COMM Speaker Series: Dr. Aisha Nakiwala

Join us for the Department of Communication Speakers Series lecturer, Dr. Aisha Nakiwala for her talk: "What do They Talk About? Narratives of Ugandan Women on Facebook."

The Communication Speaker Series presents Dr. Aisha Nakiwala from the Department of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University in Uganda. Her talk will take place on Tuesday, October 15, from 12:30-1:45 p.m. in Arjona 225.

Nakiwala Aisha Sembatya (Ph.D) is a Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University in Uganda. She obtained a Doctorate of Philosophy in Communication in 2017 from Makerere University, Kampala and Örebro University, Sweden focusing on communication for malaria prevention in Uganda.  Her working experience spurned several years and includes academia and consultancy for government, non-governmental and international organisations such as ministries, SIDA, NORAD, UNICEF and Deutsche Welle.

Her area of research, teaching and consultancy have included communication that focusses on the locally situated nature of health issues, community engagement in critical health interventions and more recently women’s mediated narratives. She has published on issues of gender in health communication, children in community engagement and the safety of women media workers. She is a previous fellow of the Salzburg (AUSTRIA) Academy on Media and Global Change and she is currently at UConn courtesy of a postdoctoral research fellowship by Makerere University and Andrew. W. Mellon Foundation.

New Edition of The Communicator

image of front cover of The CommunicatorA collaborative effort of the Communication Society, students in COMM 4820 Public Relations, and the Department of Communication, the June 2019 issue of The Communicator is now online! Take a look inside this annual newsletter to catch up on faculty promotions, new faculty, graduate student accomplishments, undergraduate achievements, and alumni profiles.

To Our Graduating Seniors…

It is now May 1st. For Freshman, Sophomore, and Juniors, it means the start of the summer with a couple of months of break before they get to return to UConn again. For me, as a Senior, it means saying goodbye to the community that I have grown to love over the past four years. Saying goodbye to my professors, to walks from the Student Union to Wilbur Cross, and to living two minutes from my best friends. I could not be more thankful for what this school has given me.

Thinking back, it amazes me that I was scared to come to UConn and start a whole new life. When sitting in my dorm room in North Campus, I could never have imagined what my life looks like now and what I have learned here.


Of course, I will miss things like my friends and the constant Husky spirit; however, it is a strange feeling when I begin to realize the small things I will no longer experience. I will no longer get to experience the excitement and beauty on campus on our first snow day. Now that I will not be walking from class to class, or from Arjona to Gentry, I will no longer get to pass those who have made an impact on my life here. I will no longer be able to hear ‘SOOP DOOP’ anytime I’m in the Student Union. My hardest decisions will no longer get to include ordering from Dog Lane, Gansett, or Blaze. Lastly, I will not get to be here at UConn to see the leaves fall or the flowers bloom each year.


Working here at the Department of Communication has given me even more opportunities to broaden my experience on this campus. When my nerves began to kick in, I decided to turn to them for advice.


The Staff and Faculty of the Department of Communication gave me and the rest of my graduating class a few pieces of advice…


Professor, Rory McGloin – Maintain perspective, in where you are and where you’re going. There is no substitute for working hard – if you want something of value it will take time and effort, enjoy the process as it is the most rewarding and enduring part of the journey. Celebrate your accomplishments, even the “small” ones.


Professor, Thomas Meade – Make sure at all times you’re happy and having fun. Your generation makes the world you want it to be so take responsibility. This is your world, you can do what you want to do so make sure you’re happy in life and grab the reins.  


Academic Advisor, Katie D’Antonio – Not all criticism is personal, sometimes it’s an opportunity to learn and grow.


Professor, Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch – Don’t stop learning! School may finally be over, but keep exploring, keep growing, and keep your mind open to life’s opportunities.


Professor, Dave Atkin – Keep your syllabi, your education is just beginning. Do what you love; if you’re not able to find employment doing that right away, then do it on a volunteer basis until you do. Finally, don’t go overboard at Ikea.


Professor, Kristine Nowak – The first thing is to recognize the achievement and privilege it is to graduate. Appreciate the opportunity and be proud of your success. There are two things most important in the workforce: Show up and do what you said you were going to and when you were going to. There is this quote I love: ‘Failure is not the falling down, it is the staying down’. If you don’t fall once in a while, you’re probably not trying so fall and dust yourself off, and get back up.


Academic Advisor, Joel Nebres The one thing you should get out of your college experience is that learning is a lifelong process. The sense of wonder and joy in discovering something new; the struggle when we encounter our limits and then push them just a little further out; and, finally, the humility when we realize just how much more there is to learn. These are the big lessons that college teaches us, and what I hope each one of our graduating students takes away with them, when they leave.


This place is more than just a school to me, it is a community. Each day I was able to experience something new with endless possibilities. Although it seems scary leaving a place I have loved and called my home for the last four years, It felt scary coming here, so that is how I know what is in store for me next is going to be just as great.


To my fellow Seniors, good luck with all your future endeavors and remember: “Students Today, Huskies Forever.”


-Danielle Balzano

Student Feature: Ama Appiah

Ama Appiah is a senior who is about to complete her double major in Molecular and Cell Biology and Communication. Ama has made sure to get as involved as she could during her time here at UConn, all while maintaining her down-to-earth, personable self. She and I spoke about her involvement, her accomplishments, and her life at this University.

            Ama began her involvement by joining the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) the second semester of her freshman year. There, she served as CLAS senator for two years then moved on to the position of Academic Affairs Chairwomen. She has worked her way up in the organization and is now currently the USG President. As President, Ama stated in an interview with that Daily Campus that she wants “to make sure students understand that we are here for them, no matter what it is – if it’s for funding, if it’s for academics, sustainability, whatever that matter may be, we’re here for them.” She focuses on making the student body comfortable in their environment while showing each student that their voices are heard.

 Although Ama is a graduating senior, she wants to continue to work hard in the few weeks she has left and I have no doubt she will complete any mission she has left. When she and I spoke, she told me that she “will be working with Student Health and Wellness to create solidify a structure for a new university wide wellness campaign.” The USG president pointed out that she is the most proud of her accomplishments in this role, specifically the strides the organization has made for academics and wellness. With being in the role as President, she has gotten student feedback that has “demonstrated the importance of having students at the table for discussions such as finals week exams, dual degree programming, mental health, and more.”

            Before and during her time at USG, she continuously filled her time with other clubs and activities, making sure she had a well-rounded experience at the University. Ama has previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Communication for CLAS Leadership Board and was a public relations chair for Medlife. On top of that, she has been part of the SUBOG Concert Committee, wrote for HerCampus, and even participated in Club Track and Field. Although that alone sounds like a full plate, Ama went above and beyond to become a Brand Ambassador for various companies. She began her Brand Ambassador experience with Aerie and American Eagle. She has since become the Campus Coordinator and Brand Ambassador for Rent the Runway, rounding out her incredible résumé here.

            Ama told me that she is “someone who is always excited to try new things and meet people, so coming to a university with 600+ organizations was a dream!” She also addressed that since there are so many organizations that she was interested in, she eventually had to narrow down to the few she wanted to work with. She considers herself to be extremely passionate about helping students be successful and wants to make sure she is during her part to help others, which is seems to me that she has succeeded in this area.

Although Ama is also majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology, she has been an active participant and student in the Communication field. She is clearly an outgoing, friendly, and intellectual person which is why her majors compliments all sides of her. She loves how engaging the major is and even specified that, “Getting to know people and connecting with them is fascinating to me, and being a Communication major allows me to do this from a theoretical and critical standpoint. It adds a new dimension to interactions on a macro and micro level, and it is always fun to apply what I have learned to my professional and personal relationships.”

Ama said that it was really the course Interpersonal Communication (COMM 3200) that made her fall in love with the major. She continued by highlighting Organizational Communication (COMM 4230) and Media Literacy in Communication (COMM 2310W).

Ama’s favorite thing about UConn is that the community is so energetic and supportive. The graduating senior has truly made her time here count and made a large impact on the UConn community. Even though she is sad to leave the university she has called home for four years, Ama knows she will always be welcomed back with open arms whenever she visits!


Photo: Copyright © 2018 Owen Bonaventura



Lessons I Learned Working as a CI at the CCD


By: Amanda D’Arbanville


What Does it mean to be a Career intern at the Center for Career Development (CCD) at UConn?


I have been working this on-campus paid internship since my sophomore year at UConn. My work consists of critiquing undergraduate resumes, leading presentations on campus, and assisting various departments with campus-wide projects. I have learned countless lessons in this role to help other students, and to use for my own professional development.


Here are some of the top lessons I have taken away from this internship so far.  


Use the resources the Center for Career Development (CCD) has to offer: When I applied to the CCD as a Career Intern during my freshman year, it was the first time I had ever even seen the office. Through the application and interview process, I learned about all of the great programs and services the Center for Career Development offers to UConn students. I was able to sign up for multiple individualized resume critiques, complete a practice interview, and meet with a Career Coach for multiple career coaching sessions over the course of a few weeks. These small steps helped me to make huge progress in my career development, and lead me to many more opportunities.


Pay attention to the events happening on campus: Being a part of one of the biggest universities in the Northeast, many employers and recruiters visit UConn in any given week. Working at the CCD, I learned to attend more info sessions, on-campus interviews, and career fairs where I was able to form a personal relationship with recruiters at target companies and make it further through recruiting processes. I like to check Husky Career Link Powered By Handshake once a week to check, staying up to date on any upcoming campus events.


Create a Personal Brand and Learn how to Present it (For Interviewing and Networking): As part of my role as a career intern, I have worked as a member of the Practice Interview Team. In this role, I guide one-on-one practice interviews with students and help them brand themselves to employers and recruiters. Learning and perfecting my response to questions like “Tell Me About Yourself” and my “Elevator Pitch” has allowed me to professionally articulate my abilities and skills.

If you are interested in scheduling a practice interview or a career coaching appointment to work on these introductions,click here.


Your resume is not a single-use document, it is your first impression:  A well-designed resume is your first “handshake” with the employer – be sure to devote a lot of time to it! Before I was trained in resume writing, I had no idea how important employers and recruiters valued a clean, consistent, and content-filled resume. Since my internship at the CCD, I have worked tirelessly to continuously update and build my resume, which makes me more competitive for job and networking opportunities.

If you are interested in a 20-minute individualized resume critique at the CCD, click here.


How to be professional in an office environment: Working as a Career Intern at the CCD was my first experience in a professional office. Being that my role consists of interacting with supervisors, coworkers, and countless peers, it was essential for me to learn how to communicate professionally. I have learned to adapt my communication style at work and around campus to ensure I represent my personal and professional brand appropriately at all times.


Public Speaking Skills: As a Career Intern, I present to student groups, organizations, and classes on career-related topics. Public speaking is by far one of the most valuable skills I have gained in this role, and as a student seeking to pursue a business career, I know that this is something I will use over the course of the rest of my career.  


Overall, working as a Career Intern has been an amazing experience that has opened me up to many professional skills and opportunities. By committing myself to this position and devoting myself to my role as an intern, I have received amazing help and guidance with my career over the years. It has been one of my best decisions in college to take on this opportunity.

Are you interested in working at the CCD? Follow this link to apply!

Learn More about HuskyTHON with the VP of Communications

HuskyTHON is an organization that focused on the year-long effort to raise funds and awareness for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Each February, the fundraising efforts come together for an 18-hour dance marathon. Thousands of UConn students gather to dance for those children that cannot. This year will be UConn’s 20th annual event For The Kids.

Nicole Schwartz is on the HuskyTHON Management team as the acting Vice President of Communications. The VP of Communications has various responsibilities, but overall, she manages the public relations for the organization and event year round. From PR campaigns, working with news organizations, writing press releases, to collaborating with the rest of the members on the HuskyTHON management team, Nicole ensures that the brand name and the overall goal to Raise Them Up is known statewide.

As the 18-hour dance marathon approaches, I decided to interview Nicole to gain more insight on the hard work that has gone into the event and amazing cause as a whole:

Q: It seems like you have a lot of different responsibilities, out of those, which do you enjoy the most? Which one do you think works the best in getting the word out about HuskyTHON?


Nicole: Management has been so life-changing…it brings you to so many people on this campus and not just the 27 person team. The morale captions get to interact with numerous people and see all of the good that our community does for this cause. I also love asking people their ‘why’; why they dance, why they participate. It means different things to people and I love hearing their answers and am able to participate in the change.

So, two different things work really well. One of the best things about VP Communications is that you get to work with every single person on the management team and everyone has a different responsibility. I think we have really communicated on social media and our website about what it takes and how we all together can make a difference. On a more personal level, I have really enjoyed talking to news organizations and learning how to write a press release. With communicating with the news organizations, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity which has pushed me out of my comfort zone, without advocating for HuskyTHON and CCMC. I am also so thankful I have been able to do on air interviews about how passionate I am, and the 3,000 people that participate, are about this organization. What’s great about it, is I get to share with the entire state of Connecticut and beyond how much this means to the UConn community.


Q: What has your process been like leading up to HuskyTHON, especially to stay organized?


Nicole: The biggest thing is relying and trusting my teammates because everyone was chosen for this role for a reason. Another organization trick I use is I keep a to-do list where I map out what is pressing for that day or week. I also go through my email consistently. Management has a 24/7 rule where we make sure no email goes unnoticed for 24 hours to ensure nothing gets missed. Especially in my role, I am communicating with a lot of people externally from a media list that has been put together. In these circumstances, Google Docs and Google Sheets are super helpful. I really try to hold my self-accountable for what I need to accomplish.


Q: What made you want to get involved in such a great cause like HuskyTHON?


Nicole: I actually went to the University of Maryland and I participated in their TerpTHON. At that point, I didn’t have a choice in participating because my sister’s friend went there. After that, I went on to be part of the Executive Board and joined the Advertising Committee, and it truly changed my life for the better. Sophomore year, I transferred here to UConn and I knew what HuskyTHON was. I immediately applied to be a morale caption because I wanted to be all in from the start. In February 2016, I walked out of the Field House for the better. I saw the passion on student’s faces and smiles on parents’ faces. People say this day is better than Christmas and it could not be more true. The parents get to see the children happy and act/feel like normal kids. It is truly inspiring that a group of college kids make such a great change and impact on the community. I am so thankful for my sister’s friend who brought dance marathon into my life.


Q: By making HuskyTHON not just an event but an organization and a year long process, do you think that helps with the PR for the cause?


Nicole: I love that you brought that up. A lot of people believe that it is just and 18-hour dance marathon, and that could not be more false. The person who raises $1 and the person that raises $1000 matter just as much. If the $1 person didn’t contribute, then we would be $1 less than what would could’ve been. We raise $1 at a time, we don’t have any sponsors. We are a group of college students coming together to support a cause. We like to say it is an inclusive community where everyone can do good. The kids never stop fighting, so we will never stop fighting. As long as there is childhood illness, we will never stop fighting. We are trying to make a million miracle, $1 and one smile at a time.


Q: What is one thing you have learned from holding this position for this amazing organization?


Nicole: I always say that there is so much good if you look in the right places in the world; the good is right here in the University of Connecticut. People are amazing and it’s true when you see them going above and beyond. It comes down to the dancers, and if they aren’t as committed as the management, then our cause wouldn’t be as successful. Each person matters. My favorite thing is how united people are and how willing they are to push their limits.


Q: What specific PR techniques do you use to promote HuskyTHON? And on what platforms?


Nicole: Basically, last year our goal was to raise 1 million dollars. This year we wanted to let our dancers know that yes, the money is important, but it comes down to the children we are supporting. In order to emphasize that, we created the phrase ‘Raise Them Up’. This slogan helps promote the idea that instead of a monetary goal, we are striving to raise up the hospital staff, children, and families. We are raising up the expectations of what is possible while also raising up people’s attitudes. It is a major technique that truly shifts away from the monetary aspect to put the most important goal at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Along the lines of different platforms and other specific techniques, we tried a lot of different things this year. We made a video in October that was able to capture all the little moments leading up to HuskyTHON while showing the event as well. This year, we also created balloons with everyone’s ‘why’ on them to create buzz as well as stick to the theme of ‘raising them up’. Another thing we did with students’ ‘why’s’ was when they share their social media posts about HuskyTHON, we asked them to share their why along with it. It definitely captures people’s attention as well as make it more personal. On a smaller note we painted the rock for HuskyTHON, put banners on buses, and put graphics in the dining halls for more awareness.


For more information about HuskyTHON:

My Experience With The Comm Society

By: Sowon Chung ’20

I joined the Communication Society in my sophomore year. Joining Comm Society, I thought, would allow me to meet people while also pursuing my goal of business development within the Communication major. I did not know many people studying Communication because all my friends were in different majors.


What I found that I valued most, however was the diversity of interests in my fellow majors. Communication students have different interests and many of them have interesting double majors or minors; so, I not only meet people with the same major, but also people with variety of interests. During my first year with Comm Society, I was part of the newsletter committee, which was very meaningful way to get to know my major because I got to write about the Communication department’s news and events. I enjoyed it so much that I became the newsletter chair!


The Communicator. In the newsletter chair position, I oversee the Newsletter Committee that produces the Department’s newsletter, The Communicator. This newsletter highlights stories about the growth of the Communication program and the most recent accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff. We interview new professors, Martin Horn Scholarship winners, and other exciting personalities. Last year, we had a big shift as our newsletter switched from a PDF format to Mailchimp, making the Newsletter easier to access and tech-friendly. This year, the Newsletter committee will be teaming up with the PR class. Upcoming in the spring semester, we will begin putting together this year’s newsletter, so any students interested can contact the COMM Society and contribute to the Newsletter! (To view previous issues, check out The Communicator website:


Public Speaking Competition. Interested in showing off your public speaking skills?  Another meaningful and fun event the Comm Society organizes is the public speaking competition. This year will be the 6th annual competition. Last year, I was really fascinated by the different students from different majors showing off their public speaking skills. The competition also brings together judges from different fields of Communication: last year, the judges included Interpersonal Communication Professor (and Director of Graduate Studies) Amanda Denes, WFSB-TV Reporter & Anchor Caitlin Nuclo, and NBC Connecticut Political Reporter Maz Reiss.


Leadership in Comm Society. As an executive board member, I help plan and lead meetings every week. We try to have different types of events every week, such as sharing our experiences of internships, advice about COMM classes, going to communication department’s events, and bringing guest speakers. So far, we have had guest speakers–job recruiters, professors, and graduate students talking to us about graduate programs. Some of the members actually got internships through the Communication society, which is great! And we’re not ALL business; we also have fun activities like bowling, trips to Boston or New York, and ice skating!


Overall, I really enjoy being part of Comm Society. I’ve met some great people, followed through on my business development goals, and learned more about Communication in general.   The Communication Society provides a variety of opportunities and experiences for students who are interested in the field of communication. Through networking opportunities, event planning experience, peer-to-peer advising, and other activities, students get the chance to learn more about the field of Communication itself than they could simply by attending classes. Check us out by attending one of our meetings. We have opportunities for everyone! Our meeting days this Spring are Mondays at 6:00 PM in Monteith 320.


If you have any questions, email us at


Finding the Perfect Balance of Clubs

By: Rachel Philipson

With over 600 student clubs at UConn, how on Earth do you find the perfect one for you?  Do you only have to pick one?


When I came to Storrs as a Freshman, I was completely intimidated by the Involvement Fair, the annual event held on Fairfield Way that brings together all of UConn’s student groups and organizations. I did some research beforehand and knew that I was looking out for clubs that would not only boost my resume, but be fun. College is supposed to be the best four years of your life, right? Joining a club is one way to make the most of your time at UConn.


So, I’m obviously not going to tell you about all the clubs that are out there—but a little about the ones that I did eventually join. I hope this helps you find the right ones for you.


The Daily Campus

I am a journalism major so I knew I wanted to do something related to my major. I write for my local paper back home so I knew something writing based would be good for me. I remember going into the fair and signing up for the Opinion section, but I wanted something that would challenge me more, so instead I decided to write for the News section.


I have been with the News section ever since and I love it. I face new challenges every week. I have dealt with sensitive stories, time-crunchers, and light, happy pieces. I feel my writing gets better with every story I write. By the time I graduate, I will have a great deal of writing experience and build that ever-important portfolio.


What I learned: There are clubs out there that can connect you more deeply to your major. And it’s OK to change your mind, if you find that what you initially signed up for isn’t the right fit.


UConn Tap Club

I have danced since I was three years old. I’ve done tap, jazz, ballet, and pointe, but tap has always been my favorite. I wanted to join a dance club that wasn’t stressful and I wanted to continue doing something I already knew I loved.


During my freshman year, Tap Club allowed me to be a part of some very cool experiences like dancing at HuskyTHON, creating my own dance, and attending a master tap club in NYC.

This year, I am on EBoard and I love the challenge of planning events and trying to help people become friends with one another.


What I learned: Do something you love, and as a bonus, give back to the club by assuming a leadership role.  You’ll be surprised at the leadership skills you’ll develop, and how much fun it will be.


Alpha Lambda Delta

After my first semester, I got an email inviting me to join the First-Year honor society. In high school I was in National Honor Society, so I was beyond excited to join.  Not only does the society seem very professional, but they also hold fun events. This year, I was a part of Pumpkinfest and found myself selling pumpkins and cactus on Fairfield way—something I wouldn’t have predicted I’d be doing as an Alpha Lambda Delta member.


What I learned: If you get invited into a cool organization, say yes. Because you never know the unexpected places it could lead you!


UConn Ballroom Team

At the start of my sophomore year, I decided to join Ballroom Team with my friend from back home. We had danced at the same dance studio for 14 years but we were never dance partners. It was a perfect mix of new and old. It was also an excuse to do something with him since we have very different majors and I’d rarely see him otherwise.  I think we’ve become closer friends because of our team experience.


Ballroom dancing is very different from tap dancing, but I love the new opportunities. It is nice to have an actual dance class again and to see myself improving. I have the opportunity to compete, and although I haven’t done it this semester, I can’t wait.


What I learned: Don’t be afraid to join something new, even after your first year.  Sometimes, a new club could be that opportunity to make new friends—or to reconnect with old ones.