This story is one in a continuing series of C&IS graduate student spotlights. These spotlights give insight into the academic and professional lives of master’s and Ph.D. students as they advance knowledge in their respective fields of communication and information sciences. The questions serve to highlight the many aspects of the graduate student experience as well provide guidance for prospective students. To nominate a current C&IS graduate student for a spotlight, email Cole Lanier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danielle Deavours (B.A. in Telecommunications and Film ’08), a student in the Communication Studies Ph.D. program, discusses her time as a doctoral student. When she’s not teaching a JCM or APR class, you can find Deavours balancing motherhood with her five-year-old daughter, Skylar. Here is what she has to say about her experience in C&IS:
Tell us about your experience in graduate school.
I began my doctoral program at The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences in Spring 2019. I have enjoyed the experience of working not only as an instructor, but also as a media researcher. Being at The University of Alabama has allowed me to collaborate with some of the leading scholars in the field, a unique opportunity to help me grow academically and professionally.
What are some of the highlights during your time in graduate school?
I have had the opportunity to present my research at the International Communication Association, National Communication Association, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and Broadcast Education Association. I have also been honored to win creative awards at BEA’s Festival of the Arts and the Southern Public Relations Federation and was the recipient of the BEA’s Vincent T. Wasilewski award. Most recently I was chosen as one of twenty scholars from around the world to participate in the upcoming Knight Foundation funded PhDigital Bootcamp. This is a unique opportunity provided by the Media Innovation Lab to learn the latest emerging technologies.
What is your greatest accomplishment in graduate school?
In my first semester, I received top student paper for AEJMC’s Electronic News division and was a finalist out of the entire conference for the Professional Relevance Award. As someone who was unsure of my place as a media scholar and researcher, this was a defining moment for me to recognize that I had potential in the field.
I have been proud to represent C&IS, and I’m so thankful to the faculty and students that have helped along the way.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Coming back to academia after working over a decade as a broadcast journalist and another five years in nonprofit communication is challenging. I also commute an hour to campus from my home in Pelham, AL, every day.
What advice do you have for students about to enter graduate school?
Develop goals for your program right from the beginning. When you know why you are there and what you hope to gain from the experience, you will be able to set your path more easily and be more motivated through the process. In addition, you should work to get to know as many faculty and other graduate students as possible, taking any opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the prestigious group of scholars and educators we have at C&IS.
Thank you, Danielle!