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Communication students present papers, add to department traditions

Contact: Christina Chapple


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Joe Mirando, Randi Rousseau, Brittany Simoneaux; Jeffery Hoffman; Renee Allemand, Julie Jackson, Krystal Boothe, Karen Fontenot

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COMMUNICATION COLLOQUIUM STARS – Senior theses written by Southeastern Louisiana University senior communication majors Brittany Simoneaux of Holden, Julie Jackson of Baton Rouge, and Jeffery Hoffman of Slidell were chosen as the top papers in the Department of Communication’s fall 2007 senior colloquium. Three Southeastern communication graduates with jobs in the area media served as colloquium moderators. From left,  are Joe Mirando, professor of communication; Randi Rousseau, traffic reporter for WDSU-TV; Simoneaux; Hoffman; Renee Allemand, managing editor of the Hammond Daily Star; Jackson; Krystal Boothe, traffic reporter for WWL-TV, and Karen Fontenot, head of the Communication Department.

     HAMMOND – It is a one hour course, but graduating seniors in Southeastern Louisiana University’s Communication Department say it is one of the most memorable and beneficial experiences of their college careers.

     In order to graduate, each communication major must take “Professional Seminar” (COMM 498), a course that requires them to research and write a senior thesis, then present and defend it before their professors and peers.

     The course was instituted approximately four years ago and has gone through several refinements along the way, said Department Head Karen Fontenot. The Communication Department, she said, is the only academic unit at Southeastern, with the exception of the Honors Program, that tasks students with a senior thesis and presentation.

     At this year's colloquium, held Nov. 1 in D Vickers Hall, 18 graduating seniors presented their papers in a program designed around the format of a professional conference. Just like at conferences, presentations were grouped by subject matter and presented at concurrent sessions. Each student gave an approximate 10-minute summary of their paper, then answered questions from a faculty panel and their peers in the audience.

     True to the professional conference format, the department gave special recognition to the top three papers. The awards went to Brittany Simoneaux of Holden, "Marshall McLuhan's Return to Orality: Does it Include People's Learning Styles?"; Julie Jackson of Baton Rouge, "Smile and Nod to Increase Your Sales: An Observational Study of a Communication Sales Technique"; and Jeffery Hoffman of Slidell, "Inter-cultural and Intergenerational Communication: A Means for Teachers to Bridge the Generational Gap in the Classroom."

     “I read all the papers and they were wonderful,” Fontenot told the students. “These three were just a little bit of a cut above.”

     The concurrent sessions were moderated by three recent communication graduates who have embarked on successful careers in the media -- Renee Allemand, class of 2006, managing editor of the Hammond Daily Star, and 2005 graduates Krystal Boothe and Randi Rousseau, traffic reporters at New Orleans’ WWL and WDSU television stations, respectively.

     Allemand, Boothe and Rousseau were all "best paper" winners at their own colloquiums. Boothe described the experience as "maturing -- the most memorable class I had at Southeastern. It was a taste of real world research," she said.

     The fall 2007 colloquium introduced another new tradition. To mark their successful senior thesis completion, each graduate was presented with a Communication Department pin designed by graduating senior Elizabeth Juan of Denham Springs.

     Communication professor Joe Mirando, who organized the colloquium, said Juan not only had the idea of creating a pin, but she also spearheaded fundraising for the project.

     Although the communication seniors will not receive their diplomas until the university commencement ceremony in December, “Tonight is the night they earn their diplomas,” Mirando said. “They should be proud of the achievements they have reached.”

     He told the seniors to wear their pins with pride at graduation, reunions and other ceremonies and to remember, “You always have a home here.

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