COMS News | October 2022

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Happy October 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 surrounding your peers and community.

Announcements & Events

COMS Club. Get involved in COMS Club! Meetings take place Thursdays from 11:10 am - 12:00 pm in Building 10 Room 201. Connect with COMS Club on Instagram @calpolycomsclub 

  • 10/13 Theme: Graphic Communication
  • 10/27 Theme: Fall Bash
  • 11/10 Theme: DEI Day

LPH Recruitment. LPH is the National Communication Association’s official honor society. The organization recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of COMS majors and offers membership benefits including honors status at graduation and ceremonial graduation regalia. To see if you qualify to join, check out the membership requirements and fill out the Cal Poly LPH Interest Form by December 1. Be sure to follow LPH on Instagram @lphcalpoly to stay in the loop. 

Debate Team News. Congrats to the Cal Poly Debate Team! With just two weeks of practice under their belts, the Cal Poly Debate Team has finished YODL’s first tournament of the season as finalists arguing that zoos are an inferior approach to wildlife conservation compared to alternatives. Students Josh Rillo and Rachel Strohecker faced off against debaters from Willamette, Vanderbilt, and the University of Alaska at Anchorage. 

Debate Team Recruitment. The Debate Team is recruiting students! Cal Poly Debaters compete at some of the nation's most prestigious universities in a select schedule of intercollegiate debate tournaments. Debaters conduct in-depth research on questions of major contemporary importance and participate in strategy sessions with instructors and other students. Students can also participate in Spanish language debates! To learn more about joining the debate team, contact program directors Chris Skiles, John Patrick, and Marion Hart.

Indigenous People’s Day. Mark your calendars! The yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash Tribal Members will speak about their culture, present their grandmother's songs, share their traditional walnut game, and exhibit items important to their heritage. The event takes place Monday October 10, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m (yakʔitʸutʸu Residential Community Amphitheater Lawn). Free Tamales will be served!

SURP Symposium. Congratulations to your peers who participated in recent research through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). To celebrate the end of the program, your peers will be presenting their original research projects in an upcoming scholarly poster session on Friday, October 14 from 2-4pm in the Advanced Tech Labs Lobby (7). 

  • Mackenzie Demay (COMS) & Scott Collier (PHIL) will be presenting their joint project titled Stereotypical Representations of Gamers in The Guild (project advisor, Dr. Aubrie Adams). 
  • Ava Schafbuch (COMS) is presenting her project titled the Impact of Marketing of Online Mental Health Services on College Students (project advisor, Dr. Anuraj Dhillon) 

Senior Project Featured in Forbes. We’re excited to share that research from COMS alum Katie Holmes and her Senior Project advisor, Dr. Nelson, was featured in a media report by Forbes. This study explored the emotional impacts of being "ghosted" and the featured article was covered in an editor’s pick last week! 

Hispanic Heritage Month. September 15-October 15 is set aside as National Hispanic Heritage Month. The month is a celebration of the histories, stories, and accomplishments of the more than 60 million Americans with roots in and ancestors from Mexico, the Caribbean, Spain, and Central and South America. Save the date for the grand opening of Cal Poly’s Latinx Center at 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 10, in Building 52, Room E22.

CalFresh. The CalFresh Outreach Team can help connect you with up to $250 a month to buy groceries at your favorite stores and many farmers’ markets! Get money to buy food, eat better, work less, and focus more on school. It’s easy to set up an appointment with a CalFresh Student Advocate to determine your eligibility, walk you through the application and answer any questions you may have. Visit the CalFresh website to schedule an appointment. 

Winter Schedule. The Cal Poly Winter Schedule should be available to view on Tuesday, October 18. The first round of registration opens November 1-17 (Students can enroll in up to 18 units and waitlist up to 16 units). Your professors look forward to seeing you in their future classes!


New Opportunities

Change the World Challenge. The Change the World Challenge is a transformative, multidisciplinary student design competition open to upper class students of any major. Students will be formed into multidisciplinary teams of five which will be mentored by faculty in order to develop solutions that balances technical concerns with social, cultural, economic, historical, political, ethical and environmental implications. Applications to participate are due Monday October 17, 2022

Shabang Internships. The annual Shabang music festival has opened up 15 different job & internship positions for the 2022 - 2023 season, each of which plays an integral role in putting on a festival with 10k+ attendees. They have positions available in the following departments: Marketing, Partnerships, & Creative Team. If students are interested, they can visit the Work for Shabang webpage to learn more.​​​​​

Faculty News 

CLA Awards

Three of our COMS faculty members won major awards from CLA this year! Congratulations to Dr. Adams, Dr. Askay, and Professor Laidlaw: 

  • Dr. Aubrie Adams was the 2022 recipient of the CLA Early Career Award for Achievement in Service. This award recognizes a CLA faculty member for a history of exemplary institutional service early in their career. 
  • Dr. David Askay was the 2022 recipient of the CLA Douglas L. Epperson Innovation Award. This award recognizes a CLA faculty member who generates innovative scholarship and/or pedagogies that advance the college in creative and useful ways.
  • Professor Rebecca Laidlaw was the 2022 recipient of the CLA Outstanding Career Achievement in Teaching by a Lecturer. This award recognizes a lecturer who has sustained outstanding teaching over the course of their academic career at Cal Poly. 

Recent Publications

  • Dr. Bethany Conway co-authored a recent article published by the Journal of Political Marketing titled Tipping the Twitter vs. News Media Scale? Conducting a Third Assessment of Intermedia Agenda-Setting Effects during the Presidential Nomination Season
  • Dr. Megan Lambertz-Berndt and Dr. Bethany Conway co-authored a recent article published by the Howard Journal of Communication titled Twitter and the Faces of Whiteness: Investigating Official Responses to the Death of George Floyd.

New Faculty Members

Welcome to our new faculty members who joined the COMS department at Cal Poly this fall! 

  • Dr. Darrian Carroll is a new Assistant Professor teaching classes in Rhetorical Criticism &  Public Speaking
  • Dr. Alison Cheung is a new Assistant Professor teaching classes in Media Criticism & Public Speaking
  • Professor Alexa Loken is a new Lecturer teaching classes in Public Speaking
  • Professor Brooke-Ashley Pool is a new Lecturer teaching classes in Public Speaking

Service Involvement

Dr. Aubrie Adams recently spoke on a panel organized by the Gender-Inclusive Gaming  Club (October 5). At this event, students learned about career options and research related to careers in the video game industry. 

Professor Lisa Kawamura is speaking at an upcoming event at the “Caste in Higher Education Conference,” which takes place October 14-15. This inaugural national conference features renowned and leading student activists, academics, community organizers, union members, and civil rights leaders. 

Dr. Leslie Nelson was elected to serve as the Faculty Director for the Cal Poly Alumni Association Board of Directors for the next two years. She is excited to work with students/staff/administration in this capacity!


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: 

Previous Internships & Jobs. Interested in what kinds of jobs Coms majors typically intern and apply for? Previously, the COMS Department shared a variety of student internship and job opportunities including:

CLA Student Advisory Council. The Student Advisory Council to the Dean recruited students. This council represents and communicates student perspectives directly to the dean of the CLA. 

MC Cal Poly. The Media and Communication Research Initiative launched recruitment for the 2022-2023 research cohort. Students in this program receive funding and support to attend a destination conference.

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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