Category Archives: Comm 601

First Class of Grad School Complete! Wrap-Up


Today concludes my first class of grad school and whew that went fast!  I learned so much in 8 weeks and I am looking forward to having a brain full of communication knowledge by the time my 2 year program is complete. My class: COMM 601 focused on communication theories and I learned how to apply the transitions and theories to real life situations and experiences. I also learned that an online grad program while intense and a lot of hard work , can be enjoyable as well. Our final project was an Inquiry Paper about using a film as “equipment for living” and since I love movies, I had fun doing my research ( watching one of my favorites) and analyzing the film to different communication theories. It was an entertaining and way to learn. I appreciate all of the new digital media tools I have learned so far (Prezi, Screencast and of course, WordPress) and I will be using these tools for future classes. Not only have the last couple of months been beneficial to my academic journey but I have benefited personally as well. I have learned to manage my time better, discipline myself more, and to stop being such a procrastinator.  It feels good to put my mind to use and exercise my brain while pursuing and accomplishing one of my lifetime goals. I know that once I obtain my Master of Arts in Communication in 2015, the long studious nights and incessant trips to the library will all be worth it.

This class introduced me to a lot of smart and talented people, and I am happy to continue this scholastic adventure with them!

All of my classmates did excellent jobs on their digital presentations and I would like to include a few that I found to be fascinating and intriguing.

Angela Stalcup

Angela’s presentation was informative, inspiring and tear-jerking as she wrote about her mother’s battle with cancer and used the film “The Shawshank Redemption” as “equipment for dying”. I especially liked the visuals in theme of Angela’s presentation and her narration of how you can still have peace even in the most hopeless situations ( e.g prison/cancer) if you have a positive outlook.

Nicole Hunt

Nicole analyzed one of my favorite films “Mean Girls” and applied it throughly to the sociocultural tradition. I like how Nicole included photos from the film and shared her own experience as a “mean girl”.

Dawn Parra

Dawn used the movie “Click” as “equipment for living” for people who don’t live in the moment. From her presentation I learned how to enjoy even the mundane tasks of life, and appreciate each moment because we cant fast forward to the future or rewind the past.

I hope you enjoy their presentations as much as I did!


Vlog- How to Handle Criticism

For our last Vlog of the course, we were asked to illustrate a concept from the article titled “How to Handle Criticism in College and Beyond.” Because criticism is a fact of life,  (constructive or otherwise) this is a fundamental topic to discuss and I chose to focus on how to handle criticism in the workplace.

Note: I am working on limiting and eliminating my use of the word “um” I never noticed how much I say it!

Ask Men. (n.d).  How successful people  handle criticism.  Retrieved from

Bachelors Degree Online. (2013). How to handle criticism in college and beyond. Retrieved from

Digital Presentation: Everything Happens For A Reason

Our final project was to create a digital presentation from our final paper. My project I analyzed the film the Butterfly Effect and explained how it provided “Equipment for Living”. I used a new technology Prezi, which is a cool and fun presentation tool. I enjoyed creating my project with Prezi however I might have felt a little more comfortable and been a little less nervous with Powerpoint. I included my Prezi Presentation as well as My Youtube video below!

Sociocultural Tradition: All About You

As my first graduate class Comm 601 is coming to a close, we are asked to revisit the seven communication traditions (Semiotic, Sociopsychological, Sociocultural, Rhetorical, Critical, Phenomenological and Cybernetic) and to choose the one that makes the most sense to us. At the start of the course, I was drawn to the Sociopsychological tradition then I applied my final paper to the Phenomenological tradition but now I would have to say the Sociocultural tradition is the one that I understand the best as well as the most applicable to my life and my career goal.

The Sociocultural Tradition focuses mainly on the study of an individual being and how identities are established through interaction in social groups and cultures. The theories of sociocultural tradition focus mainly on social behavior, individual effects, and personalities and traits, perception and cognition. ( Littlejohn & Foss, 2011)

The theories in the Sociocultural tradition that appeal to me are the Theory of Identity and Identity Negotiation theories.

The Theory of Identity is associated with who you are and how you express yourself. The personal layer of identity is your sense of self in a social situation, the enactment layer is other’s insights based on what you do and how you act, relational layer is who you are in relation to other individuals and the communal layer is the attached to a larger culture.(Littlejohn &  Foss, 2011)

-My personal layer of identity: How I act and communicate with my friends is different than how I act and communicate at school or work.

-Relational layer: I am a daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt and friend.

From left to right: Me, mom, and sister
From left to right: Me,  my mom, and my sister
My dad and I
My nephew and I
My best friends
My best friends 

-Communal layer: My ethnicity and religion could be a part of my communal layer.

The Identity Negotiation Theory is how identity is negotiated among others across cultures. I will explain my identity as it relates to this theory.

-Personal identity: Female

-Social identity: Student of Queens University of Charlotte, Alumni of Michigan State University, employee of Verizon Wireless

Queens University of Charlotte
Queens University of Charlotte
Michigan State University
Michigan State University

-Cultural identity: Christian

-Ethnic identity: African American

As I am still  in a growing stage of my life, certain parts of my  identity are still changing, like how I just became a student of Queens University of Charlotte last month. I still have more to add to my identity that I look forward to such as becoming a mother, wife, and a member of different organizations that support my profession / education.

Once I complete my Masters course, I wish to obtain a career in Social Media, or Media Relations. The social media field is related to the Sociocultural tradition because it is associated to the way people communicate in society and how one’s identity plays a part in how they connect with people on a social networking platform. Also one’s identity could influence what social network platform is most representative of that person. For example: LinkedIn appeals to the working individual and not so much the high school teen where as Facebook or Instagram would and Pinterest appeals more to women than men. I am excited to learn more about the sociocultural tradition as I continue my academic journey throughout the communications field.

Littlejohn, Stephen W. & Foss, Karen A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

An Organization’s Lack of Communication

Retrieved from :

In this week’s blog post we are asked to imagine a problem we have encountered with an organization and apply it to one of our communication traditions. I will discuss the recent experience I had with a nail salon.

One afternoon before work, I decided to stop and get my eyebrows waxed at a new nail salon, (new to me) which was close to where I work. Granted, I was already in a hurry and only had about 15 minutes to spare but in my experiences, an eyebrow wax takes about 5 minutes at the most. Also it was a Wednesday morning at about 2:30 pm, so I figured the salon would not be busy. Normally, I would have just waited until the next day to avoid rushing but my eyebrows looked horrible and I didn’t want to wait one more day.  A very shallow comment, I know.

As I stepped into the salon, as I figured, it was not that busy. There were about 5 nail techs (4 of which were working on customers) and I noticed an eyebrow wax station (empty) at the back of the shop. Normally I am a pretty patient person when I step into these types of business establishments because I understand the process is usually first come first serve. But there was no one else waiting. So I sit, and I wait. And wait. Without even being acknowledged. One of the nail tech shot me a glance and went back to her work. After 5 minutes (I only 15 minutes to spare to start with) I left out with an exasperated sigh. As I opened the door to leave is when I heard “Can I help you, can I help you?” Well at that point it was too late. My issue was not so much that I had to wait but that I wasn’t even acknowledged and told to wait or that “Someone would be with you”, or even asked “What did you need done today?” I have visited nail salons for years and have never had that experience. I made up my mind that even through it was convenient and close to my job; I wouldn’t try the place again because to me their service was unprofessional.

I want to examine this issue I had to the socio cultural tradition. The socio cultural tradition is focused on the shared meanings and interpretations of an organization. (Littlejohn & Foss, 2011) Every organization has a culture: shared rules, norms, values and practices that are used and accepted n the organization.

As much as I do not want to think discrimination was the reason why I was not helped, I couldn’t help but notice that no one in the salon -nail techs or customers – were of my race (African American).  This is a common occurrence so it could have very well have been a coincidence or could not had anything to do with it at all. It could have been that I was someone new who they hadn’t saw before, not one of their frequent customers. Maybe they though I was there to wait on one of the customers that were being helped. It also could have been my own fault for being assertive and speaking up when I first arrived, however no one was at the front of the salon, and I didn’t want to yell across the room nor did I feel that I should have had to. I also felt that at least after waiting for 5 minutes (which seems like an eternity when you are in a rush),  I should have at least been spoken to.

I feel like the employees of the salon acted in distancion- “not associating what they were doing with larger structure.” (p. 311) By them not offering to help or even acknowledging me, I will not visit the salon again and will not have a favorable review for friends/ family. In salon, word of mouth reviews are important so while they may not have noticed what they were doing by not welcoming or acknowledging one customer, it could cause the business to lose other customers in the future.

I also feel that the structure of the organization was not acceptable. When you have customers coming in the front door, if there is no one at the front desk to welcome them, it leaves the customer waiting with no explanation or acknowledgement and doesn’t give a good first impression. The salon could have communicated better with me as a customer instead of waiting until I was out of the door to offer assistance, creating a better climate: collective description to shape performance of organization. (p. 312) Nevertheless, I rushed off to work with bad eyebrows and a lesson learned to not wait until the last minute when in need of a cosmetic service.

Littlejohn, S. W. and Foss, K.A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc

Vlog: Screencast


For this week’s assignment , we created a Vlog using Screencast-O-Matic and Powerpoint. The Vlog is a presentation of an scholar, peer reviewed article. I am very familiar with PowerPoint (have been using the program over 10 years) but I am new to Screencast-O -Matic. I enjoyed learning and using Screencast-O-Matic, it was very easy and straightforward to use. I like the fact that I can narrate the PowerPoint without being in the video and the fact that you can pause and record at your convenience. This made it easier to gather my thoughts and I could take my time in the speech without being nervous. I will definitely use Screencast-O-Matic for future presentations!

The article is titled Conceptualizing Beauty: A Content Analysis of U.S. and French Women’s Fashion Magazine Advertisements by Pamela K. Morris and
Katharine Nichols, Loyola University Chicago, USA.

I chose this article because it combines the concepts that interest me : fashion and beauty with communication and advertisement. The article focuses on the difference between US and French ads in beauty magazines. What I found interesting was that in American ads, the woman smile more and the ads focus on  mainly makeup and hair care while the French ads display women in more bizarre roles and focus on mainly on skincare: lotions and perfumes. This shows how American society is more aimed toward the cosmetic idea of beauty. For more information on the topic you can check out my Vlog above!


Morris, P. K., & Nichols, K. (2013). Conceptualizing beauty: a content analysis of U.S. and French women’s fashion magazine advertisements. Online Journal Of Communication & Media Technologies3(1), 49-74.

Inauthentic Role


For this week’s assignment we were asked to create a character with an inauthentic role (not of the same gender, age , occupation or social status) to run for a campaign.  For my inauthentic role, I created a character that is a 21 year old male college senior that is running for Homecoming King for a fictional university. This role differs from me in multiple aspects including age and gender.

In creating my script, I primarily used the theory of identity. Because the nature of the campaign is more of a popularity contest, my character will be judged more so by “who he is” referring to his personality and reputation. The voters’ perception of him and whether he is “well-liked” by the audience will be the determining factor of winning the campaign.

My character is a popular, outgoing person who has extravert and agreeableness traits, making him a great candidate for a Homecoming King campaign. While this character differs from me based on identity, we share similar traits such as the extraversion trait. I am also a confident person but I vary from being introvert to extravert depending on the audience that I am around.

Before completing my video, I didn’t think I would feel that awkward or out of my element playing an inauthentic role as I did. This made me come to the realization that I generally don’t go outside the box or my comfort zone when it comes to appearance or behaviors. By portraying a male character , this assignment helped me understand how true I am to myself. I didn’t feel as comfortable as I would have playing a female character for sure!

Check out the campaign speech below!

“Equipment for Living”

What movies can you think of that have made an impact on your life or provided you with values that you adapt in real life?  I chose the movie “The Butterfly Effect”. In the movie the main character, played by Ashton Kutcher, goes back in time using his journal to change his future. Every time he goes back, he makes a different decision in his life which alters the course of his future for the worse. The moral of the movie is that every decision we make affects our future and living in the past and looking backwards can have detrimental effects to our life.  This applies to the saying that I live by: “Everything happens for a reason”.

“The Butterfly Effect” provides equipment for living  for those who live in the past.

The Study of Communication


“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”- Tony Robbins

I like this quote and thought it was very fitting for the chapter that we are studying this week in regard to the seven traditions of inquiry. These traditions are: semiotic, phenomenological, cybernetic. sociopsychological, sociocultural critical, and rhetorical. In studying these traditions, it enlightened me to various subjects and topics that communication scholars study and how these traditions can overlap. Because the communication field is so wide-ranging and extensive, there are many research areas that can be explored. Some of these topics include but are not limited to:

  • Social Media and Mobile Technology
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Media Relations and Public Relations
  • Culture and Society
  • Feminist Studies
  • Relationships and Families
  • Systems and Networks
  • Conversations and Messages
  • Communication Theories and Traditions
  • Rhetorics and Semiotics
  • Language and Non-Verbal Cues
  • Social Interaction and Behavior

Out of this list, the research topics that interest me the most are social media and mobile technology as well as media relations and public relations.  As I stated in my first post I am drawn in and to social media, and I like the way the technology is changing rapidly. It has become a cultural phenomenon while being an effective and fun way to communicate.  It will be interesting to see what social platforms we have in 5-10 years. Also I have always had a fascination with celebrities and the way that they live and communicate with the public, hence my interest in media and public relations.

While these are the communication topics that I am looking forward to examining and studying, for my first research paper I decided to go a different route. Our research project for this class is to show how films provide “equipment for living”. In other words, how films affect you in life and guide your way of living.  The movie I chose and my “equipment for living” explanation is in the next post!