Graduate Studies within the College of Communication and the Arts welcomed students to its master’s programs in Museum Professions, Public Relations, and Strategic Communication at Graduate Student Orientation on August 25. The diverse group of students traveled from as near as Pennsylvania to as far as the Philippines to begin their graduate studies at the University.
The orientation began with welcoming remarks from Dean Deirdre Yates and Dr. Ryan Hudes, assistant dean of graduate studies and administration. The Office of the Dean congratulated students for their previous successes and high academic profile. Following the opening remarks, students participated in a welcome activity related to graduate school expectations and an interactive multimedia presentation about University policies and resources. The orientation concluded with faculty-led program breakout sessions, where students discussed their individual program, discipline, and best practices. After orientation, incoming students were joined by current students at a luncheon hosted by the Communication and the Arts Graduate Student Association (CAGSA).
“Orientation is an important moment for graduate students as it serves as the foundation for success in an academic program,” Hudes said. “The interactive and informative orientation is designed for new students across each of our programs and serves as an opportunity to convene, meet faculty mentors, become familiarized with University and College policy and procedure, and network with students in the College’s other programs and current students in their second year of advanced coursework.”
Jonathan Merida, an M.A. in Strategic Communication/M.A. in Diplomacy and International Relations student, enjoyed the chance to learn more about the Strategic Communication program during the program breakout sessions. After learning more about what the program entails, he is excited to delve deeply into his passion for communication and eager to see what opportunities arise because of his studies. He also shared that his orientation experience demonstrated that he will receive the support he needs to thrive.
“I feel like everyone in the College is so helpful,” Merida said. “Everyone is very welcoming and wants you to give it your best. I appreciated that the College gives you room for growth.”
Merida was not the only student who enjoyed orientation. William Schamber, a Museum Professions student, is looking forward to learning more about the inner workings of museums in his program. Though he already has some professional insight, he hopes to learn even more in preparation for a career in museum registration. He believes the program’s professional tracks, in depth courses, and stellar faculty will provide him with the knowledge he needs to reach his professional goals.
“I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with my peers and faculty prior to the start of the classes,” Schamber said. “I am usually on the shy side, but orientation allowed me to meet and feel comfortable with everyone.”
Erica Naumann, a Public Relations student and CAGSA Steward who helped organize the luncheon, related to Schamber. She recalled meeting one of her closest friends at the College’s Fall 2017 Graduate Student Orientation.
“I remember being really nervous here last year,” Naumann said. “But after talking to a lot of the students and faculty, I realized that I have a support system. I left my orientation feeling more confident and comfortable.”
Incoming students were additionally given the opportunity to learn from a unique Online Workshop in the days leading up to the orientation. The Online Workshop was designed for students to learn more about graduate student life, understand academic integrity standards, and become familiar with graduate-level writing.
The College currently offers three graduate-level programs, including Museum Professions, Strategic Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated master's/B.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered.