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Graduate Student Update

The SJMC presented several graduate student awards at the annual Spring Celebration, held on May 6, 2009, at the McNamara Alumni Center. The award recipients included: Jacob D. Parsley, Silha Fellowship for Media Ethics and Law; Yuliya Lutchyn and Wonsun Shin, Ralph D. Casey Dissertation Research Award; and Deborah Carver, Soyoen Cho, Brittany Duff and Yuliya Lutchyn, Mark Kriss Graduate Student Research Award.

Graduate student Colleen Callahan (B.A. '05) was selected to participate in the "60 years of friendship" press trip organized by the Jordan Information Bureau at the Embassy of Jordan in Washington, D.C. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan marked 60 years of diplomatic relations with the United States in January 2009. To commemorate this special friendship and long-standing partnership, the Embassy of Jordan spearheaded a number of activities and initiatives, like the press trip, that encompass the political, economic, cultural and educational arenas. The ten-day trip was designed for young journalists to visit Jordan and identify with its current economic, political and social conditions in order to enhance understanding of Jordan's role in the domestic, regional and international spheres as well as American-Jordanian relations.

Callahan's interest in media coverage in the Middle East evolved through the experiences of a close friend. "Though I (had) never been to the Middle East, my interest in studying the region's media is rooted in the current proliferation of news surrounding the region and its prevalent role in current foreign affairs," she says. "However, it was the experience of a friend living in Amman, Jordan, that truly catalyzed my curiosity with media coverage of and from the Middle East. After spending time in Jordan, my friend noticed the discrepancy between the reality he was experiencing in Amman and America's perception of Jordan and the rest of the Middle East. Additionally, he found this same discrepancy prevalent in many locals' perception of Americans. ... My friend's insight jump-started my drive to discover ways to harness the power of mass media to deepen dialogue, enhance empathy and promote cross-cultural understanding between the Western and Arab worlds." Callahan joined nine other American students from top journalism schools in the United States for an all-expense paid trip to Jordan in late May 2009.

Ph.D. candidate Soyoen Cho was awarded the 2009 American Academy of Advertising Doctoral Dissertation Competition Dunn Award for her paper "Viral Advertising Effects and Trust as an Influencing Factor." The competition promotes doctoral research in advertising. Awards are based on a competitive review of dissertation proposals.

A paper jointly authored by SJMC graduate students Jacob Depue, Laura Friedenberg, Nathan Gilkerson and Ashleigh Shelton and associate professors Brian Southwell and Wilma Koutstaal (psychology) won a Top Three Paper Award from the National Communication Association (NCA). The paper, "Aging and the Questionable Validity of Recognition-Based Exposure Measurement," will be presented at the NCA annual conference in November in Chicago.

Sarah Janel Jackson's paper "Intersecting Discourses of Race, Class and Gender in News Coverage of the Megan Williams Rape Case" received the Top Student Paper Award in media studies at the Western States Communication Association Convention, held in February in Phoenix.

Ph.D. candidates Nahid Khan and Jennifer Moore were accepted for participation in the "May Term Dissertation-Writing Retreat," co-sponsored by University's Graduate School and the Center for Writing. The event is a three-week daytime retreat designed for graduate students to do focused, sustained work on dissertations.

Kay E. Schwebke's article "The Vietnam Women's Memorial: Better Late than Never" was published in the May 2009 issue of the American Journal of Nursing. The article is about the more than 10,000 nurses stationed in Vietnam during that country's conflict and the special significance the Vietnam Women's Memorial holds for those women. Schwebke, M.D., M.P.H., and a student in the health journalism and communication master's degree program, is medical director of the Hennepin County Medical Center Coinfection Clinic in Minneapolis and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the University of Minnesota.

Ph.D. candidate John Wirtz received the Franklin H. Knower Article Award from the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association for his article, "How Does the Comforting Process Work? An Empirical Test of an Appraisal-Based Model of Comforting." The article was co-authored with communication studies associate professor Susanne M. Jones. The award is presented annually to an article that makes an outstanding theoretical contribution to the study of human communication.