Muppidi Appointed as School Director
After 7 years as School of Communication Director, Lynne Kelly, has completed her term and will return to full-time teaching, and Sundeep Muppidi takes over the directorship on July 1st. Muppidi, who was promoted to Full Professor in spring 2014, joined the faculty in 1998. He has been teaching courses in new media, international communication, multimedia and television production, and research methods. Also an accomplished scholar, he edited the 6th edition of the Asian Communication Handbook in which he wrote the first chapter and authored or co-authored the descriptions of the 26 Asian countries featured in the handbook. Muppidi has impressive administrative experience as well, having served as Secretary General of the Asian Media and Information Center (AMIC) from January 2010-2012 and as the School of Communication Graduate Program Director from 2004-2007. He is eager to take on the challenge of heading the School of Communication in an environment of tremendous changes in media and communication as well as in higher education.
Kelly is equally eager to spend more time teaching after her 7-year directorship, in which she built a positive and engaged alumni community, improved student opportunities and experiences, and promoted the School and its faculty and students. Harvey Jassem said, “Lynne’s been the ideal Director. Her insights and energy, dedication to the interests of our students, outreach to our alums, and well being of the program have enhanced everything we do. She has always put the program before herself.” Randy Jacobs remarked, "During her tenure as Director, Dr. Kelly set high standards for students, faculty and staff alike. She challenged us to enhance the quality of our program and, when possible, provided the support needed to do so. She is an outstanding role model."
At a luncheon ceremony on May 1, 2014, junior Dylan Planeta, was awarded the Ellen Abrams Memorial Scholarship for 2014-15. This scholarship was started by the family of Ellen Abrams, a young, talented reporter at Channel 8 in New Haven who was killed by a motorist while jogging near her home. Selected by the School of Communication faculty to receive the scholarship, Planeta has an emphasis in media and journalism and spent the Spring 2013 semester participating in the Washington Semester Program.
The Pratt & Whitney Communication Scholarships were awarded to Kimberly Bigelow, a junior who, in addition to her academics, is the Senior News Producer at the Student Television Network (STN-2) on campus; and Anthony Branciforte, a media and journalism student with a gift for writing. The Pratt & Whitney Communication Scholarships were initiated in 2013, and are funded by the East Hartford based company, a division of United Technologies Corporation. To be eligible for the scholarships, students must be majoring in Communication, have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, be rising juniors or seniors, and show an active interest in their chosen field through participation in one or more student organizations, or through internships and volunteer work.
Four students were awarded Emile Gauvreau Scholarships for 2014-15. The Gauvreau Scholarship is awarded to Connecticut students majoring in Communication who have achieved academic excellence. This year the faculty chose Christopher Costello, who will be a senior in the Fall with an emphasis in media and journalism and will continue to work long hours in his family’s business; Samantha Pulley, a junior who did study abroad in Ireland and participated in the Washington Semester Program; Sarah Severson, whose emphasis is advertising and public relations and who will be at Regents College in London for the Fall semester; and Sarah Lawes, a media and journalism student who just completed an internship at Hartford Magazine.
At our annual Scholarship and Senior Awards ceremony on May 1, 2014, six seniors received awards for academic excellence: Hayden Harrower, Award for Excellence in the Undergraduate Study of Communication; Shannon Irish, The Hartford Courant John J. Massaro Award for Excellence in Newspaper Journalism; Matthew Singer, Award for Excellence in the Study of Advertising; Nicholas Doherty, Award for Excellence in the Study of Human Communication; Jessica Baker, Award for Excellence in the Study of Public Relations; and Shannon DePaul, Excellence in the Study of Media.
At the event the faculty also recognized seniors for their leadership of communication and media student organizations: Tim Rizzo, Managing Editor of the Informer; Shannon DePaul and Hayden Harrower, Co-Presidents of Lambda Pi Eta/Communication Honor Society; and Sarah Morin, President of Public Relations Student Society of America. The students on the School of Communication’s team for the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Competition, were also recognized for their work.
At the School of Communication's annual Graduate Student Awards and Research Symposium, held on May 5, 2014, 21 students presented their research in a poster format. Student presenters were: Mona Alshammari, Melissa Cohen, Kathleen Fields, Saaed Andaji Garmaroudi, Jenna Grzeslo, Rondasia Headley, John Hernandez, Carmen Hernandez-Ojeda, Kristina Homick, Keith Hughes, Mary Priscilla Kelangi, Stephanie Lee, Jacqueline Longo, Tyler Losure, Stephanie Miller, Kyle Reynolds, John Shimanski, Caitlin Simard, Matthew Singer, Lindsay Swan, Tyron Tyrell, and Kayla Washington.
During the awards ceremony, three students were presented with awards. Carmen Hernandez-Ojeda was recognized with two awards: the Outstanding Teaching Intern Award and the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Two students were presented with the Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award: Jenna Grzeslo and John Hernandez.
At the University-wide Graduate Research and Creativity Symposium, held on April 30, 2014, six students from the M.A. program in Communication were selected to show their work: Kathleen Fields, Saaed Andaji Garmaroudi, Carmen Hernandez-Ojeda, Keith Hughes, Kyle Reynolds, and Caitlin Simard. At the event, Carmen Hernandez-Ojeda was honored as a recipient of the Regents’ Honor Award for Graduate Students.
On Friday, five Communication students--Joana Amoyaw, Jessica Baker, Shannon DePaul, Alia Shafi, and Matthew Singer--presented their campaign for this year's client, Mary Kay, at the American Advertising Federation's National Student Competition. Supported by the rest of their teammates--Glenn Akerland, Joseph Ianniello, Eugenia Martinez, Addison Owens, Anne Spresser, Brad Stoll, and Julia Wooten--the team gave a terrific pitch that, along with their plans book, landed them the 3rd place spot in the district level competition. Their faculty advisor, Dr. Randy Jacobs, guided them throughout the process and was instrumental in their success. Congratulations to the team!
Thirteen Communication students were inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, the national honorary society for the field of Communication. The 2014 inductees are: Amy Bates, Laura Beck, Adrienne Branch, Nicholas Doherty, Ashley Garnier, Erica Handel, Hayden Harrower, Kaylee Reynolds, Katie Roth, Aseel Shawli, Stefanie Szepanski, Julia Wooten, and Melissa Yellen. To be eligible for induction, students must not only meet the rigorous academic qualifications, but they must be active members who attend meetings and events. Congratulations to the 2014 LPE inductees!
Last spring, then- graduate student Laura Brubaker Crisco (M '13) took home the First Place Communications Award in the Arthur W. Page Society Case Study Competition in Corporate Communications 2013, an international competition. Crisco won for her case called, "Pink Politics: How Komen's Planned Parenthood Communications Response Unraveled the Pink Ribbon." Her submission to the competition was based on the case study she had done as a student in the CMM 555W Corporate Communications course.
This past fall was particularly active in terms of alumni involvement in events on campus. Our annual Communication Alumni Reception, held during Hawktober weekend, drew a record number of alumni (over 60), representing classes from 1975 to 2013. The Public Relations Bootcamp event, held earlier that same day, brought current students together with alumni who served as mentors and judges as students worked on a case study and presented their communication plans before the panel of judges. In addition, throughout the semester alumni returned as guest speakers to share information about their careers with current students. Among those who came back to present were Lee Villas ('91, M '93), Senior Vice President and North East Regional Manager for CBS Television Distribution; Douglas Goodstein ('92), Executive Producer of Howard TV On Demand; and Tamar Juda ('05), president and owner of Last Word PR in New York City, where she represents some of the biggest talent in music and entertainment today, including Grammy Award winning producer, rapper and TV star Lil Jon.
In its latest newsletter, "Professional Trends in Communication Scholarship," the Communication Institute for Online Scholarship (CIOS) identified the University of Hartford School of Communication as among "a small number of departments where the masters degree is the highest degree offered" whose" accumulated research record exceeds the mean level of productivity of the field's Ph.D. granting departments." Our faculty are so productive as scholars that we were further noted as among a few programs whose accumulated record of accomplishment "places them not only above the mean of Ph.D. granting programs but within range of the field's top 25 Ph.D. granting programs." The School of Communication shares this honor with universities such as Cleveland State University, Depaul University, and San Diego State University.