Dr. Hu, Jessica Stevenson, and Kristine Spike attended the 76th Annual Conference of New York State Communication Association in October 2018. Stevenson and Spike were part of Dr. Hu’s Spring 2018 COM 411 course, Intercultural Communication, where students’ perceived notions about what makes up a culture were challenged as they explored and applied concepts such as intercultural competence, privilege, and cultural identities. Students worked in groups on a semester long ethnography project where they visited a local non-profit at least three times in order to create an intercultural communication guide for new volunteers.
One team, consisting of Stevenson, Spike, Alana Adams and Rocco Siravo, worked closely with HomeFront, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Mercer County. Through the ethnographic study, the team produced a guide aiming to help new volunteers understand the culture of Homefront and better communication skills with clients. At the end of the semester, the team presented their findings to the class and the community partners, who were very impressed with the final documents, saying it was “very professionally done, well-observed and well-written.”
Over the summer of 2018, after encouragement and guidance from Dr. Hu, Adams took the lead to revise the group paper and submitted it to the New York State Communication Association annual conference. The paper was accepted, and Dr. Hu, Stevenson, and Spike presented on the panel, “Ethnographies of Service Learning” (Adams could not attend the conference). To summarize the whole experience, Stevenson, Spike, and Adams said this:
“We realized the importance of taking a project to the next level after the semester is over, and how this demonstrates TCNJ’s value of lifelong learning. We were very proud of the effort we put into this project throughout this year, and the experience is something valuable to take with us in our journey after graduation, for further research, and into future careers”
Congratulations to everyone involved!