Winston Meyer completed our graduate program last semester with a successful defense of her project on “Student Self-Perceptions of Experiential Learning in an Online Crisis Communication Course.” In it, she explored the ways in which Kolb’s experiential cycle of concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation were represented in the summative reflection papers of undergraduate students enrolled in a community-based online crisis communication course, according to her Master’s Project Advisor, Dr. McIntyre. Winston’s findings provide strong support for the importance of reflective pedagogical practices, as well as the need for intentional design of reflective assignments to actively engage students in all four stages of Kolb’s Learning Cycle.
She became aware of UA Little Rock’s Applied Communication Master’s Program while earning her undergraduate degree at UCA in public relations. Dr. McIntyre’s husband was her undergraduate thesis advisor and recommended UA Little Rock, where she applied for a graduate assistant position.
Winston was one of the winners of the UA Little Rock’s College of Business Elevator Pitch Competition, where students create a one-minute pitch to sell themselves to real-world employers. We caught up with her to see how she’s doing post-graduation and asked her what you can do with an applied communication degree.
How did you get into the Communication field, what drew you in?
Winston: I discovered my love for communication when I took a communication course as a freshman, and everything seemed to fall into place and make sense. I felt like I had discovered a new wonder of the world. Since then, my love for communication has grown over the last six years as I took more communication courses and engaged with people from different cultures around the world.
Why did you choose to pursue an Applied Communication degree at UA Little Rock?
Winston: I chose to pursue an applied communication degree, specifically at UA Little Rock rather than a different university, because of our department’s wonderful faculty and staff. From day one, I felt at home in our department and a part of something bigger than myself. Each member of the applied communication family adds unique qualities to the community as a whole, and they are the reason I grew to love communication so much.
Why did you decide to go to grad school in this field?
Winston: My undergraduate degree is in public relations and psychology. For me, the field of applied communication perfectly marries all of my many interests. Finding the Applied Communication Department at UA Little Rock so close to home was icing on an already delicious cake!
Can you tell me more about that Elevator Pitch competition you won over at UA Little Rock’s business school?
Winston: As a team, my Communication Skill Center coworkers (Sayra Crandall and Lauren Sanders) and I decided to represent the Applied Communication Department in the Sold in 60 Seconds competition in the Business Department. We couldn’t think of a better way to showcase our communication skills than a competition with real-world career opportunities. With a little pizazz and perfect macrostructure, our efforts paid off! We won first place in the competition, and each received several job offers in the financial and banking industries as a result. From this experience, we realized the versatility of a degree in applied communication. We can truly be anything we want to be.
What are your career aspirations?
Winston: Since completing my degree, I have learned that the most important aspect of my career for me is the people involved. For the rest of my life, I will strive for a work environment as caring as my UA Little Rock family. If I can help cultivate a workplace culture that is even half as compassionate as our department, I will consider my career a success.
What advice do you have for undergrads for what they can do with a communication degree?
Winston: In my opinion, a degree in applied communication is the perfect degree to stand alone or pair with another degree because of its universally appealing set of skills. Employers love applied communication students’ abilities to articulate themselves clearly and concisely, thrive in a variety of communication contexts, and demonstrate professionalism in the workplace. I have found that most jobs are more fun to do with a degree in applied communication because of our nuanced interpersonal skill set. With that in mind, the key is finding your passions in life and adapting your degree to enhance them.