Dr. Cassandra Carlson entered the communication studies field after five years working in the non-profit sector in Australia and Southeast Asia. Gaining a passion for the art and science of communication processes during her time abroad, she returned to the U.S. and completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication from Cal State Fullerton, concentrating on intercultural communication, instructional communication and persuasion.
Carlson went on to earn her doctorate in communication science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation and ongoing research focus on decision-making communication between parents and their emerging adult children. She brings this knowledge of interpersonal and relational communication to the department through the newly developed course, Family Communication (COMS 428). The course will focus on communication theory and practice within family structures by examining relationship communication in marital/partnership, parent/child, intergenerational and sibling relationships. Carlson looks forward to offering students their first chance to experience Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing praxis in the realm of family communication.
Dr. Bethany Conway graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in journalism from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. After two years as a reporter and editor for her hometown weekly newspaper, she earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Arizona. She built a career in journalism focusing mostly on Southern Arizona politics. Covering stories like the Gabby Gifford shooting and border patrol issues sparked Conway’s interest in media coverage of politics, elections and governmental policy. Her interest led her to pursue a doctorate in political communication at the University of Arizona.
Students will have the opportunity to take the new course, Communication, Media and Politics (COMS 386) with Conway in fall 2016 – in time to consider myriad political issues and how they are covered in the current presidential election season. Through this course, she hopes to get students interested in politics and excited about voting. As a professor, she brings her journalism skills and her knowledge of political communication theory to the classroom. She says she is very impressed with our students’ ability to reason, think and speak critically, and is excited to help students dissect and analyze both primary and general elections.
After earning her doctorate in communication studies with an emphasis in organizational communication from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Dr. Megan Lambertz-Berndt joined Cal Poly’s Communication Studies Department as a lecturer in fall 2015. This fall, she will return to the department as our newest assistant professor, teaching courses such as Organizational Communication, Business and Professional Communication, Intergroup Communication and Advanced Organizational Communication.
Lambertz-Berndt’s current research explores how affinity groups hinder and facilitate organizational diversity. For example, if an organization has a support, or affinity, group for African American females, Lambertz-Berndt would seek to determine if this group truly improves the climate for diversity in the organization or if it might have other, unintended effects such as isolating the group instead. Lambertz-Berndt has also spent time exploring the media’s framing of underrepresented populations and has published work in journals such as Business and Professional Communication Quarterly and Conflict Resolution Quarterly. With the hope of increasing inclusivity and diversity-awareness on Cal Poly's campus, Lambertz-Berndt intends to integrate her research into the classroom to share and explore with students.