The Alumni Spirit Makes the Master!

In an effort to help alumni stay connected, The    Department of Communication recently formed an M.A. Alumni Group made up of alums who work at WKU.  Department Head Helen Sterk was looking to establish an alumni group that was more intimate than just the general WKU Alumni Association.  Since being formed, the group has met periodically for happy hour at popular Bowling Green restaurants such as Mariah’s.


With such an impressive group of alumni, it was important for the Department to offer a venue for members to connect and reminisce about their time in the program. The Department was pleased to see Dr. Tim Caboni, WKU’s newly appointed president at its first gathering.

The Communication MA Alumni Group uses Facebook to spread the word about events and provide information on other ways Communication alumni can get involved with the university and department.

Alumni of WKU are also encouraged to take advantage of the Alumni Association available to all graduates of the university.

~Kayla Jo Board, Student


Blair Thompson Plans Major Conference, Assumes Presidency at Central States Communication Association

Dr. Blair Thompson planned this year’s Central States Communication Association’s (CSCA) annual conference, held in Minneapolis. This is no small feat considering that the conference is attended by 900-1000 professors, theorists, and authors that are part of Communication departments across the nation.


Even with inclement weather conditions, which stranded many conference attendees, at least 800 members were in attendance.  The conference included individual paper presentations, research panel discussions, and panel sessions about family communication, organizational communication, and interpersonal communication.  Many receptions were also held as well as award ceremonies to congratulate highly accomplished scholars.

Dr. Thompson had the difficult job of planning the entire event.  He explained the difficulty of scheduling so many sessions and avoiding overlaps with conference presenters.  His two assistants Madison Loyd-Webster and Cathryn Ellis, helped him with planning. They also worked from 6:00 a.m. to 12 a.m. each day of the conference.  “Really the whole point of this event is to discuss research, make connections, and to really just enjoy yourself when you can,” explained Dr. Thompson.

According to Dr. Thompson, the event couldn’t have gone any better.   Hopefully next year’s event will be just as good.  Information on Central States Communication Association and the conference can be found at

~Tyler Bennett, Student

Lambda Pi Eta (LPH) Spring Update

WKU’s Rho Nu Chapter of Lambda Pi Eta had a very eventful semester in the spring of 2017! On February 6, 2017, at the chapter meeting, the current officers welcomed some of the nine new members that joined the organization in the fall, discussed NCA, and discussed possible community service activities for the chapter. Later, in April, several of the chapter members participated in community service at the Warren County Humane Society.


On April 12, 2017, an induction ceremony was held for the new members from both the fall and spring semesters. These students included: Lauren Risinger, Jonathan Sahlman, Nicole DiMatties, Ashely Hickman, Erin Wilkerson, Elizabeth Settle, Sarah Harrington, Andrew Henderson, Allison Waggoner, William Brandon, Claire Smith, Mary Madison Lyons, Alexandria Hoefler, and Breanna Carter. With this addition, the Rho Nu chapter now has twenty-seven members.


After the induction ceremony, the chapter held a meeting to elect officers for the coming year. The following individuals were elected: Emily Anne Pride (President), Hayley Armstrong (Vice President), Elizabeth  Settle (Secretary), Sarah Harrington (Secretary), Mary Madison Lyons (Treasurer), Nicole DiMatties (Scholarship Officer), and Allison Waggoner (Public Relations). The chapter also voted to honor Dr. Angie Jerome as the department’s Outstanding Faculty Member for her work with the graduate program, her crisis communication research, and her commitment to her students. Overall, it was a very successful and exciting semester for the Rho Nu chapter!

~Taylor Hillard, LPH President

Communication Organization for Graduate Students

As we end another semester, the Communication Organization for Graduate Students (COGS) would like to recognize our graduates for the 2016-2017 school year. Our graduating graduate students include Brian Becker, Mizuho Tatebayashi, Scott Branton, and myself! These last two years have brought amazing experiences that will serve each graduate well in either industry or academia.

Looking forward I am proud to announce that Marshall Covert and Cathryn Ellis will be our co-Presidents for the 2017-2018 school year. I am so excited to see the great events, workshops, and gatherings they plan for next year’s cohort. Marshall and Cathryn both are exemplary students and do a great job supporting and encouraging their peers. I especially want to commend Marshall and Cathryn for setting an example of egalitarian based leadership by sharing the title of COGS President!

Lastly, I just want to thank everyone in the Communication department for such a great experience these last two years. Moving here from the West Coast without knowing anyone in KY was hard, but each one of you welcomed me like a family. It has been an honor to serve as COGS President this year. Thank you!

~Gavin Kirkwood, COGS President


Graduate Program Undergoes 10 Year Assessment

Our graduate program in Organizational Communication recently underwent a ten year assessment. Written by Dr Angie Jerome, the assessment highlights the fantastic work of both professors and students and their achievements over the past ten years.

The WKU Department of Communication hosts a great group of faculty who teach in this well respected program. They have racked up many accomplishments, including an academic book, two scholarly edited books, thirty-three academic journal articles, along with book chapters and encyclopaedia entries. Six of these faculty members also created an App, which now serves as a text book for students in COMM 200. Five of these faculty also hold or have held leadership positions in state, regional or in national associations. This shows the high calibre of faculty that we have in our department.

However, it is not only our faculty that create such impressive honors, our students do, too. In the past five years, ten of the faculty publications were co-written by students. One student published an article they had written themselves. We have also had fifty-six students present papers at state, regional, national and international conferences. With both faculty and students combined, there have been 15 top paper awards received along with 23 top paper panel honors and top panel honors in peer-reviewed competitions. All of these accomplishments have helped to put the WKU graduate program on the map. According to Dr. Jerome, “This program is strong on research production and collaboration. All faculty and most students are actively engaged in presenting their research beyond the classroom.”

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Marshall Covert, Katie Lever, Gavin Kirkwood, Mizuho  Tatebayashi

Being part of the Organizational Communication graduate program opens opportunities. Since 2011, seven students become part of doctoral programs including Texas A&M University and Purdue University. In spring 2017, several WKU students received fully funded offers to enter Ph.D. programs at Arizona State University, Kansas University, University of Missouri, University of California Santa Barbara and University of Colorado-Boulder. Not only has there been success in graduate school admission, but our program also helps graduate students prepare for work in  education, sales, consulting, media production and business management.

This graduate program has so much to offer and has achieved so much. If you are interested in becoming a part of this program please contact our new Graduate Program Director, Blair Thompson, Ph.D.,

~Georgina Blackman, Student


Communication Graduate Students Well Represented at Top Doctoral Programs

The Department of Communication at WKU is not the end of the road in terms of education for many graduate students.  In fact, the program is building a strong reputation for preparing students to move on to doctoral programs across the country including Purdue University, University of Missouri, Texas A&M, Arizona State, and the University of California, Santa Barbara.  This year alone, the department has five recent M.A. grads enrolling in doctoral programs in the fall.  Mizuho Tatebayashi, Tyler Rife, Daniel Chick, Gavin Kirkwood, and Scott Branton have all received full graduate assistantships to support their studies.  Among the five of them, they received 10 offers from top institutions. According to WKU Communication Graduate Director, Dr. Angie Jerome, the program has had seven students admitted into communication doctoral programs since 2011.

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To prepare students for advanced graduate work a number of classes must be completed including quantitative and qualitative research methods, communication theory, human communication electives, and thesis research and writing.  If you have any questions regarding the Masters in Organizational Communication program at WKU or the potential for advancing to a doctoral program after receiving your M.A., feel free to contact the new Graduate Director, Dr. Blair Thompson.

~Sarah Warner, Student


Students Recognized at Award Dinner

The fourth annual Student Recognition Dinner was held on April 25, 2017; where several awards were given to deserving students.

Award Winners are…

The Jeffries Award for Excellence in Diversity-Enhancing Communication was awarded to Jonathan Sahlman.   This award honors Dr. Tammy Jeffries, a Communication faculty member who passed away on January 17, 2016. This tribute to her, the award for Excellence in Diversity-Enhancing Communication is available to any graduate or undergraduate student who is helping to promote understanding across cultural divides, enhancing equality and caring for others.  The award recognizes work done both on and off campus.

Dr. Tammie Jeffries

According to Mr. Sahlman, “Being the first recipient of the Jeffries award is an extreme honor. I never had the privilege of taking a class from her but her legacy is very much felt in the Communication department and on campus. Fighting for equality is something I find very important.  Dr. Jeffries made a strong effort to promote student engagement and equality for minority groups.”

laura and jonathan

Outstanding Communication Studies Student:  Cathryn Ellis

blair and cathryn

Cathryn serves as a Spirit Master and is a JUMP student, earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years.

Outstanding Graduate Student:  Gavin Kirkwood

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Gavin will start his doctoral program in the fall at University of California – Santa Barbara.

Outstanding Corporate and Organizational Students:  Ashley Hickman and Emily Anne Pride

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Ashley served on the executive board as Academic Chairwoman of Delta Zeta Sorority, as Communication Director and Vice President for Turning Point USA and belongs to Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honors Society.

emily and holly

Emily Anne serves as a Spirit Master, belongs to the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority and Lambda Pi Eta our Communication Honors Society.

Outstanding Undergraduate Research – Case Study:  Ireland Hill


Ireland studied abroad in England in Spring, 2017 and is a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

     According to Ireland, “Receiving the ‘Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award’ is an immense honor. I never imagined myself conducting research much less winning an award for it! The Communication Department truly has some of the most incredible professors that have helped embed in me the confidence and skills I need to do something like this.”

Outstanding Undergraduate Research – Databased:   Taylor Hillard

taylor and jieyoung

Taylor won the data-based award for undergraduate research.  She is a member of Lambda Pi Eta where she served as president.

~Jennifer Garner, Student