Author: Ashley Brannan

Communication is a Necessary Skill For All

Hundreds of students, all with different majors and interests, file into lecture halls during the week to attend The Process of Communication (COMM 1000). For some students this class is their first step into a career in the field of communication, and for others it is a course where they learn the skills they need to succeed in business, engineering, and any other career path they may choose to pursue.

The objective of this course is to show students the role of human communication and its influence in everyday life while familiarizing them with both verbal and nonverbal communication across interpersonal, media, and new technology formats. The course is unique because it allows students to learn through creative projects such as a photography project, as well as the creation of a 15 second short film. For the photography project he asks students to take pictures that represent their experience as a UConn student. The 15 second film project allows students that are accustomed to a large lecture hall to get in small groups and create a narrative in a 15 second video. The projects allow students to apply what they have learned about communication through storytelling.

The intro course is designed for students of every major. Course supervisor Stephen Stifano P.h.D. stated that, “If there’s one skill that will improve your prospects in any other field, it is being able to communicate effectively with a variety of people in a variety of contexts”. Although only an introductory course, the COMM 1000 curriculum goes above and beyond the base information of the subject. It teaches people how to apply communication to their lives and allows them to see where effective communication will bring them in the future. Humans are constantly communicating, and the basis to succeeding in any job is effective communication skills. Professor Stifano combines theory with tasks that students need to do every day, whether it be properly writing emails, or how to present yourself in a positive light online. So much of what is studied in communication applies to the everyday actions of a college student. Stifano strives to have every student realize that there is more to their day to day interactions than it seems on the surface, and he hopes that the students will be more mindful of the messages that people provide them with, which is critical to the everyday world.

This course is not only recognized in the department as an inspiring and important course, during the 2016-2017 school year, COMM 1000 won the NCA Basic Course Program of Distinction award. This award is given to courses that serve as best practice models for other departments when designing their basic courses. In the future, Stifano stated that the course will be adapted to allow students to continue to be challenged as the course gets increasingly focused on media and technology as they infiltrate our everyday interactions.


Below are video projects that were created by COMM 1000 students:


COMM Student Feature – Eliza Kanner

Millions of Americans tuned in early September to watch an American tradition: the Miss America Pageant. This year the Department of Communication watched excitedly as UConn Communications major Eliza Kanner took the stage as Miss Connecticut.


As a senior, Eliza has been devoted to the Department of Communication for the past three years. She stated that upon entering college, she was unaware of which career path she wanted to go down. After getting involved with the Miss America Organization, she found herself learning public speaking skills, effective brand management, and gaining media, interpersonal, and mass communication skills. Her journey with Miss America pointed her in the direction of the communications field where she began to explore opportunities within the COMM Department.


Eliza expressed that her favorite COMM class so far has been Computer Mediated Communication (COMM 4660W) with Professor Christensen. She found this class particularly interesting because computer mediated communication research is still fairly new and constantly evolving. The constant change and evolution of the study of communication has really sparked her interest over the course of her time at UConn. While taking COMM 4660W, she researched government officials on social media and its effects on society, where she was able to look at the benefits and setbacks of government officials on social media platforms. She stated that Professor Christensen has become a great mentor for her when it comes to her future career as well as her role in Miss America. She stated that since the beginning of the semester he emphasized that supporting students with their future was a priority of his. With help from COMM Advisor Joel Nebres, they created a program allowing for Eliza to earn credit for her role as Miss Connecticut.

Eliza will now be fulfilling her duties not only as Miss Connecticut, but as a UConn Senior as well. In her role as Miss Connecticut, she will be making public appearances to represent the Miss America Organization as well as the state of Connecticut. Along with her duties as Miss Connecticut, she’ll be continuing her studies as a UConn Husky. To keep up with Eliza on her journey as Miss Connecticut, you can follow her on Facebook (@MissAmericaCT), Instagram (@missamericact), and Twitter (@MissAmericaCT).

The Department of Communication is proud to have students like Eliza, who strive to take their degrees above and beyond what is asked of them. The field of communication is broad, but once students use their degrees to enhance their passions, they accomplish great things.

Professor Denes Battles Hate Speech With Research

As the new school year begins, members of the Department of Communication are undergoing exciting new research studies. Associate Professor Amanda Denes was just awarded a Waterhouse Family Institute (WFI) grant which will allow her to design and conduct a new research study on campus. WFI is a communication research institute, housed within Villanova University, where it funds research projects that focus on interconnections between communication and social change. Not only did Professor Denes receive the grant, but she received the largest single grant that WFI has ever provided.


Professor Denes, along with her main collaborator at the University of Washington, John Crowley P.h.D., will be studying the effects of positive affirmation towards sexual minorities who have been affected by hate speech. The study will ask members of the LGBQ community to share an experience that they have had with hate speech with their friends. The friends will then be trained to give good support or no support to their friend. The researches will be measuring physical stress by observing hormones to see whether or not communication intervention from friends can dampen stress. Professor Denes has received support from the UConn Rainbow Center, and she is hoping to provide information about how to communicate effectively with victims of hate speech.


Professor Denes feels that this is an important issue to be studying because hate speech is on the rise, and there’s a lot of negative sentiment towards many groups including the LGBQ community. There are many allies to this community that want to know how to be better allies, and what they as a community can do to help. There are also potential health benefits to this study, as stress can cause people to become sick. The study seeks to find ways to improve the mental and physical health of those being affected by hate speech by teaching allies how to communicate with them in an affirming way.


Currently, Professor Denes is designing the study and awaiting approval  in order to start collecting data in the spring. Additionally, she will be looking for lab students to assist with her research.. If you are interested, email Professor Denes at


A Letter to the Class of 2017

Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2017! We have been lucky to teach you, learn from you, and grow with you as scholars and fellow Huskies. Over the past four years you’ve developed the skills you need to take this next step. The Department of Communication is excited to watch you thrive as individuals and professionals. After watching you grow over the past four years, professors from the department would like to share a few words of encouragement with you:

photo of Sharde Davis


“Think outside of the box, live in the moment, always check your entitlement (people don’t owe you anything!), and remain humble.” – Professor Shardé Davis



Rory McGloin

“Be confident in what you have learned, but seek humility in your day to day adventures. Remember that learning is a never-ending and on-going process so utilize the knowledge you have gained in regards to how you learn and attempt to apply those skills every day. Seek value from your human interactions and try to adopt the best attributes and characteristics of those individuals whom you respect and look up to.” – Professor Rory McGloin

Kathryn D'Antonio


“Be your own advocate.” – Advisor Katie D’Antonio


Kirstie Farrar


“Don’t be afraid to work hard take risks and try new things. Don’t take the easy way out.  This pairs nicely with my favorite quote from Bruce Lee: ‘Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.’” – Professor Kirstie Cope-Farrar


Steve Stifano

“Keep an open mind about the kinds of positions you consider for employment.  Your training and experience in Communication makes you a very flexible professional with something to offer to a LOT of fields. Consider compiling the projects you’ve done into a digital portfolio that you can put online as a supplement to your résumé.  And most of all, keep your head up – the careers of many of us were nonlinear, with several twists and turns that seemed quite random in the moment, but quite necessary when looking back in time.” – Professor Stephen Stifano


Mark Hamilton

“In the immortal words of Buckaroo Banzai, Remember: no matter where you go… there you are.’” – Professor Mark Hamilton



As you take this next step with confidence, always remember: students today, Huskies forever. Best of luck, Class of 2017!

Professor Rory McGloin receives the AAUP Excellence Award for Teaching in Early Career

After years of hard work and dedication to his students, Communications Professor Rory McGloin was awarded the American Association of University Professor’s (AAUP) Excellence Award for Teaching in Early Career. He currently teaches Principles of Public Speaking (COMM 1100) and is conducting research involving media effects related to video game usage. Professor McGloin has been a part of the UConn Department of Communication for ten years, first as a graduate student and later becoming an Assistant Professor. His devotion to his courses can be seen inside and outside of the classroom.


McGloin stated, “I want to find ways to sustain my passion and desires over a long time. I do a lot of self evaluations, and that’s what drives me to want to get better every single day. You can never settle for what you did yesterday, you have to get better at it the next day.” Professor McGloin is constantly searching for ways to improve upon his interactions as a professor, researcher, adviser, and human. His passion for teaching has spilled over into his role as an adviser for the Communication Society. The Communication Society is a club that is dedicated to helping undergraduate students explore the professional fields of communication. McGloin claims that his work with the Comm Society is one of the things he is most proud of. Watching students that are so committed to their careers is something he has a lot of passion for because it’s not about points or grades, it’s about students who genuinely want to learn and better themselves. Undergraduate student and president of the Communication Society, Grace Gagnon, stated, “I met Rory my freshman year through Comm Society and ever since then he has been one of the most influential professors I’ve ever come across. He saw potential in me and gave me the tools to turn that potential into a leadership position. What sets Rory apart from other professors is his pure devotion to his students. Communication classes can be very large and it allows for some students to get lost, but Rory never lets that happen. It is obvious that Rory genuinely cares about each student’s learning experience. He is the most deserving person for this award!”


As a person who strives for personal growth, Professor McGloin feels it’s important to teach students in a way that, by the end of each class, they’ll have learned something that they can apply to their life that day. He strives to assure that students aren’t just walking away from his class with a grade, he wants them to walk away with an experience that has shaped their lives and educated them. McGloin has found that the most rewarding part about being a professor has been “The moments where you see students learning things about themselves”. It’s clear that his passion for going above and beyond what’s expected of him is carried out into his teaching.
The Department of Communication is lucky to have a professor as devoted as Professor McGloin, and are thankful for his attributes that earned him this award. We look forward to seeing him and his students grow in the future.

COMM Student Feature

The UConn Department of Communication is proud to acknowledge our many students and members of our organizations. Manav Puri is one of our most involved students in our program and around the UConn campus. Manav inspires many other students with his devotion to becoming a communication professional.


As a senior, Manav states that becoming a Communications major has been the perfect fit for his skills and career aspirations. With an interest in the marketing and sales field of work, he has found that the Communications major has allowed him to build upon his one-on-one connections and presentation skills that will help him excel in his desired field.


Manav is on the executive board as the Client Liaison of UConn’s Advertising Society. The Advertising society is a student run organization that strives to develop undergraduate students’ advertising, public relations and marketing skills. He contributes to the organization by creating advertising campaigns for student organizations around the UConn campus. His work with the Advertising Society helped him gain real world experience as an intern at a company named Foresters Financial. Here he learned the skills needed to have successful sales appointments.


The real world applications of Persuasion (COMM 3100) lead to the course becoming Manav’s favorite course of his college career. With his interest in sales, he was thrilled to sharpen his persuasion skills by being exposed to such hands on experiences. Manav also states that Professor Thomas Meade and Ambyre Ponivas have been two of his favorite professors. He is inspired by their passion for what they’re teaching and the way they go above and beyond to assure their students succeed.


Manav’s involvement doesn’t stop at the Advertising society. He is a member of the UConn Car Club, UConn Business Management Society as the Chief Communication Officer, and he serves as the Vice Chair of the SUBOG Film Committee.
With his abundance of leadership positions and devotion to his career, the UConn Department of Communication is looking forward to following Manav’s post graduation successes, and wishes him luck along the way!

Students Campaigning Against Gender Issues


Both Women’s, Gender, Sexuality Studies and Communication students are enrolled in Gender in Communication (COMM 3450) , currently being taught by graduate student Kara Winkler. The course explores the overlap between WGSS concepts and the ways in which humans communicate. Similar to persuasion (COMM 3100), the course allows students to be a part of a semester long group project that creates a campaign to address social issues happening on the UConn campus.


This course was created to help students understand how social and biological constructs intersect and interact to produce gender and to understand how gender influences and is influenced by language, relationships, and communication. By the end of the course,  students recognize that gender cannot be fully understood without examining its relationship to class, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation, while articulating the influence of media in the construction and perpetuation of the meaning of gender.


The Gender in Communication project allows students to create campaigns based on issues surrounding gender. Each campaign brings attention towards an important issue on the UConn campus. Students this semester are focusing on gender stereotypes, intersectional feminism, women’s reproductive rights, women in the workplace, and many more interesting topics. Each campaign is presented to the class and brought to the campus where they are promoted through social media, websites, panels etc. The promotional materials are now filling the campus and internet, gaining many followers for each campaign. Overall, the campaign project is a fun, interactive, and rewarding way to demonstrate understanding of course concepts and also get involved in the UConn community.


Gender plays an incredibly important role in the way we communicate. The course touches upon the influence of culture, language, stereotypes, values, and many more things on our perceptions of gender, and how our perceptions of gender influence all of those things as well. The effects of gender in communication depends on the person and their own experiences and challenges with gender identities, expressions, and expectations. Learning about gender and communication is important for understanding our complex social world. “I think the most important aspect of this course is exposure ideas that challenge previously held beliefs, attitudes, and values that are so deeply ingrained in our society” says Winkler.

Martin Horn Scholarship Recipient Katie Landrey

katie MHEvery year the Department of Communication award the Martin Horn Scholarship to an outstanding undergraduate student. Since achieving great success in marketing communications, alumnus Martin Horn has made several generous donations to the department, from which the scholarship is awarded. The 2016-2017 recipient of the scholarship is Katie Landrey.


Katie is a senior, double majoring in Psychological Sciences and Communication. She added a Communication major in her junior year at the university. Interpersonal communication and public speaking have always been areas of interest for her studies because of her experiences facilitating small group discussions and giving presentations.


Katie has previous experience teaching for Freedom School, which is a national program that strives to improve literacy skills in low income minority students. Her role with the school was to create lesson plans and to work one-on-one with scholars and staff. In addition to the Freedom School, Katie has experience facilitating discussions. She was a teaching assistant for UConn’s First Year Experience program as well as a trained facilitator for The Body Project, which is a cognitive dissonance based program that promotes positive body image.


In the future, Katie aspires to earn her Masters in higher education where she can have a career that allows her to work with students on a daily basis, helping them with both career and academic development. She wants a career where her ability to effectively communicate in various settings is important, so studying communication was an easy choice for her to make and added to her knowledge and skills.


This scholarship created more opportunity for Katie. She stated, “My peers in the Communication department are outstanding, and it is an honor to be recognized amongst such an intelligent group of students. This recognition does help in my pursuit of a graduate education, and it has impacted my confidence as I continue to develop professionally and academically.” The Department of Communication is proud of Katie and is excited to see where this scholarship will take her.


COMM Student Feature – Lorraine Carlucci

lorraineLorraine Carlucci is undoubtedly one of the Communication Department’s most experienced students. With an incredible amount of work in the field of communication, Lorraine sticks out as a student that is prepared to take on the professional world


Lorraine originally enrolled at UConn as a marketing major, but soon found that the aspects of marketing that she connected to were all related to COMM. After making the switch to become a communications major and a political science minor, she combined her love for both communication and politics to further her career in the political world. Carlucci now serves as the president of Disney at UConn, the Vice-President of Comm Society and is a part of two SUBOG committees.


Outside of the classroom, Lorraine has an incredible amount of real-life experience. She has been a social media intern for the U.S. Department of State for the past year and a half under Ambassador Catherine Russell. She was also honored to be a media intern at Hillary for America, Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters. This was an amazing opportunity for her, as she was able to work on the team that produced Hillary Clinton’s television commercials, direct mail pieces, and radio ads. Lorraine stated that this internship was an incredible opportunity to further her experience in both the communications world as well as the political world.


Lorraine aspires to combine her passions for communication and political science. She stated that, “to be effective politically, communication is key”, and feels that her communication skills are going to be what prepares her for her future career.


She gives a lot of credit to Professor Rory McGloin as an advisor. After taking  a public speaking course with him during her freshman year, working with him in Comm Society, and being his research assistant, she feels that he is incredibly dedicated to his students, and a pleasure to work with. While giving her many great opportunities, she feels that Professor McGloin has ensured her that being a COMM major was right for her.


With her vast experience in and outside of the University, it is clear why she stands out as one of the Department’s most committed students. We are proud to share her accomplishments thus far and are looking forward to all that she accomplishes post-graduation!

Martin Horn Scholarship Recipient Alumni- Kaitlyn Young


kaitlyn youngFor the past five years, UConn’s Department of Communication has had the opportunity to award a scholarship to an outstanding undergraduate student, thanks to a very generous donation from alumnus Martin Horn. After earning a B.A. and M.A. in Communication from UConn, Martin Horn went on to achieve great success in marketing communications. The selection process for this scholarship is very in-depth, only to ensure that the recipient is one of the most hard working, successful, and driven students of the department. The scholarship gives students the opportunities to explore passions and take their future careers to new heights.


The 2013-2014 winner of the Martin Horn scholarship was Kaitlyn Young. This scholarship allowed Kaitlyn to spend her final semester abroad in Cuzco, Peru, which fueled her passion for Latin American culture. This trip inspired her so much, that within just a few short months she was back on a plane to Ecuador where she backpacked for six months and became a fluent Spanish speaker.  Kaitlyn Young has since graduated from the university, and then pursued her knowledge of communication and passion for yoga and health to work for her local wellness center as their social media and email marketing manager as well as a yoga instructor. She loves this position because she’s furthering her passion for communication by creating content that she’s actually passionate about.

Kaitlyn has already made large strides in her career as she currently teaches at two yoga studios and hosts her own highly praised workshops. These workshops guide beginner yoga students in order to feel safe and knowledgeable inside their bodies, creating a comfortable and judgment free space. She uses her social media and marketing background to run an online yoga community through Facebook. Kaitlyn shares local yoga events, live streams video chats every Sunday about mindfulness and yoga practices, and writes a blog that complements yoga as a lifestyle.


Amidst all of her new explorations in the world of health and wellness, she gives a lot of credit to the resources she earned at UConn:


The work I did in the COMM Society set the stage for these leadership roles I hold in my community.  Between programming, event planning, public speaking and working interpersonally I have felt so well-prepared for these new ventures. The Martin Horn Scholarship gave me the funds to study abroad and follow my passion. If it were not for this opportunity, I wouldn’t have learned so early on that stepping out of comfort zones can lead to unforeseen success.”
The Department of Communication is thrilled to share stories of our alumni stepping into the world and make it their own! For more information, updates, and live videos from Kaitlyn, check out her Facebook and website!