Graduate Student Spotlights
Click the photos below to learn about some of our outstanding Department of Communication graduate students.
Allison BlumlingPhD student in Rhetoric and Critical/Cultural Studies
I research discourses of health and healing, specifically the roles of whiteness and neocolonialism in the U.S. American wellness/alternative healing industry.
My absolute favorite thing about living here has been the Sundance Film Festival, but I've also found some time to enjoy the local arts culture and the proximity to so many awesome National Parks.
Daniel Chavez-YenterPhD student in CommSHER
There’s lots of great food, breweries and parks to visit around Salt Lake City.
For research, there’s a lot of faculty support for funding opportunities within and beyond the University. My particular research assistantship includes funding and plenty of opportunities for travel and research materials, which has been helpful for moving forward with my own research agenda.
Euni KimPhD student in Rhetoric and Critical/Cultural Studies
I'm interested in the ways that people and communities of color represent and conceptualize their own racial identities. Most recently, I've been focusing on how structural violence might be configured as a core component of racial identity writ large.
I'm actually not very outdoorsy, so while the landscapes out here are absolutely beautiful, what I really appreciate about Salt Lake City is how much it feels like a "small" town—it's quieter, there's less traffic, the average person tends to be pretty nice, the cost of living isn't very high, and it's very pedestrian-friendly. But we still have "big city" amenities, like plenty of good restaurants and great public transportation options.
I've been incredibly grateful for the mentorship I've received here. Yes, the difficulty of the program itself is designed to prepare you for an academic career, but I feel so much more prepared because of our faculty's willingness to mentor students and really invest in their success (like co-authoring articles or book chapters with graduate students).
Our department has a very high-output culture, but it is also very collaborative and supportive, rather competitive. It very much feels as though faculty are *encouraging* me to pursue a high-output path, rather than punishing me if I don't.
Ryan Kor-SinsPhD student in Digital Media and Rhetoric
My research falls at the intersection of digital media and rhetorical studies. Specifically, I focus on how the rhetoric of far-right groups mobilized through digital media platforms influence political action and news media coverage in the United States.
I've never heard of a graduate program where grad students have the opportunity to teach and TA such a wide array of classes. I also like that the program focuses on getting you ready for the academic job market by emphasizing the need to get your work published and to have a well-rounded set of skills.
Madison KrallPhD student in Rhetoric and CommSHER
The majority of our faculty members are willing to invest in preparing graduate students for successful futures inside and outside of the academy. This devotion leads to a high level of trust among graduate students and their advisors, which I see as one major element contributing to the atmosphere of excellence in our department.
Emily KrebsPhD student in Critical/Cultural Studies and CommSHER
I research health communication topics from critical cultural perspectives. Right now I'm focused on disability, suicide, and medicalization.
The U's campus is literally on the side of a mountain, so there are hiking/biking/running trails everywhere. Whether you're into hardcore rock climbing, skiing, and mountain biking, or just looking to do some scenic walks around the city, it's all right here. There are also plenty of museums, theaters, shops, and spaces for "indoorsy" activities too.
We have a lot of freedom in forming our own education—from selecting coursework, to research topics, to outside grants and programming. My mentors have been really supportive of my nontraditional research, even when it's distant from their own. It's a demanding program, but I can't imagine being better prepared for an academic career.
The expectations here are VERY high. Independent research, conference attendance, and publications are the norm—not outstanding performance. Although this pressure can be tough, I can’t imagine being better prepared for an academic career. The department also recognizes our efforts and celebrates our achievements. We are serious about research, but also like to have fun. (Ask someone about COMM Prom.)
Kaylee MulhollandMS student in Critical/Cultural Studies
My research centers around representations of sex, violence, and their intersection in media. Specifically, my research examines how individuals’ experiences within cultures of violence both shape and are shaped by media representation.
Salt Lake is incredibly easy to navigate and has lots of opportunities to explore whether driving downtown or hiking in the mountains. The city is also super dog friendly and has lots of well-kept dog parks!
One of my favorite things about the COMM program is all of the opportunities for students to engage with scholarly activism. Faculty are very involved in a wide array of justice-based projects and they are than willing to help you balance research, teaching, and activism.
The people I have had the opportunity to engage with have been some of the friendliest and most helpful people you could ask for. While there are certainly high expectations for coursework and general academic participation, there is always ample support from faculty and fellow grad students.
Charnell PetersPhD student in Critical/Cultural Studies
My research focuses on the intersections of race, critical interpersonal and family communication, and (bio)technologies. My dissertation examines how genetic ancestry tests operate through anti-Blackness and influence Black identity.
One thing I love about the Department is learning alongside scholars whose areas of expertise, methodologies, and paradigmatic commitments are diverse. I learn so much from my colleagues here, even when our areas of study are different.
Erin SpencerMS student in Rhetoric and Critical/Cultural Studies
I study rhetoric and posthuman materiality with a focus on affective ecologies and what it means to live together in isolation through the networked public sphere.
I love that everyone is so different and unafraid to study topics that fit who they are. I'm always inspired by the range of strengths and specialties in our faculty and their devotion to supporting these goals. Overall, the program can feel like a band of exceptional misfits, and that's the coolest part.