Fear of Unknown Turns to Appreciation for Different Way of Life


Stories of eye-opening interactions, culturally diverse friendships and new global perspectives answer the question: Can two weeks in a foreign country truly alter a student’s life?

Fear of unknown really set in when 19 students from Kent State University’s College of Communication and Information landed in Chengdu, China, last month. What resulted from the summer cultural exchange program at Sichuan University were unforgettable opportunities, such as eating rabbit’s tongue, getting lost in the city with little communication, and a newfound appreciation for a different way of life. It also forced students to not take American luxuries for granted.

The narratives on the CCI in Chengdu blog, https://cciinchengdublog.wordpress.com, are a window into the transformation of students’ minds and values, and if you asked any of them, they would say that it was more than a once-in-a lifetime experience; it was an unbelievable experience that educated them more about themselves and the world around them – something more than books and lectures alone ever could.

By Hana Barkowitz, junior public relations major

CCI At The Republican National Convention

Marketing Assistants in the College of Communication and Information had the opportunity to attend the Republican National Convention last week in Cleveland, Ohio. CCI was a sponsor of Purple America’s “Purple Tent” a destination for civil dialogue during the week of the RNC. 



By Maggie Wachtel

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity last week to attend the Republican National Convention as a part of my job with CCI.

When I was first presented with this opportunity, I was a little hesitant. I don’t really consider myself politically involved. I watch the news and pay attention to the candidates, but you will never catch me having a debate on fiscal policy or immigration. But I knew this opportunity would be once in a lifetime and I couldn’t miss out.

CCI partnered with Purple America, a civic organization focusing on the shared values of Democrats and Republicans. Purple America set up the Purple Tent where they had an awesome lineup of speakers to talk about topics like the media and politics, civility, and millennials.

Purple America landed a lot of great speakers, such as Matt Dowd,  of ABC News, Katie Harbath, Global Politics and Government Outreach Director for Facebook, and Dr. Ben Carson, former Republican presidential candidate. The conversations that went on between the panelists were really eye-opening, specifically the conversation on civility between presidential candidates.

I have noticed the months leading up to this election have been more insane than usual, specifically just the pettiness between the Republican presidential candidates. The speakers, on this particular panel, blamed social media for this problem, and I agree 100%.

Matt Dowd, of ABC News, used the example of the comments Senator Marco Rubio made about Donald Trump having small hands. Social media took that comment and ran with it. Marco Rubio became a trending topic on twitter, not for his political platform, but for making comments about Donald Trump’s HANDS. It is completely insane when you think about it. And it’s all because of social media, everything creates instant attention.

A candidate can make a stupid comment at an event, then reporters and attendees can instantly tweet it and the world knows. We don’t have to wait to hear about it on the nightly news or read about it in the morning paper. This is the age we live in now, and it’s only going to intensify as the presidential election approaches.

All the panelists agreed the days of being civil with opponents were over. It’s now a more popular tactic for candidates to focus on tearing each other apart, rather than focus on what they can do as president.

But no matter what your political beliefs and opinions are, I think anyone could benefit from attending an event like this. It truly opened my eyes to more political issues that captivate our country and I think I walked away a more informed citizen.


Five Signs You’re About to Study in China

By Taylor Meade, ‘17

Nineteen Kent State students are participating in a two-week cultural immersion program at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China in July. After speaking to a few participants, a trend of humorous difficulties emerged. Somehow, all of these problems were easily relatable to cats.


  1. Eating everything with chopsticks, even breakfast.

Have you ever tried to pick up some rice or some noodles with chopsticks?  Turns out the students are even trying to use chopsticks while eating breakfast cereals. Of course you might be able to find some traditional silverware you would see in the United States, but why not try to follow the Chinese customs?


  1. Constantly using Google to check the Chinese currency.

Some students are thinking, “Did I order the right currency at the bank?” “Did I get a good conversion rate?” “How much money will I even need?” When traveling abroad, ordering money can be one of the biggest struggles. Thank goodness there are ATMs and credit cards.


  1. Start telling yourself, “110 degrees isn’t that hot.”

With the average high of 84 degrees in July in Kent, Ohio, these students are in for a heat wave.  But just think, when they come back, they will think Ohio summers are “cold.”


  1. “Wait, what texting application are you using again?”

Going abroad can be a little difficult when it comes to communicating with those back home. But just remember, you are in CHINA. That is probably much cooler than what your friend is doing. Plus, Ohio is 12 hours behind.


  1. Settling on the right backpack

Students will be traveling and taking classes so a backpack is recommended. Finding a backpack that can fit your Snuggie, laptop and snacks in, is essential. Plus, airlines abroad have different requirements when it comes to weight and dimensions of the luggage itself.

5 Things You Only See On Campus During The Summer

By Maggie Wachtel

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Living on campus during the summer is great! No lines, no crowds, parking everywhere! Here are 5 things you only see on campus during the summer.




Hate waiting in line for a half hour to get your precious burrito? Fear not! It’s summer, no one is on campus, meaning there are no lines! Hooray!

2. Construction LITERALLY Everywhere!

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You think construction during the actual school year is bad? GUESS AGAIN. Try walking across campus without hearing the sound of a hammer or drill. Try driving down Summit Street without almost hitting some poor construction worker. It’s actually impossible.

3. You can actually walk on the Esplanade!

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Ever been on the esplanade in the middle of the week at noon? It’s a nightmare. There’s the really intense bicyclist, that one girl texting with headphones in not paying attention to anything around her, some guy on a skateboard weaving in and out of people. But not during the summer! During the summer, you can walk freely and not live in fear of being run over by the hoards of students late to their 12:15 classes. So much space. Truly amazing.

4. The library is DEAD!

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Being in the library during finals week is probably the worst. People who haven’t studied the entire semester take up all the comfy booths on the fourth floor, plus you have the usual students sleeping on the unsanitary beanbags. It’s chaos. Just wait until summer… no one is cramming for exams at the last second or taking up the six person tables all to themselves. THERE IS SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES.

5. The parking lots are EMPTY!

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Try parking anywhere close to your class during the fall and spring semester. It’s impossible. It’s easier to just walk 20 minutes than worry about getting a ticket or parking in the middle of nowhere. Except during the summer, there are UNLIMITED parking spaces!! Except you better buy a parking pass, or parking services will find you.

VCD Students To Travel Abroad This Spring


CCI students in the Visual Communication Design program will have the opportunity to travel abroad to London, England, and Dublin, Ireland, during Spring break 2017.

VCD students will spend spring break as well as the week after abroad for a “full-scale immersion in typography, hand-lettering and illustration on the islands on the edge of the Atlantic.”

While abroad, VCD students will be taking a class titled “Visual Language: A Form of Experience and Expression.” The class runs for seven weeks, cumulating in the two-week trip to Dublin and London. Students will then use material from their experience abroad to complete a creative design project, which they will turn in once they return to Kent State.

VCD Assistant Professor Christopher Darling will lead students on the study abroad trip this spring.

“Students will research and develop a themed or narrative design project based on a form of expression,” Darling said. “Last year, we had widely varied student projects utilizing photography, typography and illustration.”

Darling said students can also expect to be immersed in a variety of experiences while studying abroad.

“Students will gain knowledge and insight into new cultures and the elements that make them unique,” he said. “The trip will give students access to industry professionals, museums and libraries, group events and dinners, and free time to explore.”

VCD Assistant Professor Aoife Mooney will co-teach the course. She is a Dublin native who specializes in typeface design.

Previously, VCD students have studied abroad in Berlin and Prague, as well as in Greece and Turkey.

To be considered, students must apply before June 30. To apply and learn more about the Dublin/London program, visit https://vcdabroad.wordpress.com.

First Full-Time Dual-Degree Master’s Student Tackles Challenging Courses, Reporting Abroad

KelseyHusnickby Sarah Matthews

Not many Kent State students study abroad more than four times, instruct hundreds of students as a teaching assistant and pursue two master’s degrees as a full-time student.

For graduate student Kelsey Husnick, this is her reality, as she is the first full-time student to participate in the dual-degree program; she is pursuing her master’s in business administration and her master’s in communication with a focus in global communication.

“I’m basically the guinea pig for this program,” Husnick said.

The few students who are pursuing the dual degree are part time, pursuing their professional careers during the day. Husnick, however, is a full-time student who intends to finish the 55-credit-hour-minimum program in two years.

“I’m taking 16 credit hours, and full time for grad school is nine, so the dual degree program is taking double the amount of classes in order to get the two degrees,” she said.

Husnick, who received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kent State, said the goal of her dual degree program is to one day pursue a career in covering businesses in journalism. During an internship at Business Inside Magazine in Cleveland, Husnick said she was first exposed to business writing and enjoyed the challenge of it.

“It was very fun to me to have to take a boring subject and put an interesting twist on it and make it relatable for people,” she said.

Husnick believes her MBA will give her a leg up when applying for jobs and will improve the quality of her writing.

“It’ll help me be more thorough and be more competent in my reporting because business is full of jargon,” she said.

Husnick, who recently returned from her fourth study abroad trip with Kent State, said her time studying abroad has been the most beneficial in furthering her education. Specifically, Husnick has enjoyed the International Storytelling course, which she has participated in three times, traveling to and reporting in Brazil, Estonia and Cyprus.

“Gary Hanson and Mitch McKenney have been really great, because they’re the ones who run the storytelling course and they’ve welcomed me back with open arms every time,” she said.

During job or internship interviews, the first thing Husnick said she is asked about is her time abroad.

“That’s really awesome because not many people can say that they’ve been able to report in a foreign country,” Husnick said. “That right there always sets me apart, and it’s such a great conversation starter for any interview.”

During her most recent trip, Husnick reported on the aftermath of the financial crisis in Cyprus, which officially ended in October of 2015. To read her story, visit the International Storytelling website.

“I was kind of checking on how the country was actually recovering after that financial crisis and seeing how the everyday citizens were feeling the blow of this crisis still to this day,” she said.

Husnick hopes to find a job after graduation where she can combine her passion for journalism and traveling.

“The dream is to be a foreign correspondent for some magazine like The Atlantic or The New Yorker, but more practical would be to write for something like Crain’s Cleveland Business or on the business news desk of some paper,” Husnick said.

PR Student Reflects on Earning Honorable Mention in 2016 Bateman Case Study Competition

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by Gabrielle Woodard

Deciding to participate in the Bateman Case Study Competition was one of the best choices I made during my college career. Bateman gave my team the opportunity to not only create a PR plan (like we have in other classes) but also the ability to implement the plan. It was an amazing opportunity to learn about the issues student veterans face and try to educate others about how to assist student veterans during the veterans’ transition from combat to campus.

I can’t thank Tim Roberts, our Bateman advisor, enough for all of his guidance. He responded quickly to our after-hours emails the night before something was due, and he was always honest with us about whether we were heading in the right direction. I now truly understand why Professor Roberts drilled us on using research to drive our plan; in our casebook, we were able to discuss how our tactics were a direct result of our research.  

I really enjoyed being able to work with veterans because they sacrificed so much for our country, and they deserve recognition. It was really rewarding to be able to educate our other audiences about the transition veterans make from the military to college.

One of the goals we were given by Student Veterans of America was to fix the perception of “the broken veteran” – meaning veterans return home “broken” after their service. This was quite the challenge because we had to conduct research to find out why people had 12733625_959291634163338_7277424628612930639_nthat perception. We found people didn’t believe they thought of veterans as broken, but they thought more veterans suffer from PTSD than actually do; only one-third of veterans suffer from PTSD. Many of the veterans we spoke to said the same thing: “We just want to be treated like everyone else.”

Our Bateman client reminded us every day how much PR can influence and change people’s lives. There is more to PR than developing a social media plan or a hashtag; there has to be a more in-depth plan behind the whole campaign.

The fact that we were able to earn an honorable mention is such an honor. We competed against some of the most brilliant public relations students in some of the most competitive PR programs in the country. It made my team feel as though we truly made a difference, and we are proud that we could represent PR Kent to the best of our abilities.

BY students FOR students in the College of Communication and Information at Kent State


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