How can I study abroad and still graduate on time?

By Emily Carle

The thrill and pull of studying abroad is something tough to shake especially as a college student. Maybe you see your friends and classmates posting pictures on Facebook and their blogs from their faraway travels, and you think to yourself: “How can I do that?”

It may seem simple for Fashion students or for Architecture students, but in reality it is very easy for many majors to study abroad and still graduate on time. There are many different kinds of programs for students that vary in length and location. Perhaps a summer in Australia can be worked into a schedule. The Office of International Affairs has all of the study abroad programs for students and also has contact information for any outside program students may want to complete. Also, Kent State participates with National Student Exchange that allows students from around the country to study at other colleges and universities in the United States.

If these shorter or closer programs still won’t satiate your desire, there are great opportunities as a College of Communication and Information student built into the college. As a student in the School of Communication Studies, School of Journalism and School of Visual Communication Design, there is a CCI Florence program that you can look into that will allow you to take CCI classes while studying in Florence, Italy. Classes include a Practicum in European Media, Comparative Media that count towards JMC or COMM credits or even classes like European Issues that can count towards upper-division electives. Studying in Florence, everyone is required to take some kind of Italian language, but all of the professors are Italian yet speak English fluently and create a positive learning environment.

As a student with CCI Florence, you also have the chance to take field trips around Italy to different news and media outlets and you are able to fully grasp the European and Italian media scene. I studied abroad with the CCI Florence program, and it opened my eyes to a different world of media. Though I definitely learned about the similarities, it was even more interesting for me to see the differences and I would say it helped me understand American media even better. Also, these classes were counting right towards my major, so while I was learning and I was also helping out my course requirements.

For most students, I would recommend studying abroad, especially with the CCI Florence program, your junior year. At this point, most students have taken a good amount of their major classes and have a good grasp on college classes. Also, when you return back to the Kent Campus, you will have at least a full year to tie up any loose ends before graduation. It also helps because you tend to have a lot of skills built up by your junior year, either in writing scripts to editing film, even the Italian language. All of these can be helpful for you in Florence. If you can’t your junior year though, travel abroad when you can.

Whatever program you decide to do, do it to the fullest. After I came back from Florence, I couldn’t stop talking about my experience and I encourage everyone to at least look into studying abroad. There are a lot of avenues to take, all are valid and valuable. There are so many people out there to help you along on your journey; it’s almost silly to not research it. I am a huge supporter of studying abroad, so talk to people who have been abroad, talk to your advisor, talk to your family, talk to financial aid, whoever you have to make study abroad possible!

Emily Carle is a Senior Applied Communication Studies major and a marketing assistant in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication and Information.

Filmmaker to Share Debut Movie, Flyabout, at Kent State

By Emily Carle

Stories That Fly and the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication will sponsor a Women Take Flight night with special guests Monika Petrillo and Lynda Meeks. The event will include a free screening of Petrillo’s documentary, Flyabout.

The event on Thursday, Nov. 4 will be in the FirstEnergy Auditorium of Franklin Hall. An informal reception starts at 6 p.m. with the show starting at 7 p.m. Both Petrillo and Meeks will speak about their personal experiences in flight and the opportunities available for women.

Petrillo is a writer, producer and director based in Los Angeles. Her debut film, Flyabout, takes the audience through Petrillo’s journey circumnavigating Australia by plane with her father and a small crew. With only 140 hours of flying experience under her belt, there were many obstacles and struggles along the way.

The film has something for everyone and Petrillo knows that Flyabout “is not just a travel log; it touches on many different subject matters: father-daughter conflict, animals, flying, culture of Australia, people who want to tell a story.”

Knowing that many people can relate to her story and find something in the film to connect to, she is “happy to share this with people.”

For everyone, Petrillo hopes to inspire or touch in some way. The film can “inspire people to go after their dreams and not let life pass them by. You have to stop making excuses. Write the story, make that movie, do whatever you love,” Petrillo said.

Though she made the choice to get her pilot’s license, fly around Australia then make a movie about it, others can find their own paths to change their lives.

“My film is my story, but I’ve realized that I can be a role model to girls and women because women see me, and I’m not a hero, I’m a regular person, but I could do this, I could fly a plan around Australia and make a movie about it,” she said.

Lynda Meeks, like Petrillo, is a one woman company who provides a face and a story to inspire people and to be a role model for females.

“I could never imagine myself as a pilot until someone told me it was the hardest branch in the Army, and I like a challenge,” Meeks said. “Why can’t women envision themselves as pilots? Even girls in the first grade know it’s a male dominated industry… women aren’t supposed to be smart at the things it takes to be a pilot.”

Today, Meeks is the founder of the program Girls With Wings while also working as a professional pilot and presenting at other speaking events. Girls With Wings strives for girls to have “Flight Plans, not Fairytales” and it’s a motto Meeks wants all females to understand.

“As women get older, they accept and internalize the message that there are things they can’t do and fields that are not meant for them,” Meeks said. She jokes that “the airplane is just a vehicle,” there are many other avenues and “vehicles” women can take, and Women Take Flight can “broaden horizons, just to find out about something you’ve never experienced.”

Women Take Flight is free but seating is limited to 150 people. Guests must register online for this event at Women Take Flight is made possible in part by Kent State University Women’s Resource Center, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Stories That Fly, Women in Aviation International and the International Women’s  Air & Space Museum.

Emily Carle is a Senior applied communication major and marketing assistant in the College of Communication Dean’s Office.

The Perfect Switch

By Renae Pettigrew

I know how the saying “nothing is perfect” goes, but in this case I beg to differ! Ever since eighth grade, I was advised to pursue a career in journalism.

Why? Because I was a person who loved to write about anything. Ever since then I stuck with the goal to study journalism at a four-year college but just needed to find where.

Thanks to a family friend, Kent State was my first choice. I researched the program throughout my senior year in high school and loved everything about it. From reading about TV-2, Black Squirrel Radio, and certain class requirements, I was ready to go.

Once the time finally came to move in and begin my career as a college undergrad, things were much different than I expected. I didn’t do so well my first year at Kent State because I was homesick and didn’t readjust my study habits. Because of this, I was put on academic probation and fell behind in my catalog year in the JMC program.

By the end of sophomore year, I was finally able to breathe with being off of academic probation, but my GPA just wasn’t high enough to meet JMC’s 2.75 requirement. I met with an advisor about my situation. She gave me advice about how switching to a major in Communication Studies would be the best choice, where I would still able to pursue a career in writing or broadcasting.

Ever since I switched, I’ve been a very happy college student! I maintained an average GPA, was able to take classes that I enjoyed, and learned a lot about the world of communication.

Pursuing a career in communication is broader than journalism. There are many more job options, but finding the right job is more complex. With a communication degree, I am able to hold a career in the world of public relations, even though public relations is more affiliated with journalism. Public relations is the career that I decided to focus on, although I would still someday love to broadcast and be on the news. Now I have an internship in the Dean’s Office in the College of Communication and Information, which made me even happier about the switch. Now that I think about it, a number of people who were in my communication classes throughout the years had also made the switch from journalism to communication.

Thank you Communications Studies, for picking me up from journalism after I fell!

Renae Pettigrew is a Senior Applied Communication major and practicum student in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication and Information.

Tips and Tricks: Scheduling

By Nicole Gennarelli

It’s something every student on campus has to do every semester. Looking up classes, seeing if you like the teacher, what times are the courses offered, and asking yourself if you can make it from Moulton Hall to Taylor Hall in fifteen minutes are all valid concerns. Not to mention wondering if you’ll even be able to register for a class that has two spots left. Scheduling on top of school work can add to any college student’s stress level.
However, by following these tips that have proved helpful to me, I’m sure scheduling will become much easier.

  1. Make an advising appointment– Make an appointment as soon as possible. You can find links to each of the four schools on CCI’s website. Each of the school’s websites have links and guides to finding information about advising, and you can schedule an appointment online. Advisors are extremely helpful, can help you figure out what classes are necessary to take, and can make sure you have all the prerequisites you need for next semester.
  2. Look up your classes & times as soon as possible– This is very important. Scheduling sneaks up fast and many people do not take the time to put together a tentative schedule. It helps to write down all your classes, what times they’re offered, and what hall they are in. This gives you a picture of what your semester will look like and allows you to switch classes around depending on what you want your school week to look like.
  3. Write down the CRN numbers for classes– This makes the night of scheduling ten times easier. When everyone goes on Flashline exactly at midnight, they’re all doing the same thing you are- scrambling to get into the classes they want. So by writing down the CRN numbers ahead of time, you can go to the add/drop classes tab on Flashline and just type those numbers at the bottom of the screen and hit register. It eliminates searching for your classes and adding them by department.
  4. Make sure you registered correctly– It is easy, sometimes, to think you made it into a class when you actually didn’t. By going to the “My Courses” tab in Flashline, you will see your classes broken down by semester. There, you can scroll down and view what classes you have taken and what you are registered for in the upcoming semester. If you successfully registered for all the classes you wanted, you should see them all listed under spring 2011 (or whichever semester is next).

These tips are easy and actually really useful! I do this every semester and it eliminates a lot of stress. When it comes time to watch the clock, countdown to midnight, and scramble to type the CRN numbers in correctly, you’ll be thankful you followed these four tips.

Nicole Gennarelli is a Junior Public Relations major and marketing assistant in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication and Information.

Blogging: Pros and Cons

This blog is written in response to a student’s question on what the pros and cons of blogging are for students, especially non-traditional students.

There are countless pros and cons of starting a blog in an atmosphere where social media is constantly changing and competition for attention is heavy. Nonetheless, blogging and participating in social media has definite benefits such as building a personal network and brand, producing content, and showing your personal expertise on something – anything for that matter, spanning from craft-making or cooking to professional topics such as public relations, graphic design or new technology.  Linking your blog to your existing social media platforms makes marketing your blog easier than ever. Last, blogging is an opportunity to improve and showcase your writing abilities.

However, blogging can have its downfalls. Posting anything online can be a risk. Whatever you decide to post is out there for the world to see, comment on, agree with or disagree with. Keeping up with a blog can be a challenge as well. Blogging can take a significant amount of time per week, depending on what you decide to write about.

Bill Sledzik, Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and blogger since 2006, describes this conflict:

“Blogging is a great way to build an online presence and a network, but you absolutely must produce killer content at least twice a week and do it for a long period of time. Since it’s such a huge commitment of time, you need a strategy to guide you – not to mention some expertise your topic and some solid writing skills.”

This is not to say testing the waters is a bad idea. Part of the beauty of blogging is that anyone can do it, on any topic, with any goal in mind. A way to start is to read other people’s blogs. If you want people to take the time to notice your blog, notice theirs. One of the greatest selling points of online social media is interaction with others and with information. I learn something new every day by just participating, just by reading and asking questions.

Each person or business will find different benefits of blogging, on personal or professional levels., a popular blogging website, has over 360,000 bloggers registered and posting constantly on topics ranging from zombies to childhood obesity.

As a student myself, I would weigh my decision of whether or not to blog heavily on whether I have enough time to commit to blogging and what would be the best and most interesting topic for me to write about. And, under reasonable circumstances, what harm could it do to try?

Communication Studies Graduate Program Open House: Today from 3:30-5 in 118 Taylor Hall

Today, the School of Communication Studies will host a graduate program open house in 118 Taylor from 3:30-5:00 p.m. So, are you thinking about graduate school?

In my opinion, it’s never too early to start thinking about your future. It’s important to think about what you can do and what you want to do with the degree you’re earning. Will you need a master’s level degree, a certification, or anything in addition to a bachelor to get the job you want?

Another thing to think about is when? When will you need a master’s degree? In many cases, several years experience is recommended before pursuing a master’s degree.

Think it through:

–       Think about your goals. Where do you want to be professionally in 5, 10, 15 years?

–       Explore the field you plan to enter. What will you need in addition to a bachelor’s degree? Do you need experience first? Or a master’s first?

–       Talk to professionals in the field. What did they do? What type of candidate do they want to hire?

–       Use Graduate Coordinators – ask questions of the graduate coordinators while you still can! If you’re thinking about it, have a conversation with a graduate coordinator before you graduate.

We’ll touch on this topic in more detail in future posts. But for now, I hope you start by checking out the School of Communication Studies!

Please! Not another group project…

By Anne Dudley

Group project after group project after group project! I have three this semester alone!! Who on earth thought a college student’s schedule would work well with group projects?!?!?!

We get it. You’re a student. You’re juggling 4 or 5 other classes. You may have a job or an internship. And, you’re the whosey-whats-it-called in that something-or-other organization.  On top of that you have a significant other, a social life, a car, a dog, a phobia of interpersonal contact and germs, and YOU have to do a group project.

Well sir, or madam, listen here: LIFE IS A GROUP PROJECT (or at least I think so).

I’m sorry to say it but the jury’s out on this one, we all know group projects stink, but when they say this will prepare you for your future, they (whoever “they” are) are right.

Picture yourself 5 years down the road sitting a conference table, discussing the very important whatchyamacallit and its future at whatchayamacalled. Joe Blow, your boss, asks your opinion on the subject. You, shocked, take your finger out of your nose, glance down at the agenda, the only thing you brought to this meeting, and frantically try to think of something relevant to say to save yourself, and your job.

NOBODY wants this to happen.  So now is the time to practice.

Here’s what you need to know to survive group projects:

1. Volunteer SOMETHING – Help get the ball rolling by volunteering to do something. It can be anything, even as simple as: I’ll take notes and email them to the group, I’ll get us a room at the library, or I’ll run our ideas past the Prof. to see how we’re doing. Be involved.

2. Position – Take a position. Make it up for yourself if you have to. Take charge of something. Ex. the research articles & Works Cited, the PowerPoint, group snacks, whatever.

3. Speak – TALK to your group. Silence at the roundtable will only make this take longer.

4. Schedule Early– Scheduling is always a problem for college group projects. Meet early on, or for 5 minutes after each class, and get started. If you think meeting is hard now, think about how hard it will be to meet four times the week before it’s due!?!

5. Practice – If you’re giving a speech, or even a simple synopsis of what your group did, DO NOT WING IT. Run through once. It will make it enormously easier to do it again in front of your Prof.

When you’re working on that next group paper, keep your eye on the prize. Practice makes perfect. Some day, when you’re leading a team of writers, designers, or whomever, hopefully what you learned now will be worth it.

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