Month: March 2018

Women Making History at UConn

The month of March is very special to the Department of Communication because it is Women’s History Month. We are lucky to have so many women faculty members that are constantly innovating the field of Communications and making history. Some of these amazing women have compiled words of wisdom to share with other women who are looking to be history makers themselves.


Amanda Denes Ph.D.AAmanda Denes is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Communication. Her research focuses on communication in various types of interpersonal relationships such as romantic relationships, parent-child relationships, and friendships.


“One piece of advice is to make sure you find time to take care of yourself. There are so many struggles that women face on a daily basis that can be emotionally and mentally draining, so looking out for our own mental health and well-being is pivotal. There is sometimes stigma around mental health issues, but it’s so important for women to have an outlet and place to discuss struggles. Part of our gendered society is that women are often taxed with managing other people’s problems, fixing everything for everyone, doing the unpaid emotional labor, etc… it’s important to take time for yourself, whether that be finding a great therapist, practicing yoga or meditation, going on a run, or taking time for any other forms of self-care. For me, part of this also means having a great network of female friends. I am so fortunate to have amazing women in my life that help provide support and empowerment–they have helped me through so many challenges and the ups and downs of building a career. Whatever way you choose, make sure to take time for yourself and to not feel guilty about engaging in self-care.”


Shardè Davis Ph.D.Dr. Shardé M. Davis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and a faculty affiliate of the Africana Studies Institute and the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) at UConn. Her research explores how Black women’s complex identities—and the power-laden social structures that shape them—influence the way they communicate with close others.

My advice to other women is to give yourself some grace.  U.S. Society has a way of making women (especially women of color) feel like we aren’t doing enough. We fall victim to the superwoman archetype and push ourselves beyond our physical, mental, and psychological capacities to be our “best self” in every situation and in the company of others. This lifestyle is not sustainable and research shows that it corresponds to maladaptive health outcomes. We need to tell ourselves that if we are trying our best then that is enough! Don’t compare yourself to other people, namely folks who have gender, racial, class, and other institutional privilege over you. It’s not a fair comparison and we will fall short every time. Focus your energy on being your best self based upon your own (reasonable) standard of excellence. We also need to listen to our bodies and take a break when we experience exhaustion and take a moment to respect our emotional process and expression. I study these topics for a living, yet I struggle to adhere to my own advice at times.  So please know that our womanhood is an ever-evolving journey.”


Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch Ph.D.Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at University of Connecticut, where she conducts research in the Human-Computer Interaction lab. Her research interest is on the benefits of social media in terms of learning new information, civic engagement, and well-being.


“Be honest with yourself about what you really want. Society puts strong pressure on all of us about what we should be striving for, and the pressure is even stronger for women. We have been put into prescribed paths for most of history about what it means to be a woman, what we should expect out of life, and what is expected of us. Expect things for yourself, and work to fulfill your true needs and desires.”


COMM Student Feature – Sahara Shrestha

The Department of Communication is continuously impressed by the amount of work and commitment our students take to further their education and careers. There are many students that go above and beyond their class assignments to make themselves the best communication professionals they can be. Senior communication major Sahara Shrestha is a prime example of an outstanding student in the department.


Sahara originally entered UConn as a Biology major, but quickly changed after she realized that her people skills would be best used elsewhere. She has a strong passion for the entertainment industry and she aspires to spend her career collaborating with people, so she knew communication was the perfect major for her.


Through her love of communication, she decided to become the co-founder of the UConn  Chapter of Spoon University in January of 2016. Spoon University is an online journalism website about food. The writers feature new restaurants, health trends, and anything related to food. Sahara later became the President, as well as the Marketing Director for the chapter. Her role as the Marketing Director makes her the voice of the chapter and allows her to maintain the chapter’s reputation through social media and planning fundraisers. This opportunity has been an incredible collaboration of passions. She is a self proclaimed foodie, and getting an opportunity to use food to further her career was everything she could have hoped for.


Her experience with Spoon University has given her a lot of insight as to what career path she wants to take post graduation. She noted that she would love to continue working with SpoonU Headquarters, but she has dreams of working in the entertainment industry. Her experiences at UConn and in her positions have paved the way for her to continue working in marketing, and fulfill her dream of one day become a communication professional in New York City.


Sahara has truly found her place within the Department of Communication. She stated that her favorite course over her four years has been COMM 2940. She found the course to be incredibly helpful and felt that it was the most hands-on Comm class that she has taken. Sahara loved being able to physically create something and found digital production to be a very interesting topic. Over her four years, Sahara has created a strong connection with current Graduate Teaching Assistant Ambyre Ponivas. She has taken multiple classes with her, and found that she teaches class in a way that makes students interested and invested in their studies.


Whether it be her involvement with Spoon University, or in her studies, Sahara is well-rounded student that the Department of Communication is lucky to have as part of our program. Sahara constantly follows her passions, and we’re lucky her passions have led her to UConn!


If you’re interested in joining the UConn chapter of Spoon University, email Sahara at