By Victoria Giardina
The communication studies department hosted its first annual #SpringHasComm Showcase on March 13 at 11 a.m. in the Brower Student Center Room 100 to present various projects that students have been working on throughout the semester.
The event was also an opportunity for those interested in the various fields of communication studies to meet other students, create a more positive perception of the communication studies department for the campus community at large and allow the communication studies students to showcase their accomplishments.
The department offers three specializations for its majors — public/mass, interpersonal/organizational and radio/TV/film.
Susan Ryan, who teaches Introduction to Film Studies, Introduction to Television Studies and Documentary Production, believes that her home department has much more to offer to students.
The idea for the showcase stemmed from the notion that the campus community is relatively uninformed of classwork and research within the communication studies department, according to Ryan. The event was also open to students outside of the department.
“People had a problem understanding what goes on here,” Ryan said.
The event showcased students’ original screenings, which included topics such as economics, lifestyle and health.
“I have a bunch of documentary students presenting in the showcase,” Ryan said. “We were working on a special project on the Puerto Rican population in Trenton, so they produced a series of films of musicians and visual artists working in Trenton. There will be three documentaries revolved around this topic, so we are very excited for that.”
The communication studies students who presented at the event were eager to share their documentaries, which they felt proved successful in the eyes of the attending campus community.
“I think that the projects were a bit overwhelming because the communication studies department has never done anything like this before,” said Alana Adams, a communication studies and public health double major and one of the presenters. “We realized how many people were interested in showcasing their work and it just got easier and more exciting from there.”
Another presenter, junior communication studies major Lorriann Guzman, also offered insight on the showcase’s value.
“I think the event is important because a lot of the times, communications majors are undervalued when compared to STEM,” Guzman said. “It is one of the biggest events we have ever done and it will definitely set the stage for the future.”
The event also provided two 15-minute individual student video-screening breakout sessions, based off of the department’s courses, Intermediate Video: The Art of Editing and New Media & Health Communication.
Along with these sessions, students got the chance to network with presenters and attendants to learn more about current internships and career opportunities in the field. They learned that some of the College’s communication studies alumni have gone on to work for CNN, NBC and shows such as “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”
Presenters provided an open forum for participants to understand the filming and editing processes and gain a better understanding of the technicalities behind the department.
The showcase embodied the universality among students’ differing studies within the communication studies department. It expressed the multitude of opportunities for its graduates and highlighted the program’s invaluable skills that can be applied across a diverse array of professions.
Adams highlighted the reasoning behind her involvement in the showcase.
“Communication studies is a worthwhile major to pursue,” she said. “It’s a major with a rigorous and fulfilling academic course load, which will provide students with a variety of internship opportunities … and great faculty and student relationships.”
Yifeng Hu, the department chair, was pleased with the high level of interest in the event, which she felt showed “the pride and engagement of the communication studies community.”
Hu believed that this event is only the beginning of sustaining an excellent running within her department.
“I am most proud of the enthusiasm and partnership of our own students, especially the planning team who spearheaded the idea of communication studies awareness and I was thrilled to support their initiatives through this journey,” she said. “This is our first event and we definitely want to make this a new tradition going forward.”