Eduarda Pavao

"Looking back, I don't see myself studying communication at any other school. The way that the communication department at Stetson University educates their students prepared me to deal with challenges that I face on a daily basis. The discussion-based classes, the relationships that I was able to build with the amazing professors and the connections that I was able to create are something that I will take with me wherever I go." -Eduarda "Duda" Pavão '17, Broadcast Coordinator, Orlando City Soccer Club

Samantha Zarek

"A couple months before graduation, I was hired as a reporter/multimedia journalist/producer at WCYB-TV owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the NBC and Fox News affiliate, covering Southwest Virginia and the Northeast Tennessee Tri-Cities area. Each day, I pitch story ideas, film, report, write, edit, and produce my news story for the day. My experience in Stetson University's Communication and Media Studies department prepared me for my career through classroom education, leadership opportunities, and excellent resources. Through my classes, I gained a well-rounded understanding of communication theory and research, now helping me in my television reporting career as I research stories through a lens of deeper thought and analysis. While at Stetson, I worked as a public relations and research assistant at the department office-- this allowed me to work alongside my professors, aiding in office duties as well as communication research. I also founded and led the university's first news broadcasting station- WHNN: Hatter News Network. My internships and opportunities with the Fox News affiliate, WFFT-TV in Indiana and the NBC affiliate in Orlando, WESH 2 News, allowed me to apply my classroom knowledge, while expanding into the new realm of telecommunications. I also worked with Daytona International Speedway as a public relations and events assistant during all race events throughout my four years at Stetson. Because of my thorough knowledge of various aspects of communication I learned at Stetson, and my experience in racing and television, I now report on NASCAR races at Bristol Motor Speedway, and I have traveled to report from other racetracks across the east coast. I look back at my time at Stetson's Communication and Media Studies department and smile. I would not be where I am today without the outstanding education and support of my professors. I thank all of my professors, my adviser, Dr. McFarland, and Dr. Petrovic and Mr. Andy Dehnart; each class I took with them brought me one step closer to accomplishing my dream." -Samantha Zarek '17

Kai Eckenrode

"Since graduating from Stetson in 2013, I have worked in Washington, D.C. teaching civics and political empowerment in an experiential education setting with the Close Up Foundation, as a Restorative Justice Coordinator in the Denver Public Schools system to address the school-to-prison pipeline, and have travelled to India three times to further my personal and professional yoga practice at Ananda Vanam Art & Deep Ecology Ashram and Aranya Yoga Ashram. Whether engaging in multi-partisan political discussions with high school students, examining implicit bias and structural barriers within the education system, or encouraging strangers to breathe through discomfort to increase their flexibility and self-confidence, one common thread throughout these experiences has been my approach to challenging existing worldviews. My experience in the COMM department not only helped me critically analyze new information presented to me, but also how I reacted to it, and what that meant about how I had been socialized within a white capitalist patriarchy, or, America. Partnered with political science and philosophy classes, I found that my core COMM classes gave me a framework with which to examine the world around me. The importance of civil classroom discussion has never seemed so vital to me today, and I am grateful to have taken part in conversations in classes ranging from ‘Rhetoric of War Films’ with Dr. McFarland, ‘Food, Nutrition & Media’ with Dr. Schuwerk, and ‘Environmental Communication’ with Dr. Watts. 5 years on, I still oftentimes reference not just the content of what I learned, but a methodology of how information is shared, and how knowledge is created." -Kai Eckenrode '13