Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?
In all honesty, I came to IUPUI to finish my undergraduate degree because it was convenient: close to where I lived and worked, and affordable. Not the most inspiring reason, right? Well, that was in 2016, and at the time my only goal was to finish my BA so I could teach English overseas. A means to an end: get the degree and get out. Now (writing this in 2022) I am a deeply engaged PhD student and I absolutely love my discipline (communication studies) and the work I do. I stayed because I found a community of people– a community of scholars– who are truly working to make the world better.
What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?
Earlier this year I was surprised with the “Outstanding Service Award” (for a graduate student) from my department. Although the award/recognition is nice, the real reward is what it signifies: that the work done behind the scenes to foster a community among my peers here at IUPUI matters to and for other people. In other words, the recognition is feedback – a useful way to know that at least some of the things I do are useful to those around me so that I continue to serve even more effectively. Any individual academic achievement is only meaningful to me in relation to how it sits in the larger context of scholarship and community; I’m a pragmatist in this concern.
What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?
I have lived in Indy since about 2009, and I only moved here from a short distance away, from Selma (a small town outside of Muncie, just north of the Indianapolis area). As mentioned above, I had thought about leaving– but ultimately, I stayed here to engage the university community beyond undergrad. In addition to Indy (and Indiana) being “home”, I am honored to call IUPUI my academic home.
Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.
I have myriad interests as a researcher and student: mental health, health equity, community engagement, higher education reform, advancing the social sciences through embracing the quantum paradigm, and other applied communication research. I am a research assistant in the department of Communication Studies, which grants me the opportunity to work and learn with different faculty each semester, expanding my experience and skillset. As an associate researcher of the Global Health Communication Center, I am engaged in community-based research aimed at improving overall well-being at both the local and global levels. I have recently published my first peer-reviewed article focused on mental health and college campus service availability.