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April 2014

COMM DAY, 2014

This year's Communication Day, inspired by the theme "Black & White," was a day of activities and community involvement.

Kicking off the day was the Eighth Annual Speak-Out event, where undergraduate speech students competed for cash awards, followed by this year's Performance Showcase.

This year's Grazier Lecture was presented by Dr. Kent Ono, University of Utah. His lecture, "Amusing Ourselves to Freedom: Rhetoric, Immigration, and Dark Tourism," was enthusiastically received. Everyone convened for a followup roundtable discussion on the lecture's subject matter. Cllick here for a link to view a video of Dr. Ono's presentation.

The day's celebration concluded with a warm gathering of colleagues and friends for the 2014 Comm Prom where we feasted on fine food and drink and feted the department's accomplishments.


2014 Communication Day Celebration

Chair Carolyn Ellis welcomed everyone and thanked the GCA for putting together a wonderful Comm Day and Comm Prom. She also thanked the staff for all they contribute to the program and welcomed Mikki Spears, a new staff member. 

She then mentioned all the awards, honors, and transitions of the faculty and students, and singled out publications by the graduate students, which were many.


Here are the details on our Graduate Communication Association’s recognition of student success:


The Graduate Communication Association awarded the following students with honors at the Communication Prom Ceremony:

The Community Engagement Award went to Tasha Rennels, the Departmental Service Award was given to Jennifer Whalen, the Peer Mentor Award was received by Krystal Bresnahan.

In addition, the GCA nominated two faculty members for awards. This year's HUB award was received by Dr. Aisha Durham and the Faculty Recognition Award was accepted by Dr. Mariaelena Bartesaghi.

Congratulations to the outstanding staff, students, and faculty that continue to make the Communication Department at USF successful!

Announcing the 2014-2015 GCA Board:

This year's 2014-2015 GCA Elections concluded in the following results:
Co-Presidents: Krystal Bresnahan & Alyse Keller
Secretary: Meredith Clements
Social Media Coordinator: Mark McCarthy
Treasurer: Grace Peters
Event Coordinator Ashley Martinez
Resource Manager: Nancie Hudson

Congratulations to all members of the Executive Board and we look forward to another fantastic year of GCA coordinated events!

After the students gave their awards, Carolyn called up faculty to present the following student awards:

Jennifer Pickman Outstanding undergrad award:  Carrie Murawskie,  Shelby Swafford, Betsy Sunny, and Sunjay Armstead

Nader  Award for outstanding MA student with emphasis in rhetoric, performance, or cultural studies: Aphrodite Kocieda

Popovich award for outstanding MA student:  Ariane Anderson and Lisa Spinazola 

GTA Outstanding Teaching:  Heather Curry

Barney Downs Spirit award: Jennifer Whalen

Bochner award for outstanding PHD student. Kristen Blinne

After the award ceremony, there was some righteous dancing on the dance floor!

Communication Day lineup of events:

8:30a - 9:00a Breakfast (CIS 3020)

9:00a - 10:00a Bulls Speak-Out
(Sponsored by Pearson)
& Lambda Pi Eta Induction (CIS 3020)

10:30a - 11:30a Performance Showcase
(CIS 3020)

11:30a - 12:45p Lunch (CIS 3064)

1:00p - 2:15p Grazier Lecture (CWY 109)
Dr. Kent Ono, University of Utah, Amusing Ourselves to Freedom: Rhetoric, Immigration, and Dark Tourism

2:30p - 3:30p Round Table Discussion (CIS 3020) with Dr. Kent Ono

6:30p - 10:00p Evening Celebration
ISA building, 7th floor For faculty, graduate students, and invited guests


Carolyn Ellis and Jerry Rawicki presented their documentary film, Behind the Wall, on April 3, 2014 in the USF Marshall Student Center Oval Theater.

This 45-minute documentary tells the story of Warsaw Ghetto survivor JerryRawicki's return visit to Poland in 2013, his first since the Holocaust.

Working collaboratively with ethnographer and filmmaker Ellis, Mr. Rawicki discusses his thoughts and feelings about his homeland,
explores the working of memory, and considers the virtue of forgiveness.

Being back in Poland and speaking in his native Polish language stimulated Mr. Rawicki to reflect on how place affects what and how he remembers and to consider his relationship to Poland and the Polish people in complex ways. Family members, as well as the project director, are interviewed for the film.

March 2014

Aphrodite Kocieda's new web series, "Tales from the Kraka Tower," is the subject of an article in Slate magazine.

The online publication's article, "Awkward Black Girl Meets Academia in a Hilarious New Web Series," highlights Aphrodite's no-holds-barred examination of race, gender and class issues within institutions deemed to be free of them.

In Kraka Tower's case, it is the Diversity department of a university where Aphrodite's character is a new arrival and the revelations about culture and humanity begin with her very first elevator ride.

Over spring break Alyse Keller served as the faculty advisor for a Bull Service Break trip to Hammond, LA, with 10 undergraduate students. The trip was dedicated to issues of public health and disability awareness. Theyvolunteered at the Special Olympics headquarters in Louisiana, worked closely with local special olympics athletes, facilitated games, and participated in disability awareness events. 

Keith Berry facilitated the workshop, "What Every Teacher Needs to Know about Bullying, Communication, and Self-Understanding," with honors students in the College of Education's SCATTER program.

The workshop explored the impact of bullying on youth identity, and ways teachers can better care for students. Thirty amazing students took part in the event, which was filled with participants' first-hand and emotional stories on past experiences with bullying.


Nathan Hodges has a forthcoming article, The American Dental Dream, in Health Communication. Congratulations Nathan!

Aphrodite Kocieda successfully defended her Masters thesis, "We're Taking Slut Back": Analyzing Racialized Gender Politics in Chicago's 2012 Slutwalk, on March 5. Her advisor is Aisha Durham. Congratulations Aphrodite!

Tasha Rennels was selected to serve as the faculty advisor for a Bull Service Break trip to New York City, an alternative Spring Break dedicated to women's issues. During this trip she, along with nine undergraduate students from USF, worked with Win, an organization that seeks to transform the lives of local homeless women and their children by providing the resources they need to regain their independence.

Tasha Rennels delivers an impromptu infomercial for polka dot rainbow pants as part of Jacob Abraham's "Impromptu Sales" speaking activity for the 3rd Annual PedagogyPotluck, organized by Kristen Blinne and Joanna Bartell on March 28, 2014.

This event featured thirteen presenters who shared original teaching ideas and activities for a variety of communication courses. 



February 2014

Lisa M. TillmannLisa M. Tillmann gave the fourth annual Communication Alumni lecture on February 5th in our performance studio. Her presentation included a screening of her film Off the Menu: Challenging the Politics and Economics of Body and Food . Lisa graduated from our program with her Ph. D. in 1998.  She currently is Professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She teaches courses in introductory and advanced research methods; media and cultural studies; gender and sexualities; and body and food.

She is author of the book Between Gay and Straight: Understanding Friendship across Sexual Orientation and co-creator of two documentary films, Off the Menu: Challenging the Politics and Economics of Body and Food and Remembering a Cool September.

Lindy Davidson received the 2013-2014 Graduate Research Assistantship from the Center for Hospice, Palliative Care & End-of-Life Studies at USF.  Her research project is titled "Spiritual Frameworks in Pediatric Palliative Care:  Understanding Parental Decision-making."  Lindy is a second year Ph.D. student studying Health Communication.

Jennifer Whalen was appointed to the position of Marketing Coordinator for the Florida Communication Association for the 2014 Conference held in Orlando, Florida. She also has accepted the position of Convention Planner for the 2015 Convention.

Aisha Durham is the recipient of the USF Creative Scholarship Grant. She plans to explore African American iconicity. She will analyze popular media texts and interview black female audiences in the United States and abroad about Beyoncé Knowles, a singer who plays on primitivism and exoticism while playing up her creole identity for European and African markets. The singer sells black desirability and repackages the American Dream—imbuing ethos of multiculturalism, mobility, and meritocracy globally.  The funded research will address the accelerated, transnational production of celebrity, the new politics of race and gender defined by fixity and fluidity, and the centrality of Knowles in shaping contemporary commercial culture and identity for African descendant women.

Nancie Hudson's autoethnography, "When Family Narratives Conflict: An Autoethnography of My Mother's Secrets," has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Family Communication. Nancie is a second-year doctoral student in USF's Department of Communication, and this will be her first published journal article. Congratulations, Nancie!

Luis Batista, a 2011 USF graduate in communication, is enhancing digital communication with an app he created. Read all about it by reading the story here.

Leanne Stuart Pupchek has been appointed Professor in the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte. 

January 2014

Carolyn Ellis has received a Research One grant from the Office of Research & Innovation a USF to help finance the showing of her film“Behind the Wall” to the USF community on April 3, 2014.

This 45-minute documentary tells the story of Warsaw Ghetto survivor JerryRawicki's return visit to Poland in 2013, his first since the Holocaust.

Working collaboratively with ethnographer and filmmaker Ellis, Mr. Rawicki discusses his thoughts and feelings about his homeland, explores the working of memory, and considers the virtue of forgiveness.