She’s spunky. She’s cool. She’s the “professor with the nose ring.” She’s hip. She’s different. She’s WKU’s Department of Communication’s new professor, Dr. Laura Brown. After traveling nearly 1,000 miles from Austin, Texas, Dr. Brown is here to stay in Bowling Green, Kentucky. After interviewing the new local star, I’d like to tell the students and faculty of the Department of Communication who exactly Dr. Laura Brown is.
A.C.: So where are you from?
L.B.: Well, I’m originally from the Chicago area, but I’ve been living in Austin, Texas, for the past five years. I went to a smaller institution called Elmhurst College for my undergraduate degree where I studied Organizational Communication. It’s about 15 minutes outside of Chicago. Then I went on to complete my master’s degree in Illinois, and finally, my doctorate in Interpersonal and Health Communication at the University of Texas.
Not exactly your “small-town” girl per-se… And let’s not forget to mention that Dr. Laura Brown was known to be the number one potential professor in the nation for Health Communication.
A.C.: So why WKU? Why Bowling Green?
L.B.: I just loved how excited the students were. They were so involved, engaged, and participated in my lecture. That was definitely persuasive. In regards to the faculty, it was cool to me that it is a smaller department, but a lot of the professors hold leadership positions in both regional and national organizations. Geographically, even though Bowling Green is a small city, it’s reassuring that Nashville is close by.
Hey… we might be small, but we’re oh so mighty. Even though our department isn’t exactly on the large side, the discipline of Communication is.
A.C.: What is interesting about studying communication, and when did you know that teaching communication is what you wanted to do?
L.B.: Something that is really great about a communication degree is that it’s flexible. You can do so much with it. This is also something that is scary sometimes because there’s no set path for after you graduate. I wish that students could try and see the flexibility as a strength because it is. Also, after you graduate, it’s typical to have 3 or 4 different careers over a life time. It’s okay to change your mind. As far as when I decided this path was for me, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do until my junior year of undergrad. I originally thought that I wanted to study romantic relational development. Then I did a research project on how families cope with lung cancer. This was so interesting to me, and it sparked an interest in health communication.
A.C.: So here you are now. Distinguished, finished with school, and living out the dream that you hoped for. What comes next? What are your immediate and distant goals or aspirations?
L.B.: Currently, my main goal is to have my dissertation published. It discusses LGBTQ healthcare experiences including making coming out disclosures to health providers.
What an honor for us to be able to call Dr. Laura Brown ours!
A.C.: It seems as if you’ve got it together, at least from a student’s perspective. So what would you say to us? What bit of advice do you have for all of us students who might be struggling on the daily?
L.B.: Seize opportunities. One thing I wish I would have done in college is study abroad. At the time, it seemed so expensive and impossible, but it would have been an amazing experience.
Whether she’s teaching, or participating in hobbies like trivia and yoga, or getting confronted by a bear (true story), Dr. Brown is a unique individual with a fresh perspective for WKU’s Department of Communication. The students and faculty are so lucky to be able to know that WKU is now home for such an intelligent, positive, and energetic individual. With this being said, welcome to the Hill, Dr. Brown!