Erwin Burns is a 2007 alumnus in Communication Studies, now Associate Producer at Harpo Studios in Chicago, IL. Over the last seven years he has produced several reality, documentary, and sports programs for numerous networks. Some of them include the History Channel, CNBC, Big Ten Network, Oprah Winfrey Network, ESPN, CBS, and ABC. Erwin got the chance to expand into film earlier this year, being the production coordinator for an independent movie called Dead Draw. READ MORE »
Jacquelyn Ryan is a 2008 alumna in Communication Studies and Screen Arts and Cultures, now Production Coordinator/Assistant to Co-Executive Producer for the television show, Pretty Little Liars in Burbank, CA. After working on various productions in Michigan, Jacquelyn met a production coordinator that asked her to fly to California after working with him. She’s been working on various television and film productions in California for six years. Now, at Horizon Scripted Television, she is the union production coordinator, similar to the kind of work that Liz Lemon does on 30 Rock – everything. READ MORE »
Rachel Sparr is a 2009 alumna in Communication Studies and Screen Arts and Cultures, now executive assistant to the SVP of Comedy Development at ABC Studios in Burbank, CA. ABC Studios works on shows such as Manhattan Love Story and the upcoming musical comedy Galavant, where Rachel’s department oversees the development and production for new pilots across all the broadcast networks. Her first job out of college was a production assistant at Warner Brothers TV, where she assisted several production executives in day-to-day operations for a number of different series such as Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries. Presently at ABC Studios, Rachel preforms administrative duties and also reads and provides script coverage for her boss and the larger department. READ MORE »
At the first annual 2014 Fall Convocation, declared Communication Studies students were presented with the opportunity to “say hello” ahead of the inevitable “goodbye” that comes around at the end-of-year graduation ceremony.
Department Chair Susan Douglas said the event was the brainchild of Professor Amanda Lotz, with the goal of providing concentrators the opportunity to network, socialize, and introduce themselves to one another.
As I sit restlessly on this plane to Detroit, I cannot help but feel excitement surge through my body in anticipation of returning to the magical place we call Ann Arbor. As students at the University of Michigan, we dream about the start of football season, and spending our Saturdays in the Big House amongst 115,000 of our closest friends. We no longer count down the days until school ends, but rather count down the days of summer until school begins. We yearn to walk through the Diag as the leaves glow red, and those massive squirrels get uncomfortably close. READ MORE »
It wasn’t until after my internship this past summer at Domino’s Pizza that I really learned to appreciate being a Communication Studies major. You sit in hours and hours worth of lectures and cross your fingers hoping that all of this time, money, and hard work will pay off in the real world. Well, breathe a sigh of relief my fellow Communications concentrators because I am confident now that a Communication Studies degree will help set you up for success in the workplace. READ MORE »
Post developed by Olivia Avery and Muniba Saleem
After working for two years as an assistant professor in the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Behavioral Sciences department, Muniba Saleem will be joining the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor as an assistant professor of Communication Studies this fall.
Saleem began her studies at the Ohio State University, graduating with a degree in Psychology, and went on to earn a M.S. and Ph.D in Psychology at Iowa State University. Upon completion of her Ph.D, Saleem completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University.
Throughout her career Saleem has explored the intersection between Media and Psychology. “I am motivated to understand how different personality and social factors can reduce interpersonal and intergroup conflict. Among social factors, media is one of the most important socializing agents in terms of its reach and influence. Thus, many of my research projects explore how media can influence interpersonal and intergroup conflict. Within the interpersonal context, I explore how media violence can influence aggressive cognitions and tendencies. Within the intergroup context, I explore how media portrayals of minority groups influence intergroup relations domestically and internationally.”
In her own research, Saleem has found inspiration in the concept of Social Learning Theory, and the ways in which it has improved through an understanding of how direct and indirect forms of observation can influence schemas and behavioral intentions. “It is fascinating to me that we form such strong perceptions, attributions, and expectations for outgroups that we have never met personally but have been exposed to through the media.”
Saleem is planning on starting a new line of research exploring the role of media in influencing U.S. immigrants’ perceptions of their ethnic and national identity and the extent to which these perceptions influence their acculturation, interest and trust in the government, and relations with the majority group members.
As she joins us as a faculty member in Ann Arbor, Saleem also enjoys much of what the city has to offer. “I love how intellectually stimulating and diverse Ann Arbor is. There is an interesting academic talk, cultural, or social event taking place almost every day.”
While Saleem brings to Ann Arbor her breadth of experience and expertise in her field, she also brings her presence as an effective mentor and teacher, “I think that students should have a goal to learn rather than to achieve a certain grade or accomplishment. The former will usually result in the latter but the latter doesn’t always result in the former.”
One of the great things about interning at a small company is having the ability to gain hands-on experience every day. As an intern at Alita’s Brand Bar, a branding and licensing company that works to extend the reputation and revenue of clients, I have learned many new skills that I feel go beyond what I have been exposed to inside the classroom. READ MORE »
Written by: Brianne Johnson
“Fear the frill,” the shirt reads, framing the silhouette of the #NotoriousRBG herself, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s another muggy D.C. morning over in Dupont Circle, where the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) is consumed by the chaos of pencil skirts dashing through the halls, printers spitting out statement drafts, and me, a media intern, hovering over my office phone, pen in hand, for the first press request to come in. This is the morning of the final session of the term for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), more infamously known in our office as the morning that the Court would release its ruling on the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores & Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell.
For Julia Sonnevend, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan, success looks like the opportunity to explore and create. In her words, “Success is dedication and freedom. The possibility that with passionate work you can fly to new ‘planets.’ I feel the happiest in settings where there is a lot to learn and a lot to reach. I cannot imagine a life without ambitions and I have a hard time handling intellectual spaces that are limited; where there is no place to ‘move’.”
To reach the success Sonnevend has achieved, she has traveled the world and adopted a global perspective throughout her work. Sonnevend studied German literature, aesthetics, law and communications in Budapest, Berlin, New Haven and New York before starting teaching at the University of Michigan in the fall term of 2013. After completing her Master of Laws degree at Yale Law School, Sonnevend went on to earn her PhD in Communication Studies at Columbia University in the City of New York
“Exploring new spaces and especially spaces of ‘in-betweenness,’ I believe, are essential both for me and for my work. Frequent intellectual and geographical travels or relocations strongly shape my thinking,” said Sonnevend. As a result of these academic and geographic shifts, Sonnevend’s research has emerged as focused on the cultural aspects of globalization with a special interest in media events, rituals, icons and performances.
Sonnevend in Jerusalem
Sonnevend’s approach to research connects disciplines and institutions from multiple countries in order to achieve a unique global perspective. Sonnevend expanded on this idea, explaining, “For the first half of 2014, I was in Israel as a Lady Davis Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, working on a book entitled Stories Without Borders: The Making of a Global Iconic Event. My book examines how we can tell the story of a news event in a way that people remember it internationally and over time. Focusing on the fall of the Berlin Wall as central case study, I show how the confusing events of November 9, 1989 gradually condensed into a simple phrase (“fall of the Berlin Wall”), a short emotional narrative of freedom, and a recognizable visual scene. I argue that this “package” of phrase, narrative and image now travels across multiple media platforms and has currency from China to Hungary to the United States, providing us with a contemporary myth.”
It seems only fitting that with Julia Sonnevend’s interest in intellectual cross-pollination, the inspiration for some of her best work comes from some unexpected sources. Sonnevend explains, “Somehow, I get the best ideas when walking around in art museums because the visual representations from various centuries speak to me. I think the best ideas come when you do not focus on finding them. For instance, a few months ago I was walking around in Jerusalem and suddenly saw a digital sign at a bus station: “Communication Failure.” And I thought: what if I write a book on why communication (often) fails in families, in international relations and in media? Well, will this playful idea become a book, an essay or a paper? I am not sure yet, but I have certainly found this project at the least expected moment.”
When not working or traveling, Sonnevend enjoys much of what Ann Arbor has to offer. Her favorite aspects of to town include, “The vibrant classical musical scene – I have just received an email about the fantastic 2014/2015 season! And conversations with friends in The Last Word also add to my Ann Arbor experience… The city quickly felt like home. I find the place culturally exciting and whenever I have to be abroad at a conference, in half an hour I can be at the Detroit airport. I also like visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago.”
When asked what advice she would give to incoming Communication Studies students, Sonnevend bequeathed some very valuable advice, “Do not go with the trend! Try to find your own interests, your own niche. I strongly believe that if your ideas are exciting, the world and the job market will be interested in them. This advice, I believe, is useful for all disciplines, but especially for communication studies, which tends to focus only on things that are happening right now. But the past and the future are just as important as the present. A successful academic discipline has to include careful historical writings and imaginative grand theories of the future.”