Edited by: Ana Ramirez 
Dear students,   
Take a breath, sit down, and think of where you are right now and where you want to be. What do you see? Do you see a capable person willing to do what it takes? If so, then stop and take a moment to acknowledge that you can do anything you set your mind to. We all have fears, but it all comes down to who is ready to act regardless of the present uncertainty. I graduated in 2016 from Iowa State University, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in advertising. Like many others, I was haunted by the idea of what to do next. You spend your time drowning yourself in negative thoughts and high expectations, but at the end of the day, in the blink of an eye, you know what to do. For me, it was applying for graduate school to polish the skills that will help me achieve my dreams.

I spent time debating whether graduate school was a good fit for me. With the encouragement of one of my greatest mentors, Dr. Daniela Dimitrova, I decided to take charge of my future and apply for the master's program in journalism and mass communication. I have not regretted my decision at any moment because I have learned and evolved to be a competent and confident professional. This journey has taught me many things, but the most significant are to have a strong support system, to practice self-discipline and to remember that graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint. Having a support system helps me get through the good and bad moments by relying on the people who believe in me. Practicing self-discipline helps me adopt healthy habits such as time management that can further along the work I put into graduate school. And remembering that graduate school is a marathon and not a sprint allows me to find a balance that includes a happy, healthy and productive lifestyle. These are the key lessons that have brought me success throughout my journey.

When it comes to reflecting on my coursework and research proposal, I would have to say that I keep surprising myself. I have successfully completed my coursework, and I have learned more than I expected. Many students, including myself, struggle to find the perfect research topic for their thesis. But keep in mind that everyone is in a different phase throughout their journey, meaning that students choose their thesis topics at different points. For me, my research topic came after reflecting on past undergraduate courses that involved learning about augmented reality. As a result, I was interested in learning how augmented reality influences information processing and persuasion when used in advertisements. Once I had my research topic, I felt like I finally hit a significant milestone in my preparation to become a professional.

It is clear to me that attending graduate school has given me the tools to succeed and understand how the world works. I am a young professional confident in my ability to have ambition and goals that once seemed too big. Now I am looking forward to completing my thesis and graduating with a master's degree that will jump-start my professional career. Graduate school has become the first step of many in the journey that involves discovering who I am and what I am capable of accomplishing.


Ana Ramírez

Faculty Spotlight: Novotny Lawrence 
Associate Professor 

The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication welcomed three new faculty members this year, one of whom is Dr. Novotny Lawrence. Lawrence obtained his Ph.D. from the film and media studies department at the University of Kansas.

His research focuses primarily on African American representation in film and media with an interest in the impact of Blaxploitation Cinema, a filmmaking movement that lasted approximately five years in the 1970s. Further, his work has an intersectional emphasis by looking at issues regarding the representation of gender, class, sexual orientation and the struggle for social equity. When conducting research, Lawrence usually applies a textual analysis method.

Lawrence said he joined the Greenlee School family because of its accomplished faculty, admirable curriculum, and outstanding students. What does he want students to know? "I take teaching and mentoring very seriously. Throughout my education I had very good professors who taught, supported, and offered me guidance that helped me become a professor.  As a result, I am committed to giving back to students in much the same way," said Lawrence.

Lawrence enjoys watching tennis, reading books, cooking, and traveling around the world. He also shared his mantra when it comes to using his teaching, research, and service to promote social equity: "It's not about me. It's about the work." This quote serves as a daily reminder that recognition is lovely, but ultimately everything he does is about trying to make our society better.

Student Spotlight: Kasey Opfer 
First-year graduate student and athlete 

Kasey Opfer, a first-year graduate student in the master's program, is a distinguished soccer athlete at Iowa State University. Opfer has been a soccer athlete since she was 5 years old. Her inspiration came from her family, all of whom were college athletes. Throughout her soccer career, she has primarily played defensive midfield.

She decided to apply to graduate school because she successfully completed her undergraduate degree in three years but wasn't quite ready to be done with her education. Once she discovered the Greenlee School offered a master's program, she instantly knew that it was the perfect fit.

According to Opfer, the most challenging aspect of being a college athlete and a graduate student is finding the right balance between soccer and school. Graduate school requires time to get readings and coursework done while soccer involves consistent practice and traveling. Opfer explained that to keep up with the coursework for JL MC 501 she would have to Skype into class to attend and participate during the lectures.

On the other hand, the most rewarding aspect was seeing her studies as relaxation time. Studying was a nice escape from a busy schedule when she could sit down, enjoy a cup of coffee and read a book. Being an athlete and a graduate student required her to be very disciplined with her schedule. Opfer had to set hard deadlines in order to get things done.

Opfer emphasized that being an athlete and a graduate student at the same time is one the most rewarding things she has done. While it required discipline and dedication, she enjoys being able to tailor each of her assignments to research the fashion industry, making the journey even more fun and exciting. Opfer said, "It's such a good feeling to be so passionate about what you are learning."

She recommends that aspiring graduate students familiarize themselves with research prior to graduate school. Opfer said she was not exposed to research as an undergraduate student but is now glad to be polishing her skills in graduate school.

The  Greenlee graduate program attends the Jump-Start Internship & Networking Fair

The Jump-Start Internship & Networking Fair hosted by the Greenlee School took place on Oct.
17 in the Great Hall of the Iowa State University Memorial Union. The internship fair is designed to offer students an opportunity to build their professional networks, learn about different internships and work opportunities and connect with potential employers.

Students majoring in advertising, journalism and mass communication and public relations, as well as other related fields, can attend the internship fair to meet representatives from companies found at a local and regional level.

To prepare students for the internship fair, the Jump-Start program also provides workshops that focus on their résumés, cover letters, portfolios and internship etiquette.

During the fair, students had the opportunity to explore the option of graduate school, as well. The Greenlee School's master's program in journalism and mass communication was represented by Dr. Tracy Lucht, interim director of graduate education, and second-year graduate students Ana Ramírez, Saige Heyer, Brad DePrez and Mumtahin Awny.

Graduate students shared their perspectives regarding the master's program and its benefits, tracks, and coursework with undergraduate students at the fair.

"We met some fantastic undergraduate students," Dr. Lucht said. "It was fun to have a presence there and have the opportunity to tell students about an option to advance their career that they may not have considered."

Dr. Lucht added, "I was grateful for our second-year students, who took time out of their day to serve as ambassadors for the master's program. We are lucky to have such a strong cohort."

Tips and upcoming deadlines for graduate students 

Second-year students 

1.  Please remember to form your committee before the fall semester ends. 

2. If you haven't done so yet, schedule your thesis/creative component proposal meeting now.
3. Get your POSC form approved by December 14, 2018. 

4. Apply for graduation by Feburary 1, 2019.

First-year students 

1.  Choose between the professional or academic track.

2.  Narrow down your thesis/creative component idea. 
3.  Start thinking of major professor and committee members.

4.  By the end of spring semester, finalize your committee members and final project idea.

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