All posts by dan


Posted on: October 4, 2013

Successful graduates have two to three internships completed by the time they graduate. This means that you have to start your career exploration and search process as early as possible in your collegiate career.

We're here to help! The ComArtSci Center for Careers and Internships office can help with everything from career exploration, resume and cover letter writing, mock interviews, job search strategy, and even connect students with alumni and professionals that work in their field of interest.

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CSD: Transformation In the Making

Posted on: October 3, 2013

CSD_Department-2Watching the transformation of our Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) department over the past few years has been inspirational. CSD chair Rahul Shrivastav and his faculty, staff and students set high expectations for the department and they are making remarkable progress on all fronts -- despite a natural disaster this summer from a flash flood that rolled into the lower floor of the Oyer building.

While undergoing a major overhaul of the CSD curriculum to better prepare graduates for the real-life challenges they will confront in their professions, the department also continues to attract new funding for pioneering research along with outstanding researchers, graduate students and Ph.D. candidates. This year we have two Ph.D. students conducting research and three Master's students working on theses.

While I cannot cover all the fascinating research underway in the department, I would like to share a few examples. As you read at the beginning of the school year, Eric Hunter joined CSD as an Associate Professor this fall. Dr. Hunter served as the Deputy Executive Director of the National Center for Voice & Speech (NCVS) from 2008 to 2013 and will continue to serve as Director of the NCVS Archives. He has a B.S. and M.S. in Physics and a Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Iowa.

Hunter has used his background in physics and acoustics to research all aspects of the voice mechanism. Most recently he has studied gender differences in vocal health, particularly in the teaching profession. He has funding from the National Institutes of Health to study how environmental factors affect men and women differently, particularly for heavy voice users in noisy places, such as classrooms and call centers. This is obviously a research topic that is of interest to all of our teaching faculty, as well as anyone in a communication profession.

Laura Dilley, Assistant Professor with CSD, has several research projects underway with funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders, and the National Institutes on Child Health and Human Development. The focus of her research is on the role of prosody, or the properties of speech associated with voice pitch, loudness and speech rate, to understanding spoken words.

Recent results from the MSU Speech Perception - Production Lab for which Dr. Dilley is the Principal Investigator, suggest that speech prosody can have significant effects on how words are understood. She is also studying how maternal speech can shape the development of speech in children, and how children's speech patterns are unique since most current models used to evaluate children's speech clinically are based on adult speech production.

Brad Rakerd is working on a U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research funded study to better understand how listeners identify the location of a sound source when they are in everyday acoustic environments such as at home or in the workplace.

That's just a sampling of the rich array of research projects in the works among CSD faculty and there are many more that I look forward to sharing in the future.

I mentioned earlier that CSD is transforming its curriculum, which will be fully in place by the fall of 2014. The curriculum will place a much greater emphasis on building experience as problem solvers, leaders, time managers and team members. More classes will be offered online during the summer so students have the opportunity for richer clinical experiences, as well as the ability to participate in the department's study abroad program.

Speaking of studying abroad, next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the CSD Study Abroad program to England, Scotland and Ireland, which was created with an endowment from retired chair Leo Deal. Clearly Dr. Deal was well ahead of many of us in recognizing the importance of opening students' minds to international experiences in their field.

To learn more about the department's graduate programs or how CSD is emerging as an innovator in this field, mark your calendar for October 25 to attend the department's Graduate Informational Session in CAS 147. I welcome the opportunity to introduce you to our outstanding faculty and graduate students.

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Student Interns from CAS Shine, Gain Competitive Edge

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MichaelSuarez9-24-13I meet with students every chance that I can. They commonly ask me for advice regarding things they should do as an undergraduate. Top on my list of advice for students coming to our college is to visit CAS Career Services as soon as possible and continue to take advantage of its tremendous expertise and resources throughout their college years.

This is an exceptional office in both the quality of services it delivers to students, as well as the energy and positive spirit staff members bring to those interactions. From creating a professional resume and cover letter and preparing for interviews, to identifying student organizations, attaining internships and study abroad programs that will distinguish CAS students from others, the array of opportunities available through our Career Services center are phenomenal. Additionally, CAS students can tap into a vast array of portfolio-building opportunities offered at the university level as well.

Graduates today are expected to enter the workplace with a resume that demonstrates experience and accomplishments that include leadership experience in student and community organizations, relevant internship experience applicable to their career interests, a heightened sense of the global marketplace and cultural diversity from travel abroad, and a professional portfolio that demonstrates their writing, research and digital media skills.

That list might sound daunting to a student who waits until their senior year. However, if they start engaging with Career Services in their freshman year and stick with it, most likely they will have a foothold into a promising career by graduation. Ready to assist students in the CAS Career Services center is field career consultant Karin Hanson, academic and career advisor Julie Hagopian and peer advisors. Peer advisors are students who have already taken advantage of many career-building opportunities and can share their experiences and advice with interested students.

I cannot tell you how many times I have employers make a point of sharing with me how impressed they are with our CAS students. Many are seeking a direct pipeline to this talent for internships and jobs.

It was particularly touching last week when a major East Lansing employer who happens to also be my boss, MSU President Lou Anna Simon, made a special effort to let me know how impressed she was by a current sophomore in our Communication program, Michael Suarez. While interning with WJR radio, which is headquartered in Detroit, Suarez had the opportunity recently to conduct an impromptu, live radio interview with President Simon and WJR's Steve Courtney. His enthusiasm, poise, self-confidence and professionalism have also been duly noted by WJR with bets on which of the Big 3 will swoop him up first!

Internship experiences like this and making such connections are priceless for our students. Our Career Services staff note that over 70 percent of all jobs are landed through connections, many times filled without ever being advertised. Coaching our students on how to make meaningful connections and parlay them into career opportunities is critical to their career success.

As we begin preparing for Homecoming in a few weeks, I am reminded of what an important role our alumni make in helping our students build those connections as well. Many alumni come back to campus during Homecoming Week and often plan ahead to attend events or classrooms to share their expertise with our students. Knowing firsthand what it means to be a Spartan and the strong work ethic and "can-do spirit" Spartans embody, make alumni particularly eager to open doors for upcoming graduates.

Next week is the Career Gallery, MSU's largest career fair with more than 300 top employers filling the Breslin Center. Participating employers will be recruiting students for full time positions, internships and co-op opportunities.

The Career Gallery is one of a variety of opportunities students have throughout the year to network with potential employers. For CAS, our alumni are the key to our students making the most successful connections.

Looking further ahead, CAS Career Sevices will be hosting CAS Connect, our college's primary career event that will be held throughout the building on Friday, February 21. Contact Karin Hanson if you are interested in participating.

If you are a CAS alum and would like to learn more about how you can open doors for our students, please contact CAS alumni coordinator, Rachael Zylstra.

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Big Story on Big 10 Campuses

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09-16_ImportedChina_67_editThis time of year if you talk about the big story on Big 10 campuses, people might assume it must be about football. In the halls of the CAS building last night and in the headlines of several newspapers however, the big story is the significant increase in the number of Chinese students on Big 10 campuses.

Always ahead of the curve, two CAS faculty members noted this impending trend several years ago and launched work on a documentary. Geri Alumit Zeldes (Journalism) and Troy Hale (Telecommunication, Information Studies & Media), both with the college's Media Sandbox, along with students who worked on the film, held the premiere of their new documentary, "Imported from China," last night.

Publicized earlier in the week in community newspapers, MSU Today, CAS News and featured on WKAR's Current State yesterday morning, the topic definitely caught the interest of students and faculty across campus, and local residents. Hosted by the Media Sandbox, guests not only filled the auditorium, but two overflow rooms as well.

When Zeldes and Hale embarked on making this documentary in the summer of 2011, they knew they were on to something big. In 2006, only 96 undergraduate students at MSU were from China. This 2013-14 academic year, that number is closer to 4,000 students from China, comprising 13 percent of the overall undergraduate population.

What appears to be an emerging trend on MSU's campus is also true of the Big 10. Of the top 20 universities with the largest numbers of Chinese international students, eight are from the Big 10.

With MSU ranking ninth in the nation for the number of enrolled international students (Institute of International Education, 2012), MSU President Simon attributes this to the university's "long-running emphasis on global engagement and competency."

Clearly this rapid increase in students from China also reflects the growth in China's economy and its increasing emphasis on education to fill the demand for a more highly educated and skilled workforce. Most international students pursue business, followed by engineering and natural science.

As Zeldes and Hale note with excitement, they are thrilled that they began documenting this trend before others started taking note. Their film tells the story of making the transition from China to MSU's campus from a student's point of view over a two-year period.

Part of why the timing of the film is so fortunate, is that students, faculty and administrators across campus and the nation are trying to better understand how to make this transition easier for incoming students at a scale not experienced before. The language and cultural transitions not only occur in the classroom, but also with local businesses, housing and food services, transportation and socially. Every aspect of campus and community life helps shape the overall experience.

While working through those transitions can involve some high-anxiety moments, it presents an amazing learning opportunity for our students, faculty and the MSU community at large. It also illustrates why documentaries can be such a compelling and relevant form of scholarship. They capture important moments in time and open them up for community conversations and an increased understanding of the people and issues involved.

Congratulations to Geri Zeldes, Troy Hale and the Media Sandbox for making this opportunity possible!

For those who were not able to see "Importing China" last night, please stay tuned as we plan additional opportunities to share this very timely documentary.

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What's Hot this Fall at WKAR?

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Lisa Smith, Mark Hollis, Doug DeLind and Pamela Whitten (l-r) ready for competition on QuizBusters.


The air outside may be getting a little cooler as we move into fall, but it's hot, hot, hot at WKAR! We have so many great new programs on the air-radio, TV and online-that I would highly recommend that you check it out.

Last week director of broadcasting Gary Reid and TV station manager Susi Elkins hosted a three-part "Fall Preview" of new programming for the upcoming season that aired Tuesday through Thursday.

Yesterday evening a wonderful roster of local celebrities including an enthusiastic group of Spartans participated in a QuizBusters Special Edition. This season marks the 25th Anniversary for WKAR's locally produced game show in which student teams from Michigan high schools compete for MSU scholarships.

We had a live audience for the recording last night in Studio A. The Special Edition, which includes two half-hour games, back-to-back, kicks off the new season. The two games will be first broadcasted on October 2 at 9 and 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow evening WKAR will have another live audience in Studio F to watch Current Sports host Al Martin (and a 2012 CAS Journalism alumnus) chat it up with Holt High School football coach Al Slamer. (You can register to attend weekly recordings, usually on Wednesdays, at And on September 18, the show's live guest will be MSU basketball great Morris Peterson (yes, Mo Pete).

On Thursday, Current Sports TV host Al Martin will heat up the airwaves with his premiere show featuring Greg "Special K" Kelser. While Martin has been hosting a live radio sports talk show on WKAR 870 AM radio since June, this will be his first debut on WKAR TV.

For all of you sports fans, this is a great opportunity to meet top sports professionals and hear what they have to say about hot topics in the sports world. Tune in to find out whether Kelser thinks college athletes should be compensated. They also talk about Kelser's recollections of winning the 1979 NCAA championship, MSU's first, against Indiana's team led by Larry Bird.

There's a lot more to like at WKAR this season as well. In addition to Current Sports and QuizBusters, another new program, called "Forte" will premiere in 2014. This new show will highlight area high school bands and what it takes to be the best in this highly competitive arena.

In addition to the documentary series, Independent Lens' "Community Cinema," a popular addition to our programming last fall, WKAR will also feature a new documentary series called, "The Screening Room." This series will showcase documentaries mostly produced in Michigan and in many cases by faculty and students right here in CAS. We have a history of producing award-winning documentaries and now WKAR will provide another way to make them available to viewers in the Midwest.

WKAR also will continue to ramp up collaboration with faculty and students in the college. Every time WKAR increases locally produced content, it also increases the opportunities for our students to gain more hands-on production experience in the studios, editing and control rooms, and on and off campus. This year we are forming a faculty-media professional advisory panel to further increase the level of engagement, outreach and access to top talent and expertise for both students and WKAR.

For instance, our sports journalism faculty place students in over 100 internships around the country each year and have a phenomenal network of current students and alumni. They can be a great resource of talent and expertise for Current Sports. Our seasoned documentary producers in CAS can do the same for "The Screening Room."

For all of you British drama and comedy fans, don't worry, WKAR is increasing program offerings for you as well! Downton Abbey will definitely be back and several new British dramas will be added. These include "Doc Martin," "Cafe," and "Last Tango in Halifax." We'll also have a terrific season of new documentaries that range from history to science, intriguing profiles of well-known personalities and a Nature mini-series on birds that will take your breath away.

In closing this week, please join me in congratulating Jeanie Croope, a 32-year veteran and star at WKAR, who is retiring this Friday, September 13. Jeanie is a treasure trove of WKAR history and much admired by fans and colleagues alike. With her many talents and interests, we know she will continue to be in high demand as she "retires," and hope she will continue to stay engaged with WKAR as well! Good luck Jeanie!

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Posted on: October 2, 2013

Make an Appointment 
ComArtSci advisors only post appointments for one week at a time. Appointments are posted every Wednesday by 8:30am for the following week.

ComArtSci advisors have been transitioned to a new appointment system called the Student Success Dashboard. You can log in to the Student Success Dashboard at A detailed explanation on how to make (or cancel) an appointment in this new system can be found here..

Express Advising for Fall and Spring Semesters Only
Express Advising is offered every Wednesday from 8-11am and 1-4pm during fall and spring semesters only. Students do not need an appointment and are seen on a first-come, first-serve basis for the major or minor they want to discuss. Express Advising is designed to facilitate quick questions, not lengthy conversations. Sign up in CAS189 between 8-11am and 1-4pm.

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Studying Food Advergames Aimed at Children

Posted on: October 1, 2013

Games2-Sized2In an effort to help improve the dietary behaviors of children, a group of researchers in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences and College of Agriculture & Natural Resources are taking aim at the unhealthy foods marketed to children through online video games, or rather advergames. Their study recently was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Advergames are video games that contain advertisements for products, services or companies and are typically offered for free.

"They're quick, easy-to-play games that use brand names, logos, pictures of the product, or even brand spokescharacters as active components of the game," said Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam, assistant professor and associate director of Children's Central in the Advertising + Public Relations department. Quilliam, who also has an appointment in AgBioResearch, is a co-lead author of the study with Lorraine Weatherspoon, associate professor and director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics in the Food Science and Human Nutrition department.

"Compared to a typical TV commercial that would last maybe 30 seconds, these games are fun and engaging and children can play them for much longer periods of time," Quilliam said. "They are really virtually playing with food, and the line between entertainment and advertising gets blurred because children don't have the cognitive skills necessary to recognize a persuasive message when it's hidden as entertainment."

The article, "Consistency of Nutrition Recommendations for Foods Marketed to Children in the United States," was published in the Sept. 26, 2013, issue of "Preventing Chronic Disease." An accompanying podcast also appears on the Preventing Chronic Disease website in which Quilliam and Weatherspoon are interviewed about the study.

The other authors of the study include Nora Rifon, professor, Advertising + Public Relations; Hye-Jin Paek, associate professor and chair of the Division of Advertisement and Publicity, Hanyang University, South Korea; Mira Lee, assistant professor, School of Business Administration, Chung-Ang University, South Korea; Sookyong Kim, Media and Information Studies doctoral student; and Food Science and Human Nutrition doctoral students Sumathi Venkatesh and Julie Plasencia.

Games1-sized2The researchers located hundreds of advergames actively played by children on food marketer websites. For the study, they focused on 145 different websites and found 439 food brands being promoted through advergames on those sites. What they found was that many of the games centered around high-fat, high-sugar and high-sodium products, Weatherspoon said.

"One of the things we were concerned about was that the majority of foods that received the most interest relative to these advergames were those that tended to be energy dense (high in calories) and not (nutrient dense) high in multiple nutrients. These foods typically included high-sugar snacks and cereals as well as instant or canned soups, sugar-sweetened beverages and several types of candy products," Weatherspoon said.

One issue addressed in the study is that there are no consistent standards for what can or cannot be marketed to children and how the marketing should be done.

"We firmly believe that some kind of federally mandated policy needs to be addressed, especially when it comes to children so that there is better control on the type and amount of marketing as well as the kinds of foods that are promoted," Weatherspoon said. "And, this is not just a big problem in the United States. I think that it's a global corporate responsibility. Our children are our future and, unfortunately, the fact is that most of this marketing is subject to industry self-regulation and not necessarily governed by a health-centered approach."

One of the goals of the research is to make parents more aware of these games and the impact they may have on the eating habits of children.

"We believe that this type of gaming is still kind of flying under the radar for a lot of parents. They may not be aware that their children are even playing this type of game," Quilliam said.

The researchers also would like to see healthy eating promoted among children through advergames.

"We hope that we can translate the use of engaging entertaining online tactics like this to teach healthy eating and other healthy lifestyle behaviors to kids," Quilliam said.

The research is funded through a $407,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. Other accepted and forthcoming articles on this research will be published in Internet Research and the International Journal of Advertising.

This story is featured in:

MSU Today



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Pell to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

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cheryl-pellThe Journalism Education Association is honoring Cheryl Pell, senior faculty specialist in the School of Journalism, with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pell teaches publication design, a capstone journalism course, and a study abroad course in Spain. She is co-founder and co-adviser of the MSU Society for News Design student affiliate.

The Journalism Education Association's Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to retirees for their lifetime dedication to journalism education.

Pell taught high school English and journalism for more than 11 years before working as the executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, a position she held for 25 years before retiring in 2012.

"So many wonderful high school journalism teachers and their students made my work in scholastic journalism the pleasurable experience it was, and I'm proud to have been a part of MIPA for so many years," Pell said.

Pell has received numerous awards for her work including the Journalism Education Association Medal of Merit, Columbia Scholastic Press Association James F. Paschal Award, National Scholastic Press Association Pioneer Award, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Scholastic Journalism Educator of the Year, Michigan Interscholastic Press Association John V. Field Award, and Honors Lecturer award. She was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007.

Pell will receive her Lifetime Achievement Award at the Journalism Education Association's National High School Journalism Convention on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Boston, Mass.

The Journalism Education Association is the only independent national scholastic journalism organization for teachers and media advisers. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.

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CAS Filmmakers Heard by Global Audience

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21239702_166098430249507_492129784_nA radio program with a global audience recently featured an interview with two College of Communication Arts & Sciences faculty members.

Geri Alumit Zeldes, Journalism associate professor, and Troy Hale, Media and Information(TISM) instructor, were interviewed by "NOW!" hosts David Bird and Ling Yang about the documentary they produced, "Imported from China."

The interview aired Sept. 27 on "NOW!" which is part of the Voice of America (VOA) network, the official external broadcast institution of the U.S. government. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., VOA provides a wide range of radio, TV and Internet programming for an estimated global audience of 123 million people.

"Imported from China," created by a team of Media Sandbox students led by Zeldes and Hale, follows several Chinese international students as they navigate college life at MSU and within the United States. The half-hour film demonstrates how relationships are nurtured and shaped across cultural boundaries.

The documentary premiered before a packed audience at the College of Communication Arts & Sciences building on Sept. 16 and will be screened again during the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs at the Kellogg Center Oct. 25-27.

Currently, the filmmakers are working with MSU Technologies to copyright and license the film so it can be distributed as a download and DVD. They want to send the film all over the country to various film festivals and would like to get it into university international departments and the library system.

To listen to the full interview with Zeldes and Hale, go to the NOW! website.

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Faculty research is a cornerstone of MSU and key to an innovative learning environment. The College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci) Office for Research (O4R), under the direction of Associate Dean for Research Kami Silk, supports ComArtSci faculty research and creative activities by helping faculty identify, pursue, and obtain external funding for their work. ComArtSci is home to amazing faculty researchers and houses two of the top doctoral programs in the field. The college has 3 strategic research priorities: Health and Risk Communication, International and Intercultural Communication, and Communication Technologies.

1. Health & Risk Communication
The college's internationally renowned Health and Risk Communication Center (HRCC) researchers have ongoing partnerships on campus and across the world to address health and risk communication issues. They also develop traditional communication campaign design and evaluation, as well as behavior-change research. Faculty affiliated with the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism research the role of communication in environmental risk and are positioned to train international teams of journalists on environmental and science communication issues.

The college's recent initiative, Trifecta, has been designed to build collaborative partnerships with faculty in MSU's Colleges of Engineering and Nursing. Named for three winning colleges, the initiative was created to address the large-scale health and risk communication challenges of diverse populations through technological solutions. Finally, Children's Central, housed in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, brings together researchers who study the health effects of advertising and marketing on kids and the policy-frameworks associated with this issue.

Understanding the development, adoption and impact of new media technologies is a long-standing strength of the college. The world of communication is ever changing with the development of new technologies. Dynamics of the Internet, social media, gaming, mobile apps, usability, and the political and economic implications of communication are all areas in which CAS faculty members conduct funded research.

2. Communication Technologies
Understanding the impact of communication technologies on behaviors and systems is another focus of research within the college; ComArtSci is also home to premier research in telemedicine. The college has several research facilities that specialize in new communication technology, including the Behavior, Information, and Technology Laboratory (BITLab), the Communication Technology Lab (Comm Tech Lab), the Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab (GEL Lab), and the Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law. Additionally, the college's integrated media arts program, Media Sandbox, has expertise in data visualization, digital media production, serious game research, and other research on creation of content.

3. International and Intercultural Communication
Researchers in ComArtSci also address pressing international communication questions in countries all over the world. Faculty members working in this area examine the ways in which cultural differences and similarities influence the ways people interact with each other and their environment. Our research in Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) examines the ways in which communication technologies can address development challenges related to economics, health, education, and the environment; our researchers in this realm are core to MSU/USAID's Global Center for Food System Innovation (GCFSI). In collaboration with the College of Veterinary Medicine, the college is hosting an NIH-sponsored series of symposia entitled "One Health: The Role of New and Emerging Communication Technology in Human Decision-Making and Behavior." This project will bring together researchers from around the country to identify key research questions in emerging communication technology and global health around the theme of "One Health."

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