The 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.
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.
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.
Professors 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.