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Speech Communication

MA Alumni Updates

MA Alumni Updates

Mark Miles (1996): I am back in Texas where I work for Dallas County Community College District where I am a trainer in the Human and Organizational Development District Office. I also teach intro to communication and public speaking at one of the community colleges. I am very passionate about teaching Business Communication and Organizational Communication when I have the opportunity.

Tammy Holbert (1990): I’ve been back working freelance/part-time in TV/Film production for about two years now and really enjoying it. You might remember that was my undergrad. degree, also from UALR. I do feel my age though with the grind and pace of production work…not a spring chicken anymore! I was at UALR in Dec., as a proud mom, when one of my sons graduated with his MBA!! It brought back a lot of memories that seem to have gone by way too fast!

Reagen MeGee(2007): I am all settled in and doing great here in Clovis, NM. I am also newly engaged so look for your invitation in the mail:)! I am working at an organization called MATT 25. Here I am training to be a Life Skills facilitator, which is a cross between a teacher in a classroom and a counselor in a group setting. It is amazing to me how I am using all of the skills that I learned in the program. Lastly, I just wanted to convey my thanks to all of you because I am seeing miracles happen everyday as the clients learn effective communication skills and it is because of all of you that I am able to play a part in their transformation.

Please email Gerald Driskill ( whenever you have updates and let me know if I missed one you sent in earlier.

Updated 3.17.2010

Graduate Students Shine

o Carina Cremeen, recently completed her paper on Salmonella Saintpaul in U.S. Produce: A Case Study of Communication and Renewal. She presented her findings to a national audience of academics and practitioners in a web based phone conference to the National Center for Food Protection and Defense.
o Derek Wingfield, a second year MA student, received the Bronze Quill from the Arkansas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for an intranet website he created and two Prism Awards for the same site from the AR chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
o Greg Henderson, a first year MA student, was recognized as one of the The New Influentials: 20 in Their 20’s awarded by Arkansas Business.

Updated 12.17.2009

Equipping Leaders in the FATA region of Pakistan

Four faculty members, Drs. Driskill, Mirivel, Thombre, and McIntyre are involved in a grant through USAID. This five year grant was initiated by Dr. Nunn, Director of the Arkansas International Visitors Center. These communication workshops engaged UALR students as well as discussions with community members. The workshops focus on dynamics of intercultural communication, change and diffusion, and presentational skills. This work is a vital effort for developing intercultural understanding and peace. Faculty and students continue to be in email contact with these students. We are encouraged by the courage and determination they show as they face challenges in this war torn part of our world.

Updated 12.17.2009

Faculty Members Shine in Chicago

Every year, over 5,000 communication faculty and students across the nation meet at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association Conference to strengthen their teaching and research. This year, the conference met in the beautiful city of Chicago. Dr. Robert Ulmer, Chair of the department, presented his work on crisis communication and renewal in a professional pre-conference session. In addition, Dr. Julien C. Mirivel, and a previous colleague from UALR, Dr. Alexander Lyon, earned the top four competitive research paper from the organizational communication division. Their paper, titled Reconstructing Merck’s Practical Theory of Communication: The Ethics of Pharmaceutical Sales Representative-Physician Encounters, emphasizes the importance of communicating ethically in health care interactions. We look forward to even more success next year.

Updated 12.17.2009

Students Present Crisis Research to State and National Audiences

Three of our M.A. students have recently presented their work on crisis and renewal to practitioners and scholars at the state and national level. We are excited by the way these students carry on the department norm of making meaningful contributions through applied communication research.

• Reagen Megee presented her paper, “Arkansas’ Response to Hurricane Katrina: Effective Crisis Communication in Public Health” to to the Arkansas Department of Health. Her research was conducted to determine ways the state could learn from their response and improve future communication practices in health communication.
• Ashley Boccarossa presented her paper, “Arkansas Department of Health Coordinated Response to Hurricane Gustav: A Crisis and Communication Renewal Analysis” also to the Arkansas Department of Health. Her research documents ways this organization is using data from crisis communication to renew and improve their role in responding to natural disasters.
• Fan Ku presented his research to the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. Fan’s presentation title was “King Car’s response to China’s melamine crisis.” His research illustrates a rare case of an organization that was able to ethically and responsibly respond the melamine crisis in China and as a result renew and grow from the crisis. His presentation was done via the web and conference call to risk and crisis practitioners and researchers from Washington D.C., Michigan State University, Cornell University, University of Kentucky, University of Oklahoma, University of Montana, University of Tennessee, among others.

Updated 10.26.2009

Kudos to our 09 Capstone Class

The Department is proud of the hard work of our Senior Seminar Capstone Class of 2009. These 14 students worked tirelessly with the faculty to under take varied case studies analyzing personal, work and professional relationships. Each case analysis demonstrated their skills in applying communication theories to critically examine and improve their own communication in their day to day lives.

The students presented their case studies in a 20-25 minute presentation to the faculty and external stakeholders in March.

One of the capstone students Camille Earl, further refined her case study and presented it at the UALR Undergraduate Research Forum. A panel of judges adjudged her research and she won the first place in the Arts section for best undergraduate research project.

Following is a list of Capstone Projects undertaken the 2009 class.

1. Social Penetration Theory: Rosie Relationships by Annacaye Clark Hickey

2. Getting Down to the Core: A Case Study of Social Penetration Theory by Ty Stacey

3. Pope, Boss, or Dad? By Jeremy Lashlee

4. First Comes Love, Marriage, Then A Baby Carriage by Mary Worthy

5. Out of Place in Your Own Home: A Case Study Analysis using Expectancy Violations Theory by Whitney Prater

6. The Office: A Cultural Analysis of My Workplace by Camille Earl

7. Coordinated Management of Meaning between Mother and daughter by Rhonda Triollet

8. My world and your world by Terri Cox

9. Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire by Joseph Mahony

10. Growing pains by Julia Graham

11. Communication in relationships: A case study of attacking the other’s sense of self by Larry Jackson

12. Messages lost through communication by Michelle Broadway

13. On my own two feet with Christianity by Diana Benson

14. Analyzing the sister-sister relationship by Alisha Williams

Updated 10.16.2009

Recent Graduate Student Projects

Recent Graduate Student Projects

We could never do enough to honor the work of our students. The titles below provide snapshots into the diversity, value, and quality of our student final projects. You might want to contact us to learn more about a given project. Furthermore, you might have interest in engaging our students in a project in your organization.

• Jacob Jenkins-The Role of Postmodern Communication in a Modern/Pre-modern Organization
• Daniel Mcpherson-Diffusing an Innovation: The Role of Opinion Leaders in Recruiting
• Ashley McDaniel-Encouraging Student Persistence through the Student Driven Model: Applying a Communication Lens
• Katie Prince-An Analysis of Control and Rewards in an Online Community
• Alyssa Grace Milner-A Study of Ethical Values and Communication at MEO

Updated 3.20.2009

Congratulations to Dr. Brashers

Dale BrashersDr. Dale Brashers was recently promoted to Chair of the Department of Communication as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Our applause! Dale completed our M.A. program in 1988. His project was titled: Communicating About Social Change: Adolescents and AIDS. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona. His current work reflects the interest in had in our program in that he continues to examine the role of communication in the management of health and illness for persons living with HIV or AIDS. One NIH project (National Institutes of Health) has the goal of developing and testing an uncertainty management intervention in which individuals who are newly-diagnosed with HIV will learn communication skills (e.g., self-disclosure, physician-patient communication, information search) from a peer educator. A related research project focuses on the development of self-advocacy skills for HIV-infected individuals. We are proud of you Dale and the way you represent the promise and potential of this discipline to improve life for others.

Updated 3.13.2009

Faculty Shine in San Diego

Faculty, Students, and Alumni represented the department at the National Communication Association Conference in San Diego (November 20th-25th). From chairing panels and responding to papers to presenting competitive scholarship, the Department of Speech Communication was a bright light in San Diego. Consider some of the highlights:

• Dr. Robert Ulmer joined 25 leading scholars in the field of crisis communication in an NCA forum that focused on how to handle emergency responses related to bioterrorism.

• Dr. Gerald Driskill presented a paper with Sasha Arjannikova and Tiffany Schneider, two of our alumni. Their study proposed a model for assessing and promoting intercultural communication competence.

• Dr. Kristen McIntyre chaired a panel focused on experiential learning in the classroom. The panel features current and past colleagues in our department including Mrs. Laurie Metcalf, Dr. J.J. McIntyre, and Dr. Misty Wilson.

• Dr. Julien C. Mirivel and Dr. Avinash Thombre presented a research report that described how burn survivors recover from life crisis as part of a panel that focuses on communication after traumatic events.

The conference was a great success.

Updated 3.13.2009

Key Scholar in Organizing Social Change Visits Department


This fall Professor Arivnd Singhal visited the department on Oct 9th and 10th. Dr. Singhal was here to guest lecture in Dr. Avinash Thombre’s Communicating Change and Information Diffusion class. His appearance as guest in the class has become an annual feature from the last three years. While he was here he also shared his recent research with our faculty.

Among other things Dr. Singhal talked about his recent work in the area of organizing for social change in Uganda and Indonesia. The two sites were chosen as Uganda has been ravaged by 18 years of bloody civil conflict that has maiamed, uprooted and killed thousands of people and Indonesia is encountering a high incidence of underage girl trafficking for commercial sex purposes.

In the first case study, Singhal and his partners are presently working with 500 young mothers and vulnerable girl survivors of the more than 40,000 children and an equal number of adults who have been abducted, traumatized, brutalized, raped, and held against their will, away from their families and loved ones. He uses the positive deviance strategy to work with these abducted children who are turned into outcastes and pariahs now that the civil war has ended. His research identifies the positive deviants who are individuals whose special practices/ strategies/ behaviors enable them to find better solutions to prevalent community problems than their neighbors who have access to the same resources. In its first phase, the intervention research has already started yielding results with the participating girls learning, adopting, and implementing many positive deviance practices which have made a substantial difference in their life. Similar successes have been achieved in the Indonesian case study.

The full text of Dr. Singhal’s report can be found at the end of this page. For more information on this research please email Dr. Singhal at:

Dr. Arvind Singhal is the Samuel Shirley and Edna Holt Marston Endowed Professor of Communication, and Senior Research Fellow at the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies of University of Texas, El Paso. He teaches and conducts research in the areas of diffusion of innovations, organizing and communicating for social change, and the entertainment-education communication strategy. Dr. Singhal is author or editor of eight books.


Updated 11.17.2008
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