Lambda Pi Eta Announces New President Simran Dhalla

Student Shout-Out: Lambda Pi Eta Announces New President Simran Dhalla

Lambda Pi Eta Announces New President Simran Dhalla

By: Melissa Borrego, senior communication studies major


Lambda Pi Eta (LPH) at the University of San Francisco (USF) announces Simran Dhalla as the new president for the student honor society. Dhalla is a senior communication studies major with a minor in legal studies. I had the opportunity to sit down with Dhalla and learn more about her new role with LPH and her plans after graduation.

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Simran Dhalla: I am a senior at USF and I formally joined LPH this semester, but I was inducted as president at the end of last semester. I am a communication studies major with a minor in legal studies. I really love the major, and it has been amazing to me! I have loved all of my professors and classes. Outside of school, I love playing sports and dancing or reading novels when I’ve got time.


Q: What is LPH and why did you decide to get involved with the organization?

Simran Dhalla: LPH is the communication studies honor society, and I decided to join because I thought it would be a great way to connect with students in the major. At USF, I think students can have a tendency to become very distant from one another. I don’t think we see this much at other universities. I really wanted to connect more with my peers. Last semester, the previous president of LPH also encouraged me to run for presidency.


Q: What are the requirements to join LPH, and why should students pursue membership?

Simran Dhalla: You must have completed at least 60 units, and you must maintain excellent grades. It is an honor society, so we do require that you have no lower than a B- average in the major. I think students should join LPH because it’s a great way to connect with the faculty and students in the major. We hold a lot of events, and it’s a nice way to get yourself involved a little bit deeper with the USF community.


Q: What are your responsibilities as LPH president, and how do you manage with the pressure?

Simran Dhalla: I manage everything as president, it’s a lot of delegating and communicating between the faculty and students. I contact everyone when we have events coming up, as well as help organize and execute those events. As far as managing the pressure, it’s a lot of work, but the LPH officers and our faculty advisor, Eve-Anne Doohan, all work together to make everything happen.


Q: What projects are you currently working on for LPH and what can students anticipate for next semester?

 Simran Dhalla: Currently, we are working on more fundraising events. We have a fundraiser coming up with Chipotle on Nov. 28. We are starting to organize more events at games. We try to identify student athletes in the major and attend the games to represent our major. It’s a great way to bond with other students too. Students can look forward to more sporting events and group activities next semester.   


Q: What advice can you give to students who wish to pursue leadership roles at USF?

Simran Dhalla: I say, just go for it! There are so many different leadership positions at USF and there’s something for everyone. Leadership is not only a great way to empower yourself but also empower others. Find something that you are passionate, about and it’s really important that you just go for it!


Q: What are your plans after you graduate, and how do you think USF has prepared you to accomplish your career goals?

Simran Dhalla: I have so many things I want to do, I’m just trying to figure out the best way to focus my energy and maximize my positive impact. It sounds really cliché, but I believe that USF has given me so much information about not only what is wrong with the world but also how to fix it. USF has prepared me for the reality of the world and for recognizing that the world may not be in the best shape right now, but there are so many things we can do as individuals to fix it.


Alumni Profile: From USF to Burning Man by Joshua Berman

Alumni Profile: From USF to Burning Man

By Joshua Berman, Senior Politics Major

Autumn Winston Graduated from USF in 2014

Autumn Winston graduated from USF in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. After college, she held several positions with the Burning Man festival, serving as a communications intern, HR administrative assistant, and ultimately an administrative associate for people and operations.


Which class or experience at USF do you think has best prepared you for your post-college life?

The internship courses played a huge role in preparing me for life after college. The nice thing about USF is that you don’t just take an internship and write about what you do there. It was a lot more in-depth. It was going to the career center and learning how to write a resume, how to interview, and meet professionals in different industries.


What were your favorite festivals growing up?

Burning Man was the first event I went to at the age of 18. It’s different than any other experience – 70,000 people participate for a week in a temporary community. The way it operates is more of a city. As a participant, I help to create the experience. Other events I enjoy are Lightning in a Bottle, Northern Nights, and Symbiosis; they all have a strong community and wonderful volunteer teams.


Which position with Burning Man have you enjoyed the most?

I’ve enjoyed the position I’m in right now the most because I’m starting to get involved in the high-level functions of my department. I get to take on various projects work and own process. For example, I worked directly with the CEO and director of philanthropic engagement to produce our board of director’s retreat. Working with people at the Executive level who have a vast amount of professional and cultural experience is extremely rewarding.


What advice do you have for someone attending Burning Man for the first time?

Be okay with things that make you uncomfortable, and try something new. I have social anxiety and attending this massive event with over 70,000 people was outside my comfort zone. I pushed myself to talk to new people, and it was extremely rewarding. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with CEOs and founders of companies, but also travelers and people who live a nomadic lifestyle. It’s such a wide range of life experiences and everyone has something to offer. If you want to advance in the world in unexpected ways, try to meet people out there and keep up that connection when you get home.


Which one of Burning Man’s 10 Principles resonates strongest with you?

The principles that stick with me are immediacy – which means living in the moment and not thinking about the next thing and being observant of everything around you – and radical inclusion – meaning everyone can participate. For logistical reasons, leaving no trace is important. A “leave no trace” event means that everyone packs out what they bring in, although we do have a team that stays a month after. We’ve been able to help people see the way they generate waste and generate conscientious communities that take more responsibility.


What makes for a good Burning Man theme?

The art themes guide the art, performance, and experiences but they don’t dictate or define them. I think what makes for a good theme is the more ambiguous ideas that can be interpreted in many different ways. One of the best themes, in my opinion, was in 2016, which was Da Vinci’s Workshop. The art was large-scale, and many of the pieces were not completed by the time the event started. I believe the theme inspired artists to try audacious projects.


How does Burning Man’s nonprofit status help support the festival and its outside programming?

I started at Burning Man as an intern right in the middle of the transition. Burning Man shifted its focus from the annual event to extending the culture year-round through community engagement, programs, and the Regional Network. Being a nonprofit has helped the organization shift the conversation of what Burning Man does in the world.


If you could, what advice would you give your younger self?

Value your experience. The internships and coursework I managed [at USF] were equal or greater than two years of work experience. When you start at a company, you don’t have to take entry-level positions or salary. Don’t be afraid to negotiate your title or salary.


Student Shout-Out: Kelsey Duff at IARSLCE

By: Blake Gregor, Senior Communication Studies Major

At the University of San Francisco, students are taught to “change the world from here.” So how do students take what they learn in the classroom and apply it towards a positive change in the real world? For Kelsey Duff, a USF senior communication studies major, she has directed her qualitative research to bring awareness to underrepresented groups in the Bay Area. To expand her outreach and awareness, Kelsey participated in the International Association for Research in Service-Learning and Community Engagement Conference (IARSLCE). I sat down with Kelsey to discuss IARSLCE and the many USF experiences that led her there.

Q: What is the International Association for Research in Service-Learning and Community Engagement Conference?

Kelsey Duff: “IARSLCE is an international conference in which university faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students can present various works and research they have completed in regards to service learning and community engagement alongside their community partners. Research varies from quantitative studies, qualitative studies, ethnographic research and so on. The mission is to promote the development and dissemination of research on service-learning and community engagement internationally and across all levels of the education system. The objectives are to advance the fields of service-learning and community engagement research across the educational spectrum (primary, secondary, post-secondary, and further education).”


Q: What was your role within this conference?

Kelsey Duff: “My role was providing the undergraduate student service learner perspective to a multi-perspective group presentation with research conducted by Brandi Lawless.”

Q: How did you become involved with IARSLCE?

Kelsey Duff: “I became involved with this organization thanks to Brandi Lawless. I am Brandi’s research assistant and helped her collect data for her research with her community partner Faithful Fools. Because I also took Brandi’s Organizational Communication class, I actually did my service hours for the Fools. This ultimately led to a major reason why I was offered to attend the conference and present with Brandi and Sam Dennison, a volunteer at the Fools.”

Q: What type of research have you conducted that promoted a discussion about service-learning and community engagement?

Kelsey Duff: “The research I have conducted for this was through a qualitative lens. I have done some focus groups for Brandi, as well as transcribed and coded data alongside using thematic analysis. The research was primarily on the Fools’ Street Retreat, grass-routes approaches on service learning in which students actually don’t necessarily give or offer anything but rather are told to walk the streets of the Tenderloin and just observe the area.”


Q: Do you believe communication research is important, and, if so, why?

Kelsey Duff: “I absolutely believe communication research is important. If we do not have this research then how do we improve? Where else will we look to make changes in the world if we don’t critique the present communication? Also, researching communication enables us to develop a better understanding of different cultures, ideologies, backgrounds and histories.”

Q: Do you believe USF has prepared you to conduct research and properly use it as a tool for change, and, if so, how?

Kelsey Duff: “Absolutely! I was honestly so impressed with how well I knew the terminology being discussed. It got to the point where I was even asked if I was a professor! I would have to say; it’s honestly getting to the basics and having a strong qualitative studies class like I did with Brandi. The information she had taught me in just that one class has made my understanding of research much clearer and easier to practice to the point where certain parts of conducting research are just part of my second nature now. That single class and the research paper I composed not only led me to attend other conferences, but it also triggered my desire to become a professor one day.”

Q: What else would you like to share with me?

Kelsey Duff: “I think I’d love to share that overall the conference was good. But, man, oh man, is USF way more diverse than its colleagues who attended. The event was filled with primarily white people, and it just seemed they were touching the surface on critical pedagogy. I will say how honored I was to watch USF shine and present themselves to such a high standard.”


Student Shout-Out: New Lambda Pi Eta Members!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the end of the fifth week of classes! That sentence should have read “welcome back to the fall semester!” but my blogging has unfortunately taken a back seat to other responsibilities as of late. In any case, I am happy today to post a Student Shout-Out to our new Lambda Pi Eta members!

Lambda Pi Eta is the official honors society of the National Communication Association. Our Lambda Pi Eta chapter, the Kappa Iota chapter, received its charter in 1999. However, after the initial small group of inductees graduated, the chapter became inactive until it was revived in 2004, when we inducted three members. In the years since, we have inducted (by my guesstimation) about 160 members. This year, we were pleased to induct the following students as lifelong members of Lambda Pi Eta:

Reimi Akin

Carolina Aguilar-Gutierrez

Cassidy Davis

Amy Fiene

Noelle Haskell

Azkia Muhammad

Becca Najjar

Jannely Rodriguez

Monica Salvador

Isabella Tumabat-Pratt

Louisa Viana

I would also like to introduce our officers for the 2016-2017 academic year:

Azkia Muhammad, President

Noelle Haskell, Vice President

Seleba Ouattara, Treasurer

Kianna Fernandez, Vice President of Public Relations

Becca Najjar, Secretary

They are doing a great job and have a lot of events and activities planned for our departemnt this year.

Also, a big thank you to all of the family and friends who joined us at our induction ceremony! It was wonderful to have their support!

President Azkia Muhammad, Treasurer Seleba Ouattara, VP Noelle Haskell, and Secretary Sophie Najjar

President Azkia Muhammad, Treasurer Seleba Ouattara, VP Noelle Haskell, and Secretary Sophie Najjar

Vice President Noelle Haskell, proudly holding her new member certificate!

Vice President Noelle Haskell, proudly holding her new member certificate!

Sadly, I was too busy eating cake to take a picture of all of our new inductees (major fail on my part), but suffice it to say a nice time was had by all!

Lambda Pi Eta hosts a mentorship program for all new Communication Studies majors. If you haven’t yet signed up and are interested in being partnered with a Lambda Pi Eta mentor to help welcome you to our department, please contact me at edoohan@usfca.edu.

Finally, our officers are working on designing new Lambda Pi Eta sweatshirts or t-shirts that will be sold in our brand new e-store! Stay tuned for details!



Student Shout-Out: COMS Majors Present at CARD

Last week on April 22nd, three of our Communication Studies majors presented at the College of Arts and Sciences Creative Activity and Research Day. Congratulations to Anne Weltner, Megan Busch, and Gloria Ruiz! You can find a description of the research they presented below (courtesy of the CARD Event Schedule). Congratulations on your achievements!

Anne presenting her research at CARD

Anne presenting her research at CARD

Anne Weltner “Communication Evolution between Past Verbally Abusive Relationships to Current Romantic Relationships” The purpose of this qualitative research study was to conduct six interviews with participants who had previously been in a verbally abusive relationship and are presently in a romantic relationship. My research question was, “how do people in past verbally abusive relationships communicate with their present partner? Through the use of an interpretive lens, I asked questions such as, “How well did you know your partner that was verbally abusive?,” “How do you and your present partner express love?,” and” “Ideally what is your conception of an ideal romantic relationship in terms of communication?”

The interviews used a semistructured format, constant comparison, coding and thematic analysis. The four themes included: Verbal Abuse as a Form of Communication; Insights After the Abuse; Comparing Romantic Relationships; and, Current Romantic Relationship Maintenance. In the findings, the participants expressed the importance of open communication, compromise, and stressed the need and desire to move forward and learn from their past experiences.

Continue Reading


Student Shout-Out: Gaelle in Hawaiian Ensemble’s “Legends of the Islands”

Today’s Student Shout-Out goes to senior Communication Studies major Gaelle Mondestin who is living my dream of being a hula dancer! Earlier this semester she danced in the Hawaiian Ensemble’s 7th Annual Ho’Ike “Legends of the Islands!” I asked her to fill us in about how she got involved with Hawaiian Ensemble. Here she is:

IMG_8068 (1)

“I first got involved with the Hawaiian Ensemble because of a retreat (Magis) I took my freshmen year. I met the current president Jessie Stoneham, and she told me that she was involved and that I should join. Upon our return back to campus, I jointed Hawaiian Ensemble and the rest is history. I’ve been in the club the entirety of my undergraduate career and I’ve loved every year. What I enjoy the most is the sense of family or ‘ohana’ that every members feels. I remember thinking all the girls were so nice and willing to teach us beginners about hula and the different types of dances.  I used to dance ballet, jazz, tap and Haitian flokore for about 12 years and since I’ve always enjoyed dancing, Hawaiian Ensemble was the perfect fit (very humble, not competitive, and fun!).”

Continue Reading