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Get Involved

Posted on: March 28, 2017

The Michigan State Department of Communication has a proud history of federally-supported research as well as leadership in federally-supported training programs. Our faculty and students have been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Mental Health, Agency for International Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Justice, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and others. This Earth Day, April 22, 2017, is host to the March for Science in Washington DC and other cities. Social scientists at Michigan State University and other Big Ten universities can play key roles in this event. March for Indiana! On Wisconsin! Let’s see Buckeye Nation! And go Green!

Scholars are very often apolitical in public forums. That time is past. Social scientists have a role to play by getting engaged. Write letters, join marches. Make sure your elected representatives understand your views on academic research and the contributions of our federal agencies to the generation of knowledge and to understanding what works in translating science to practice. My first grant at MSU was from the EPA. It was a small budget, great project, with results that were used by that agency. What can you do? Tell your story about social science and our federal agencies to our elected officials.

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Innovative Smithsonian Research Summit Successfully Hosted by MSU School of Journalism

Posted on: February 27, 2017

JRN_Summit_1Global scholars, researchers and artists from the Smithsonian Latino Center, the technology industry, and academia came together on Feb. 23-24 for the 2017 Smithsonian Cultural Digi Summit. The global industry gathering was hosted by the MSU School of Journalism at the Immersive Media Studio in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

The annual summit brings together the world’s leading minds to share presentations, hands-on workshops with cutting edge technologies covering animation, virtual reality, mobile interaction, augmented reality and mixed realities. The emphasis was the use of groundbreaking technologies, many still in the confidential development stage, to represent the Latino Dance Project and Smithsonian Latino Collections.

The Latino Dance Project is collaboration between Smithsonian Latino Center, the MSU School of Journalism, and Latino dance ethnologists, cultural anthropologists and choreographers.

JRN_Simmit_2Industry summit participants included MSU School of Journalism strategic partners Noitom Perception Neuron, Reallusion, Viar360, Sinewave Entertainment, and Zappar. The Smithsonian Latino Center is also part of MSU Journalism’s growing partnership alliances in Immersive Journalism. Google made a special presentation to the group on “Humanizing Digital”.

Faculty from the Berklee College of Music, University of California-Riverside, and the MSU School of Journalism participated in the summit.

JRN_Summit_3“The MSU School of Journalism continues to redefine the field for the 21st century by being at the forefront of research and technology for Immersive Journalism,” said Michigan State Prof. Stacey Fox, who organized the summit and is the Animation, Mixed Realities and Immersive Worlds faculty leader in the School of Journalism. “We are excited, and thankful, to have such amazing strategic partners who are so generous with their knowledge and technology. They have donated over $645,000 of in-kind hardware and software to the School of Journalism for our students to utilize in their story production.”

The summit was sponsored by Target with Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

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March for Science

Posted on: February 13, 2017

Earth Day, April 22, 2017, is host to the March for Science in Washington DC and potentially many other cities. Social scientists at Michigan State University and other Big Ten universities can play key roles in this event. Scholars are very often apolitical in terms of public sentiment. That time is past. Social scientists owe it to their mentors and forebearers to defend and justify the importance of knowledge and systematic inquiry to society. It’s time to pay it forward for our students and their society.

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MSU shifts into drive for the Auto Show in Detroit

Posted on: January 30, 2017

We’ve finally reached the point where autonomous vehicles are no longer a far-fetched idea of the future.

To kick off 2017, Michigan State University Spartans from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Business and Engineering made a name for themselves at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, showcasing the automotive research and work they’ve accomplished over the past year.

From advertising executives to auto engineers, see what MSU has to offer the auto industry:

MSU had two presentation booths: one showcased the sleek green and white Spartan autonomous research vehicle, while the other featured MSU’s award-winning Formula racer and team. Each booth charmed a mix of state, national and international media throughout the week.

ComArtSci had a presence at each booth and highlighted  the research the college is focused on related to the auto industry, including development with digital avatars, which seeks to help with self-driving cars.

While the College of Engineering has a noteworthy amount of direct ties to the auto industry, both ComArtSci and the Broad College of Business have valuable corporate partnerships and connections to the industry.

ComArtSci is teaching the advertising and public relations students and others how to represent and promote organizations. A lot of folks that work on major accounts in the auto industry have come from here.

During the week, the MSU North American International Auto Show Reception, an alumni and corporate partner event, was jointly hosted by ComArtSci, The Broad College of Business and the College of Engineering. 

The event highlighted the work that the various colleges are doing in the auto industry and Detroit.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon had the opportunity to speak at the reception and shared her enthusiasm for the growing number of MSU alumni and their impact on the world around them.

“Every place I go in the state is talent, talent, talent that needs to drive the future,” said Simon. “We have the largest number of Michigan undergraduates of any institution in the state (with) 30,000.”

Detroit, the auto industry and research to improve both are a continuously growing topic of interest for not only ComArtSci, but also Michigan State University.

To see more pictures from the NAIAS, click here.

By Lily Clark

 

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Communication senior blends two passions into one internship

Posted on: January 26, 2017

laurentamboerPassionate about the environment doesn’t even begin to describe communication senior Lauren Tamboer and the work she is doing as a communications intern at MSU Sustainability.

She is pursuing a minor in environmental and sustainability studies, a decision that she said was inspired by her father.

“My Dad has definitely had an influence on my interest in the environment,” Tamboer said. “He was always asking, ‘What tree is this?’ ‘What animal is that?’,” Tamboer said. “The environmental classes (at MSU) also keep my interest ... I hope to dedicate my career in some type of way to the study of sustainability.”

The internship with MSU Sustainability is a year-long position. Tamboer said she has already learned so much. She runs all of the “Be Spartan Green” social media accounts, developing content and monitoring channels. She also creates the content for the newsletter that goes out every month. She contributes a story of her own to the newsletter, which requires her to research and brainstorm as well as interview a subject matter expert.

Sometimes, she interviews professors or researchers for these stories. They are all based on environmental topics, community engagement and sustainability.

“I have a really strong personal connection to sustainability, which makes this job fun for me,” Tamboer said. “The environment is one of the issues I care most about and one of the most pressing issues in the world. Our generation is really receptive to these issues and there is a lot of research being done here at MSU. Seeing other people’s passion about it, gives me passion about it, too.”

Her passion led her to seek out more information and eventually to her internship.

“I followed ‘Be Spartan Green’ on social media and they always keep all of their channels updated with positions,” Tamboer said. “I wanted an internship that combined my passions for communication and the environment and when I heard about this job and the content I would be writing, this sounded exactly like what I was looking for.”

Tamboer found the job on MySpartanCareer, the career network website replaced by Handshake, and formally applied.

“When they offered me the job, I accepted right away,” Tamboer said. “I knew it would be a good fit.”

In addition to working on issues that matter so much to her, she said her favorite part of the job is the people.

“They really make it,” Tamboer said. “Everything is collaborative and they value my opinion. I know that it’s okay to try things out and make mistakes. When other people care about sustainability, it makes the collaboration so worthwhile.”

For those who don’t exactly know what sustainability means, Tamboer describes the term as living a lifestyle using resources in a way that allows future generations to use our future resources.

“We cover water, transportation and campus environment. Sustainability on campus is the ultimate goal,” Tamboer said. “We focus on the community message of sustainability and send the message out to university facilities. We also try to focus on including students in the sustainability conversation so they can share their own impact on campus.”

Tamboer said this internship has solidified that she wants to further pursue environmental communications. This field keeps her excited about a future career. Her advice for searching for that perfect job or internship is to be selective.

“It’s about paying close attention to where you would want to work and what content they are creating,” Tamboer said. “It’s challenging to find something that blends all of your passions together, but it definitely comes around if you just keep looking.”

By Meg Dedyne

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ComArtSci Connect Career Fair 2017

Posted on: January 13, 2017

unspecified-3Brush off your blazer and update your resume, it’s that time of the year again – ComArtSci Connect is right around the corner! On February 10th from 1:30 - 4 p.m., dozens of companies will make their way to the College of Communication Arts and Sciences to talk to prospective student interns.

According to Karin Hanson, ComArtSci’s Director of Employer Relations and Professional Transitions, “last year, 86 percent of students who attended reported they received a lead on a job or internship, and nearly all stated they felt more comfortable networking within their industry as a result of the event.”

Who will be there?

Big company names include: Auto-Owners Insurance Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Detroit Public Television, Martin Waymire, Edge Partnerships, DISH Network, Target Corporation, Yelp – and more!

For a full list of the companies that will be in attendance, click here.

Hanson’s best tip is to be prepared by researching the employers ahead of time on Handshake to see how your skills match with the opportunities they’re offering.

Need help?

Get your resumes and cover letters reviewed by taking a trip to the ComArtSci Career Center in room 181 at the Communication Arts and Sciences building. The staff there will help you with everything from getting started on your internship or full-time job search, interview tips and strategies and even connect you with alumni in your field of interest.

Why go?

unspecified-4By attending ComArtSci Connect, not only are students learning about internship and job opportunities, they’re expanding their professional network beyond just MSU.

Michelai Graham, a journalism and media and information double major, discovered  City Pulse – Lansing’s alternative weekly newspaper and the company where she’d later intern – at ComArtSci Connect.

Alexis Dammar, senior advertising student, says she couldn’t have secured her spot at Optimedia, a New York City-based media buying agency, without the help of the ComArtSci Connect Career Fair.

Communication alumna Herasanna Richards obtained her internship with Martin Waymore in Lansing after networking at ComArtSci Connect.

Richards says, “It’s the best opportunity to have a face-to-face connection with employers that may turn into a long-lasting relationship and help you make huge leaps in your career.”

Anything else?

In addition to the career fair, there will be many opportunities for students to meet with professionals earlier in the week through guest lectures, resume reviews and workshops.

For more information about ComArtSci Connect, click here.

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WKAR Original Television Series Goes Beyond TV and into Research

Posted on: January 9, 2017
Photo Credit: Amanda Pinckney

Photo Credit: Amanda Pinckney/WKAR-MSU

The WKAR Public Media original television series Curious Crew may be fun and entertaining for kids interested in science, but through a research effort in collaboration with the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci) the show strives to achieve much more than entertainment.

“Viewership and feedback from the community can let us know if the show is entertaining, but without specific research, it's hard to know if we're moving the mark on our educational and accessibility goals,” said WKAR Interim Director of Broadcasting and General Manager Susi Elkins.

Curious Crew allows inquisitive kids to take a hands-on approach to investigating principles of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with award-winning educator Rob Stephenson.

This new research project will not only benefit WKAR and its viewers but also the current and future ComArtSci faculty.

“Faculty typically test research ideas in a laboratory or with a small group of students,” said ComArtSci Dean Prabu David. “With the growing partnership between WKAR and ComArtSci faculty, researchers can test ideas with a larger sample that includes the whole WKAR audience.”

Assistant Professor and AT&T Scholar Rabindra Ratan and his research team have done just that by working diligently for the past two years to present the STEM Game Crew website; a unique website that offers a scientific method-based approach to the curation of STEM games.

“It's so exciting for WKAR to be working with ComArtSci faculty and researchers,” said Elkins. “This new website will help us understand if there's a connection between science learning and digital gaming, while also extending the value of the show.”

The WKAR original television series was also used in a research project led by Professor Kenneth J. Levine, Associate Professor Vernon D. Miller from the Department of Communication, as well as  Associate Professor Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam and Assistant Professor Anna R. McAlister from the Department of Advertising + Public Relations.

Titled the Socialization to Science: The Case of Curious Crew, the research explores the impact of a science program designed for elementary and middle-school students and how it affects their perceptions of science and a possible career in STEM.

“Susi and her team have been very supportive of faculty efforts,” said ComArtSci Dean Prabu David. “The WKAR team has created opportunities through Curious Crew that puts us at the forefront of research in children’s programming on science education."

Learn more about the STEM Game Crew website and innovative research here.

Learn­­ more about the Curious Crew research here.

By Amanda Pinckney

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WKAR and ComArtSci Present STEM Game Crew

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stemgamecrew_image_16x9Curious Crew fans can now further explore science and become a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) scientist through the STEM Game Crew website. The new site is a companion to the WKAR original television series Curious Crew and is currently in the beta stages.

A collaboration between WKAR Public Media and the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci) research team, the new site launched in August of 2015 with a $10,000 grant from ComArtSci.

How does it work?
ComArtSci Assistant Professor and AT&T Scholar Rabindra Ratan said the site is quite unique in that it offers a scientific method-based approach to the curation of STEM games. Players read the information about a game before playing it, hypothesize whether the game will be fun and educational, play the game and then report their observations back on the site. Their hypotheses and observations are viewable by other players. They can also suggest new games to add to the site.

“This will hopefully help people identify the best STEM games out there and then share them with others,” said Ratan who is also an assistant professor in the Department of Media and Information (MI) and is partnered with MI Associate Professor Casey O'Donnell on the project.

With a research team of ComArtSci students and faculty, the goal of the project is to allow elementary school kids to be STEM Game Scientists at home, and to see if and how this impacts their learning of science concepts.

"The user adopts the scientific method (observing, hypothesizing, testing, reporting, refining) while playing games that happen to be about science," explained Ratan. "It's meta and quite novel."

The young students’ participation in problem-solving games and puzzles will in turn provide a further understanding for the research team on the connection between science learning and digital gaming.

“Curious Crew is all about encouraging kids to have fun while investigating science concepts in everyday life, which can also mean playing games online.” said Interim Director of Broadcasting and General Manager of WKAR Susi Elkins.

Laundry list of updates
During this beta stage, Ratan and his team continue to improve the website's features as well as advocating for further funds.

"There is a laundry list of updates before the site can graduate from beta," said Ratan.

Updates include the recent changes to the overall general usability, appearance and the development of an avatar customization platform for users.

This avatar customization was also tested during a pilot study at the 2016 MI Summer Camp. Ratan’s advisee, doctoral student Leticia Cherchiglia, led a research project with a group of honors college undergraduates using the site to study how different types of avatar icons motivate middle schoolers' interest in and attitudes about STEM.

“Having the first data collection over the summer made us realize some areas for improvement in the website,” shared Cherchiglia. “So now for the next round of data collection those issues were fixed.”

Round two
In December 2016, the research team conducted a second round of data collection from a local middle school and will use the results to continue to improve the STEM Game Crew website.

The STEM Game Crew research project also partnered with WKAR in another grant proposal submission. The grant will help to launch a project that utilizes augmented reality-based activities, complement WKAR's Curious Crew show and will be featured on the website.

As Elkins said, “We want to know if our content is having an impact on how kids think about and understand these science concepts.”

The public can stay informed on the progress of the STEM Game Crew website at wkar.org.

By Amanda Pinckney

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New ComArtSci and WKAR Research Encourages STEM Careers

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Curious Crew cast and female host

Curious Crew cast and Williamston Middle School Teacher Kelly Eddy participate in a research about how children may learn differently when content is presented by a male or a female host. Photo Credit: Amanda Pinckney/WKAR-MSU

A new research project asks how children can be encouraged to think of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as possible careers.

A collaboration between WKAR Public Media and the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci), the research explores the impact of a science program designed for elementary and middle-school students on their perceptions of science and a possible career in STEM.

“We wanted to gain a better understanding of how science-focused programming for children might help enhance their interest in learning about these topics and pursuing careers in STEM areas,” said Department of Advertising + Public Relations Associate Professor Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam.

The WKAR original television series, Curious Crew, was used in the study by Quilliam and her colleagues Professor Kenneth J. Levine and Associate Professor Vernon D. Miller from the Department of Communication and Assistant Professor Anna R. McAlister from the Department of Advertising + Public Relations.

Curious Crew allows inquisitive kids to take a hands-on approach to investigating principles of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with award-winning educator Rob Stephenson.

“We're so excited that Professors Quilliam and Levine are using their expertise to help us learn as much as we can about how students are interacting with the show and what we can do to improve the experience and academic value,” said WKAR Interim Director of Broadcasting and General Manager Susi Elkins.

The research project was partnered with two mid-Michigan schools districts, Owosso and Okemos, and according to Quilliam both the students and the teachers were quite enthusiastic about the research project.

“We want to create lifelong learners who are independent thinkers and problem solvers

and the Curious Crew program allowed our students to be inquirers within their research questions,” said Bryant Elementary School 4th Grade Chair Matt Friend.

Friend also shared that the research project received a positive response from parents who wanted to know more about how their children could become even more involved in science. This then further lead to some students attending the Girls STEM Day conducted by Michigan State University this past October.

The experiment had 252 fourth grade students participate in viewing two versions of a Curious Crew episode; one with the regular male host and the other with the same content but with a female host. The cast in both versions also included three students, two males and one female, who were around the same age as the participants.

Among other findings, the study found that watching a show that "makes science come alive," such as Curious Crew, can lead children to believe they can become scientists. Levine reported that the study also produced evidence that attitudes and perceptions of a career in science were not affected by the gender of the show host.

“Curious Crew is a fun and entertaining show, but it's more than that,” said Elkins. “We really want to have an impact on kids’ lives and inspire them to look for science in everyday experiences so that they are constantly learning about the world around them.”

The public can possibly look forward to the publication of at least two articles from this research after the second round of data collection, which will take place early 2017.

“One article will focus on the active versus passive learning conditions and the other will examine the career socialization effects of the program,” said Levine.

For more information on the Curious Crew series and to stay informed on the progress of this research please visit wkar.org.

By Amanda Pinckney

 

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Faculty member’s One Club connection brings opportunity for ComArtSci students

Posted on: December 14, 2016

Ross Chowles, ComArtSci professor of practice in the Department of Advertising + PR and One Club board member, began his relationship with Michigan State University when he led workshops at a One Club event in China. It was here when he met assistant professor Henry Brimmer, who brought students to the event and later ran a workshop at MSU for Minds Wide Open, which Chowles attended.

The One Club is a non-profit organization that serves to recognize and promote exceptional work in advertising. It honors and celebrates the legacies of creative advertising to inspire future generations.

“In the industry, especially in the creative side, there are those that stand out. People who’ve changed the industry, produced amazing work, written fantastic copy – the best of the best,” said Chowles. “The One Club has honored those people by inducting them into their hall of fame.”

The One Show, an annual award ceremony hosted by The One Club, showcases the best work from agencies around the world. It isn’t profit oriented, it’s owned by the creative community.

“It’s our thing, it belongs to us – the creatives,” Chowles said.130_ross_chowles

“What we want to do is take all of these great hall of famers and start linking the One Show so when you think of the One Show, you don’t just think of awards, you’re thinking of Steve Jobs or Andy Warhol,” Chowles said. “These people are the rock stars in our business.”

The strategy is simple: association.

To execute this, Chowles, with other ComArtSci faculty, handpicked around 20 senior student copywriters and designers. Once their holding concept – the idea that ties it all together – is approved, they will start developing and designing.

Students were chosen after determining the skills needed to tackle this project - keen copywriters and skilled designers with attention to detail. Their primary task is to research The One Club “Hall of Famers” by contacting agencies, finding their advertising work and more.

The end goal of this project is to produce a digital book that highlights the Hall of Famers, and is easily accessible to copywriters located anywhere in the world.

“Once it’s finished, it’ll go to every art director and copywriter – the most cynical people in the world. So, it has to be of a quality that is superior,” Chowles said.

One Show’s creative week happens in May in New York, which is where ComArtSci’s work will be launched.

By Lily Clark

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