Author: Ashley Brannan

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

Professor Shardé Davis

photo of Sharde DavisThis fall the UConn Department of Communication has welcomed three new professors to the Department, each bringing something new and unique to the already existing faculty, students, and staff. Among the newest members of the faculty is Dr. Shardé Davis who is bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to our research labs and classrooms.

Davis earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Communication and Feminist Studies from University of California Santa Barbara and went on to receive a Ph.D. in Communication with a Doctoral Certificate in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Iowa. Her work in these two topics has led her to focus her studies on something new to the UConn COMM Department.

After participating in research and critiquing studies, Davis found that there was a lack of black women in the research representation. Upon finding this, Davis harnessed the phrase “research is me-search” and began to focus her studies on the interpersonal relationships of black women. With a goal of making her own narrative as a black woman heard, her research observes how black women communicate when they gather together in groups, by studying race and gender influences in group level context.

In the upcoming semester, Spring 2017, Professor Davis will be teaching two sections of COMM 4220W Small Group Communication. With the belief that “everyone’s opinion has a place,” she has discussion-based classes where she centralizes everyone’s voice. While creating a dynamic learning environment, Davis teaches concepts in ways such that students can can apply them to their own lives.

With high hopes for the future, the UConn Department of Communication welcomes Professor Davis and the unique perspectives she brings to the department.


Students Become Activists

comm-3100Every semester UConn students enroll in COMM 3100- Persuasion with the intention of gaining 3 credits and a few new tricks to convince their friends to do things for them. This course does not teach students how to control the minds of others, but it does teach them how to use persuasion skills to impact causes that they are passionate about. The course assigns students a group project in which they create activist campaigns to carry out through the course of the semester. Students then promote their movement and present it to their peers at an event towards the end of the course. Some of the previous campaigns have consisted of clothing drives, campaigns against texting and driving, and organizations to promote diversity and confidence around campus.

The course gives opportunities to apply the theories that students read in textbooks to real world scenarios. Within the campaign, students hone in on their design and public relations skills by designing videos, flyers, social media accounts, and websites. Professors are not holding any hands in this course, students are given the freedom to harness their own creativity to design a campaign that they are passionate about. Each project is unique in many ways, allowing students to not be bound by their rubric, but rather set free by an assignment.

One of the professors teaching the course this semester, Professor Thomas Meade, stated that Persuasion is special because students can “leave the class with a sense of pride”. The course allows students to be involved with an organization on campus that they create, giving students a voice and an opportunity for that voice to be heard.

The outcomes of these projects have been phenomenal, consisting not only of the persuasion skills that the students gain, but also the impact that the campaigns make themselves whether they raise awareness, money, or supplies. Each campaign has a measurable outcome, meaning the students can see the direct impact they make on their cause. By encouraging students from other departments to come and join their efforts, they are showing the importance of the field of Communications to their peers. It is easy to see the effects of nurses, accountants, and engineers, and with this project, it is easy to see the impact that communication professionals have on the world.

Show your support for the students at their Project Showcase on December 7, from 5-7 pm in the Dodd Research Center.