jena_schwake CMST graduate students earn top honorsImage of

CMST graduate students earn top honors

Jena Schwake, Shana Makos, Sabria Slagowski-Tipton, and Beth Bonnstetter (M.A., '05)

Jena Schwake, Shana Makos, Sabria Slagowski-Tipton, and Beth Bonnstetter (M.A., ’05)

On April 12, Communication Studies graduate students Grant Campbell, Shana Makos, Jena Schwake and Sabrina Slagowski-Tipton each presented competitively selected papers at the 2015 Rocky Mountain Communication Association Conference held in Loveland, Colo.

Three Colorado State University Communication Studies graduate students swept the top graduate paper category, with Schwake taking home the Outstanding Graduate Paper award for her submission, “Herd Identity: Face-Negotiation Theory, Groupthink, and Web 2.0.” Schwake, who graduates this spring, originally wrote the paper for a Communication Theory seminar taught by Dr. Eric Aoki in the fall of 2014.

“My paper specifically fostered a conversation between Face-Negotiation Theory and Groupthink and addressed how the two theories might work in tandem to explain online interactions of anti-vaccination advocacy groups,” Schwake says. “Given the timeliness of the vaccination debate, I believe my paper could be useful in helping to foster greater understanding and dialogue on both sides of this polarized issue.”

Second year graduate student Shana Makos presented “’Friends don’t let friends fat talk’: Memorable messages and the impact of a narrative sharing and dissonance-based intervention on sorority affiliated peer health educators,” a condensed version of her thesis work. “I discussed how the anti-fat talk workshop served as a consciousness-raising space for women to discuss their struggles and successes related to body image,” Makos says. “The presentation was very intimate, as the conference is particularly small.”

First year graduate student Slagowski-Tipton presented “The Fetishistic Gaze: Lara Croft as the Modern-Day Pandora,” a paper she says was inspired by decades of playing video games and being troubled by the problematic representations of women across most games. “This was especially true for Lara Croft who is often lauded as a powerful feminist icon while simultaneously being marketed specifically to men in a highly sexualized way,” Slagowski-Tipton says.

Second year graduate student Campbell presented “We Remember the ‘First Stories’: Accounting for Children’s Communication in Fisher’s Narrative Paradigm.” He was chosen as a panelist for a session called “The Kids Are All Right: Children and the Stories We Tell.” The papers selected asked questions about what motivates, influences, and informs children and their communication practices.

According to RMCA president-elect and program planner Rebecca Roberts, the theme of the 2015 conference, “Communicating Culture,” was intended to challenge conference participants to critically examine the role of communication in cultural dynamics so that individuals can consciously embrace or reject cultural values, negotiate their way through culture, connect across cultural differences, and contribute to culture in meaningful ways.

The daylong conference gathers communication studies scholars at all levels of higher education from Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico colleges and universities.

Beth Bonnstetter (M.A., ’05) from Adams State University served as President of RMCA for 2015, and fellow alumnus Arne G’Schwind (B.A., ’92; M.A., ’94) from Regis University is RMCA Executive Director.