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Students Shine with Spring Papers at National and State Levels

TCNJ communication studies students presented multiple professional papers at state and national levels in March and April, extending scholarly paper records set by previous students.

On March 29 two communication studies students were the only undergraduates in the nation selected to present refereed papers at the biannual DC Health Communication Conference held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Junior Jordan Kohn presented a paper co-authored with Christiana Nielsen and Dasia Stewart on “Cross-National Coverage of Child Labor: A Community Structure Approach.” Junior Sally Milnes presented a paper co-authored with Christine Rehm,Olivia Hannis, and Jonathan Day on “Nationwide US Coverage of Medicated Children: A Community Structure Approach.” Two years previously (2011), TCNJ students Katie Ward and Erin Prendergast, were also the only undergraduates in the United States invited to present papers at the DC Health Communication Conference.

On April 20, six teams of TCNJ students presented refereed papers at the annual statewide conference of the New Jersey Communication Association (NJCA) meeting at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Among the papers focusing on nationwide US samples of major metropolitan newspapers were: Kelsey Zink and Maggie Rogers’ “Nationwide Newspaper Coverage of Detainee Rights: A Community Structure Approach” (co-authored by Eric Moran and Matthew Salvatore); Ashley Reed, Kaitlyn Allen, Kylie Moore, and Clayton Fabrizio’s “Nationwide Newspaper Coverage of Planned Parenthood”; Tyler Fugazzie, Lisa McKeegan, and Elizabeth Hutner’s “Nationwide Newspaper Coverage of the Vaccination-Autism Link; A Community Structure Approach”. Alli Wentling presented a paper co-authored with Olivia Hannis, Stephen Tarnowski, and Ben Iturralde: “Cross-National Newspaper Coverage of the European Sovereign Crisis: A Community Structure Approach”. Jordan Kohn also reprised her paper on cross-national coverage of child labor.

Kelly Alexandre, Cynthia Sha, Kelsey Baire, and Jessica Johnson won the “best undergraduate paper for 2013″ at the NJCA meeting, for co-authoring “Cross-National Coverage of Human Trafficking: A Community Structure Approach.” By examining sample of leading newspapers in different nations, Alexandre, Sha, Baire, and Johnson found that coverage favoring government responsibility in resolving human trafficking was more pronounced in countries with higher proportions of foreign investment and with higher levels of female empowerment.

Over the almost twenty years of its existence, the NJCA has given several “best student paper” awards to TCNJ, and the latest award affirms the continued excellence of communication studies students. Communication studies students from TCNJ hold the national record for largest number of papers winning “best student paper in the nation” awards presented by the national honor society (Lambda Pi Eta) of the National Communication Association. Said Prof. Lorna Johnson, chair of the Department of Communication Studies, “The continuing superb performances in professional paper writing and presentation by our students are a source of pride for our entire department. These dedicated students set a powerful example of excellence for all students at TCNJ.”