Student Shout-Out: Congratulations to our December 2011 COMS Graduates!

Today’s “Student Shout-Out” of course goes to our December 2011 Graduates! We had 16 Communication Studies majors walk through the Commencement Exercises today and we are so proud of each of you! Here they are…

Katherine Adnams

Corin Aguilar-Sanchez

Lyla Albert

Cayden Berkmoyer (magna cum laude)

Kristen Boranian

Elizabeth Carvalho

Rachel Genise (cum laude)

Cassidy Gorden (summa cum laude)

Melissa Jenkins

Kylie Li (cum laude)

Alex Morrison

Amanda Mulay

Natalie Mulay

Tess Parsons (cum laude)

Lauren Petersen (cum laude)

Reianna Sanchez

I did a terrible job of taking pictures today, but here are two shots from the reception:

Congratulations to Tess! Posing with Professor DeLaure, me, and Professor Ho

Now alums Melissa Jenkins and Cayden Berkmoyer... Congratulations!

Enjoy this wonderful accomplishment! We are so proud of you!


Academic Trivia #9: How do I correctly wear graduation regalia… OR "Fashion Police: Graduation Edition"

At long last, here it is! The most buzzed about post of the semester! The answer to the question: “How do I correctly wear my graduation regalia?” or, as I like to think of it, “Fashion Police: Graduation Edition!”

I was inspired to write this post last graduation, when, yet again, I saw so many students (and some professors!) wearing their graduation regalia incorrectly. I always try to do my part by fixing people’s regalia (uninvited… is that annoying? I don’t know.) to try to minimize the mistakes. But I thought this time around a pictorial how-to-guide would perhaps be most helpful.

Before we get started, there are really three main pieces to your graduation regalia, all of which are sometimes worn incorreclty:

  • The robe itself. Yes, it should ideally be wrinkle-free.
  • The hood. It cannot actually be worn as a hood, but it is called a hood nonetheless. The hood signifies many important things: your degree, area of study, and academic institution.
  • The mortar board.

So, with the assistance of our models, soon-to-be-Communication Studies-graduates Cayden and Kylie, I bring you the DOs and DON’Ts of graduation wear!

Let’s start with the DON’Ts…

DON’T #1: The hood is not actually worn as a hood! Luckily no rain is forecast for the ceremonies tomorrow, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

The hood is not actually worn as a hood!

DON’T #2: The graduation robe is a robe, not a smock! Don’t zip up your robe in the back!

The robe is zipped in the front, not the back!

DON’T #3: Don’t wear your hood upside down! See how terrible this looks from the back? Don’t be like Cayden in this picture!

Don't wear your hood upside down!

Another upside down hood. So sad.

DON’T #4: Don’t be all black and white on your back! You need to show your USF pride on graduation day with the proper amount of green and gold showing!

What's wrong with this? There's too much white showing! Your back needs to be more colorful!

DON’T #5 and #6: Don’t wear your cap backwards! The elastic should go on the back, not on the front! And don’t wear your tassel on the left hand side until after your degree is conferred! That’s right, right before graduation, left after graduation!

Why is Cayden sad? Because his tassel is on the wrong side and his cap is on backwards!

DON’T #7: Don’t let your mortar board defy gravity! Ladies, you are the most frequent culprits of this major graduation fashion no no! Your cap should never be vertical on the back of your head. This looks just absurd (right Katy K?)!

Your cap should not defy gravity!

This is so bad we need another shot! Look at how sad Kylie is because of her cap!

DON’T #8: Don’t wear your hood as a sash! Your hood should be around your neck, not around your shoulders!

Kylie's going to her graduation, not a beauty pageant! Your hood is not a sash!

DON’T #9: Don’t be like Cayden… wear appropriate clothing underneath your robe!

Not okay, Cayden. Not okay.

DON’T #10: Don’t forget to show your major pride! That’s right, the white velvet indicates that you are graduating with a degree in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Don’t hide the white velvet… show it off!

Is there such a thing as too much green and gold? Only on the back of your graduation regalia!

Now for the DOs!

DO #1: Do wear your cap completely horizontal on the top of your head. No one wears big ’90s bangs anymore, so there is no need to move your cap to the back to preserve your hair. You should be able to balance a drink on top of your mortar board, if necessary. (Actually balancing a drink would be a DON’T, of course, but you should be able to).

DO #2: Do wear your tassel on the right-hand side until you are told to move it to the left during the ceremony. Right indicates pre-graduation, left indicates the degree has been conferred.

DO #3: Do wear your hood securely around your neck, with the white velvet on top, flat against your shoulders.

Look how happy Kylie is! She knows she is not committing any graduation fashion mistakes!

Cayden's so happy... he knows no one will be laughing at his graduation regalia!

DO #4: Do make sure that the proper amount of white, green, and gold are on display for all the world to see! What is the perfect amount? The white velvet should be flat against your shoulders. Let the white velvet show for several inches.

DO #5: Do show your USF pride by flipping the inside of the hood out to show the USF school colors! Don’t worry, if you do it correctly, it will stay perfect for the entire ceremony. Look at Kylie and Cayden below!

Ahhh, the perfect amounts of white, green, and gold!


Congratulations to all of our graduates! Again a special thanks and big round of applause to our models, Cayden and Kylie! Remember, don’t be a fashion disaster on graduation day! Be a fashion valedictorian by wearing your regalia in the proper way!


Internship Ideas: Carly at "ACLU"

I know most of you have a lot on your mind right now… finals, papers, projects, etc. But I think it is a nice time to celebrate some of the hard work our majors have been doing this past semester, and so today we are profiling Carly Smith and the internship she has been doing this past semester at the ACLU. Here we go…

Carly, smiling because she loves her internship at the ACLU

Q: Where do you intern and what do they do?

Carly: “I am currently a Community Engagement and Organizing Intern at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC).  The ACLU is a national non-profit focused on protecting the civil liberties of Americans and defending the constitution.  The ACLU has a long history in civil rights issues in America and it is a very well known, very well respected organization.”

Q: How did you find this internship?

Carly: “I am interested in a career in public service and I have been exploring multiple paths of public service I could take.  Over the summer, I interned at the State Capitol, which is where I found out about the ACLU internship.  I have always been a huge supporter of the ACLU and this internship seemed like the perfect fit for me.”

Q: Why did you decide to intern there?

Carly:  “I am interested in a career in public service and I have been exploring multiple paths of public service I could take.  Over the summer, I interned at the State Capitol, which is where I found out about the ACLU internship.  I have always been a huge supporter of the ACLU and this internship seemed like the perfect fit for me.”

Q: What did you do on a regular basis at your internship?

Carly: “The ACLU has several departments.  There is a legal department, a policy department, a communications department, and the organizing department.  The organizing department’s main role is to reach out to the community and support grassroots effort.  Throughout my internship, I participated in many components of the organizing department.  I started off traveling to UC and CSU colleges throughout the state and reaching out to college activists and telling them about the ACLU while trying to form partnerships with them.  I also assisted in planning a winter activist retreat.  I was responsible for researching transportation and food.

The main project that I worked on was the abolition of the death penalty.  I put together mailings and coordinated volunteers to gather signatures in order to have the removal of the death penalty on the 2012 ballots.  It is really amazing to be a part of such a huge moment in California’s history.”

Q: What did you learn from this internship?

Carly: “I have learned so much at the ACLU.  Everyday I learn about different civil liberty causes that the ACLU is fighting to protect.  It has been amazing to work at the ACLU while the Occupy movements have been going on.  I feel like I am witnessing history everyday at work.  That is why I love this internship so much.  I have an active role is creating change for a better world and the ACLU is in my opinion, is the most important organization out there that is creating a better America.”

Q: What advice do you have for other students looking for an internship?

Carly: “My advice for my peers looking for internships is to first determine what you want to go into and then research all of the main companies out there in that field.  Then go to their website and most of them will have internship postings.  San Francisco is a prime location for college students to be building their resumes.  The job market is so competitive that only having a degree is simply not enough.  I also suggest speaking to different centers at USF.  The McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good has an amazing internship program in Sacramento over the summer interning at the State Capitol.  It is completely funded and you receive 4 free units of course credit.  Plus, the networking opportunities are astounding.  I did it last summer and it was the best decision I have made at USF so far.”

Thanks, Carly, or sharing your experiences with us! This sounds like it has been a great internship experience!

Students, remember to check our Internship Binder in KA 313, we get new postings all the time and have already started getting some announcements for spring internships. Alums, if your company is looking for interns, keep us in mind and send us the announcements!


Alumni Spotlight #21: Jessica Robles, '04

We’re breaking new ground with today’s “Alumni Spotlight” because for the first time ever we are profiling an alum who is now a professor! That’s right, 2004 Communication Studies graduate Jessica Robles is now Professor Jessica Robles, PhD, a lecturer in the Department of Communication at the University of New Hampshire! Let’s catch up with her!

Professor Jessica Robles, '04 COMS grad!

I asked Jessica, I mean, Professor Robles, to tell us how she knew she wanted to become a professor. “I discovered I loved doing research in my first year as an undergrad (which was actually at UCSD–I transferred to USF my second year). There was something about spending hours in the library among stacks of books (that probably sounds so quaint in this era of internet research) that really delighted me. I’ve always loved to learn. And I’ve always had a fascination with how people use language and how communication can be used to improve relationships and society. After being in graduate school and teaching for the first time, I realized I enjoyed teaching as well! So becoming a professor suddenly seemed perfect all-around, and not just because it gave me a chance to get paid to do things I already enjoyed doing (reading, writing).”

Because we always have several students each year interested in graduate school, I also asked Jessica to tell us about how she decided where to attend grad school. “My wonderful mentors at USF helped a lot with this decision. For my PhD the main decision was between UCLA and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Both have top departments in the area of communication in which I was most fascinated (language and social interaction) and it was an extremely difficult decision. Ultimately I went with Colorado for a few reasons (I wanted to live in a new place; they offered more teaching experience; they offered an RA appointment for the summer; etc.). I think I would have done very well at UCLA but knowing what I know now, Colorado has turned out to have been the right choice.”

Indeed it was! Jessica’s dissertation was entitled “The Interactive Achievement of Morality in Everyday Talk: A Discourse Analysis of Moral Practices and Problems in Interpersonal Relationships.” Her main research area is discourse analysis and language and social interaction. She studies how people communicate in everyday life by recording and analyzing ordinary conversations. In particular she is interested in moral issues and ethical communication, as well as the role of relational and cultural aspects of communication. She teaches classes in interpersonal communication, relationships. language use, identities, gender, culture.

What does Jessica like about being a professor? “One thing I love about teaching is when students find something about the class that really intrigues or excites them. I have a great time talking to students about how what they learn relates to their everyday lives. But there are so many things I love about my job. For one thing, there is enormous flexibility in terms of how you allocate your time. Also, I love conferences and getting to travel to different parts of the US and the world.”

I also asked her to share any advice she has for other students interested in going to graduate school. “I don’t think I would have been nearly as successful getting to, and being in, graduate school if it hadn’t been for my mentors at USF. In addition to various professors of mine who were so encouraging and supportive across the campus, my professors and people I worked with later in the Communication Department at USF (Chris Kamrath, Marco Jacquemet, Evelyn Ho) helped a lot with making the decision to go to graduate school, choosing schools to apply to, and writing recommendation letters. Having smart, kind people who believe in you on your side is far more important than stressing out over tenths of a percentage in a GPA.”

Thanks to Jessica for sharing her experience with us! Professors love it when great students go on to become Communication Studies professors, so it is wonderful for us to hear back from Jessica, a now fellow professor!


Student Shout-Out: Rheina joins the 1000 point club!




What do these numbers mean? No need to call your math professor, I’ve got the answer for you! Our Communication Studies major, #1 Rheina Ale on the Dons women’s basketball team, scored her 1000th career point during last night’s game, and she is only the 19th women’s player in USF history to accomplish this! Those numbers add up to something… Today’s “Student Shout-Out”!

#1 Rheina Ale

A big congratulations to Rheina and her record-making performance! In addition to scoring her 1000th point, she led the team in scoring with another double-digit night last night, adding 23 points to the Dons’ score. Rheina is now 17th on the all-time scoring list with 1,013 points in her career here on the Hilltop. Numbers 1-16 better watch out, because Rheina is going to continue moving up that list as it is still early on in the season!

Team Captain and COMS major Rheina Ale

You can read more about Rheina’s performance here: http://usfdons.com/sports/w-baskbl/2011-12/releases/201112012sae3c

Congratulations Rheina and Go Dons!!

Photos courtesy USF Athletics.