Communication Classes: What You Want to Know, Part 2

Hey! Thanks for coming back to check out part two!
Have you ever wondered what “Senior Seminar” is or what the difference between a practicum and an internship is? Yes? Then this post is for you!

Senior Seminar – COMM 46091

Senior seminar is a course that all concentrations within communication studies (excluding applied) are required to take. This course will focus on preparing you for graduation and life in the “real world” of searching for, finding and working at your first job out of college.

As I have not taken and will not take Senior Seminar, I thought I’d ask an alumni who had taken the class to give some of his thoughts on “Senior Sem”

Kyle Hovest, 2014 interpersonal communication graduate:

“Senior Seminar is a cultivating experience of your time in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University. You work on strengthening skills that will allow you to find and succeed in a job in the Communication field of work. The class is a way for you to “wrap up” your studies and to be able to speak and write about your present and future in Communication Studies.

The projects were practical in the sense that you would be able to use them in your future work. Whether it was preparing your resume for job fairs and interviews or creating an online portfolio to better market yourself in the Communications field, the projects allowed you to purposely reflect on your time at Kent State University and where you saw your future headed.

I feel like Senior Seminar was one of the few classes that you can say truly tries to prepare you for the “real world.” The projects were very big, so they required strong time management.

I enjoyed being able to work on an online portfolio, interview professionals in my field of work and learn how to represent myself to employers in the future.

My advice to someone about to take this class, would be to make the most out of it. I know that Communication Studies can sometimes have a stigma of not being “the most useful” degree to get in college. However, if you are seriously about using the degree as well as focusing on your person concentration in Communication Studies, you can really benefit from this course. The professors who teach it really want you to use the degree to your benefit and to find a job that fits your wants.”

Internship vs. Practicum

I think one of the best ways to describe the difference between an internship and a practicum is that most practicums are internships, but not all internships are practicums.

Any communication studies student with junior standing who has gotten a C or better in Foundations of Communication (COMM 20000) and has a cumulative GPA of 2.000 or better can do an internship for credit. Doing an internship requires 130 contact hours for every 3 credit hours and can be repeated for up to 6 credit hours. These credit hours cannot replace a required class.  The Internship requires students to keep a log of their work hours, a journal of their activities and a 10-12 page paper designed to discuss theory in practice.

Practicum is a requirement for applied concentrations, that consists of 150 work hours worth 3 credit hours. A practicum is like an internship; for instance, I’m doing this internship with the School of Communication Studies to fulfill my practicum requirement. The Practicum requires students to build a portfolio of work, in addition to completing the duties of the position. Positions for Practicum should include some aspects of design, communication, and writing.

To read more about Communication Internships and Practicums go to

If you have questions about other classes, or want more in-depth information on one of these classes, don’t hesitate to contact the School of Communication Studies – see the contact page for more information!

Thanks for reading, and check back next week for a new post!

Communication Classes: What You Want to Know, Part 1

If you are anything like me when it comes to scheduling your classes, you will want to know a little bit about the classes you are registering for. Below are some of the classes that are most frequently asked about and some information about them!

Introduction to Human Communication – COMM 15000

Introduction to Human Communication, more commonly referred to as 15K or COMM 15000, is most people’s first introduction to the world of Communication Studies. Intro to Human Comm is an introduction to public speaking and effective communication. If you take an in-person section of the class, you can expect to go to class twice a week, as well as completing an hour or so of online work per week.

Grades are largely based on weekly quizzes, an online midterm, and online final and three speeches: an informative speech, a persuasive speech and a group presentation.

While this is a lecture class, class sizes are generally smaller and you can expect to participate a lot. Later in the semester, you and your classmates will be giving speeches, which you will be expected to listen to and give feedback on.

Foundations of Communication – COMM 20000

Foundations of Communication is an introduction to the communication studies major.  This class has no prerequisites and anyone can take it to learn more about the concentrations offered within communication studies. This is a great class to take if you think you might be interested in communication studies, but are not completely sure if it is for you.

What do you do in this class? Read faculty produced research, present on an article of your choice, and research how a communication studies major would be appropriate for your career path.

Communication studies requires declared majors to complete a grammar competency requirement within the first 20 credit hours of the major. Foundations of Communication provides an opportunity to complete this requirement through a test. If the grammar competency requirement is not met in COMM 20000, students are required to take COMM 21000 and achieve a C or better in order to continue in the major.

Communication Grammar Review – COMM 21000

Communication Grammar Review is a five week online course that covers grammar, punctuation, word usage and style in the context of communication fields. The Communication Grammar Review class is often looked upon as a “difficult class” because it is so short and requires quite a bit of attention during those five weeks. Students must keep on top of their work in order to do well in the class. Grades are based on 12 quizzes and a final, with two to three quizzes per week.

In order to receive credit as a JMC or COMM student, you must earn a C or better.

Check back on Tuesday to find out more about Senior Seminar and what the difference between a Practicum and an Internship!

Thanks for reading,

Me and my sister, Hannah, in front of the Louvre

The Employability Factor: Study Abroad

“Did you actually learn anything while you were over there?”

A question I got a lot when I got back from studying abroad in Leicester, England this spring. My answer is an emphatic “YES!” lists the top ten skills that employers are looking for in recent college graduates. I took a look at that list, and realized that studying abroad helped me learn more about half of the skills on the list.

  1. Ability to work in a team

I traveled around Europe with a couple of friends during our spring break (or Easter Holiday as the Brits would say!), and we had to work as a team to get to where we needed to be (without missing trains, planes or automobiles [busses]).

In a couple of my classes, there were smaller group discussions, and we had to collaborate as a group to come up with answers to questions and then present to the class. Things like this are great practice for future teamwork in the workplace.

  1. Ability to make decisions and solve problems

Studying abroad requires you to make decisions and solve problems.  These might not be the same kind of decisions or problems that you’ll have when you’re in the work force, but the skill remains the same. Many times, especially while traveling, there will be delays or interruptions that make sure you problem solve quickly and effectively.

  1. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work

Planning, organizing and prioritizing is key, whether it’s a different school system or traveling around Europe.  The school system in the UK is extremely different from the US.  I learned that I’m not very good at planning ahead and prioritizing (although my organization skills are spot on), but now I know that that’s something I need to improve in the future. Being organized and planning ahead while studying abroad is crucial.

  1. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization

The ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization is also something that is required when studying abroad.  In order to begin the process of studying abroad, one needs to be able to communicate with key people within the university, as well as people at the university you will be visiting. While studying abroad, I frequently had to communicate with professors and staff at the University of Leicester – going into office hours and offices to have things I did not understand explained to me and questions I had answered.

  1. Ability to obtain and process information

Being able to obtain and process information is an important skill when studying abroad because not everything is handed to you on a silver platter (or just handed to you for that matter!). I can’t tell you the number of times I had to find information for myself, whether that was searching the university website, emailing a professor or advisor or going to the library to look it up in a book (yes, a book with pages!). Then once you find that information, you still have to figure out what it means in order to actually have an understanding of what you found.

I have discovered that reading academic articles is a great way to hone this skill, especially if you’re doing research on a particular topic. Being able to read through a 20-30 page article and glean the information that you need, and actually understand what the author is saying is difficult! But it’s such an important skill. My best advice to you on this one would be to practice practice practice!

I think something that studying abroad also taught me (not on Forbes’ list, but still important!) was how to get along with many different kinds of people.  When you study abroad, not only are you putting yourself in a different culture, you’re also meeting other study abroad students who are out of their element too, and you get to learn about many different cultures, not just the culture of the place you’re studying.

Learning how to connect with people from all backgrounds and cultures is an important skill that can help you when finding a job.  Many employers want to hire people who are personable and can adapt to changing situations which may include people who are very different from you.

Thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful to you on some level.
Don’t forget to check back next week to find out some answers to frequently asked questions about Comm classes!


– Abby

(Photo: Me (Abby), and my sister (Hannah) at the Louvre in Paris)

About An Intern

If you’ve seen the post below this, you might know a little bit about me already, but if you have NO idea who I am, or even if you have some idea who I am, I’m Abby. This summer I am the intern for the School of Communication Studies. I am an applied communication major with a minor in photo illustration. For me, that combination is absolutely perfect. “Why is that a perfect combination, Abby?” you might ask. Well, let me tell you.

As an applied concentration, I am able to take classes not only in the School of Communication Studies (COMM), but also in Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) and Visual Communication Design (VCD). If you don’t already know those abbreviations, I’d recommend that you remember them because I’ll be using them frequently in my blog posts! Taking classes in all three schools has helped me to widen my skill-set to include writing in Associated Press (AP/news style) format (JMC), basic photograph skills (VCD), public speaking (COMM), a basic understanding of advertising (JMC) and a basic understanding of how communication works within organizations (COMM).

In the future, I’d love to combine my major and minor and work in the marketing and advertising field doing communication and some design work, which makes this internship (and major) perfect for me.
Not only do I get to see the behind-the-scenes of the School of Communication Studies, I get to help design bulletin boards, materials for Homecoming and also improve my communication skills within an office environment.

When you think of the stereotypical “intern” you might think of someone who gets coffee for the office, makes copies and just follows orders, but that’s not the case in The School of Communication Studies. In the three weeks that I’ve been here, I have created two new bulletin boards, designed a flyer, gotten trained to edit the school’s website, gone to a Marketing Council Meeting and researched several past and present faculty and staff members in anticipation of articles that I will be writing. It might not sound like a lot, but I’ve found that I am able to contribute a significant amount of important material to the school. The things I am working on will be seen by lots of students, parents, and faculty and staff members here at the University.

One of the projects I am most excited to start working on is materials for Homecoming! I love the spirit of Homecoming: it’s a time where current students and alumni come together to show their school pride. For more information about the history of Homecoming, click here!

I am looking forward to helping the School of Communication Studies put their best foot forward for this event in the fall. I’ll keep you updated on what I’m working on for Homecoming in future blog posts.

I’m excited to continue to contribute to what the School of Communication Studies does within Kent State University and learn more about how the School operates on a day-to-day basis.

Keep an eye out for future posts to find out more about what projects I’m working on and what intern life is like on a weekly basis in the School of Communication Studies.

Thanks for reading!

Yackley at La Sagrada Familia 2015
Me in front of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
April, 2015

The School of Communication Studies Welcomes Summer Intern

YackleyBioPicture (1)The Kent State University School of Communication Studies welcomes Abby Yackley as the student member of the marketing team for summer 2015.

Yackley is a senior in the applied communication concentration. She is also pursuing a minor in photo illustration.

“I am looking forward to working with the School of Communication Studies to improve my communication skills in an office environment. Being able to work on different projects for the School is an exciting opportunity,” Yackley said. “I hope to be able to develop not only my written and verbal communication skills, but my visual communication skills as well.”

As a student intern, Yackley will write press releases, contribute copy and photos to the school’s website and social media sites, update alumni contact information and help plan the school’s reception for Homecoming, Lindsay Kuntzman, Marketing and PR Communication Specialist for the School of Communication Studies said.

“Having students serve as junior members of our marketing team gives them an opportunity to apply the skills they learned in class to real-world settings. We want them to be confident in their abilities as they graduate and obtain that first job,” Kuntzman said. “Abby will be a great addition to the team – particularly with her passion for the School of Communication Studies and the university.”

Yackley said that she wants to work on graphics and written material for Kent State University’s Homecoming celebration in the fall. “Homecoming is such a wonderful Kent State University tradition, and I love that I can show my school spirit through my work.”

In the past, Yackley has volunteered at a number of “Golden Flash Days” where students who have been admitted to the university can come and explore different majors and take a tour of the campus. During the summer, Yackley hopes that she can meet new students who are exploring different fields of study and point them towards an undergraduate career in Communication Studies.

“Being able to talk to students who are unsure about what they want to study in college is such an exciting opportunity. Many students are unaware that Communication Studies exists, and I love being able to show them how many opportunities there are within the major,” Yackley said.

She is a member of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association honor society, as well as the Kent Communication Society where she has been actively involved for two years. In her free time, she enjoys taking walks with her family, photography, vlogging, yoga and playing piano and bass guitar. Yackley’s hometown is Green, Ohio. She plans to graduate in fall 2015.

YouToo Social Media Conference Recap

School of Communication Studies Interns Melissa Elick & Lauren Taccone at the YouToo Social Media Conference
School of Communication Studies Interns Melissa Elick & Lauren Taccone at the YouToo Social Media Conference

This past weekend, I attended the YouToo Social Media Conference, and I am so glad I did.  As I have discussed in my previous blog post, social media is becoming the latest digital frontier, and knowledge in utilizing it is becoming increasingly important. At YouToo, attendants heard from two keynote speakers who utilize social media in their professional lives and also other professionals who have grasped the benefit of social media.

The first keynote speaker was Mark W. Smith, who works for the Washington Post.  He talked about the tenants of good social media content.  He said that good social media must: 1) be declarative: it must say something; 2) figure something out– think about that eureka moment, it tells you something you didn’t know before; 3) surprise you: Smith said, the word ‘actually’ is a great word to use in a headline because it draws people in by telling them what they thought before is wrong; 4) it’s comprehensive, it helps explain something in a way that is easily understood; 5) it’s visual, including an image in your tweet or post gives you more engagement– face it, people like to look at something visual, it makes your post more appealing; 6) it delivers on its promise, meaning it tells you what you expect; 7) it gives away the ending: you must be able to tell people in a quick, succinct way exactly what they’re about to experience; and finally, 8) it tells us who we are: Smith related this to BuzzFeed quizzes– people love to be able to see themselves in a post and gage how they relate to the rest of the world. Smith gave excellent advice on how to engage with people via social media and how to build a successful social image; however, one of the most surprising things that he said was this statement:

“Everything I say today will be a lie in six months, that can either scare you or you can evolve it.”

He is referring to how quickly digital media evolves and changes, and he encouraged all of us to always be students— to be constantly learning about the newest trends and how to best engage with our audience. While this intimidated me at first, I understand exactly what he is talking about.  The best way to do this is to use social media regularly, learn what is new and current, and grasp how people are interacting and adjust our strategies accordingly.

The second keynote speaker, Gini Dietrich, author of the book Spin Sucks, discussed the issues of ethics and media manipulation in PR and how we must be the ones to stick up for what is right. She had many compelling points about some of our favorite brands and how they utilize some of these questionable tactics in their media strategies.

In between these awesome keynote speakers, attendees had the opportunity to attend various break-out sessions that focused on topics ranging from cyberbullying to building personal brands.  The conference was not only very informational and educational but also fun!  Social media is an extremely hot topic, especially among communication professionals (Hello- us!) and there is so much to learn! If you attended the conference this year, I hope you found it as educational as I did.  If you did not get the chance to attend this year, I strongly encourage you to make the effort to attend next year!

Thanks for reading,

Lauren Taccone

The Digital Native Advantage

I recently read an article from the Harvard Business Review entitled “Reassess Millennials’ Social Sharing Habits” and it got me to thinking about how far social media has come.  Social media is no longer just an epic time-killer, it can actually be translated into skills that can benefit any organization.  The article talked about how organizations need to start recognizing the benefits of social media use and harnessing it.  The authors made two points of how leaders can leverage the talent of these young Millennials.

First, Millennials often engage in social sharing, and neuroscientists have shown that any kind of positive personal interaction –such as posting, sharing, favoriting, and messaging– releases “the feel-good hormone” oxytocin.  Mlllennials often feel that high multiple times a day from interacting through technology and they actually crave that connection, thus making them natural team players.

Second, digital natives are exposed to constant, complex data flow making them more adept at processing multiple streams of information.  Research tells us that it is impossible to multitask, however, according to Nielson Neurofocus, EEG readings have shown that younger brains have higher multi-sensory processing capacity than older ones.  Younger brains are more stimulated and are more likely to pay attention and remember dynamic messages.

While some Gen X-ers may view Millennials’ frequent social sharing as unhealthy and distracting, there is some proof that the digital habits of Millennials puts them at an advantage for the ever-expanding digital world.

If you were to tell me five years ago that I could get a job in social media, I would have probably laughed and told you that you were crazy. But now, that option is totally valid!  Strategic social media use is a very beneficial skill and can be very powerful for an organization.  You may be surprised at how much a company values your knowledge of something you find second nature.

I encourage all communication studies major to take advantage of courses on social media and to attend workshops such as the upcoming YouToo Social Media Conference, because in today’s digital world these skills are essential and they may help you impress your boss some day!

Link to article mentioned above:

Thanks for reading!

Lauren Taccone