Undergraduate Student Achievements
Applied Research Methods
Research Teams in COM 4321 -- a fully online research class -- collaborated on research proposals throughout the course. These proposals are designed as requests for funding to conduct research that addresses a communication problem in our social world in an applied, practical way. The Research Proposals featured here chose to focus on issues of communication in online education that would enhance the experience for all those engaged in virtual learning. Each project begins with a question, provides a rationale for the question, a review of the literature, a discussion of data and methods. Additionally, Research Teams provided a plan as to how to disseminate the findings of their research in a way that would be impactful to students, instructors, university leadership and education policymakers.
Jake Branco, Emily Quesada, Mihir Khadri, Brandon Guido, and Rachel Bryan
Devyne Davis, Brian Gomez Jr., Ashlyn Martin, and Ciera Ravelo
Alexis Hafer, Ross Rickenbrode, Jalen Herring, Joshua Morrison, and Haofeng Chen
Alyssa Eldridge is a Communication major and a dance teacher. After she graduates, she plans to pursue graduate work to become a therapist as a way to better support and understand her dance students.
Alyssa partnered with the Healthy 22nd Street Garden Initiative to organize their first fundraising event by showcasing their community engaged work. Healthy 22nd Street is a Garden Steps project that has the mission of improving the health of its community by increasing access to fresh produce through gardening. For their fundraising event, Alyssa and members of Healthy 22nd Street created a food tasting event with items grown from their gardens. Alyssa secured prizes for the participants from Hotel Haya in Ybor City and the Tampa Garden Club. Alyssa is also compiling each of the recipes into a cookbook for Healthy 22nd Street to sell. Finally, she has also helped secure sponsorships and advertisements in the cookbook to help generate more funds for Healthy 22nd Street.
Jenna Capuano is a senior in our department and will graduate in Spring 2024.
Jenna partnered with James Elementary, which serves East Tampa. Their mission is to provide a safe nurturing environment that will instill social skills and academic excellence for their students. She raised over $450 to help buy needed P.E. equipment for the kids at James Elementary. Her Capstone project, titled the "Equip Our Kids Fundraiser" is rooted in the United Nations Global Goal #3, keeping good health and well-being at the center of our lives.
Devyne is a senior graduating in December, with plans of going to law school in the Fall of 2024 to work towards her dream of becoming a professional sports agent.
For her Senior Capstone Project, she aimed to improve the educational resources for at-risk youth in the Tampa Bay Area and partnered with Joshua House to collect books, supplies, and financial donations to support their work. Devyne was able to collect 263 books and purchase 20 sets of flashcards/workbooks from $180 in donations she received. She was also able to deliver a $500 check donated by her grandmother's church. The books and materials will be used at the end of November in a book fair that Joshua house organizes for kids to pick out free books for themselves.
Devyne plans to continue working with Joshua House by donating her time and experience as both a Communication major and as an athlete.
Tim Green collaborated with the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay to create a free, three-day after-school basketball camp for kids as part of his project for Dr. Laurel Friedman’s Senior Capstone class in Spring 2023.
Alexa Dunsmore, Brandon Robinson, Georgian Steele, and Taylor Ziegler created an outstanding powerpoint to discuss how to thrive in your community.
Grayson Roberts, Bryanna Ellis, Becca Freeman, Brianna Grippo, Noelle Peterson, and Amanda Souza created a beautiful youtube presentation to discuss their work in the community.
Communication, Culture, and Community Course
For their final assignment, students in Dr. Laurel Friedman’s communication, culture and community course had the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences in their community. See more photos!
For her Senior Communication Capstone project, directed by Dr. Laurel Friedman, Hayley Gamez focused on the United Nations' 2nd Sustainable Development Goal (Zero Hunger) and organized a food drive with St. Matthew's House and Fort Myers Marketplace. At the end of the drive, Hayley collected more than 360 food items. She was inspired by a class with Dr. Ivancic to approach her social media marketing in ways that disrupted the "rigid binaries" in narratives about who gives and receives aid.
Danielle Williams & Christopher Reynolds
Danielle and Christopher created an e-tutorial for USF's iBuddy on how to better utilize social media as a tool to increase international student awareness and engagement with the program. Their tutorial includes mock posts, reels, stories, and estimated peak timelines as to when to post content. As part of their research, Danielle and Christopher interviewed several international students and will present their video testimonials to the iBuddy team. See more here:
Gabriella (Gabbi) Mirabella, as part of her project in class, organized a community cleanup. Gabbi partnered with Keep Pinellas Beautiful to bring together 17 volunteers who collected 217lbs of trash. Gabbi also created a presentation on cleanup day to talk about the UN Global Goal #17, Life Below Water, and its links to local community need.
Jack Forsyth's Senior Communication Capstone project (directed by Dr. Laurel Friedman) focused on the UN Sustainable Development G #2 (Zero Hunger), hosted a food drive with CAMP Tampa, where he works as a cycle instructor. Jack was able to raise both food and $50 for Metropolitan Ministries. As part of his project, he talked to his cycle students about the hunger crisis generally and Tampa's community need specifically. Jack hopes to build a career in the nonprofit sector after undergrad. See more here