Undergrads speak at local conference

Stevenson University was well represented this year at the 34th annual Maryland Communication Association Conference, entitled “#MCACommTalk: Communication, Culture, and Media Education.”

Stevenson students and professors received positive feedback after their presentation on Sept. 15. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Deric Greene)

School of Design student panelists Heather Sun, Paul Farrell, and Emma Cathy Smith, senior lecturer Dr. Lee Krahenbuhl, and Drs. Deric Greene, Heather Harris, and Nadene Vevea were in attendance at the day-long conference held at Howard University on Sept. 15. Over 60 individuals were present at the event.

Sun, Farrell, and Smith were scheduled to be the last speakers of the conference. Their panel was titled, “‘We have watched and listened from the mountain!’ (M’Baku to the Wakandan people): Analysis of Black Panther.”

The process had started several months prior when a call for papers went out to local communication professors and students to see if anyone would be interested in presenting at the conference. Harris and Greene volunteered as mentors when the three SU students expressed a desire to present.

Once the theme of Black Panther was decided on, each student then wrote a research paper to analyze their specific topics of interest using a theoretical lens. According to Greene, “We were very surprised and pleased by the effort of the students. They came prepared and worked with all the fixes and recommendations we gave.”

Emma Cathy Smith, Paul Farrell, and Heather Sun smiled for the camera right before their presentation began. (Photo by Dr. Deric Greene)

Farrell, one of the students on the panel, spoke on the “Collectivistic Characteristics of Hofstede.” His goals for the presentation, he said, included not embarrassing himself and delivering a great presentation.

“I hoped to learn how to be a better writer and speech maker in the development of this speech and to grow in the communication discipline,” he said.

Those in attendance were pleased at how well the students presented their papers and responded to questions and inquiries. “Based on audience feedback, students definitely exceeded the expectations set for their first conference presentation,” Harris said. “For example, I was asked by a professor if Heather, Paul, and Emma were graduate students!”

Krahenbuhl, a visiting senior lecturer at Stevenson University, also presented his research at the conference. His presentation was entitled, “Matter and Impertinency Mixt: The Boots of Maryland’s Promethian Actor Junius Brutus Booth (1796-1852) as Historiographical Relics of Interpersonal Communication.”

Throughout the day, there were also sessions from scholars at Howard University, College of Southern Maryland, Bowie State University, Morgan State University, and the Maryland University of Integrative Health. The keynote speaker was Dr. Ronald L. Jackson II, professor at the University of Cincinnati and president of the National Communication Association.

The students and faculty agreed that they would be interested in participating again in the future. “It is our goal to continue the tradition of carrying students to conferences so as to inspire them to understand the scope of the discipline and hopefully find inspiration to add to the field of study,” said Greene.

To view photos and videos from the conference, individuals can visit the MCA Facebook page.

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