More than 16 students from the Center for Graduate Studies' Strategic Communication, Public Relations, and Museum Professions programs attended conferences throughout the United States during the 2016-17 academic year. Students attended or presented at conferences such as the National Communication Association (NCA) Convention in Philadelphia, the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM) Annual Conference in Wilmington, Delaware, MuseumNext in New York City, and the D.C. Health Communication Conference in Fairfax, Virginia.
The Center for Graduate Studies encourages students to attend and present at academic conferences that relate to their research interests and career goals. Academic conferences serve an important role in the graduate student experience by exposing students to new research and professional trends within their field of study. Conferences vary in size and topics, ranging from broad themes, such as the NCA Convention, to those that target specific academic and practitioner communities, such as the MAAM Annual Conference.
Public Relations student, Ahmed Kaabi, attended the Public Relations Society of America 2017 Health Academy Conference in Orlando, Florida. He explained how he chose the conference specifically for its focus on healthcare communication, a research interest and area he is considering for a professional career.
"The healthcare industry is rapidly growing, especially in my home country of Saudi Arabia," explained Kaabi." The government is currently expanding its healthcare industry, and is looking for scholarly communicators who specialize in the field. The conference I attended provided me with valuable perspectives from leading experts in the healthcare communication industry. The seminars inspired me to conduct further research that aligns with my Master’s Project topic and career goals as a public relations professional."
Dr. Kristen Koehler and Jade Latson presenting at NJCA.
The process of submitting and presenting work at a conference is not limited to experienced academic scholars. Graduate students are welcomed to submit their original research for review and participate as a scholar in their academic community. Gabriele Cafone, a recent alumna of the M.A. in Strategic Communication program, and Jade Latson, a student of the accelerated B.A./M.A. in Public Relations program, both had their own research accepted to different communication conferences in the tri-state area.
Latson co-authored a paper with Dr. Kristen Koehler, which was accepted to the New Jersey Communication Association Conference in March. "The experience of presenting at a conference taught me the importance of trusting your work," shared Latson. "Students should not hear the word 'conference' and get discouraged, since many academic conferences are seeking the input of student ideas and want to read your paper. We received compliments and questions about our research, and I also gained valuable insight from other presenters. The discussion with colleagues in the field helps provide opportunities for collaboration and insight for current and future projects."
In addition, students who attended the NCA Convention, MuseumNext, and the MAAM Annual Conference shared their experience with fellow students and faculty in the classroom and at a Post-Conference Discussion as part of the Center's student programming initiative in Fall 2016.
Students who attended or presented at a conference during the 2016-17 academic year include:
• Ahmed Alharbi, Public Relations
• Mutaz Alotaibi, Public Relations
• Mohammed Alrashidi, Public Relations
• Saud Alshammari, Strategic Communication
• Sami Altuwayjiri, Public Relations
• Linda Boulton, Strategic Communication
• Gabriele Cafone, Strategic Communication
• Taylor Curtis, Museum Professions
• Kelsey Foy, Strategic Communication
• Ahmed Kaabi, Public Relations
• Jade Latson, Public Relations
• Taryn Nie, Museum Professions
• Claudia Preza, Museum Professions
• Aimee Tillyer, Museum Professions
• Kathlene Williams, Museum Professions
• Makenzie Witter, Museum Professions