COMS News | May 2022

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Looking Ahead

Happy May COMS Mustangs! This newsletter is designed to help keep majors, minors, faculty, and staff up-to-date so you can learn about news, career advice, events, networking opportunities, well-wishes, and inspirational stories about your peers and community. What’s coming up soon this quarter? Check out the following announcements to see what’s new: 

COMS Events

LPH Philanthropy. Want to give back to our beautiful community in SLO? Lambda Pi Eta is hosting a special fundraising drive for the SLO Botanical Garden, this week, May 5-13, and we need your help! Donate any amount on the Botanical Garden Donation page and mention that your donation was encouraged by Lambda Pi Eta (LPH) in the donor scroll notes. The goal is to raise $500 so LPH can earn a tile in the botanical garden and contribute to the community. Help the botanical garden grow with your donation and support our COMS LPH students!  

COMS Spring Lecture. Dr. Kristina Scharp (Associate Professor, University of Washington) will be joining us on campus next Thursday, May 12th from 4:10-5:00PM in ATL (Bldg. 7, Room 02) to give a talk titled: "How Communication Processes Address Inequity and Marginalization: The Importance of Remaking, Resistance, and Resilience." We would love to have you all join us in welcoming Dr. Scharp to campus and know this will be an important conversation you don't want to miss! 

COMS Spring Social. Mark your calendars! The Cal Poly COMS Department cordially invites our students, faculty, staff, and supporters to celebrate the end of the year! We're hosting a Spring Social event like never before designed to bring together our COMS community in a fun, informal, and inclusive environment. This event will feature games, food, family, friends, and maybe some professor’s pets as well! Hope to see you there: Thursday, May 26, 6:30PM - 8:30PM at Bang the Drum Brewery. To attend, please fill out our RSVP form by any time Friday, May 20. 

Coms Annual Awards. Join us in celebrating student accomplishments at the COMS Department Awards Ceremony. At the event, we’ll recognize students for their many achievements and also commend our new Lambda Pi Eta members. The event is scheduled to take place Thursday, June 2, 11:10AM - 12:00PM on campus (location TBA).


Social Science Symposium. Earlier this week, students presented the results of their class research projects at the annual CSU-Wide Social Science Student Symposium (S4). Congrats to the following students who represented the COMS department with their fabulous studies: 

  • Marie St. James (COMS major) presented her co-authored project titled: The Effect of Framing a COVID-Related Protocol Message on Intentions to Wear a Mask and Willingness to Repost. *Recipient of the McCall Award for Best Undergraduate Paper ($500 stipend) + Recipient of the Runner-Up Award for Best Use of Data. 
  • Sierra Seratti (COMS major) presented her project titled: Diving into Disgust: An Analysis of New Girl.

Debate Team News. Congrats to the debate team! Isabel Barbee (History major) was ranked in the top 10 speakers at the Lafayette Debates National Championship hosted by the French Embassy and George Washington University. This year’s topic was “The New Urban Agenda should be a sustainable development priority.”

ICA Annual Conference. COMS Scholars head to the 72 Annual International Communication Association (ICA) conference in Paris, France May 26-30, 2022. Those in attendance will be presenting original research, sharing best practices in teaching, participating in academic service, and networking. Scheduled speakers include COMS alum Matia Mathes (graduated spring, 2021) and Dr. Anu Dhillon. They will be presenting their joint project on “Comparing the Effectiveness of Visuals in Medical Education Instruction.”

Advising + Registration. As we move closer to the end of the quarter, we’ll be looking ahead to the fall. For our returning students, now is a great time to plan your schedule and mark important dates on your calendar. The Fall schedule will be published May 5 and first-round registrations begin May 19. For help planning COMS classes, feel free to email your COMS academic advisor (or email COMS staff member for help contacting your advisor). For help planning your Cal Poly schedule, you may want to check with CLA advising.

Student Surveys. Want to participate in exciting student research? Your peers would greatly appreciate you completing their survey below:

  • Survey 1. Izzy Romeo’s study examines isolation, coping, and well-being especially during the challenging times that COVID-19 caused. 
  • Survey 2. Jennie Le’s study examines corporate social responsibility (CSR) and is being conducted through BEACoN. 

Senior Project on Online Learning. Want to share your perspective on online learning? COMS student Sammy McKinley is recruiting professors to participate in an interview (via Zoom) that will take approximately 30 minutes. During the interview, Sammy would like to know what benefits or disadvantages you experienced with regard to teaching and learning online. To participate in her study, just sign up for her interest form by any time Sunday, May 8th.

New Opportunities 

University Union Advisory Board. The University Union Advisory Board (UUAB) is recruiting student representatives. The Board makes policy recommendations for ASI-managed facilities including the Cal Poly Recreation Center, Julian A. McPhee University Union, Cal Poly Sports Complex, Doerr Family Field, and Cal Poly while working to maintain the integrity of the University Union student body fee. Recruitment for UUAB membership is currently open until May 6. Learn more about the UUAB and apply for a position!

CLA Ambassadors. CLA Ambassadors serve as the public face of the college. They actively represent the CLA in visible public relations roles, including meeting with prospective students and supporters, helping with college events like Mustang Family Weekend and Open House, and mentoring first years in the CLA Learning Community. It's a great way to meet enthusiastic students from across the college while building leadership, public relations, and interpersonal skills. Applications are due May 6 and interviews are to follow. The application link is available here.

College Corps Fellowship. What if you could pay for college while saving the planet, do meaningful work for your community, develop career skills, and earn academic credit - all at the same time? The Initiative for Climate Leadership & Resilience Official applications are now online. Fellows do 450 hrs community service in climate action, food security, K-12 education. Fellows receive $10,000 for living expenses & educational expenses. Fellows may receive academic credit for this work. The Program runs July 2022-June 2023. All students are eligible; dreamers and low-income students are preferred. Students of all majors are wanted.

Cal Poly Corporation. Cal Poly Corporation (CPC) is currently hiring for several student positions that all relate to Communication Studies. And yes, these would could for COMS 450 (internship) credit, so you can get paid and earn upper-division credit at the same time.

COMS Internship. Coms 450 is an independent study course that satisfies COMS upper-division credit (up to 4 units) and/or Cal Poly Elective Credit (up to 4 units). Yes, you can take it more than once for a total of 8 units! The course is focused on professional development: you will read a rather enjoyable book called Designing Your Life and complete some activities designed to help you figure out what you want to do as a possible career. You will also complete some professional development activities. The course will be completed asynchronously over the summer.

Faculty News

Congratulations to your professors who have exciting news and projects to share! Check out the great things your professors have been up to: 

Two COMS faculty were selected for funding sponsored by the CLA Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). SURP is designed to promote diverse and equitable engagement for CLA students in faculty-led research and creative activities.

  • Dr. Aubrie Adams will be leading a project titled “Media Representations of Video Game Stereotypes.”
  • Dr. Anu Dhillon will be leading a project titled “Does Accessibility of Online Mental Health Services Impact College Students’ Misuse of Mental Health Prescription Drugs?”

Dr. Marion Hart, our Spanish-Language Debate Coach, is hosting a fantastic event for the Region XVIII Migrant Education Program on Thursday, May 26. The goal of the event is to help high school students in the Migrant Education Program choose to go to college (and even better if they choose Cal Poly).

Professor Lisa Kawamura is speaking on a panel presentation called the “Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care, and Racial Justice.” The event includes hands-on artistic activities and takes place May 16 in the library atrium, 12:00PM - 1:00PM

Dr. Leslie Nelson will be serving as co-editor of a 2023 Special Issue in the Journal of Family Communication on Communication in Black Families. 

Dr. Leslie Nelson is also working with COMS student Mackenzie Demay to bring virtual exchange components to future sections of COMS 316: Intercultural Communication. This project was funded through a College of Liberal Arts Global Engagement Grant. 


What have COMS students, faculty, and staff been up to recently? Here, we use this space to archive past announcements so you can browse notices that were posted previously on our social media, web pages, and email list: 

Internship & Jobs. Interested in what kinds of jobs Coms majors can intern and apply for? Previously, the COMS Department shared a variety of student internships and opportunities including:

LPH Pot Your Plant. The Coms honor society, Lambda Pi Eta, sponsored a special social and philanthropic event designed to kick off their fundraising week for SLO Botanical. At the event, LPH members and students in the community came together to decorate pots for planting seeds and they raised awareness about a week-long fundraising campaign. 

Short Cuts. Six short films created by Cal Poly students were featured at the Short Cuts Film Festival in April. These films (produced by teams of students from different majors) depicted stories reflecting the promising filmmakers’ shared sentiments and creative visions. A link to the virtual program will be available May 1-8. 

SURP. Submissions closed earlier this week for the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). This program is designed to promote diverse and equitable engagement for CLA students to participate in faculty-led research and creative activities. Students should find out about SURP applications in mid-May. 

Earth Week. The Green Campus and the sustainability community-organized events from April 14-23 in honor of earth week! Events included a festival, career panel, film fest, garden workday, clothing swap, surf film fest, and so much more. 

National Research Week. Students were invited to attend events sponsored by the Cal Poly Undergraduate Research week, April 18-22. These events were part of a national celebration of undergraduate research organized each year by the Council of Undergraduate research. 

COMS Career Symposium. COMS Club hosted the annual Career Symposium. The event featured presentations from five industry professionals and students learned about a range of COMS career paths and internship opportunities.

LPH Tips for Success. Lambda Pi Eta sponsored a workshop featuring current and future club advisors, Dr. Adams + Dr. Nelson. At the event, students learned about unconventional tips for navigating school, work, and beyond.

Calfresh Outreach. We spread the word about the CalFresh Outreach program! Students who are eligible can receive up to $250 per month to spend on groceries. 

CSU Entertainment Alliance. The CSU Entertainment Alliance program offer invaluable learning, career development, and networking opportunities to prepare and empower students for successful careers in entertainment arts and media! Students can still sign up for their newsletter to learn about networking workshops and events in media industries. 

Coms Scholarships. COMS students had the opportunity to apply for university scholarships throughout the month of April. Good luck to our students who applied! 

Sharing is Caring

Do you have an announcement to share with COMS majors, minors, faculty, and staff? Email Dr. Brie to find out how to share it! Follow COMS on Social Media: Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn 

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