On April 19th the Department of Applied Communication held an Alumni Reunion and Awards Ceremony. It was a chance to connect with old friends and honor some of the work our alumni and current students have achieved.
Desiree Doyle and Sayra Crandall both received the Distinguished Student Scholars award. Both students were required to explain how their creative work has been used to advance the department’s mission of “fostering the co-creation of better social worlds through positive communication.”
“My autoethnography seeks to show through storytelling how I literally changed my thinking and communication skills in conflictual situations,” Sayra wrote. “As a product of an applied communication education, I have a greater sense of the world around me and the responsibility I have as a communication scholar to be better than I was before.” Sayra says she starts at home teaching her daughter what positive communication looks like and volunteers in her community at her church.
Desiree wrote, “I did a presentation at the CSSC Showcase on February 26th, and last semester I received the Undergraduate Research Signature Experience Award which granted me $1000 to go towards my research.” She further explains, “I have used this money to help fund my travel and expenses to present at the Theodore Clevenger Undergraduate Honors Conference in Nashville, TN. I had to submit my paper and get accepted into the conference. I got accepted, but I was also titled as a ‘Clevenger Scholar.’ This means that my paper placed in the top 10% of all student papers submitted to the conference.”
Students Making A Difference
In this category, Krista Woods and Lauren Sanders took home awards. “Lauren’s work with Immerse Arkansas has the potential to inform educators on the value of teaching/facilitating training using the Experiential Learning Theory,” says Sayra Crandall. “The evidence is in the continued relationship our department has with Immerse Arkansas.”
Krista is involved with Bearden Productions, a non-profit organization that teaches underprivileged youth in areas such as cooking, cultural dance, and acting. “Bearden Production focuses on our youth at a critical stage in their social development,” she says. “Acting classes have been proven to instill creativity, as well as teach children how to work well with others. It teaches kids adaptation which helps tremendously in this rapidly changing world.”
Alumni Making A Difference
Bruce Trimble received his M.A. in Interpersonal & Organizational Communication from our department in 2006. In 2008 he earned an additional graduate certificate in conflict mediation. His work in the area of suicide prevention has earned him our Alumni Making A Difference award.
“He has dedicated countless resources, hours, and energies to furthering Arkansas’ ability to care for those who may be struggling with depression and suicide,” says Susie Reece. “He was appointed by the Governor of Arkansas to the Arkansas Suicide Prevention Council in 2015. He was then nominated Co-Chair of the Council, where he pushed for Arkansas to expand the state suicide prevention services. He advocates daily for those who often cannot speak out or up for themselves.”
Community Partners: UAMS Patient & Family Centered Care & UAMS Center for Health Literacy
We picked UAMS as our community partner because they were the first organization to open up opportunities for our students for internships. The two areas in which we have placed students for internships regularly are the UAMS Center for Health Literacy and the UAMS Family and Patient-Centered Care Department. Students have gotten the opportunity to participate in important work with patient advocacy and literacy campaigns as part of their experiences.
On hand to receive the awards were Katie Leath from the Center for Health Literacy and Amanda Hinojosa.
Angela Laird Brenton Endowed Scholarship Recipient
The departmental advisory development board set up a student scholarship fund in 2015 in memory of Dr. Angie Laird Brenton, who served for several years as Dean of the College of Professional Studies, as well as a faculty member in the department, before she died in 2013, at the age of 60. This year the scholarship recipient is Derrick Newby, a junior with a 4.0 GPA, since beginning the online program in the UA Little Rock Applied Communication Department in Fall 2017.
Emeritus Faculty Honor
Dr. Allan Ward was a Professor of Speech Communication in our department starting in the 1970s, and he taught here for over 30 years. In addition, he has held the position of Director of Research and Staff Development at World Services for the Blind and taught communication courses at the Arkansas Police Academy and in the prisons, as well as serving on the board of many community organizations. Dr. Ward’s most recent book, Civil Rights Brothers, recounts his experiences working across racial lines with his friend and colleague, Albert Porter.
The Department of Applied Communication has set up an endowed scholarship fund in Dr. Ward’s honor, for his important contributions to the department and community. The funds will be used to support student participation in high-impact activities such as undergraduate and graduate research, study abroad, and internships. (Click here to give.)