Communication Studies

Department Spotlight

Alumna Awarded Graduate-School Teaching, Research Assistantships

Jessie Quintero Johnson, a 2003 Whitworth alumna who double-majored in communication and psychology, has been awarded a rare honor of both a teaching assistantship and a research assistantship in the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University. The teaching assistantship includes a tuition waiver and a salary, which she earns by teaching three sections of a course in mass-communication theory.

Teaching assistantships are typically awarded to graduate students who have strong academic records, work experience, and demonstrate an interest in teaching.

"Typically, most graduate students have either a research or a teaching position," Johnson says, "so I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity both to teach and to conduct research. And I find that teaching furthers my own understanding of the material."

Johnson's research assistantship involves working with a professor on his or her research interests, activities and goals. Some of the projects include researching and writing journal articles and conference papers to be presented at conferences such as the International Communication Association conference.

"I believe being selected for both assistantships was somewhat serendipitous -- I was in the right place with the right skill set and area of interest," Johnson says.

Johnson plans to earn a Ph.D. in communication and eventually to become a college professor, focusing on the areas of the psychological and cultural effects of the public's interaction with mass media and how the mass media work to create ideologies that form public opinion and discourse.

"I feel well prepared for graduate school," Johnson says. "I am continually amazed at how much I learned at Whitworth, both in terms of breadth and depth."

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