Author: Ashley Brannan

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!

COMM Student Feature – Grace Gagnon


 TheScreen Shot 2017-01-20 at 12.34.31 PM Department of Communication’s undergraduate program is filled with students that continuously exceed the expectations. With extracurricular activities, internships, and commitments to the COMM Department, we’re proud to recognize the accomplishments of our students. As the President of the Comm Society, Grace Gagnon is one of the Department’s most active students.


Grace Gagnon is a junior double majoring in Communication and Journalism at the University. She stated that choosing to become a COMM major was obvious to her because she knew it would allow her to learn about the areas of research that interested her. With her love for public speaking she set out to fine tune her skills.


Grace has a very important role within Comm Society, which is a group that gives students a variety of opportunities to observe and investigate the fields of advertising, marketing, public relations, broadcast, and media. While collaborating with other students that are committed to furthering their education in the field of communication, they have worked closely with communication professionals. Grace is also a reporter and block anchor for UCTV, which is UConn’s student run television broadcast. She has been incredibly involved in the University’s organizations to expand upon her communications and journalism skills.


Outside of University organizations, Grace is heavily involved in communication and journalism organizations elsewhere. She previously interned for the COMMS department at United Technologies in Farmington, where she began to get her foot in the door of the professional world. Furthering her passion for journalism, she writes a weekly column for her local newspaper, The Bristol Observer.


She attributes a lot of her knowledge and passion for her career to UConn’s Professor Rory McGloin. Grace states that he, “is a great advisor and mentor for everyone on Comm Society. He has taught me how to be an effective leader, and always offers me great advice.”


It’s clear that Grace is one of the department’s most involved students. With her passion and hard work, she inspires her fellow classmates every day through her commitment to the field of communication. We applaud and appreciate her devotion to continually expanding her knowledge and experiences.

COMM Department Student Projects Fall 2016

In the fall of 2016, students in Communications courses devoted their semesters to creating projects, films, and photo essays that the Department of Communication is proud to present. Featured below are projects from students of The Process of Communication (COMM 1000), Fundamentals of Digital Production (COMM 2940), and Persuasion (COMM 3100).


The Process of Communication – 1000 Words Photo Essay & Brevity Videos

Fall 2016 course taught by Professor Stephen Stifano

COMM 1000 – A study of modern communication theories and principles where students understand how people affect and are affected by others through communication.


1000 Words




An Apple A Day


Fundamentals of Digital Production – Documentaries & Short Narrative Film

Fall 2016 course taught by Professor Stephen Stifano & Adam Rainear

COMM 2940 – Students develop fundamentals associated with the production of digital video, audio, and images to communicate with various audiences by rotating through various roles of pre-production, production, and post-production processes in the creation of multimedia projects.


My Name is Luis


Art Worth Talking About




Fall 2016 course taught by Professor Thomas Meade

COMM 3100 – Introduction to theories of attitude formation, change and reinforcement. Students use research to evaluate past and present models of persuasion.


UConn Take 10

Does Her Vote Count

Give to CT


Pillow Talk Studies

Denes Pillow Talk blogProfessors in UConn’s COMM Department are constantly conducting innovative studies, but Professor Amanda Denes’ research proves that there’s a lot more to research than goggles and test tubes.  Professor Denes joined the UConn community as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2012. During her time here, she’s been focusing on interpersonal communication, gender in communication and sexuality studies in both her classes and research.


Professor Denes’ latest research is focused on self-disclosure in relationships—more specifically post-sex pillow talk. In her Pillow Talk Studies she observed the level of relational satisfaction in coorelation to pillow talk. Her interest in hormones and their role in communication inspired the study.  Denes recalled stories from her friends of disclosing things post-sex that they did not truly feel, such as telling someone they loved them. She questioned the relationship between the amount of hormones released during sex and over-disclosure to partners after sex.


The findings of the study were very interesting, Denes found that disclosure of positive feelings after sex is linked to more satisfied relationships. The studies also had a connection to orgasms, where Denes found that orgasm was a large predictor in relationships because they release a significant amount of oxytocin which is a hormone that makes people feel happy. They also found that the more alcohol people consume, the less they disclose. Though many might think that alcohol would increase the likeliness of disclosure, it is believed that that the depressants in the alcohol counteracts the oxytocin, thus resulting in less disclosure and relational satisfaction.


Professor Denes feels that this study is important because people rarely think about what happens after sex. Communication doesn’t end after sex, the time afterwards matters, and in certain aspects she feels that it can be more important than sex itself.


Although it took a while for her to become comfortable with speaking to people about such an intimate topic, she has learned to view it as a scientific process in which she feels “immune” to it. The more comfortable she is discussing it, the more comfortable her subjects will feel about disclosing information. “It’s good for people’s sex lives to talk about it,” says Denes, “People want to tell you stories”.


In the future Professor Denes hopes to research social support in communication, and more specifically how social support can buffer difficult situations. In instances such as presence of hate speech, she wants to see if providing supportive communication can help people deal with stressful events.
In the 2017 spring semester, Professor Denes will be teaching a new hybrid version of COMM 3200 Interpersonal Communication, as well as finishing up her research.

Behind the Lense

When it comes to building a schedule for the upcoming semester there are things that every student looks for: new courses and classes that only meet one time a week with no textbooks. If I’m being honest, that was why I enrolled in Digital Production. Little did I know I enrolled in an incredibly enriching applied course that would allow me to unleash my creativity in ways I’ve never been able to before.

Walking into the first class of Digital Production I was concerned because there were only 35 people in a 150 person lecture hall, and I assumed no one even bothered to show up. I later learned that the course was designed to use a big lecture hall so we could use class time to collaborate. As Professor Stifano walked in, it was clear that something was going to be different about this course as the first thing he said was “I’m Professor Stifano, but you can call me Steve. If I could be wearing sweatpants I would be.” The course is presented in a very relaxed manner, allowing every student to feel comfortable sharing ideas and thoughts about projects they are making. The greatest part about a small class size setting is that you get to develop a strong bond with your classmates to create things that are more than just a group project. We created stories, we created movements, we created news, collectively.

With equipment provided by the Communication Department, the only thing that we had to worry about was coming up with ideas, and making them come to life through photo essays and short films.  While many courses that are required for the Communication major stress theoretical approaches, this course allows us to test out those theories. Professor Stifano gave us complete freedom to turn our passions into visions.  By pushing us to ask ourselves what we’re afraid of, what we care about, what we believe in, we could exemplify those things in our images and films.

Initially my classmates and I were nervous about operating equipment, coming up with new ideas, and editing films. It’s one thing to read about how to do these things, but to actually get our hands dirty and develop those skills allowed us as students and artists to build off of each other and create really amazing projects. Every single group developed friendships that continued outside and after the class.

Communication is a lot more than just learning how to speak to one another. This class explores the way that we can communicate through different types of media. Communication becomes an art in this course because of the way the we carefully design each message. We learn about media bias, hypodermic needle model, and decoding messages in every communication course that we take, but this class allowed us to experiment with them in our own projects.

Professor Stifano’s passion for the class and respect for all of our projects and ideas makes COMM 2940 an environment where students can thrive.



COMM Society Field Trip

Last mocomm-tripnth, the Communication Society took a trip to New York City to attend a live taping of The Harry Show. Award-winning actor and singer Harry Connick Jr., who is best known for his roles in the films Independence Day, Hope Floats, and P.S. I love you is the host of the show.

Connick Jr. began the show with an interview with actress Lily Collins, promoting her new film Rules Don’t Apply where she spoke about her role in the film, as well as what it is like to be the daughter of famous singer Phil Collins.

The next guest was Ta’Rhonda Jones, who plays Porsha in the hit television series Empire. Jones discussed her role on the show and told the audience about her overnight transition from a normal girl working at a nursing home to a celebrity, as her role in Empire was her first professional acting job.

The show ended with an amazing performance by some of the cast of Cirque de Soleil. The audience marveled at the incredible balance and flexibility of the performers.

During the breaks in the show, Harry Connick Jr. sang to, danced with, and invited the audience members to ask him questions.

Following the taping, an employee from NBC spoke to the Communication Society about working in the television industry. She talked about her background in the industry and her incredible internship on The Late Show with David Letterman. The woman explained that her internship experience was extremely helpful in guiding her towards what direction she wanted to go in with her career. She said that although she had almost no free time due to balancing her internship and her classes, she had no regrets because she was so passionate and excited about the work that she was doing. She emphasized that getting real world experience in the television industry through her internship was extremely important in helping her to land a job and become successful after graduation. The woman advised the group about the importance of getting any kind of internship experience during college and insisted that the best interns are those who work hard, want to learn new things, and do not treat any task as too small. She continued by speaking about the other roles that she has had throughout her career, and informed the group about how most young people entering the television industry will not stay in the same position or with the same company for their entire career, and that it is okay to move around and work in different roles. Hearing from someone with a lot of experience in the television industry was both an informational and motivational experience.

Overall, this trip was both a fun and educational one for the members of the Communication Society. Having an inside look and seeing how material from courses at UConn are applied in the television industry was a great learning experience for the group.


By Julie Pyrcz, COMM Society PR Chair