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Alumni Spotlight #2: Eric Flemming, '06

This week’s Alumni Spotlight beams on to 2006 Communication Studies graduate Eric Flemming.  I chose to profile Eric for this spotlight because he has managed to land a job that many of you dream about.  Really.  I can name several of you off the top of my head who would want Eric’s job.  Why?  Because he works for the World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants! 

Eric is the Minor League Operations Assistant and has worked in this capacity since 2007.  After he graduated with his Communication Studies degree, Eric graduated with his MA from USF’s Sports Management program in 2008.  He works for the Baseball Operations Department which is responsible for player development, scouting, and rosters for the San Francisco Giants ML club and the seven minor league clubs.  He works with about 200 minor league players and about 45 minor league coaching staff members and helps them with their everyday tasks.  He also assists their scouting department during the draft with video and stat spreadsheets and assists the Vice-President of Baseball Operations with his tasks, such as contacting agents, speaking with the commissioner’s office, speaking with other teams, and other day to day operations that pop up for a ML baseball team.  Didn’t I tell you that many of you would want Eric’s job?  Wait, it gets better.

One of the perks of working for the team that goes to the World Series is that Eric also got to go to the World Series!  He also marched proudly (I could have said “walked” but I’m pretty sure that he marched proudly) in the parade in honor of the San Francisco Giants.   

One of the other reasons I chose to profile Eric is because I think that he has really landed his dream job (I actually don’t just think this, he told me this when I asked him to speak as our Alumni Speaker a few years ago).  According to Eric, “I love working in a competitive environment where you are trying to be better/work harder than 29 other teams and try to win a Championship every year.  I also love that every year is different.  The work is pretty much the same, but the rosters are always different, the games are different, the draft prospects are different, and the outcomes are always different.  That keeps the job from getting stale and really motivates everybody I work with to come in everyday and outwork other teams.” 

Congratulations, Eric!

Eric and his wife, Caitlin, posing with the National League Championship Trophy and the World Series Trophy

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Dons' Doings: Activism Workshop, Dec. 2nd!

Our post today comes courtesy of Professor Marilyn DeLaure and two of her Rhetoric of Social Movements students, Alicia Maldonado and James Bautista. 

How Can I Make a Difference in My Community?

Join Us for a Workshop About Activism on Thursday, December 2, 5:30 pm, in the Broad Room of Fromm Hall.
As part of the Rhetoric of Social Movements (SL) class, Communication Studies majors Alicia Maldonado and James Bautista have organized a workshop on social movements and activism taking place this Thursday.  This workshop will explore current social movements to critically analyze our efforts to make change.  In particular, we will look at the Civil Rights movement of the American South as a case study of a successful movement.  We’ll meet a panel of activists, including Mike Miller, a veteran of SNCC and an active organizer, who will talk about how regular people can make a difference today on a local, national, and international level.  The panel will also include an organizer from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.  Small group discussions will offer an opportunity to process the panel presentations and reflect on lessons of past movements and our current involvement in activism. Please join us in learning from past movements and to explore aspects such as rhetorical and communication strategies of movements, the importance of organization and community, and the impact of new media.

What: Panel presentation and Q&A, followed by discussions in small groups.  Food will be provided.

When: Thursday, December 2nd @ 5:30 PM

Where: Fromm Hall, Broad Room.  Free and open to the public.

Please contact Alicia Maldonado (apmaldonado@usfca.edu) or James Bautista (jbautista3@dons.usfca.edu) for more information.  This event is presented by the USF Department of Communication Studies and the San Francisco Freedom School.  Please help spread the word about this event, and bring your friends and colleagues!  Congratulations to Alicia and James for planning this important event!

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Dons' Doings: Communication Studies Game Day, Lady Dons Basketball Dec. 5th!

Hello everyone!  One week from today, on Sunday, December 5th, at 2:00 in the afternoon, we will be holding our third Communication Studies Game Day (and the last for this semester), this time at the women’s basketball game!  The Lady Dons will be taking on UC Santa Barbara at War Memorial Gym.  Before I give you more details, let me explain the Communication Studies Game Day program.  Now, no one has ever described me as “athletic,” but I have always been a big sports fan.  My husband and I have gone to many USF games over the years, and we always have a great time, but we noticed that the turnout is not always great.  So, I came up with the idea for Communication Studies Game Days, where we, as a department, go to a game where we have majors on the team to show our support for our student athletes.  I am not one to brag, so I am just going to stick with the objective facts.  Our first Game Day was at the men’s soccer game vs. Gonzaga, and our Dons won 2-0, their first conference win.  Our second Game Day was at the women’s soccer game, and the Lady Dons beat Gonzaga 3-1, their first conference win.  So, I think it is clear: Communication Studies Game Days bring an extra bit of good luck to our Dons!  I think everyone who has been to one can confirm that we have a great time (comment here to back me up if you have been to a Game Day!).  I mean, a Communication Studies banner is involved.  Need I say more? 

Back to the game this coming weekend.  We will be supporting three Communication Studies majors on the team: #1 Rheina Ale, #22 Katy Keating, and #45 Mel Khlok.  These women are modest, but I have been following their performance this year, and they are GREAT!  Rheina helped change the momentum of the most recent game vs. Rhode Island by bringing the Dons within 2 close to the end of the half.  Mel put the Dons up by 2 in the second half and helped them maintain their lead to go on and win the game.  And Katy, well, she led the team in scoring with 19 points!  We will be congregating in the lower level, general admission, center court section, opposite our team’s bench.  Look for our banner and my pom poms!  Admission is free for students and tickets are $7 at the door for everyone else.  I know it is a busy time of the year, but please come out and support your fellow students on the team!  Students, faculty, alumni, friends… everyone is invited! 

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Academic Trivia #1: What is "On Sabbatical"?

The credit for the idea for my newest category of posts, “Academic Trivia,” goes to Professor Ho.  The idea is to explain some aspects of academia that you, as students, likely hear about but maybe do not fully understand because no one has explained them.  So, first up, is what does “on sabbatical” mean?  You may have heard that Professor Burgess is “on sabbatical” next semester and that is why she is not teaching any classes.  No, “Sabbatical” is not the name of Royal Carribean’s latest luxury cruise ship (although Professor Burgess may wish it was!).  Instead, it is a leave from teaching to focus on research.  Most professors go on sabbatical in their seventh year at a university, after being granted tenure (and every seven years after that).  However, here at USF, professors can choose to take a sabbatical in their fourth year of employment, pre-tenure, to work on research, which is what Professor Burgess is doing.  She will not be cruising the high seas, but instead working on her book, entitled Making a Scene: Scandals of Legal Recognition.  As per the author herself, “This book performs a critique of recent international legislation that is meant to offer rights and resources to marginalized populations.  The book demonstrates, however, that recognition can be a scandalous affair when we look at the conditions law places on individuals in order to receive recognition.”  Some professors need to travel in order to conduct their research, and so they use their sabbatical to do that, such as Professor Jacquemet when he conducted fieldwork in Italy during his sabbatical a few years ago.  I’m still working on my argument for why I just must study the marital interactions of people living on islands in the tropical South Pacific (if you have any ideas, send them my way!).  Next up on a future Academic Trivia post: what is “tenure”?  If you have any questions that you would like answered in a future trivia post, send them my way!

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Speaking of… Thanksgiving

I had intended to write my first “Academic Trivia” post today, but I couldn’t let the holiday go by without addressing it.  So indulge me for a moment (or three, as this post turned out longer than I planned).  When I was in pre-school, my class did a project for Thanksgiving.  We cut up strips of colored construction paper and on them we had to write what we were thankful for.  We took some blank strips of paper home and had our family members write on them too.  We then taped the strips of paper together in loops to form the “Thanksgiving Chain.”  My mom liked the idea so much that we did it every year growing up.  (Incidentally, Family Communication alums could tell you what type of family ritual this is… any takers?).  Some years I would cut way too many pieces of paper so that by the end, everyone had to get really creative (like “I am thankful for French Fries” …wait, who I am kidding?  French Fries are always near the top of my list).  In any case, I share this story because I think all of us (students and professors alike) feel stressed at this time of the year.  Because as all of you know, we have Thanksgiving and come back to deadlines for papers, presentations, and exams (I know this because I am responsible for imposing many of those deadlines!).  In short, it can be a difficult time of the year.  However, two things that always make my Thanksgiving Chain are my students and USF.  There is really no other job I would rather have (except to maybe be one of those people who tests out the amenities at luxury hotels… how do you get that job?).  And, I really think we are all quite lucky to be here.  Spoiler Alert:  At graduation, Fr. Privett will talk about how only 1% of the world’s population has a college education (I found another source today that said up to 6%, but I am going to defer to our University President on this one).  My point is that although for us it is a busy, stressful time of the year, I think we should also acknowledge that we are in a pretty great situation.  You, as students, are entering a very small group of people who have a college education, which I think is something to be very thankful for.  That, and “Glee.”  I admit it, on the top of my chain this year, after husband, family, home, students, and USF, would be “Glee.”  (My husband asked me last night if I realize that I am not actually on the show).  Now, I know most of you have probably reached your holiday destination, but if you are stuck in lines at the airport or in a car (as long as you’re not driving), comment back on something that you are thankful for.  It can be an electronic Thanksgiving Chain.  I hope you enjoy the holiday with your family and friends (or teammates… Go Dons!).

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Faculty Feats: Professor Marco Jacquemet

Our first “Faculty Feats” features Professor Marco Jacquemet.  Some students may have noticed that Professor Jacquemet is not teaching any classes in our department this coming Spring semester.  No, it is not because he won the lottery and no longer has to work for a living, is is because he was chosen as the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chair for 2010-2011!  The NEH Chair not only comes with a title (feel free to refer to him as “NEH  Chair Jacquemet”), but also time off from teaching to focus on a research project.  Professor Jacquemet is using his time to complete his book project, entitled Transidioma: Language and Power in the Age of Globalization.  As his students already know, Professor Jacquemet works in the fields of communication studies, anthropology, and linguistics, and this project uses ethnographic and historical data from Mediterranean Europe and the U.S. to examine how groups of people who are no longer territorially defined think about themselves and use a variety of both face-to-face and long distance media to communicate.  As Professor Jacquemet said in his award-winning proposal, “Transidioma seeks to capture the late-modern novelty of communicative environments in which different languages and communicative codes are simultaneously activated through a range of communicative channels, both local and distant.”  NEH Chair Jacquemet will be presenting his research to the University community next year.  This is a great honor for our department to have one of our faculty members chosen as the NEH Chair.  Congratulations!

NEH Chair Jacquemet gazing into the distance and dreaming about ethnography

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Student Shout-Out: Men's Basketball Players Caloiaro and Green

Our first “Student Shout-Out” goes to the Men’s Basketball team who beat visiting Colorado 83-81 in overtime at the Hilltop!  Why does our first Student Shout-Out go to the Dons Men’s Basketball team?  Because two of the key players in the win on Saturday night were our very own Communication Studies majors, #32 Angelo Caloiaro and #13 Rashad Green!  Angelo scored 26 points (a career high) and Rashad put-back a key missed lay-up and scored 13 points.  Now, I won’t even pretend that I know exactly what putting-back a missed lay-up is, but I do know that whatever it was, it tied up the game with 2 second left in overtime.  Congratulations to the entire team, and to our two Communication Studies majors, Angelo and Rashad.  Go Dons!  You can read the recap of the game here: http://usfdons.com/sports/m-baskbl/2010-11/releases/20101121383byh

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Alumni Spotlight #1: Katharine Ballas, '09

Our first “Alumni Spotlight” shines on 2009 Communication Studies graduate Katharine Ballas.  Katharine is currently working as a Development Associate for a nonprofit called Green Dot Public Schools in Los Angeles.  Green Dot works with the Los Angeles Unified School District to develop charter schools that focus on preparing students for college.  While Katharine loves her work with this important nonprofit, she is a food lover at heart, and this past summer she developed a blog, “Meal Muse,” that documents her culinary adventures, both inside the kitchen and out at great restaurants.  Soon after creating her blog, she became a freelance writer for the “South Pasadena Patch,” where she writes columns on food-related topics, including restaurant reviews and a weekly column on the farmer’s market.  She is also currently helping the owner of a local artisan ice cream company with marketing and media outreach (hmm… I wonder if this involves free ice cream?).  I chose to talk about Katharine for my first alumni profile because she has done a wonderful job of finding ways to follow her true passion: food!  You can follow Katharine on her blog, Meal Muse here: www.mealmuse.wordpress.com and you can check out her frequent articles on the South Pasadena Patch here: http://southpasadena.patch.com/users/katharine-ballas/articles.  I’m going to sign off for now because after reading Katharine’s posts, I’m hungry!  I wish there was a Hi-Life Burgers up here in San Francisco!  Congratulations, Katharine, on your success!

'09 graduate Katharine Ballas