By Rachel Clepper
At the beginning of my sophomore year, I decided to take an Environmental Communication class because it was something that I had always interested me.
My advisor, Dr. David Tschida, happened to be teaching that class and within the first couple weeks presented the opportunity to collaborate on a research paper within the field of environmental communication. When I first heard him talking about this opportunity, I did not think that I would have the experience or expertise to be able to do this kind of research, but throughout the class I began to realize that it was something I had a true passion about. I later asked to meet with Dr. Tschida to discuss what the research would entail and the specifics of what we would be working on. We created a proposal that was accepted for presentation at the International Environmental Communication Conference that will be held in Leicester, England this summer.
Dr. Tschida designed a direct study course for me. We meet twice a week to discuss our paper and research. This semester I am also enrolled in Dr. Tschida’s Intercultural Communication class. I like to give him a hard time that by the end of the presentation this summer, he is going to be very tired of me because we see each other every week day and are in constant communication through email because he is not only a professor for two of my classes, but he is also my advisor.
This summer both Dr. Tschida and I will pack our bags and head across the pond to Leicester, which is north of London. We will attend the conference there as well as present our research. The paper focuses on the Facebook check-in involving the North Dakota Access Pipeline that was very popular earlier in the fall of 2016. We are analyzing the communicative functions of the Facebook check-in within the North Dakota Access Pipeline event and other social movements.
I have never been to England before and am thrilled to not only have the experience to write and present a research paper, but also to get to talk with and meet other professionals in the field of environmental communication. After the conference I am planning on staying to travel around the London area. This opportunity was not something that I expected to happen in my undergraduate education and I am so thankful for the support of Dr. David Tschida, but also for many of those who work in the CJ department as they have supported both Dr. Tschida and myself in our effort to make this trip and research happen.