The Beast within the Communication curriculum

Most communication major students dread the beast that is called Communication 498, but with this graduating thesis class also comes many real-world experiences. Students within the class this semester will be the first to tell you, those experiences do not make it any easier.

The major misconception on Comm 498 is that the class isn’t manageable. Theresa Saltamachia, whose thesis topic is on how mental illness is portrayed on television shows the last five years, shares light on the class not being a lecture class. “It’s important to understand it’s not really a lecture class at all,” stated Saltamachia, “but more of a support group that revolves around how to tackle the thesis project based on the theories we have learned throughout the curriculum.”

At the beginning of this thesis paper, research is a substantial part. For Justin Redman, whose thesis about the use of negative political ads by special interest groups to smear political candidates, his research is the toughest part. “The hardest part of 498 is finding the research that I used for my literature review,” stated Redman, “the research on my subject is limited, and in order to find the information I need, I had to think about my subject in a broader scope.” Justin used concepts learned in library science and Dr. Amber Narro to help find articles on this selected topic.

While there are a lot of aspects taken from this class, the biggest is the reward of the accomplishment. Senior Baylee Bishop, who is analyzing the evolution of Disney Princesses and their changes over time, agrees stating, “It’s exciting to learn that all my hard work will hopefully pay off in the end. I am beyond excited to walk across that stage and continue onto the next adventure in my life!” Current Comm 498 students take great pride in knowing that the research they conduct within this class will be skills that they will utilize in their future career paths. Jaylon Morris reflects on the dedication that Comm 498 brings out in him, “When I’m doing research, it’s not just busy work. I’m genuinely interested in my topic. Therefore, the work itself turns out to be kind of fun.”

When it comes to advice for future students there was one overwhelming theme, stay organized. “Be thinking of a topic beforehand and stay on top of assignments,” stated Emily Chase, another senior in Comm 498. She accredited her success so far partially to the fact that her core ideas of her thesis being thought of before starting the class. Brock Giarrusso, senior researching listening style preferences, reminds the upcoming seniors that time is of the essence.

It’s no secret with the Communication major, writing comes to mind. Most of the seniors accredited their choice to become a Communication major for their love of writing. Mallory Springer, who’s analyzing the satisfaction of church membership in non-denominational Christian Churches, revealed her reasoning, “I love people, and I enjoy writing and expressing what is going on in society. I believe when you can communicate properly, you can get very far in life.”

The end goal of this thesis paper is the Colloquium, which is an event where students present their scholarly communication research on their chosen topic. This semester’s Colloquium will take place Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the D.Vickers Building. Leading up to the Colloquium, the process is crucial, so some of the students discussed the hardships. Even though the thought of defending a paper in front of an audience scares most people, the curriculum within the Communication department prepares each student for this practice. Many of the students within Comm 498 expressed not being as nervous about the Colloquium as they once were. “Now that I know so much about my topic and paper I feel confident in answering whatever questions could be thrown at me. I’ve also given countless presentations so far in this major a 10 minute PowerPoint doesn’t scare me anymore,” stated Emily Chase.

Comm 498 is pegged as the class that will be most strenuous within the Communication core requirements, but with the right tools and guidance, it is one of the most rewarding courses within the Communication department. The class has become more like family, pulling together to make sure the outcome of all of the hard work ends with a simple walk across the stage in December.

Jamie Gelpi, a senior analyzing public relation tactics that drive consumer choice behavior, summed up advice for Comm 498 perfectly stating, “Be excited and proud that this department has such an intense final assignment.”

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