Generation Addicted to Pop Culture

My name is Ashley Grear, a Rhetoric and Communication major at Dominican University, and I’m addicted to pop culture.

Pop culture collage

Before you judge me, I know I’m not alone in my infatuation with the wonderful world of entertainment. Like most people my age, I consider watching the latest viral video or keeping up with the Kardashians my getaway from reality.

I believe that one of the reasons why my generation has become so consumed with pop culture is because of our increased reliance on technology compared to previous generations. We are often so connected through our phones that we are constantly engaging in the world of entertainment including sports, news, celebrities, or even fashion trends.

Personally, for me, one of the best things about pop culture is that it gives us a voice that may not have been available to us before. I believe that pop culture has become more interactive with the creation of things like podcasts and YouTube, making it so that you no longer have to have be a celebrity to create content. Pop culture matters to me because it’s provides me with a way to express myself and the things that interest me, whether it’s hearing about the lifestyles of the rich and famous or sharing my opinion on the latest Beyoncé song with my followers on Twitter.

My posts for the semester will focus on the importance of pop culture through the lens of a Dominican University student. I will be touching on these topics and more as we wind down the semester.

Communication Round Table

The last blog post I made was how being a communication major helped me get to where I am today. I know my experience, but I do not know how others in Rhetoric and Communication or Corporate Communications experience the major.

I sat down with senior Sara Angel (Rhetoric and Communication), sophomore Annika Strolle (Corporate Communications), and freshmen Abby Sauer (heading towards Corporate Communication) about their majors. I wanted to get their opinions on these different majors and different school years. After speaking with all three, I was able to see lots of different reasons why each person chose the major and how they believe the major would help them in the real world.

I first spoke with Angel when I asked her about what she thinks about Rhetoric and Communication, and what she tells others about the major. She said “people ask me what I’m going to do after graduation; I say I really have no idea but I am not worried about it because I have so much opportunity/opportunities.”

Angel talked about how her communication major can be applied to so much in the work force. Strolle agreed with Angel and both gave examples of jobs in retail, social media, public relations, management for any company, and several different types of jobs. I asked Abby if she agreed with what the other two said. Sauer did, and mentioned that she has not been in the major since she’s a freshmen, but in her job on campus, in the Office of Student Involvement, she believes that communication has been able to help her with her job.

Angel and Strolle started to talk about the classes Sauer will have to take in the future. I asked them what they think the most important skill they have taken away from their communication classes. All three said public speaking, being able communicate appropriately, and not being afraid to apply themselves. Angel said, “The best part of communication classes — you finish the entire class or after just one class, you can take something from it and apply it to something.”

I asked each for specific examples. Angel talked about how she got all her jobs, the different positions in clubs, and her internship thanks to these classes. “I find it way easier to talk with management when it comes to my jobs and be able to speak my mind to better help out.” Angel is the current President of the Campus Activities Board (CAB), which is one of the largest clubs on Dominican’s campus. She has been working with CAB since her sophomore year and she used her communication skills to make the club the best and has now gotten her to the top position with the club.

The last thing Angel mentioned was how the major has helped with being able to interview for positions. She talked about the long and difficult process to get into the Disney Internship programs with several interviews and forms to sign.

Strolle agreed with Angel about making interviews a lot easier, and she spoke about with her work to compete in the Miss America pageant. She talked about the long process, but saying the “make or break” moment is in a ten minute interview. Strolle talked about how the public speaking classes and other communication classes helped her in that interview and helped her move on to the next step.

She also talked about how it has helped her with her job teaching girls to dance. “Working with three through six year-old girls is not the easiest to do, to make sure they all know what they are doing and enjoy. The other step in teaching these girls is speaking with their parents and telling them how their daughters are progressing.”

I asked all three what they wanted to do once they graduated with the communication degree. Angel said she wants to continue with the Disney Program and try to get a full time position in Orlando. Strolle said she wants to go into public relations with human resources and to work with a museum developing exhibits.

Sauer said she is not sure what she wants to do when she is done with Dominican. But no matter what she will do that she knows continuing with communication will help her.



Lambda Pi Eta Matters

My name is Anna Derkacz, and on December 7th, 2015 I was inducted into the Lambda Pi Eta Honors Society. Lambda Pi Eta is the official academic honors society of the National Communication Association. This honors society represents what Aristotle described in his work Rhetoric as the three ingredients of persuasion: Logos (Lambda) meaning logic; Pathos (Pi) relating to emotion; and Ethos (Eta) defined as character credibility and ethics.

Lambda Pi Eta has over 400 active chapters at colleges and universities worldwide dedicated to recognizing, fostering, and rewarding outstanding scholastic achievement in communication studies. In order to be eligible to apply for this honor, students must fill the following requirements:

  • The student’s major or minor must fall under the communication department and must have completed at least 12 hours of communication credit by induction semester.
  • Students must have a 3.0 overall G.P.A and a 3.25 Communication G.P.A.
  • Students must have completed 60 or more credit hours total by the end of the induction semester.
  • Students should exhibit high standards of personal and professional character and willingness to support the purposes of the honor society.

As a journalism minor at Dominican University, I have grown to love the field of communication and believe that Lambda Pi Eta is a great pursuit for someone who is dedicated to this field. I would consider communication studies to be some of the most useful and practical skills to have, as our world is run on communication and personal connections. Communication studies is not solely based on theory and boring textbooks, but on everyday life and popular interests. It is a field that converges with personal communication, social media, theories, writing, reading, international affairs, as well as entertainment and popular culture. By being part of Lambda Pi Eta, I have the pleasure of being a part of a community (a society) of people who have made communication studies their life and are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge in the field.

My interest in communication began my senior year of high school. Completely lost and unmotivated, I found myself searching frantically for a major that I could use practically, yet something that would spark my interest. Although I knew I would not choose a major in the communication field, I did not want to give up completely on my interest in the subjects. As I started my journey at Dominican, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I would be able to pursue my passion in criminology, yet satisfy my craving for journalism.

My path to studying an aspect of communication came in the form of a relentless need to write. Ever since I could remember, I would always find myself wanting to write everything I experience. In high school I was an assistant editor in the school newspaper, and to this day keep an updated personal journal. Currently as a journalism minor, I have learned not only how to master grammar and punctuation in news stories, but also about the world around me and how important it is to understand how the media plays a crucial role in the shaping of society. In addition, by studying journalism, I am able to connect the world together in pieces from concepts that I am studying in Sociology and Criminology. Although I am a journalism minor, I have also taken other courses in the communication department that have significantly improved my overall writing techniques and style. I hope that the same opportunity for personal development will occur by now being a part of a national communication honors society.

As the Communication Arts and Sciences Department assistant, I have established closer relationships between the faculty and other students in the field. Working side by side with some of my professors has truly given me the opportunity to see the field beyond the classroom and ways in which people have made communication their passion for life – as my professors have. Seeing how active and passionate they are about their respected fields has made me want to have the same connection with my career someday.

By being a part of Lambda Pi Eta, I also have the opportunity to further these relationships and demonstrate my own dedication to communication. As a new inductee of Lambda Pi Eta, I am proud and grateful for the opportunities and skills that communication studies have offered me and highly encourage any communication student who fits the criteria to take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity.

Below are some pictures from the Fall 2015 induction ceremony

Student Reflects on Rhetoric & Communication Major

My name is Axel Vargas-Irlanda, and I am a Rhetoric and Communication Major and Social Media Minor here at Dominican University.

Usually when some asks me what my major is and I say, “Rhetoric and Communication,” I either get the responses of “Oh cool! What is that?” or “What does a person do with that?”

I reply to them with “Just about anything.”

When I first came to Dominican, I had no idea what I wanted to do. So, I talked with my peer adviser, and she would tell me all the classes that I needed, but also tried to find some that I found interesting. When she showed communication classes that dealt with film, film editing, social media, gaming, journalism, graphic design, business, learning how to public speak, and more — that I could list on and on — I knew it was the major for me.

Open Mic Night 2Every communication class I have taken helped me apply for the jobs and clubs I have taken part in here at Dominican. The club in which I have used the most of my communication skills is taking part with the Campus Activities Board in the Mainstage department. My job was to host open mics, post publicity of events on social media, hosting student requested events, and hire entertainment for students on campus.

To create events I would have to reserve the space, handle contracts with the companies coming to campus (if needed), make sure there was food/catering at the events, buy prizes/giveaways for students that attend, and work a team of people to make sure everything was prepared for the event.

Open Mic Night

For open mics I would host them by speaking in front of over 70 people, introducing student performances, telling jokes, keeping the crowd interested and even performing myself. It was not just about music either; the largest event was a video game tournament, Game Night Live.

Game Night Live 2

This had the most attendance of any event I created with the club, having over 100 Dominican students, residents and commuters. The winners got to win the newest of the gaming systems. People were going crazy when the tournament was going on, and everyone enjoyed having this kind of event for Dominican. Taking classes like public speaking, persuasion, and many others helped me prepare for events like that.

Game Night Live

For these events I would also have to make the online flyers. They were fun to make, and taking the graphic design classes I needed to take helped me create them. These flyers went out on several of Dominican’s web pages, all around campus, and made into larger posters around campus for students to see.

Doing all of this made me feel like I was actually doing something and made me realize it is what I want to do in my future.

Alexandra’s Experience as a Development Intern

My name is Alexandra Chavez, and I would like to share my experience of working this summer as a development intern for PCC Community Wellness Center, an organization that encompasses 11 health centers that offer comprehensive care and support services that serve 9 Chicago community areas in the Westside and west suburbs.

As a development intern, I assisted the development department, which is responsible for grant procurement and the handling of the organization’s marketing and communication. My responsibilities included the following:

  • Assisting with the creation and distribution of organizational communication and marketing materials, such as: annual report, E-newsletter, company newsletter, press releases, flyers, brochures, etc.
  • Assisting with the planning and execution of organization activities and events
  • Researching and evaluating prospective grant opportunities and helping to prepare grant files
  • Assisting with mailings, filing and other projects as assigned

I can honestly say that this internship captured the importance of communication in the workplace and has allowed me to put the knowledge learned throughout my courses to good use!

As a communication student, I was exposed to concepts, theories, and behaviors that have allowed me to be a successful intern. For example, when dealing with marketing materials, I now know how to market them in a way that appeals to the target audience of the organization. Logos, color schemes, placement, fonts, and keeping the audience in mind are things that were taught in my persuasion and integrated marketing communication courses. Also, when working with grants, I was able to use persuasive cues and language that was also learned in those courses.

I was especially happy to have learned how to do a press release in introduction to journalism, as I ended up having to do two press releases for PCC. In addition, I was able to use the Associated Press Stylebook to my advantage, which was a requirement in that course.

As a student transitioning to an office environment, behaviors that were learned from my corporate communication courses stuck out to me. Maintaining a professional demeanor, communicating with as much information in as little time as possible, visions and missions, and the importance of having good organizational communication were all key takeaways from those courses.

The PCC Austin Farm is located at 330 N. Lotus Avenue in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.
The PCC Austin Farm is located at 330 N. Lotus Avenue in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.

I had many projects throughout my internship that allowed me to showcase my creative skills. My favorite projects included the annual report (which I’m still currently working on), press releases, and working on all of the PCC Austin Farm’s grand opening marketing materials. I am responsible for creating the entire annual report, which will be published sometime in October. My press releases were published in various news media sources, all of which make me proud. And all of the farm marketing that I’ve created (e.g. postcards, flyers, timeline poster board) were used around PCC and during the grand opening. As far as working with grants, I was exposed to some writing for grant proposals and reports. I enjoyed preparing grant files and doing grant research. I loved seeing how PCC can obtain so much money from various outlets that enable them to grow the organization.

Guests participate in urban gardening activities conducted by the Windy City Harvest team.
Guests participate in urban gardening activities conducted by the Windy City Harvest team.

As a development intern for a non-profit health care organization, I’ve learned a lot about the organization and the work that happens behind the scenes in non-clinical executive administration. I was the first intern that PCC has ever had in an administrative setting, and upon completion of the internship I was offered a paid position as the development coordinator on registry status. This means that I will be part-time until graduation, and then based on the department need, I will be able to attain full-time status.

I am beyond proud of myself and the work that I’ve accomplished during my internship that has led me to this point in my life. As I continue to develop my skillset and build my professional career, I’d like to thank Dominican University and the Communication Arts and Sciences department for providing me with the education necessary to embark on this exciting path.

Student’s Experience with Podcasting

785972Paulina Wojtach, a Psychology major and Social Media minor, took CAS 352 “Convergent Media” this past spring. She went on to complete an internship with Hope for the Day, a non-profit organization devoted to combating and stopping suicide, where she put both her academic interests to work in developing content to reach out to troubled teenagers.

She also completed audio production lessons this summer wherein she produced a podcast, Adaptations, in which she and a co-host discuss several well-known cases of famous books becoming famous movies, such as The Hobbit and Fight Club.

When asked if she would recommend other Dominican University students learn and develop their own podcasts, she replied definitely.

I would definitely recommend others to create a podcast. It is a fun way to talk about something that you enjoy. It was a lot of fun to do record the podcast with another person. Sometimes we would go off script, because we would become really invested in the conversation. Those off script moments were often the most interesting comments within the podcasts, because they were completely natural. 

You can listen to Paulina’s podcast here:

Paulina is just another of our students who understands why communication matters.

Andrea Short on Why Communication Matters

In an interview with Corporate Communication Major Andrea Short, she discusses the importance of communication as well as her own experiences in the field and how the message of communication comes across in today’s society.

Check it out and don’t forget to follow @ducommstars on Twitter with the hashtag #whycommunication

Gabriella Socco

Undecided Major? Let’s Talk Communication!

Going to college is a huge step to the next part of life. Why? Basically because you are about to pick a major or minor that could determine the rest of your life. That’s a scary feeling knowing that after college you will be on the hunt to find a job, and sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is not, but with the right education you can be well on your way to the job of your dreams. Which brings to me to why you should look into being a Communication Major or Minor.

Communication is probably one of the most coolest majors. There is so much you can do and learn while studying this subject. According to Dominican’s website, there are 14 different areas of Communication you can focus on.


To me that sounds really broad and it is! You can be the next big TV Broadcaster or the company’s best marketing employee. You can accomplish anything by going into Journalism, TV, Radio, Marketing, Advertising, Human Resources, Public Speaking, Research, and More!

According to Best Degree Programs, Communication is listed as one of the top 10 majors for indecisive students. It says, “If you are not sure exactly what you want to do with your life, but know you have an above-average knack for communicating ideas or organizing information, a communications degree can turn this natural ability into a very marketable resume. These skills are in constant demand from a variety of industries.”

The other cool thing about going into communication is the classes you’ll take! Being a communication major myself, I simply love the classes and learning what each class has to offer. If you have never taken an interpersonal communication class you should, because you learn all about communication and people. I love learning about people and how communication works between people and on a global level. It’s an essential skill I believe that everyone should learn about. No matter the job, you need communication, and the skills that come along with it because, let’s face it, you are around people every day. And especially in the work force, it will be extremely important to carry these skills, which brings me to the next reason of why you should look into communication.

According to Fort Hays State University, “According to research conducted by NACE (2011), the most important skill and quality a college graduate can have is effective communication. Today, in order to be an efficient employee, graduates must have more than job-specific skills.” Indeed, this is true! Going off of what I previously said, no matter the job, you need communication. This is why if you choose not to major in communication, you can minor in it!

If you’re a nurse and you’re talking with doctors, patients, and other nurses, don’t you think you should know how to communicate properly? If you own a business, whether it be a big corporation or a restaurant, don’t you think you should also properly communicate with staff, employees, clients? I think yes for both. Communication is all around you, and it is super important to have the skill set while working in any field.

In conclusion, if you are an undecided major, I highly advise to checkout the Corporate Communication major here at Dominican or even look into minoring it. No matter the major, you will have an extra set of commutation skills to accomplish anything and be the best employee, CEO, or whatever you choose. If you are interested in the media and public discourse, then there is the Rhetoric and Communication degree that could help you. If you want to effect a change in the world around, then the Journalism degree is for you.

For more information on this major contact John Jenks, Department Chair, at (708) 524-6932 or at Don’t forget to follow @ducommstars and #whycommunication

Gabriella Socco

Dr. John Jenks on Why Communication Matters

In an interview with Dominican’s very own John Jenks, Professor of Journalism in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, he talked about the importance of communication and essentially from a journalists perspective, what communication means as well as talking about communication around the world and in different languages.

Don’t forget to check out the Communication department Twitter page: @ducommstars or And be sure to follow #whycommunication for more ideas, information, and insight into this major.