MCOM #GirlBosses — Q&A with Dr. Elizabeth Dorrance Hall

Our final Girl Boss is Dr. Elizabeth Dorrance Hall. Elizabeth graduated from the MCOM program in 2011. Her story inspires us to be motivated, find your niche, and if you love academia, pursue it. If being a “doctor” doesn’t make you a #GirlBoss, then we don’t know what will! Make sure you click the links to read her full story.

Tell me a little about yourself.

E: I received my MA in Communication from the College of Charleston in 2011. Since then, I attended Purdue University for my PhD in Communication, moved to Logan, UT for my first faculty job, and am now happy to live back in the state where I grew up (Michigan). My research focuses on difficult family conversations including marginalization in families and how family relationships evolve over time.

Tell me about your career

E: I am an Assistant Professor of Communication at Michigan State University. I teach courses on interpersonal and family communication and conduct interpersonal and family communication research.

What made you decide to pursue your Master’s degree in Communication?

E: I was encouraged by one of my undergraduate professors to pursue my Master’s degree. My family also placed high value on higher education, so an MA was always something I thought I would work toward. I took a community college course in interpersonal communication during high school that set me on my path to study communication. Just one course and I was hooked for a lifetime of learning about communication.

How did your experience in the MCOM program prepare you for your job?

E: My experience in the MCOM program was hugely influential in my decision to apply for PhD programs. Working with Dr. Merissa Ferrara was my first taste of academic research and I fell in love. She, along with Dr. Kopfman, introduced me to statistics and taught me how to ask and answer interesting questions. The courses in my MCOM program along with serving as a teaching assistant for Gender Communication prepared me to teach undergraduates during my PhD program. I made some amazing friends in the program who were also group mates through many research papers and projects. These women have continued to encourage me and cheer me on through my academic journey. It is amazing to see where we have all landed after just seven years!

Share your biggest accomplishment in your current position

E: While at Utah State University, I co-founded the Family Communication and Relationships Lab (link: The FCRL facilitates research on families and interpersonal relationships across the country.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your work experience or fond memories of the MCOM program?

E: I deeply enjoyed my time at CofC and had a very meaningful experience in the MCOM program. The support of the faculty and my fellow grad students has truly shaped my life and career. Charleston is an amazing place to spend a couple years studying communication. I’d recommend it to anyone!

You can find more on Elizabeth’s work at:

That’s all of our MCOM #GirlBosses for now. I hope their stories have inspired and motivated you to follow your passions. Have a safe and restful summer — we’ll see you in August!

Until then,



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