The Department of Communication congratulates the following students honored at this year’s College of Arts and Sciences Awards Ceremony, presented by Dr. Maggie Wills and Dr. Michael Pagano:
2012 Outstanding Academic Achievement in Communication Award – Nicole Laskowski
“Nicole is a double major in Communication and English, and a minor in Marketing and Women’s Studies with a GPA of 3.98—the highest of her class, for which she was awarded The Lieutenant William Koscher Award in the Arts earlier in this ceremony. Nicole was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. She’ll be inducted into the Comm. Honor Society this May, and as previously mentioned, she and her co-authors’ senior capstone research project was recognized as distinguished work in the Social Sciences. Beyond the gates of Fairfield, Nicole was a marketing intern at the Central CT Coast YMCA, and a Production intern for the Maury Povich Show—a great conversation starter for any job interview. In the classroom, Nicole elevates every conversation and exceeds expectations on every assignment with her brilliance, kindness, and great humility. Where some search for the narrow path to a topic that gets them from point A to completed project point B, Nicole enjoys contemplating many ideas, and then, almost magically, she’s able to sift through the literature to arrive at a do-able, important project every time. Well suited to the life of the mind, Nicole hopes to pursue a graduate degree that will no doubt result in her becoming our esteemed colleague. Today, we’re very proud to call her our top student.”
2012 Distinguished Work in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
“As these students’ research capstone project advisor, I’m pleased to present the award for distinguished work in the social and behavioral sciences to communication seniors Anthony Corso, Christie Fogelstrom, Nicole Laskowski, and Chelsea Pabon. Their project, entitled, “I love the Ladies but they don’t belong in the newsroom: Gender Biases in Male and Female Anchor Teams” offers an in-depth content analysis of twenty newscasts along with a survey of 78 undergraduates. The content analysis in particular was very thoughtfully designed and labor intensive, and yielded some important insights into lingering gender biases in the television news industry. The project was also competitively accepted for presentation at the 38th National Undergraduate Honors Conference at DePauw University. The Selection Committee cited the work’s clear hypothesis grounded in a substantive review of existing literature, originality of ideas, clear writing, and contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the study of gender, media, and communication. The committee viewed the research teams’ acknowledgment of research limitations as a strength because they did not attempt to make claims that couldn’t be supported by the data. Also, having previously recognized the achievement of individual students, the committee noted this year they were honoring group scholarship, as “collaborative research efforts” are increasingly typical in the social and behavioral sciences, with collaborative work being the kind of work that most researchers in our disciplines do. We honor the group effort here, and wish all the best to this outstanding group of young scholars.”
2012 Professor James J. Keenan Award – Kara M. Meagher
“Ms. Meagher earned a 3.88 g.p.a. in her graduate work here, but she has distinguished herself in many other ways. Kara used her experiences in one grad course and expanded on them in an Independent Study to co-author a paper, “Tackling death and dying: A service-learning approach,” that was presented at, and is being published by, the Vatican/Marquette University, “Power to Transform the World Conference.” In addition, her interests in health, interpersonal, and organizational communication led her to develop a unique Thesis project that explores how an urban hospital collaborates with, and encourages, its health care providers to disclose medical errors and adverse events to the patients and/or families who suffered negative consequences. This groundbreaking research is titled, “Disclosing bad outcomes: Implications for patients, providers, and interpersonal relationships. Kara’s exploration of dying patients’ communication and the disclosure committee’s efforts, mirror her commitment to improving the lives of her fellow human beings. These values are consistent with Professor Keenan’s that he exemplified in his 40+ years of teaching and scholarship at this institution. For all these reasons and more, the Department of Communication faculty selected Kara M. Meagher the recipient of the 2012 Professor James J. Keenan Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Communication Graduate Student.”
It’s one of our favorite times of year around the Communication Department – award season! And kicking things off, we’re delighted to announce that the 2012 recipient of the Professor James J. Keenan Award for Outstanding Achievement as a Communication Graduate Student is Kara Meagher.
Kara is the second graduate student to receive the award, which is named after Dr. Keenan, a leader in graduate communication at Fairfield University for more than four decades. This award is given annually to a Communication graduate student who “demonstrates excellence in academic achievement, outstanding personal growth through the scholastic experience, and exceptional commitment to our field.” The recipient should also possess “a spirit of good humor and collegiality,” in the tradition of Dr. Keenan.
Kara’s scholarship in the program has notably included paper presentations at Marquette University and the International Communication Association’s “Instructional & Developmental Communication” Division. Her thesis undertakes a participant-observation ethnography of an urban hospital committee tasked with disclosing adverse treatment potentials to patients and their families. Congratulations, Kara!