Golf, Media and a Doctorate Degree: Q&A with a Ph.D. Student


Meet Zach Humphries, a 26-year-old mass communication in media doctoral student. In our Q&A, he talks about what it’s like to balance research and a graduate assistantship and still have a little free time to do what he loves.

Q: What is your educational background?
A: I went to Youngstown State University for my undergrad in communication and media studies and my master’s in interdisciplinary communication.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue a doctoral degree?
A: I have a couple of different passions. One is sports broadcasting and another is teaching. In order to teach at a college level, you need a Ph.D., so teaching brought me here first, and now I am beginning to value research as well.

Q: What is it like balancing a graduate assistantship with coursework (and having a few minutes to breathe)?
A: At first, it was hard to balance, because when you begin the program, you worry about your classes a lot. It gets better. The first year is difficult, but I was a graduate assistant for my master’s, and that helped.

Q: Are you involved in anything else on campus?
A: I’m the president of the Communication Graduate Student Association (CGSA). We try to bring everyone together. We’re very diverse, and we try to bring all types of people together.

Q: What are you researching this semester?
A: I’m traveling to London over spring break to look at sports communication media, which has been a theme for this semester. We’re looking at how fans interact with athletes. I also have been looking at a lot of political media; one of my projects currently is researching how cable news networks are framing illegal immigration.

Q: When you find free time, what sorts of things do you like to do?
A: I love to golf; I’m a huge golfer. Anything outdoors, I enjoy. I also really like watching sports. I’m a huge Cleveland Cavaliers fan.

Q: Do you have a dream job?
A: I would love to teach back at Youngstown State University. I want to give back to people who helped pave the way for me. I’m passionate about Youngstown, and unfortunately, it gets a bad reputation.

by Charleah Trombitas


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