NORMAN, Okla.— The beginning of March also signals the beginning of spring academic conference season.
As inconvenient as they are in the middle of a busy semester, these short, usually two-day gatherings are a chance to get feedback on research projects in-progress and catch up with colleagues at other colleges and universities.
It’s also a great chance to see the next generation of mass media scholars in action!
I could not have been prouder as a teacher than I was today to see our students from the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences presenting their academic papers at this AEJMC Midwinter Conference, which is being held this weekend on the beautiful campus of the University of Oklahoma.
One of those students, Natalie Brown, is on the fast track, entering our Ph.D. program just two years ago (2010) without even completing her master’s degree. She and I presented a research paper on our ongoing research on CNN’s Black in America franchise.
Then there’s Alice Tunaru, who just a few years ago sat in my undergraduate introductory journalism course as a scholar athlete. Today she was talking about how young adults access sex-related information online.
I just met Sim Butler and Betsy Emmons last semester when I visited the newest cohort in our Ph.D. program in one of their classes in November. As first-year doctoral students, Butler and Emmons shared their research on Mississippi State’s University’s efforts to use the #HAILSTATE Twitter hashtag during their recent beat-down on rival Ole Miss last Thanksgiving weekend.
I believe I counted 14 papers that were presented by our graduate students (and one faculty member) at this conference this weekend, That’s same number of papers as were presented by faculty and students at our host institution, the University of Oklahoma.
What an accomplishment! Seeing all of this in the plush quarters of the less than five year-old Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication make it all the more thrilling.