What year are you?
Senior, graduating in December.
Why did you choose a Communication Studies major?
Over the course of my life, I have experienced situations where a lack of strong communication has resulted in destructive relationships for all the parties involved. Once I took an Interpersonal Communication class, and was introduced to the power of good communication skills, I began to explore the issue further, beginning with how gender norms lead to many of the problems we face in our everyday communication. Ever since then, I have been fascinated by the field of study and have continued to explore the different categories housed under the Communication Studies degree.
Tell me about your undergraduate journey.
My journey to a Bachelors degree has not been an easy one, but it has been worth it. I began in 2008 at Metropolitan State University of Denver before transferring to Jones International University, then Arapahoe Community College, and finally finding my passion at Colorado State University. Over the course of the last seven years I have been lucky enough to explore many different avenues including a 2-year internship for a photographer, receiving my phlebotomy certification, and exploring a business degree. After five years of exploring different interests, I finally discovered my passion in Communication Studies where I have explored the diverse realities of gender, culture, and deliberation.
What is an experience at CSU that has impacted your life the most, and why?
The biggest thing that has impacted my life at CSU was getting involved in the Center for Public Deliberation (CPD). I did not come to CSU as a traditional student. I transferred here at the age of 23 when I was already older than most of the students around me and that created a lot of hurdles when it came to feeling as though I belonged at Colorado State. Once I got involved with the CPD I began to feel a sense of community. I was able to connect with people from different backgrounds and interests all coming together for a common goal – bettering communication on complex issues. Once I got involved in the program and began to connect with other students, I also saw a noticeable change in all aspects of my academic life. The center even allowed me the opportunity to attend the National Conference of Dialogue and Deliberation in Washington D.C. in October of 2014 where I was able to see how I can take my education into the professional realm.
Can you tell me more about Center for Public Deliberation and what you do?
In the Center for Public Deliberation I have been trained as a deliberative facilitator in order to aid in discussions on complex issues (also known as wicked problems). These are issues that do not have a right or wrong answer but influence the people in the community. Through the work of the CPD, students get involved in bringing as many stakeholders to the conversation as possible, examining the values held by different perspectives, and helping participants of the conversation investigate the tensions inherent to the different values being brought to the table. All this results in an effort to find a solution that is understood by all involved on a deeper level.
What is the best advice you have to offer others?
My advice for other students, within the Communication Studies department and any other, is to take pride in your education. There is a reality in which it is possible to graduate with a degree and not have actually learned anything, but if you really put an effort in and push yourself past the limits you think you have, you can graduate from college not only with a piece of paper that says you have a degree, but with a new perspective on the world around you and the ability to improve your communities by bringing your perspective and skill set to the table. Simply put, it’s not about the “easy A.”
What are your future plans?
I am currently applying to graduate school and hope to further my education and understanding of Communication Studies. I have many areas of interest, but I hope to further explore deliberation and how it connects with gender. After I complete a Masters program, I am not sure what the next step will be. It is very possible that I will continue on to a Ph.D. program.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of academics?
When it comes to hobbies/interests outside of academia, I find relaxation with my camera in hand. Photography is a large part of my down time. Architectural and nature photography is where I find the most peace, and because of this, I spend a lot of time hiking or exploring new cities and sites.
Where is your favorite place to eat around Fort Collins?
I love to eat at Simply Thai. I admit that I may have an addiction to them, as I eat there about two or three times a week.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Before coming to Colorado State University, I worked as the District Area Pet Trainer for Petsmart’s Southern Colorado District. I have always enjoyed working with pets and often miss the opportunity to do so. I also miss the summers I spent making stained glass at my Aunt’s shop in Michigan: My Glass Wings. I hope someday soon I can get back into stained glass work.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
I am grateful for the connections and opportunities that coming to CSU has given me and the amazing professors I have had the opportunity to work with in my exploration of human communication.