Father Boniface Anusiem and Meryam Khodja, pictured above with their Master's Project class, recently presented at the National Communication Association's annual convention.
Father Boniface Anusiem, a recent graduate of the M.A. in Strategic Communication program and Meryam Khodja, an alumna of the M.A. in Public Relations program, presented components of their respective master's projects at the National Communication Association (NCA) Annual Convention held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from November 8-11. Both alumni from the College of Communication and the Arts used the opportunities at this prestigious communication conference to expand their professional career.
Master's students within the College of Communication and the Arts complete a year-long master's project demonstrating their ability to synthesize existing literature, refine their writing, and conduct primary research. At the recommendation from faculty advisers, Anusiem and Khodja submitted their projects for presentation at the NCA Annual Convention. The convention is one of the largest national conferences for professionals in the Communication and Public Relations fields. Selection into the conference is selective and a prestigious honor.
Anusiem's master's project, titled "Followership Perception of Effective Leadership Communication," examined followership perception of effective leadership communication. His findings underscored that followership perceive leadership as influence and defines effective leadership communication as bridge-building, sharing, availability and interactivity with followership.
His course work engendered his thesis. "I was inspired to further research the topic after an explorative encounter in one of my core courses, Introduction to Organizational Communication," Anusiem shared. "My experience of organizational leadership challenged the need to streamline the communication dynamics between leadership and followership."
Additionally, Anusiem praises the esteemed faculty for their assistance during the project. "During my research, I had the considerable support and direction of the faculty, specifically Dr. Renee Robinson. I also had assistance from Dr. Ruth Tsuria, as well as feedback from my peers," he explained. "Dr. Robinson shared that she felt my research had the potential be selected by the NCA — first as a suggestion, and later as a challenge to encourage me further. It was not easy to re-adapt the section to a conference paper, but through her mentorship, I got it done."
Meryam Khodja presented her thesis, titled "A Branding Paradigm: The Rise of Millennial Consumers in Luxury Brand Strategy," in the Master's Education section of the Convention. She examined how the socio-cognitive behavior of millennials are shifting the luxury market of the fashion industry. A textual analysis and case study was conducted to develop an understanding on millennial characteristics based on their values, lifestyle and aesthetic along with how these traits correlate to a brand repositioning themselves. Findings indicated millennials are interested in brand experience, customization and digital communication.
Khodja shared how her thesis topic was influenced by her experience with celebrity brand management at a fashion agency. "My company was seeing a shift in the luxury fashion market," she said. "It was extremely problematic for the brands and talent we work with. After attending several meetings related to the topic, I decided to explore and revolve my master's project around a very realistic and timely situation."
She felt the excitement of the convention inspired her to expand her research. "I was really interested in the discussions and critiques that take place after individuals present," she said. "I am already thinking about expanding my study in the in the next few months, so I appreciated receiving feedback from other scholars that I can incorporate into my paper."
Anusiem and Khodja are looking forward to future research opportunities. Anusiem is currently drafting and editing his research with the goal of teaching in organizational communication and religion and communication. Khodja was recently promoted to a position as a global brand manager for the fashion agency that inspired her research.
The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Strategic Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered.