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On Monday, September 25th, the Master of Arts in Communication program will be hosting an information table in Cougar Mall from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Anyone interested in learning more about the MCOM program is invited to stop by for information and snacks.

Two of our current graduate students (and CofC undergraduate alumni) will be available to hand out information, answer questions about the application process and program, and offer a student perspective. In addition, both students hold Graduate Assistant positions within the Communication Department and will be able to answer questions about assistantship offerings.

Are you unsure if Grad School is for you? Don’t know anything about the program? Are you worried about the cost? Stop by the table!

If you are unable to visit the table during these times, but want to know more, please do not hesitate to contact Cierra Seid at seidcr@g.cofc.edu.


under: About the MCOM Program

This year’s program enrollment is comprised of 14 students with different interests and backgrounds: some new students, second-year students, recent CofC graduates, students who are new to the area, and some who have already been in the workforce for a number of years. No matter which category you fall into, the Master of Arts in Communication can be a great stepping-stone along your path.

You may be wondering why you should you get your Master’s Degree in the first place. You already have a Bachelor’s Degree (or you’re currently working on it), so why sign on for more school? Well,there are many reasons why students decide to further their education.

I talked to some current students and asked them for their thoughts on the reasons for pursuing a graduate degree. More specifically, below are five reasons why you should consider getting your M.A. in Communication at the University of Charleston, S.C. straight from the mouths of our current students.

  1. The program allows for a personalized education experience. In this program, you will take 15 credit hours of required courses, which leaves 18 credit hours available for your choice of electives. In addition, students are required to take one cognate course from another graduate program across campus. The end result is a unique experience that aligns with your personal interests and professional goals.

A current second-year student explained, “I chose the MCOM program because of the flexibility of courses and opportunities that allows you to personalize the program to your research and professional goals.”

  1. You can complete your Master’s Degree in as little as 1.5 years…but feel free to take as long as you need. The program is flexible for both full- and part-time students; you design your schedule to fit your life. In your very first class, Introduction to Graduate Studies in Communication, you work alongside program director Dr. Ruth-McSwain to create your personalized plan of study. This acts as a “road map” for your graduate experience, informed by  your personal mission statement, goals, courses you plan to take, and experiences you aspire to acquire.

A new student to the program said, “I’m now feeling relieved after the very first introductory class with Dr. Ruth. She assuaged my fears by reassuring [us] that finding our personal and professional path with this program is the reason she [and the rest of the department faculty], is here.”

  1. It opens doors and presents unique opportunities. The program offers many opportunities, from graduate-level internships and pedagogy experiences, to study abroad and unique independent-study projects. Not only do these immersion activities provide learning experiences for students, they have the potential to offer future opportunities. The MCOM program has seen many successful graduates, who undoubtedly took advantage of the opportunities presented through the program; one student received a fellowship to teach English for a year at the University of Versailles while others have landed positions with companies such as IBM, Forbes, and Ketchum based on their graduate experiences.

On this topic, one of our current students told me, “…the work and internship opportunities this program affords are incredible. We get fantastic real-world experience.”

  1. Networking opportunities and new connections. The Department of Communication offers students unique connections that other programs do not offer. For one, the Department’s Advisory Council gives students access to network with more than 50 prominent leaders in the field of strategic communications. In addition, students often find mentors within the department – creating meaningful relationships and life-long connections.

Another student in the program said, I think one of my favorite things about the program, is that the professors are so willing to go above and beyond.”

In my own experience, this statement holds true. Many times that I’ve met with professors to talk, they’ve suggested opportunities or introduced me to people they think I should know. They truly go above and beyond the classroom for students.

  1. The professors and staff. Our students may be a bit biased, but we truly believe that we have the best professors anyone could ask for. Nearly every student I talked to mentioned the value the professors bring to the program.

One student put it this way (but we all agree):I chose [this program] because of the amazing faculty. We have a special group of people who are supportive and want us to do well.”

So, those are the reasons current students think you should consider the MCOM program. If you want to know more, or have specific questions, feel free to contact me at seidcr@g.cofc.edu.

under: About the MCOM Program

Welcome to the 2017-2018 School Year

Posted by: Cierra Seid | September 13, 2017 | No Comment |

Here we are at the beginning of September, and the fourth week of the 2017-2018 School Year. That means classes are amping up and students are getting into the rhythm of their new schedules. Some of you, like myself, are still learning to navigate the rigors of graduate school (which is no small feat, but I think we’re off to a good start).

I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself as I will be managing the MCOM blog for the foreseeable future. My name is Cierra Seid, and I am a first-year graduate student at the University of Charleston, S.C.. Though I am a brand-new grad student,I’m very familiar with the College and the Department of Communication, having received my B.A. in Communication here in May.

As of April this year, I didn’t plan on going to grad school immediately after finishing my undergraduate degree. You see, I completed two years of school in Wisconsin before moving to Charleston; add on the last four years, and here I am starting my 7th year of college. (At what point does one become a “career student?”) I learned about a last-minute opportunity for an assistantship position at the end of April, and with the help and encouragement of Dr. Goodier (my capstone professor) and Dr. Ruth-McSwain (MCOM program director), I made a very quick decision to apply. I’m now an MCOM Graduate Assistant, helping out with marketing and recruitment. One of my tasks: manage this blog.

For those of you that have met me, you may have guessed from my lingering Wisconsin accent that I am originally from the Midwest. I grew up in a small town on the Michigan/Wisconsin border – in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, to be exact. I moved to Charleston in 2013, and although I’ve been here for a short four years, I think of Charleston as home.

Through this program I hope to develop my skills and knowledge so that I am prepared to begin a career in social marketing. As you get to know me, you’ll learn that I am a big fan of animals and the environment, so my dream job would somehow include both.

Throughout the year, I plan to write about department updates, special events, student spotlights, and anything else that I think might interest you. If there is something you would like to see in the blog, feel free to contact me at seidcr@g.cofc.edu.

under: Uncategorized

January’s Promise-Endless Possibilities

Posted by: ssnowsm | January 18, 2017 | No Comment |

I’ve always loved January for its promise of a clean slate. The possibilities that the “new year” presents seem endless, like anything is possible and nothing can hold you back. I also get to buy a new calendar, which is always exciting.

This January holds something a bit more special for me personally because I have officially started my final semester in the MCOM program. In just four short months, I will have the privilege of calling myself an alumna of the University of Charleston S.C. and moving forward in my career with one heck of an advantage. The knowledge and skills I have gained since my first semester goes far beyond the classroom, as do the connections and relationships that I have been able to cultivate as an MCOM scholar.


Speaking of new adventures, January is also a great month to begin applying to those graduate programs you’ve been researching! The Master of Arts in Communication program at the University of Charleston, S.C. is currently accepting applications for the 2017-2018 Academic Year, so below I have included some tips for navigating the application process.


Pay Attention to the Admissions Criteria: Not adhering to the admissions criteria is a great way to get your application rejected before the review process even begins. If you need two letters of recommendation, make sure you have at least two references lined up to submit letters. Ensure that your official transcripts arrive in sealed envelopes from your undergraduate institution in a timely manner. Double check the list of required materials and follow up with the receiving department to make sure everything arrived by the published application deadline. Even though it is not explicitly stated in the criteria, make sure your application does not contain spelling or grammatical errors.

Ask Questions: If you have a question about what the admissions committee is looking for in your personal statement or your writing sample, now is a great time to ask!  If you’re concerned about your writing sample (too long/short, vague, outdated, etc.) reach out to the program director; he or she will usually be more than happy to respond to your questions and concerns. The same goes for the personal statement. If you want to do an animated short instead of the required 1,000-word essay, you will want to confirm that the Admissions Committee is open to your creativity rather than offended by your inability to follow instructions.

Recruit Recommenders Early: Your letters of recommendation are an important piece of your admissions application. In short, graduate programs are interested in learning about the real you, not the snapshot provided by standardized tests and writing samples. Make sure you give your potential recommenders enough time to complete letters before the application deadline. Keep in mind that your letter is not the only thing on their to-do list, so providing at least a month for letter completion is ideal. In addition, do not forget to give your references accurate and up-to-date information about you, including past academic/employment experience, coursework completed, any publications or certifications earned, extra-curricular activities as well as your reason for applying to a particular school/program. Providing dossier materials can help each reference write a tailored and detailed letter about your academic and professional qualifications.

Talk with Current Students in Your Prospective Program: Visiting campus and meeting with current students in the program is the best way to “try on” your prospective program. Ask to sit in on a class or take a tour of the campus. If you can, tour the city as well. Discover entertainment opportunities or investigate the housing situation. Current graduate students are always able to give an relevant and reliable picture of their graduate experience. They are also a great resource on non-academic questions like housing, social activities, night life, etc.

Our program is unique in that it can be tailored to your interests in communication. In addition, several funding opportunities are available for both in-state and out-of-state students as well as full-time and part-time students. Finally, our faculty have strong ties to the community and their fields of expertise, which gives MCOM students an advantage in experiential learning opportunities as well as professional networking and mentoring relationships.

To learn more about the program or to schedule a campus visit, please contact Dr. Amanda Ruth-McSwain or Stephenie Snow. You can also find more information on our website.

Happy new year, and best wishes for a productive and prosperous 2017!


under: Seasonal
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A Peek into the Life of an MCOM Scholar

Posted by: ssnowsm | November 19, 2016 | No Comment |





Graduate students dedicate most of their time to their responsibilities, both academically and professionally. Every now and again though, we like to take some time to explore the world around us, outside of the classroom and our offices.






For those enrolled in the Master of Arts in Communication program here at the College of Charleston, that means we get to claim Charleston and the surrounding neighborhoods as our playground. There’s never a shortage of things to do around here, and when the seasonal events begin to pop up on my calendar, I make plans to attend at least some of them.









So when I saw that Boone Hall Plantation had opened their 2016 Pumpkin Patch, I grabbed a few of my friends and off we went.







Located in Mount Pleasant, SC, Boone Hall Plantation is less than 30 minutes from CofC’s campus right off of Hwy 17. The Pumpkin Patch has a separate entrance from the Plantation itself, and had an entrance fee of $10. The activities, which included a hay ride and a corn maze, are included in the entrance price, making this a great activity for budget conscious students. Local food vendors sold everything from kettlecorn to pizza as well as local artisans, whose stalls enticed buyers with beautiful handcrafted pieces.










And of course, they had a huge pumpkin patch! We made sure we visited this area last so we wouldn’t have to carry our pumpkins around while we tried to make our way through the corn maze. In addition to the carving pumpkins, they offered decorative gourds of many shapes and sizes as well as baking pumpkins. After making our selections, we headed into the final vendor tent, where we paid for our pumpkins and were tempted with local offerings from the Boone Hall farm, like pecan butter and local honey.









The weather was perfect for picking pumpkins, with comfortable temperatures and not a cloud in the sky. We had a blast and our outing provided a much-needed break from writing those papers.








If you’re interested in learning more about Boone Hall Plantation, click here.

If you’re interested in the Master of Arts in Communication program, please visit our website  or contact Dr. Amanda Ruth-McSwain.

under: MCOM Social Scene
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Ask a Grad: Winning the Fight Against Burnout

Posted by: ssnowsm | October 24, 2016 | No Comment |



October for most people means cooler temperatures, pumpkin-flavored everything, enjoying the changing leaves and preparing for the wonderful holiday season to come. For students, it means something a little different…midterms.





For graduate students, midterms can be in the form of an exam or a paper but often times, regardless of midterm expectations, it is simply that time in the semester for lots of deadlines, lots of late nights and lots of coffee. As we near the halfway point in the semester the mounting pile of work coupled with the day-to-day responsibilities associated with being a student and a professional can be a daunting, leading to the one thing all graduate students try to avoid at all costs: Burnout.



imagesBurnout is one of the top reasons students end their graduate school journey before earning their degree. No one, no matter how driven or accomplished, can sustain 110 mph without replenishing themselves both mentally and physically. We anticipate the intense and stressful environment that graduate school presents, but   the characteristics of professional growth, learning and fun should be a large part of the graduate school environment as well. To strike a healthy balance between challenge and enjoyment, I have included some tips for you to avoid burnout, no matter where you are in your graduate school journey.



  • Start and End Your Day with Something Relaxing

relaxingI’m guilty of checking my email as soon as I wake up. This not only hits me with an overload of information to process, but it automatically spikes my stress level before I even have my first cup of coffee. Rather than reach for the phone, try meditating or reading a book instead. You could even turn the act of making coffee into a little “you” time by waiting until the coffee is finished to begin tackling your day. It makes sense that starting your day calmly allows your brain to focus on your tasks instead of feeling overwhelmed immediately. At the end of the day, go for a walk or take a warm bath to wind down. This will help ready your brain and body for sleep, allowing you to catch those valuable zz’s.



  • Exercise

Exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels while improving your overall health. It doesn’t have to be dramatic or intense exercise either. You can walk your dog or go for a light jog around your neighborhood. Of course, if you’re more athletically capable, you could attend a kick-boxing class or participate in high-intensity interval training. Exercise also allows your brain to get more oxygen and blood flow, so even if it’s just for 30 minutes, do something to get your blood pumping.


  • Get a Hobby

I know, this sounds insane because graduate students have little to no time outside of work/internships/school…but hear me out. If you give yourself a break from all of those things to do something that you enjoy, it gives your brain a chance to reboot, essentially allowing you to become a better student. Ever have an awesome idea come to you while you were in the shower? This tip is a similar concept; doing something that you love outside of school responsibilities allows you more space to develop as a well-rounded individual.



  • Talk to Someone

support-1Leaning on a support network – friends, significant others, faculty advisors – can make a big difference in your ability to cope with stress and overwhelming feelings.. Let someone know that you are feeling run down, tired and even helpless, often times they’ll be able to give you a new perspective or a simple shoulder to lean on. Also, don’t be afraid to use the resources on campus, they aren’t just there for undergraduates! Almost every college campus has resources for students, and they’ll be able to give you expert advice on how to avoid or address burnout.




In the end, graduate school is a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I am sincerely enjoying my time growing both personally and professionally. With that said, the stressful times do exist, but I know I can handle it. I’m a graduate student after all!



For more information on resources available to CofC graduate students experiencing burnout, please click here.


If you’re interested in more information about the MCOM program, please visit our website  or contact Dr. Amanda Ruth-McSwain at ruthmcswaina@cofc.edu.

under: Ask A Grad
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Student Spotlight- Q&A with Erika LeGendre

Posted by: ssnowsm | September 21, 2016 | No Comment |



Erika LeGendre is currently a second-year MCOM scholar. She was born and raised in North Charleston, SC and received her undergraduate degree in Communication with a minor in Health from the College of Charleston in 2014. Erika is also a first-generation college student, and will earn her Master’s degree in May 2017.



   What are your plans following graduate school?

Following graduate school, I would like to work as a MARCOMM (marketing and communications) professional in higher education or in employee communication in some form or fashion. I feel that the program will render me to be well-equipped to do anything I want with communications as the focus.


 Why did you choose the MCOM program at College of Charleston?

I learned quickly that having a bachelor’s degree was a mere minimum qualification for the types of jobs I wanted, and a master’s was preferred. I thought for sure I was finished with school after I graduated from my undergraduate program, but school, in general, had become such an integral part of my life for so many years that once I was out I was going stir-crazy not being in school! I could have left [the Charleston area] for graduate school, but I appreciated my communication classes so much at CofC that I never truly felt finished with the institution after graduating. I felt like my undergraduate career was only sprinkled with communication classes and I wanted more. It doesn’t hurt that I live in the city next to Charleston!


Are you currently working on anything you’d like to talk about? Are you working in addition to taking classes?

I currently work as an administrative assistant at Trident Technical College. It is my first position in higher education, so I am learning important professional skills like maintaining positive working relationships inter-departmentally and creative problem solving. I am also slated to present in Dallas, TX at Paul Quinn University at the 2016 HBCUstory Symposium; the presentation is based on research I conducted through a summer independent study.


Fun fact about yourself!

No one in my immediate family calls me by my first name, and I won’t tell you my nickname. 🙂

under: MCOM Student Spotlight
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Great Things Behind and Fun Things Ahead for MCOM

Posted by: ssnowsm | September 6, 2016 | No Comment |



Welcome to the 2016-17 academic year! We’ve got so much in store for you this year, but I wanted to give you all updates about what some of the MCOM students were up to over the summer. The learning process for graduate students never stops, even over summer break.  Our recently graduated 2016 Cohort secured positions with Blackbaud, Charleston Battery, Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the College of Charleston! The 2017 Cohort stayed busy as well, completing internships with various regional and national companies, as well as teaching in the Study Abroad programs offered to undergraduates. Below you’ll find a bit of information about the options that graduate students are encouraged to pursue during the summer sessions.




Internships are a great way to “try out” a position in the communications field without making a permanent commitment to a specific position or company. You get to work with an organization for an entire summer while gaining valuable experiences relevant to your career aspirations. These opportunities can also lead to permanent, full-time positions, and increase your confidence as an industry professional. Some of the companies that welcomed MCOM students into their organizations this summer included Charleston Food and Wine Festival, CofC Women’s Health Research Team, Jetty Life, NBC, and the Charleston Police Fund.


In addition to gaining valuable work experience, you are also in direct contact with top executives in your industry. Using your time as an intern to enhance your professional network gives you a great advantage over your competition. Those network connections will bolster your credibility since experienced individuals will be able to vouch for your abilities.




For graduate students interested in traveling during their summer while continuing to earn credits toward their degree, completing a graduate pedagogy experience (COMM 690) is the way to go. As graduate students, our summers look a lot like our academic years: we’re busy.






By becoming a teaching assistant on a study abroad trip, however, you can experience cultures from around the globe while furthering your research and sharing your knowledge with undergraduate students. Some of the destinations where graduate students traveled this past summer included India, Italy, Greece, Budapest and Morocco.



As graduate students, we are held to a higher standard than our undergraduate counterparts. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and the lives of MCOM students exemplifies that sentiment, especially during our summer “break”.

To learn more about the MCOM program, please email (ruthmcswaina@cofc.edu) Dr. Amanda Ruth-McSwain or visit the MCOM website.

Have a question about living the MCOM life? Email your questions to snowsm@g.cofc.edu and your question might be answered on our monthly Ask-A-Grad column.

under: MCOM Student Spotlight, Seasonal
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School’s Out for Summer

Posted by: ssnowsm | May 8, 2016 | No Comment |


Final exams have been graded, summer plans confirmed, graduation parties scheduled…the Spring 2016 semester has officially come to a close. The College of Charleston campus has grown quieter, enjoying the peace that settles in before another school year begins in August. This August, a new group of MOCM scholars will set foot on our beautiful campus, officially embarking on their graduate school journey.



Congratulations to the class of 2016 and best of luck in the next chapter of your stories. We are so proud of you and look forward to hearing about your career successes, so don’t be strangers. Also, don’t forget to continue sharing your post-graduate achievements with Dr. Ruth, so we can highlight your work as MCOM alumni.







We hope everyone has a relaxing and rejuvenating summer. Best of luck to the MCOM students embarking on their summer internships. We know you will do wonderful work and gain some great experience in the process.








Please join us again in August, where we will once again keep you informed about the various events around campus and the latest happenings with the MCOM program.

Have a great summer y’all!


under: Uncategorized

Final Thoughts for the 2015-2016 Academic Year

Posted by: ssnowsm | April 26, 2016 | No Comment |


The end of every semester is always a great time to engage in self reflection about your classes and projects. What could you have done differently?  What have you learned, both personally and academically? The end of every spring semester seems to have more weight to it however, as it not only signals the end of another 15 weeks of classes, but the end of an academic year as well. And for those who have reached the conclusion of their graduate school journey, it signifies both the close of one chapter and the beginning of a brand new adventure.




Here, at the close of my first full year enrolled in graduate school, I could tell you a multitude of things that I learned. For example, I learned that time management and balance are very important in order to enjoy your time in graduate school. Yes, you will be spending more time completing readings, writing papers and conducting research than you ever did in your undergraduate career, but that only makes the moments spent outside the classroom that much more important. I’ve also watched my confidence grow by leaps and bounds, personally, professionally and academically because, yes, I can actually do this. I’ve learned to rely on my peers, both inside and outside the classroom and ask for help when I need it. The support I received this past year from mentors, faculty, my cohort, my friends and my family has been amazing and I know I could not have been this successful without them.

This got me thinking about what my fellow graduate students feel about their own journeys. Would they feel the same way as I do? So, I put my research skills to the test once again, and asked the current group of MCOM scholars the following questions:

What did you learn this year? (academically or personally) 

What was your most memorable academic experience this semester?

In true MCOM fashion, my fellow scholars did not let me down. I’ve included some of their responses below (with their permission of course).


Tim Rule LGC Headshot

I learned that you can spend 2 years having no idea what you’re working towards, and still somehow figure it out in the end (kind of). My most memorable academic experience this semester was seeing that “Your Brain on Drugs” ad in Dr. Sundstrom’s class. Still makes me hungry…

-Tim Rule, M.A. 2016





Stephanie_McInnisI learned to “embrace the blur” when you’re overwhelmed and unrested. I can take this mindset into all areas of life now and in the future. It is somewhat of a comical mantra when life is rough.  My most memorable academic experience this semester was presenting at the graduate school poster session. It was a great opportunity to see what other graduate students are researching, and opened my eyes to the diversity of student research interest on campus!

                                                                                                                                                                            -Stephanie McInnis, M.A. 2017






This year I learned how to accept change and handle a million things being thrown my way. I learned how to remain calm and collected under pressure while working and being so far away from home. My most memorable academic experience was the moment after I had conducted an interview with the Marketing Director of the Athletic program here at CofC. After the interview I realized that all of my data was beginning to make sense and was piecing together organically instead of forcefully. I finally felt like I was doing something right.

Jill Skipper, M.A. 2017







In my first year of grad school, I have learned not to be afraid of criticism. My most memorable experience would have to be when I interned for NBC at the Democratic Debate in downtown Charleston. I absolutely fell in love with the electric atmosphere that surrounded an event like this; a hundred different moving pieces working perfectly together. It was during that experience that I finally decided what career I wanted to pursue.

Brandy Francis, M.A. 2017



Megan-Gould-at-CofC-1ou6djx-300x300 Hmmm, what did I learn this year… I learned that life CAN occur outside of graduate school!  🙂 I also learned (yet again) that sometimes the seemingly hardest opportunities (or even the least attractive) can turn out to be the most rewarding. For example, I was nudged into a graduate student government position for this academic year, and realized belatedly I was in charge of managing a huge sum of money and guiding the expenditure process of 11 other graduate student organizations… in addition to my two part-time jobs and Masters academic work! What a shock! And yet, now at the end of the year, I am extremely thankful I was not-so-subtly nudged into this position.  🙂 My most memorable academic experience this year was co-creating and managing the partnered event between the local nonprofit Begin With Books and the West Ashley Barnes & Noble. I entirely enjoyed putting my communication research and learned skills to work. It was a tiny taste of what I really like – event management!

Megan Gould, M.A. 2016




This year, I learned that great things can happen when you get out of your comfort zone. I have met so many wonderful people and improved personally and academically because I have taken some chances. My most memorable academic experience was presenting my original research in Chicago. I was able to present my original research at a national conference with other health care professionals as well as experience a new city. I felt so lucky for the opportunity.

Stephanie Meier, M.A. 2017




I want to thank you all for reading the MCOM Blog this year and for keeping up with the program. We are truly thankful for your support and readership. I hope all of you have wonderful summers and I look forward to writing for you again for the 2016-2017 academic year. If you happen to be joining us beginning in Fall 2016, Welcome Aboard! We can’t wait to meet you and help you begin your graduate school journey. If you’re interested in becoming a member of the MCOM family for the 2017-2018 academic year, please visit our website.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  SSnow2       




 -Stephenie Snow, M.A. 2017

under: Seasonal
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