Department of Communication’s Award Winners!

This spring, the Department of Communication recognized four individuals as our top undergraduate and graduate students. Tyler Rife, Karen Powell, Emily Gerard, and Paige Settles are among the students being recognized for their outstanding work within the Department of Communication over the past year.  These students have gone above and beyond to excel as successful communicators.

Tyler Rife

Graduate assistant, Tyler Rife, was presented with the Outstanding Graduate Student award. He delegated his time between teaching a section of COMM 145, assisting in research for the department, working on the Kentucky Journal of Communication, and coaching for the Forensics Team. Tyler also has authored conference papers including, “Public Reason and Perceptions of Terrorism.” His research was accepted at the National Communication Association conference in Las Vegas, NV, and received Top Student Paper recognition in the Peace and Conflict Division. Tyler also wrote a paper with Dr. Ishii entitled “Facilitating Communication with Power: Text Messaging Gratifications among College Students in the U.S. and Japan” which was accepted to the International Communication Association conference in Fukuoka, Japan.

Karen Powell

Outstanding Corporate and Organizational Communication Major Award recipient, Karen Powell, credits her award to “my performance in my Corporate & Organizational Communication classes, involvement in departmental organizations, and my involvement/leadership on campus.” Karen’s paper, “Relationships Later In Life and Online Dating” written for Dr. Thompson’s Interpersonal Communication course helped her gain this award.   Karen is also active in the department and across campus.  She is a member of the Communication Ambassadors, President of Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society, an active member of the Kappa Delta Sorority, founder and co-chair of the Dance Big Red, and was the 2015 Homecoming Queen. Karen says “I credit my excellent collegiate experience here at WKU to the support of Department of Communication faculty and staff. They are truly the greatest and I have loved being a part of our department family for the past four years!”

Emily Gerard

Emily Gerard was recognized as the Outstanding Communication Studies Major. Emily’s academic success, work as a researcher, grade point average, and departmental citizenship and service have earned her this award.  Her presence in the department has stimulated the intellectual community.

Paige Settles

Paige Settles received Department’s Research Award for her paper written for , Dr. Kong’s Intercultural Communication class entitled, “Reaching, But Not Far Enough: Internationalization at Western Kentucky University.” Paige describes her paper as “a case study that examined internationalization efforts at WKU through the lens of academic literature on the topic of internationalization in higher education.  It was a great experience, and I really enjoyed writing a paper that allowed me to apply the academic concepts to something that is incredibly relevant to students in both communication and the broader field of higher education.”

Congratulations to all of the award winners this year!



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