The field of communications and information sciences represent a path to unimagined connections – be it the consciousness of target audiences or research methods used to study mass media messages and their effects. Therefore, the ability to communicate effectively is recognized as one of the most essential aspects for human functioning and success, regardless of profession or social status. Communication plays an increasingly important role in the way we build and manage careers, innovation, entrepreneurship, knowledge, change and relationships. Despite the importance of this topic, the idea of studying communications sounds boring, self-serving or pretentious. However, recognizing that I am a consumer, as well as scholar in this multi-media information marketplace, it is my goal to penetrate a new mindset and construct innovative strategies that will develop critical communicative relationships or govern current ones, in an effort to reimagine the field of communications and distinguish scholars and leaders in 21st Century organizations.
During my graduate study in communications at Northwestern University, face-to-face communications was of particular interest to me. So, I drew on my interest from theories introduced during one of my favorite courses, Change Management, taught by Professor Michael Roloff. Professor Roloff’s course revealed the importance of being able to effectively and properly communicate change. Professor Roloff taught that whether the adjustment is planned, unexpected or volatile industry that change is inevitable, and we learned the costs associated with ideas being poorly communicated, that yield a misunderstanding due to perceived insult or resistance to change due to political or religious views that are contrary to the ideas being presented. The disciplined and structured program provided me the foundation needed motivate people to higher performance. Thus, I was able to apply the learned theories to the communication design, policies and practices in the TRIO program at Morehouse College. While, I pride myself on my work with TRIO from fundraising, incorporation of new technology, communication curriculum design to altering media consumption habits, my graduate studies coupled with my professional work experiences have further fueled my passion for scholarly tasks and inquiry.
Interpersonal communication is inextricably linked to our ability to convey stories. My thesis research is dedicated to interpersonal communication for isolated and marginalized populations. The study aims to understand how communication systems for isolated and marginalized groups evolve and extend from every form of media except traditional face-to-face communication. In order to find out why effective interpersonal communication lacks within these marginalized communities, there were subsidiary issues that I had to address. First, I had to establish a general understanding of the communication process utilizing good and bad communication models, where each resulted in certain outcomes. Second, it was necessary to demonstrate through empirical evidence that manipulation of communication variables would lead to desired outcomes of success. The study modeled a personalized leveraging and managing networks curriculum, that presents communication as a process for empowerment that can be used for persuasion, networking, conflict resolution, negotiating, decision-making or modification. The study points out that listening to people and learning about their perceived needs does strengthen face-to-face interaction in individuals from marginalized groups and serves as a tool for increasing social capital across cultures.
My proposed dissertation research concentrations fall under broad contexts in the genre of communications. I aim to involve myself in rigorous research to discover answers to various phenomena such as: underlying racial slights through everyday talk in institutional climates, intrinsic motivation in public organizations, how facial expressions reveal our thoughts to the recipient and third-party observers or cultural competency in interorganizational networks. Through my particular interests, I seek to compile extensive data and publish scholarly articles based on the practical results to academic journals. I am convinced of the power that societal norms and culture have on communicative relationships with ourselves, our communities and the world. It is communication that mediates our relationships and that same communication frames what we see and where we place our focus. Communication has the ability to add clarity or a nebulous distortion.
Ultimately, while my education experiences and research background have challenged me theoretically and practically, my thesis work is what has stimulated me most and inspired to seek out and apply to graduate programs geared toward interpersonal communicative research. I am drawn to the Communications and Information Sciences program at the University of Alabama specifically due to Dr. Robin Boylorn’s background in organization and interpersonal communication and Dr. Mary Meares’ background in communication and culture. I am attracted to the study of populations that are bounded by their common circumstances. I want to understand the links between how these circumstances affect norms related to communication and social networks. The Communications and Information Sciences faculty and pioneering intellectual atmosphere and research-based comprehensive course of study will support me in innovative ways to address these issues. My initial goal is to obtain my doctoral degree and become a professor of communication and media studies, specializing in interpersonal and cultural communications. I seek to teach and give back to academic communities most in need. Studying and researching alongside the best and brightest minds in the field at the University of Alabama will foster innovation within myself to visualize and design the maximal impact that a professor can have on their students, in the efforts of healing and ameliorating disturbing statistics representing the porous state of teaching, learning, leadership and agency among students from underserved populations, specifically students of color.
If presented the opportunity to become part of the Communication and Information Sciences cohort at the University of Alabama, I will bring enthusiasm and openness to the classroom. I know and understand research and am excited by it. I listen to the ideas and opinions of others and are not afraid to disagree and suggest inventive options. With hard work at the core, I have been fortunate enough to receive a stellar academic foundation. My life’s experiences, educational background and central competencies all serve as tools for me to excel in the Communication and Information Sciences program at the University of Alabama. I am convinced that the University of Alabama’s exciting and cutting-edge interdisciplinary program can further strengthen my scholarly examination and pedagogical proficiencies. I look forward to becoming a part of the intellectually stimulating environment and vigorous program, I know that the University of Alabama’s Communication and Information Sciences program will provide.
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