The M.A. Program in Organizational Communication boasts an accomplished record of Alumni accomplishments, professionally and academically. We caught up recently with Ryan Cummings who is currently wrapping up his graduate school career at Purdue University and finishing up his dissertation focusing on interpersonal communication, specifically analyzing how smartphones play a role in today’s face-to-face interactions. While at Purdue, Ryan has also taught various courses, researched with teams, and successfully completed coursework within the field.
Combined with the hard work on his end, Ryan gives credit for his success to the great faculty here on the hill! Ryan gives a lot of credit to Dr. Thompson in thoroughly prepping him for instructing Communication courses. “I found myself better prepared than most other graduate students because of this training,” claimed Ryan. He also stated that Dr. Mize-Smith and Dr. Ishii helped tremendously by instilling solid theoretical and research related skills. And even to this day, Ryan said he “still cannot use ‘to be’ without cringing a little thanks to Dr. Garmon.”
Looking back at his career here at WKU, Ryan did mention a few facets of our campus that he dearly misses. Most importantly, he misses the people, the size, and the overall atmosphere of life here at WKU. Due to the smaller population here on the hill, he pointed out how it was nice to have the opportunity to form closer connections with the faculty and students. In contrast, Ryan noted “Purdue is so much bigger than WKU that I go months without seeing certain faculty and graduate students, often making it difficult to establish relationships.” And surprisingly enough, Ryan stated “Purdue is so flat that I often long for that tiresome walk up the hill at WKU!”
After this summer, Ryan will be ending his time at Purdue, and beginning work at a congregation in Louisville, Kentucky. Although this path is a change from what he saw himself doing after getting his PhD, Ryan knows it is the right path for him to take in life. This line of work is not as directly related to academia as some of the work he has done in past years, but will still allow a great opportunity to put the communication research into greater practice. Like Ryan has, we invite our alumni to get back in contact with us in the Department of Communication: send us an email, or simply stop by and come catch up!