University. This was the opening presentation for the alumni speakers series the university is hosting this semester.

    Ann Burnette appeared with Wayne Kraemer on NPR’s award-wining podcast “Journeys of Discovery” to share insights about former President and Texas State alum Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Hill Country roots. She and Wayne also discussed Lady Bird Johnson’s influence on American society—as well as some humorous recollections of life at LBJ Ranch, dubbed the Texas White House, while he served as the 36th President of the United States. Ann currently serves as a board member of The Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum in San Marcos and Wayne was recently named Board President.

    Elizabeth K. Eger participated in the 2021 Co-Search with a theme of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Her team led by Dr. Joni Charles focused on water justice and climate change response for people who are homeless in central Texas.

    Maureen Keeley was selected to receive the Bernard J. Brommel Award for Outstanding Scholarship or Distinguished Service in Family Communication from the National Communication Association. According to NCA, “the purpose of the Brommel Award is to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the area of family communication. Dr. Keeley’s research, particularly her work on end-of-life communication and final conversations, has made a significant contribution to the field of family communication. Based primarily on extensive interviews with both adults and children, Keeley’s research illuminates the importance of communication with and between the dying and their loved ones.” Maureen and M.A. alum Mark Generous published “Does talking at the end of life matter?:  Exploring the association between final conversations (FCs) and coping strategies” in the Southern Communication Journal.


    STUDENT ACCOLADES

    Undergraduate student Amber Mathews presented her research paper, "'You Look Like a Dyke': Navigating Femininity and Bisexuality within a Heteronormative Family" to the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, & Gender Conference.

    The following Bobcats placed in the UT-hosted portion of the tournament:

    • Aaron Delgado: 7th in Extemporaneous speaking; 3rd in Impromptu speaking; and 2nd in Persuasion.
    • Theo Januski: 4th in Informative Speaking.
    • Ashton Rios: 5th in Program Oral Interpretation; and 1st in Prose.
    • Abby Robertson: 2nd in Communication Analysis; 4th in Poetry; and 4th in Program Oral Interpretation.
    • Ashlyn Trokey: 4th in Extemporaneous speaking; and 4th in Impromptu speaking.
    • Johnny Vasallo: 5th in Impromptu speaking; 2nd in Poetry; and 4th in Prose. 

    The next competition will be a virtual tournament hosted by James Madison University and George Mason University in Virginia.

  • Communication Studies Represented at Olympic Games

    Dr. Michael Burns spent five weeks this summer working with NBC's TODAY Show at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. While in Tokyo, Michael worked as a Production Manager and oversaw the TODAY Show's Production Runners. He managed the show's logistics and worked closely with NBC talent, Olympic athletes, and the United States Olympic Committee coordinating production needs. This was Michael’s 6th Olympic Games with the TODAY Show. He was also featured on KXAN News talking about his experience working an Olympic Games in the middle of a pandemic.


    Texas State Students Immersed in Civil Rights:

    This summer, Texas State students had the opportunity to virtually experience the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama through a course entitled, “Good Trouble: Race, Memory, and Communication” led by Dr. Josh Miller. The course was offered through the “Study in America Program” offered through the Office of Distance and Extended Learning.

    In addition to learning about the various important memorial sites around Montgomery and their place in the Civil Rights Movement, students also attended several virtual events featuring noted guest speakers.

    The first event was one of Brown Deer United Methodist Church’s monthly virtual “Conversations on Race.” Started after the Sherman Park Uprising (also known as the 2016 Milwaukee riots), “Conversations on Race” is a program intended to bring people together to discuss topics related to systematic racism and how to address the harms caused by injustice.

    The second event connected students with Mrs. Varda Ratner of the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio. Mrs. Ratner is a long-time volunteer docent at the museum and the child of two Holocaust survivors. She also recently spearheaded a community-led effort to see that Texas Senate Bill 1828, creating a week of Holocaust education in public schools, was passed into law in Texas. She discussed her family’s survival experiences during this virtual presentation.

    The third event was a virtual talk with Gabriele Daniels, project manager of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). The EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment. It is committed to changing the narrative about race in America.

    The fourth event featured civil rights lawyer Savannah Kumar of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas join us to talk about their recent advocacy efforts.

    The final event featured Tafeni English, who directs the Southern Poverty Law Center's Civil Rights Memorial Center. She discussedthe SPLC's advocacy efforts to combat hate & extremism.


    CSGA Hosts Professional Development Events

    The Communication Studies Graduate Association (CSGA) is a departmental organization dedicated to unifying the graduate students in Communication Studies at Texas State. CSGA members come together for official and unofficial events including professional development, research seminars, social and philanthropic events.

    The first event of the semester featured a professional development activity entitled “Leveling Up: (Re)Envisioning Success in Graduate School.” The members developed strategies for succeeding in graduate school, helped each other (re)envision what success means for them, and talked about how to get the most out of their experience in the M.A. program. After that, everyone in attendance was invited to play Communication Studies trivia.

    The second event was “Conferencing 101” and centered on academic conferences. Students learned about what they are, what to expect, and how to succeed during every step of the process from submission to presentation.


    Faculty Accolades

    Ann Burnette and Wayne Kraemer published "Representing or 'Hispandering'?: Beto O'Rourke, political identity, and identification" in the book Local Theories of Argument.

    Michael Burns published "Teaching small group and team dynamics through The Amazing Race experience" in the Carolinas Communication Annual with Kristen Farris, Marian Houser, and M.A. alums Katy Henrick and Brad Palmisano.

    Elizabeth K. Eger recently completed a study entitled,“Understanding communication about presenteeism in relationship to workers, occupations, organizations, and intersection of identities” that examines the phenomenon of “presenteeism” or “sickness presence.” The study was featured on KXAN news and Elizabeth was also interviews for the piece. M.A. alums Tori Miller and Michael Tahmoressi co-authored the study. Read more about it here. She also received the College Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Assistant Professor Level.

    Kristen Farris authored a pedagogy manuscript entitled, "Evaluating communication theories in theory bowl competition" that was recently accepted for publication in Communication Teacher. She authored a pedagogy manuscript M.A. alums Katy Henrick and Brad Palmisano and faculty members Michael Burns and Marian Houser entitled, "Teaching small group and team dynamics through The Amazing Race experience" that was recently accepted for publication in the Carolinas Communication Annual. Kristen, Marian Houser and C. Erik Timmerman are authors on a paper selected for a “Top Paper/Panel Award” at the upcoming conference of the National Communication Association.  The paper is titled, “Restoring the teacher-student relationship amidst turbulence.”

    Rebekah Fox was a panelist for “The Wildfire Preparedness Town Hall” which featured a panel of experts providing valuable information to help understand wildfire risks, best practices for wildfire preparedness, resources available to the public, how a neighborhood can become a Firewise Community, and what action can be taken better protect homes. She and Ann Burnette published “Feel free to agree: Promoting American exceptionalism as educational ideology in the Texas Education Knowledge Standards” in the Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric. Rebekah presented “The slow burn versus the wildfire: Toward understanding novel organizational crises and employee mental health via the USFS response to the COVID-19 pandemic” to the International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference. She also published “Pivoting in the time of COVID-19: An in-depth case study at the nexus of food insecurity, resilience, system re-organizing, and caring for the community in the h journal Frontiers in Communication.

    Marian Houser published "Teaching small group and team dynamics through The Amazing Race experience" in the Carolinas Communication Annual with Kristen Farris, Michael Burns, and M.A. alums Katy Henrick and Brad Palmisano. Marian, Kristen Farris, and C. Erik Timmerman authored “Restoring the teacher-student relationship amidst turbulence.” The paper was selected for a “Top Paper/Panel Award” at the upcoming conference of the National Communication Association

    Wayne Kraemer was elected President of the Board of Directors of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum of San Marcos. He and board member Ann Burnette were invited by the National Park Service to represent the museum during the wreath-laying ceremony at the gravesite of Lyndon Baines Johnson on the former president’s birthday.

    Josh Miller published a book chapter entitled “Christian communal parrhesia and the case of the 1965 Bloody Sunday March” in J. W. Vining (Ed.), New directions in rhetoric and religion: Exploring emerging intersections of religion, public discourse, and rhetorical scholarship.

    Manu Pokharel and M.A. alum Sophia Taylor-Burton co-authored “Visual communication and skin cancer prevention: Comparing personalized, stock, and non-ultraviolet images”. The paper was selected for a top paper award in the Health Communication Division of the National Communication Association and will be presented at the annual conference.

    Philip Salem published the third edition of his book “Human Communication Technology.”
    The third edition updates and expands the research about core issues related to human communication technology by examining the nature of information, human communication and technology, and considers the confusion that can accompany hybrid reality.

    C. Erik Timmerman, Marian Houser, and Kristen Farris authored “Restoring the teacher-student relationship amidst turbulence.” The paper was selected for a “Top Paper/Panel Award” at the upcoming conference of the National Communication Association.


    Alumni Accolades

    Nancy Heise (M.A., 2020) earned the 2021 Outstanding Thesis Award the 2021 from the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language & Gender.

    Cheyenne Meyer (M.A., 2015) is an Internal Communications Specialist with G.M. Financial. While recovering from a traumatic bike accident in 2016, Cheyenne became involved with organizations that empower athletes with disabilities by equipping them with resources and opportunities to participate in endurance sports and races, and she soon learned how to serve as a sighted running guide for athletes who are blind/visually impaired. Since then, Cheyenne has served as a guide for several athletes who have medaled in their respective events, most recently an athlete who took silver in the 2021 Paracycling Road National Championships.

  • Communication Studies Hosts “Diversity & Inclusion” Events

    The Department of Communication Studies hosted three spring semester faculty-led events in an ongoing series that focuses upon taking action to advance and sustain Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

    The event, entitled, “After Diversity: Notes on Language, Identity, and Politics,” featured topics such as: Equity and inclusion, privilege vs. power, the failure to act, social justice as a pillar for learning, and operationalizing advocacy. Faculty and students were also invited to engage in discussion to reflect on their own teaching practices to determine their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the classroom and providing mentoring for marginalized students.

    The event featured two guest speakers, M.A. alum Goyland Williams and Dillon Nettles.

    Goyland Williams is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he is a R.E.A.L Fellow (Research Enhancement And Leadership Fellowship) and a recipient of the W.E.B. Du Bois Graduate Fellowship at the Du Bois Center. Specializing in Rhetoric and Performance Studies, his research is situated in Black studies, social movement rhetoric, Africana critical theory, cultural criticism and performance theory|(auto)ethnography. Bridging these seemingly disparate ideas and schools of thought,

    Dillon Nettles is a Deep Southerner organizer, policy strategist, and legislative analyst based in Montgomery, Alabama, currently serving as Policy & Advocacy Director of the ACLU of Alabama. In this role he manages the ACLU’s policy and advocacy staff, legislative portfolio, campaigns, and policy initiatives, in addition to conducting routine engagement with state lawmakers and other public officials. Dillon has been recognized as a Clinton Global Initiative alumnus, New Profit Millennial Impact Fellow, and Digital Leaders Fellow by Students for Education Reform.

    The next step for the department will be to take action by applying principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in ways that can initiate sustainable change in our department and community.  Our first step will be to engage in a comprehensive review of literature to understand how our commitment to DEI principles can best inform our approach to teaching and learning in the Communication Studies discipline.  A first applied workshop facilitated by Dr. Josh Miller, Dr. Michael Burns, and Mr. Mark Paz shared a framework to coordinate faculty efforts identify and share DEI concepts that emerge from communication theory and research.  All faculty will then participate in presentations to summarize and illustrate literature how these ideas can become a consistent theme that is reflected in our core courses and frequently-completed electives  (i.e., Interpersonal Communication; Public Speaking, Small Group Communication, Organizational Communication, Health Communication).  These presentations will begin in May and then culminate in a day-length.


    Career Readiness Program Hosts Virtual Events

    The Career Readiness Program, led by Dr. Michael Burns, hosted several events during the fall semester, all featuring Texas State Alumni. For more information on the Career Readiness Program, click here.

    The first Career Readiness event of the semester focused on Financial Health and was led by M.A. alum Patrick Hale. Patrick has worked as an instructional designer and program manager at CPS Energy. He is currently serving as the Power Generation Training Manager. He is passionate helping people reach their full potential in their career and achieve their personal aspirations.

    The Alumni Mentor Networking Event was the final event of the semester. This event featured alumni meeting and talking with students to help them understand what is possible post-graduation with a degree in Communication Studies. The event featured alums Brad Palmisano, Renee Rudloff-Baker, Jonathan Alba, Taela Bragg, Patrick Hale, Victoria Locke, Joey Kuykendall, Trevlyn Trevino Carson, Shanna Schultz, Tianna Cobb, Adeyinka Yarbough, Rob Patterson, Kuro Tawil, Susan Cunningham, Christine Kirsch, and Angel Armijo.


    M.A. Students Complete Unique Internship

    Two M.A. students, Riki Van Meter and Daniel Galindo, successfully completed their internship experience with Austin-based public health and safety firm Code 4 Emergency Services. Dr. Michael Burns and M.A. alumnus and Code 4 Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Alba created the partnership through the Communication Studies Career Readiness program. Riki and Daniel started the internship in January 2021.

    Riki and Daniel have gotten a rare and unique glimpse into working for a rapidly-growing startup. Code 4 established itself as a powerhouse in event management and safety before the pandemic forced them to adapt. They founded their biohazard division in the Spring of 2020 and began offering testing, decontamination services, and eventually vaccination operations for the local community.

    Riki and Daniel have leveraged their communication background assisting with operations, marketing, PR, and other communication-based projects. Riki and Daniel were granted rare access and collaboration opportunities with the organization. They drafted social media posts, job postings, and internal documents alongside Jonathan Alba and CEO Scott Davidson. Riki and Daniel also have helped organize and execute various operations themselves. On one occasion, Riki coordinated an impromptu vaccination clinic for patients who missed their original appointment for their second dose. Daniel was trained as a decontamination technician within the biohazard division and has helped mitigate the spread of COVID-19 working on several film production sets.

    Riki and Daniel’s diverse experiences with Code 4 have proven invaluable for their personal and professional development. Rarely do interns get the access and opportunity to work so closely with executives responding to a global pandemic. Riki plans to remain with the company full-time and expand her career in public health and safety. Daniel continues to assist as a biohazard technician and aspires to get into training and development post-graduation.


    CSGA Holds Professional Development Events

    The Communication Studies Graduate Association (CSGA) is a departmental organization dedicated to unifying the graduate students in Communication Studies at Texas State. CSGA members come together for official and unofficial events including professional development, research seminars, social and philanthropic events.

    The first event was entitled "Jumpstarting Your Career with Your Master’s in Communication Studies" and featured two guest presenters: Natalie Nelson and Marsha Burney. Natalie Nelson is a Diversity Initiatives Coordinator and Communication Studies Instructor at the College of Southern Nevada. Marsha Burney is a graduate of our MA program and former faculty member who is now a Senior Consultant/Workforce Management Business Partner at CGI Federal.

    The second event was called "So You Want a PhD?". Five panelists provided students with advice about deciding if attending a Ph.D. program is right for them. Dr. Hilary Rasmussen is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Dr. Megan Orcholski recently completed her dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Dr. Terra Rasmussen Lenox is a faculty member of communication at Lake Michigan College, Lauren Johnsen is an instructor at the University of Memphis, and Bailey Benedict is a doctoral candidate at Purdue University.


    Faculty Accolades

    Jasmine Austin was a Texas State University Translational Health Scholar Showcase Poster Presenter. Her poster was entitled: "Implementing care into pre-entry conversations with Black women graduate students to better support their mental health needs". Jasmine worked with M.A. student Andronica Owens to organize the written materials for the Texas State University “Tunnel of Oppression”.

    Tricia Burke presented “An Exploratory Study of Communicative Resilience in Parental Caregivers of Children with Medically Complex Conditions (MCCs)” at the Health Scholar Showcase at Texas State University. The project was co-authored with Kristen Farris, Shailen Singh (OWLS), and Katie Warber (Wittenberg University). In addition, thirteen guest scholars were interviewed for Tricia’s graduate seminar in Relational Health Communication, including Kristen Farris, Maureen Keeley, Melinda Villagran, and other top relational health communication scholars.

    Michael Burns was invited to work his 6th Olympic Games with NBC's Today Show. Michael will join the Today Show at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics this summer on their production management and logistics team, helping to lead a group of production runners who will ensure a successful broadcast. His team helps with production needs such as initial set up, story research, production and talent/guest transportation, and teardown.

    Stephanie Dailey’s paper, "Social comparisons, social media addiction, and social interaction: An examination of specific social media behaviors related to major depressive disorder in a millennial population" was recognized as a "top cited article 2019-2020" in the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research.

    Kristen Farris published a book chapter entitled "Student perceptions of instructor communication amid class disruption: Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic" in COVID and Higher Education: Teaching and Learning from Lexington Books. It is co-authored by M.A. student Luke Dye and Communication Studies faculty members Marian Houser and Erik Timmerman. Kristen also presented "An Exploratory Study of Communicative Resilience in Parental Caregivers of Children with Medically Complex Conditions" with Tricia Burke, Shailen Singh, and Katie Warber at the 5th Annual Texas State University Health Scholar Showcase through the Translational Health Research Center. Kristen also welcomed guest speakers Dr. Jasmine Austin and Dr. Marian Houser to her graduate Instructional Communication seminar about prepare to analyze qualitative data collected from student focus groups and scholarship related to the topic of “helicopter teaching”.

    Rebekah Fox was promoted from Associate Professor to full Professor.

    Josh Miller published “Coalitional fronting and shared ethos cultivation in the case of the Council on Religion and the Homosexual in Women's Studies in Communication.

  • Communication Studies brings first Virtual TEDx to Texas State

    The Department of Communication Studies proudly hosted its 5th TEDx event on February 13th. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events around the world that bring people together to celebrate ideas worth spreading.

    This year’s virtual event focused on the theme: AMPLIFY. The TEDx Team recognized that this last year has been filled with lots of noise and unfortunately, through all the noise, some ideas and voices are not heard. The goal of this year’s TEDx was to AMPLIFY these voices. This virtual event featured innovative ideas from a variety of speakers who’s talks embraced and amplified underrepresented voices, under-served communities, or ideas that we now take for granted. The 2021 speakers came from diverse backgrounds and are people who are driven to create change, solve problems, and question current standards. Their talks represented a variety of fields and perspectives including technology, health, the arts, media, social science, the humanities, and the hard sciences.


    TEDx 2021 Speakers

    Melodie Graves is the 2nd Vice President of the Amarillo Branch NAACP, also serving as the ACT-SO and Youth Chairwoman, Scholarship Committee Chair, and plans community engagement events for the Branch. Melodie also serves as the Vice-President of Solidarity isn't Silent. Melodie also serves as a community advocate helping children and their parents find important resources and working to eradicate poverty through educational programs and community unity building events.

    Sean Huiet took over as head coach for the Bobcat volleyball program during 2020 season after spending 14 seasons as the assistant coach/associate head. Since joining the staff in 2006, Huiet has helped guide Texas State to 10 total championship titles, half with the Southland Conference and the other half with the Sun Belt Conference. Huiet spoke about his journey as an openly gay father of an adopted black son and how he is navigating those roles as a Division I head coach.

    Jennifer Johnson is a Content Creator for the IT Assistance Center at Texas State University. Online, Jennifer openly shares her experiences of what it is like to be an Autistic BIPOC, and how her late diagnosis helped her to truly understand herself.

    Darrius McEachern is a DEI speaker, consultant, and content creator who has committed himself to researching and educating people on the systemic oppressions impacting us every single day through an antiracist lens. He is the founder of McEachernSpeaks, which specializes in providing an IMPACTFUL experience through consultations, workshops, and conversations aimed at leading organizations to analyze unjust systems and create equitable spaces.

    Marcus Peoples published a children’s book called “Proud to Be In Between”, which helps children embrace their cultural identity and empowers parents to normalize the difficult conversations of race and ethnicity. He has been an advocate for his community rooted in humble beginnings and strives to become a vessel of opportunity for all those he encounters.

    Shailen Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational, Workforce & Leadership Studies at Texas State University with a research focus on issues affecting parents of children with disabilities. Dr. Singh has spent several years working with faculty, staff, and outside constituents to create intentional and thoughtful structures designed to provide underrepresented students with the best opportunities for success.

    Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez is the founder of two of Texas' largest voting and civil rights organizations: Jolt and Workers Defense Project. She is an author on issues of race, gender and immigration, and she is the co-author of “Presente! Latino Immigrant Voices in the Struggle for Racial Justice”. She was named “Hero of the New South” by Southern Living Magazine and her work has been featured on NPR, Vogue, and The New York Times, among others.

    The Department of Communication Studies thanks the TEDx Committee for their hard work in putting together the first virtual TEDxTexasStateUniversity. The committee members are: Michael Burns, Kristen Farris, Cassandra LeClair, Mark Paz and Ann Burnette. Student interns are Riki Van Meter (graduate), Justin Murphy (graduate), Claudia Rodriguez (undergraduate), and Isi Imoisi (undergraduate).

    All of our speakers’ talks will be available on the TEDx Talks YouTube channel hosted by TED Headquarters later this semester.


    TEDx Texas State University by the Numbers

    171 tickets to the virtual event were sold and additional 60 VIPs were invited. An additional $5100 in outside sponsorship was secured to help cover the costs of the event.7 amazing presenters spoke about various topics related to the theme AMPLIFY. 4 past speakers were interviewed for past speaker update videos to play during intermissions. 4 additional videos were created efaturing VocaLibre, the TXST Cheer Team, and The TXST Volley Ball team to play during intermissions. President Denise Trauth was tuned in and tweeted about the event. 31 sound speakers (not human speakers) were donated by community members and School of Music to help create the set.


    Faculty Accolades

    Jasmine Austin was recently featured by Office of Sponsored research programs at Texas State. The piece explores her scholarly work on bringing together people with marginalized identities from underrepresented groups, her experience organizing the first African American Communication & Culture (AACC) #ScholarStrike Conference in 2020, the creation of the Faculty Research and Productivity (FRAP) Network, and a forthcoming textbook.

    Ann Burnette was elected 2nd Vice President of the Southern States Communication Association (SSCA). Next year, she will serve as 1st Vice President and will then ascend to the Presidency of SSCA in 2023.

    Stephanie Dailey was interviewed by Ring Central, a cloud-based communications and collaboration solutions provider, to share evidence-based advice about using instant messaging for internal business communication. She also attended SXSW Edu online to learn more about innovative teaching techniques and trends to foster student success in higher education.

    Elizabeth Eger received the College Achievement Award for Teaching for the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

    Marian Houser received the Presidential Distinction Award for Service for the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

    Maureen Keeley received the College Achievement Award for Research for the College of Fine Arts and Communication. She was also interviewed and quoted in the New York Times for an article entitled “There Is No Vaccine for Grief” in which she shared insights from her ongoing “Final Conversations” research.

    Cassandra LeClair received the Presidential Distinction Award for Teaching for the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

    Roseann Mandziuk received the College Achievement Award for Teaching for the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

    Josh Miller received the College/Department Achievement Award for Research for the College of Fine Arts and Communication. He also published “Coalitional fronting and shared ethos cultivation in the case of the Council on Religion and the Homosexual” in Women's Studies in Communication.

    Mark Paz received the College Achievement Award for Service for the College of Fine Arts and Communication.


    Alumni Accolades

    Donte Mathis (B.A., 2018) was inducted into the Texas State Hall of Honor for his accomplishments as a member of the Texas State Bobcats Mens' Basketball team (for more information, see https://txstatebobcats.com/honors/hall-of-honor. Mr. Mathis played for Texas State from 1995-1999 and is the school's 4th highest all-time scorer, the only men's basketball player named as a Southland Conference MVP, and played in the 1997 NCAA Tournament. After a 13-year professional basketball career, Donte returned to Texas State to graduate in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. He is currently the head men’s basketball coach at Brentwood Christian High School in Austin and the Executive Director/Founder of Elevation Skills Sports and Achievement Academy in Houston.

  • Communication Studies brings TEDx to Texas State

    The Department of Communication Studies proudly hosted its 5th TEDx event on February 13th. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events around the world that bring people together to celebrate ideas worth spreading.

    This year’s event focused on the theme: AMPLIFY. The TEDx Team recognized that this last year has been filled with lots of noise and unfortunately, through all the noise, some ideas and voices are not heard. The goal of this year’s TEDx was to AMPLIFY these voices. This virtual event featured innovative ideas from a variety of speakers who’s talks embraced and amplified underrepresented voices, under-served communities, or ideas that we now take for granted. The 2021 speakers came from diverse backgrounds and are people who are driven to create change, solve problems, and question current standards. Their talks represented a variety of fields and perspectives including technology, health, the arts, media, social science, the humanities, and the hard sciences.


    TEDx 2021 Speakers

    Melodie Graves is the 2nd Vice President of the Amarillo Branch NAACP, also serving as the ACT-SO and Youth Chairwoman, Scholarship Committee Chair, and plans community engagement events for the Branch. Melodie also serves as the Vice-President of Solidarity isn't Silent. Melodie also serves as a community advocate helping children and their parents find important resources and working to eradicate poverty through educational programs and community unity building events.

    Sean Huiet took over as head coach for the Bobcat volleyball program during 2020 season after spending 14 seasons as the assistant coach/associate head. Since joining the staff in 2006, Huiet has helped guide Texas State to 10 total championship titles, half with the Southland Conference and the other half with the Sun Belt Conference. Huiet spoke about his journey as an openly gay father of an adopted black son and how he is navigating those roles as a Division I head coach.

    Jennifer Johnson is a Content Creator for the IT Assistance Center at Texas State University. Online, Jennifer openly shares her experiences of what it is like to be an Autistic BIPOC, and how her late diagnosis helped her to truly understand herself.

    Darrius McEachern is a DEI speaker, consultant, and content creator who has committed himself to researching and educating people on the systemic oppressions impacting us every single day through an antiracist lens. He is the founder of McEachernSpeaks, which specializes in providing an IMPACTFUL experience through consultations, workshops, and conversations aimed at leading organizations to analyze unjust systems and create equitable spaces.

    Marcus Peoples published a children’s book called “Proud to Be In Between”, which helps children embrace their cultural identity and empowers parents to normalize the difficult conversations of race and ethnicity. He has been an advocate for his community rooted in humble beginnings and strives to become a vessel of opportunity for all those he encounters.

    Shailen Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational, Workforce & Leadership Studies at Texas State University with a research focus on issues affecting parents of children with disabilities. Dr. Singh has spent several years working with faculty, staff, and outside constituents to create intentional and thoughtful structures designed to provide underrepresented students with the best opportunities for success.

    Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez is the founder of two of Texas' largest voting and civil rights organizations: Jolt and Workers Defense Project. She is an author on issues of race, gender and immigration, and she is the co-author of “Presente! Latino Immigrant Voices in the Struggle for Racial Justice”. She was named “Hero of the New South” by Southern Living Magazine and her work has been featured on NPR, Vogue, and The New York Times, among others.

    The Department of Communication Studies thanks the TEDx Committee for their hard work in putting together the first virtual TEDxTexasStateUniversity. The committee members are: Michael Burns, Kristen Farris, Cassandra LeClair, Mark Paz and Ann Burnette. Student interns are Riki Van Meter (graduate), Justin Murphy (graduate), Claudia Rodriguez (undergraduate), and Isi Imoisi (undergraduate). The Department also wants to thank the TEDx Committee members from other departments: Seth Fei (Management Department), Olivia Skipworth (undergrad Mass Comm), Alejandro Tapia (undergrad Art & Design), and Colin Young (undergrad Mass Comm).

    The TEDx Team would also like to thank the four amazing stage mangers from the Department of Theatre & Dance: Casey Boriskie, Dave Bravo, Ruben Cruz, and Nicole Wilkens. We also want to thank Candice Mongellow and Robert Styers for their continued support at the Performing Arts Center.

    All of our speakers’ talks will be available on the TEDx Talks YouTube channel hosted by TED Headquarters later this semester.

    Jen, this could be a neat little “box” feature (just like you did last year!)


    TEDxTexasStateUniversity by the Numbers

    We sold 171 tickets to the virtual event and invited an additional 60 VIPs. This resulted in 319 playbacks of our talks.

    We secured $5100 in outside sponsorship to help cover the costs of the event. This is in addition to our Department and College contributions. We had 7 amazing speakers who spoke about various topics related to the theme AMPLIFY. We had one very talented undergrad MC, Jaden Edison (Editor and Chief of the University Star) We interviewed 4 past speakers and created past speaker update videos to play during our intermissions.

    We also created 4 additional videos featuring VocaLibre, the TXST Cheer Team, and The TXST Volley Ball team to play during our intermissions President Trauth was tuned in and tweeted about the event. This was the first TEDx she attended We followed strict COVID protocols to ensure a safe event for the speakers and our team. 31 sound speakers (not human speakers) were donated by community members and School of Music to help us create our set


    Communication Studies Hosts “Diversity & Inclusion” Events

    The Department of Communication Studies hosted the final fall semester faculty-led event in an ongoing series that focuses upon scholarship and practice addressing Diversity and Inclusion.

    This event featured three student performances from members of the Elton Abernathy Forensics Society. Johnny Vasallo performed Angel Rodriguez’s “Hope and Glory”, an intersectional narrative that confronts the privilege inherent in the dominant white queer narrative. Ashton Rios interpreted a selection of pieces that examined the “Trans Panic Defense” and its implications for the trans community. Finally, Noemi Rivera provided a reading of “Pastels and Crayons” by Aleeza Kasmil, which posits that racism is subtly, yet deliberately, being perpetuated by parents. These pieces examined the implications of diversity and inclusion in a variety of contexts.

    The department will continue organizing the presentation series beginning in February.  The first event of the spring semester will be “The Language of Policy and Privilege: The Difficult Conversations that we Need but are Afraid to Have” with presenters Dillon Nettles and Goyland Williams (MA, Communication Studies).


    Career Readiness Hosts Engaging Virtual Events for Students

    The Career Readiness Program, led by Dr. Michael Burns, hosted several events during the fall semester, all featuring Texas State Alumni. For more information on the Career Readiness Program, click here.

    December featured the Career Readiness cohort’s final Career Pathway presentations via Zoom. The Pathway Presentation is an opportunity for the students to stand up and proudly explain and defend what it means to be a communication studies major, discuss their goals, highlight some of their plans to reach these goals, and talk about what they learned from the alumni mentors this semester.

    Students Presenting were Harrison Webster, Cameron Escalante, Alyssa Milo, Isabella Connell, Chloe Achille, Mackenzie de la Garza, Dylan Baker, Neva Sjule, Princess Hall Audrey Lopez, Nisha McDonald, and Ashley Mann.


    Faculty Accolades

    Michael Burns finalized a partnership between the Communication Studies Career Readiness program and Austin operations management and emergency services company Code 4 on an exclusive graduate internship experience. Code 4 provides comprehensive health and safety services for a number of clients across the country. Code 4 has also been providing COVID-19 services including testing, vaccination, and sanitation to help many industries navigate the pandemic. Dr. Burns worked with M.A. alum Jonathan Alba, Code 4's Chief Operating Officer, to create this internship opportunity. These internships will provide students interested in operations, logistics, marketing, sales, media relations, or risk mitigation with an applied hands-on learning experience.

    Stephanie Dailey published “A comparison of social media behaviors between sexual minorities and heterosexual individuals” in Computers in Human Behavior. She also published “Examining how sexual identity, psychosocial factors, and organizational differences relate to intent-to-quit in a large-scale, cross-sectional study” in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services.

    Elizabeth Eger published "Visibility and vulnerability in online marketing practices" in the Journal of Cultural Economy. Elizabeth welcomed six visiting scholars to her COMM 5319: Organizational Communication graduate seminar. M.A. students read publications by the visiting scholar and discussed research, practice, and engagement. Visiting scholars included: Dr. Angela Gist-Mackey (University of Kansas), Dr. Stan Deetz (University of Colorado Boulder), Dr. J. Kevin Barge (Texas A&M), Dr. Rahul Mitra (Wayne State), and Texas State’s own Jasmine Austin and Stephanie Dailey. Elizabeth was also invited to join the Editorial Board of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

    Jasmine Austin and Elizabeth Eger received a $16,000 REP grant for their project, “Examining Leadership Communication of Texas Small Businesses in a Global Pandemic.”

    Kristen Farris worked with Michael Burns to present a workshop to the HR team at Texas State about improving the culture of health through supportive and confirming communication. Dr. Tricia Burke and M.A. student Luke Dye also helped to develop asynchronous components of the training.

    Cassandra LeClair was interviewed as an expert on Emotional Intelligence for Authority Magazine and Thrive Global.

    Josh Miller received an $8,000 REP grant for his project “Queering the Dream: Bayard Rustin, Sexuality, and the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.”

    Manusheela Pokharel published a new article titled "Does it matter if a story character lives or dies? A message experiment comparing survivor and death narratives" in the journal Psychology & Health.


    Student Accolades

    The Communication Studies Graduate Association held a virtual event about how to submit papers to academic conferences. The event was entitled "Submitting to NCA & Beyond!" and several faculty members shared their advice with graduate students about how to submit and how to make the best out of a conference experience.

    M.A. student Leela Schooler designed and presented a training to over 50 undergraduate students for the Student Learning Assistance Center and Veteran's Academic Success Center on "Identifying Presenteeism and Embracing Crystallization in Work-Life." Leela shared the culmination of her research on student worker work-life in Elizabeth K. Eger's Organizational Communication and Work, Identity, and Difference graduate seminars. Dr. Eger joined Leela's training as a guest presenter