Communication Students to present at National Conference

Nicholas Dingus, Contributing Writer

OBU students often have the chance to attend conventions and conferences within their area of study. However, not often do five students get selected to present their research at a national conference.

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Savaughn Williams, Haley Schumacher, Haylee Belcher, Rebekah McPheeters and Braden East will present at the conference. / Courtesy Photo

Later this month, five OBU students will be presenting their research at the Central States Communication Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Haylee Belcher, Braden East, Rebekah McPheeters, Haley Schumacher and Savaughn Williams were selected from the Communication Arts department to present at the conference.

Their research topics ranged everywhere from Title IX at Christian universities to negative theming in political campaigns. Each of these student’s topics were based on their future goals, serving to provide constructive and rewarding experience.

“My paper, ‘Public Relations and Christian Universities: Title IX Generates a Firestorm’ specifically looked at a specific Christian higher educational institution’s public relations tactics and how those incorporated the institution’s mission, values and beliefs,” Schumacher, a senior, said.

Schumacher said she chose the topic because she wants to someday pursue a career at higher education institution.

“I was very surprised to find that it was very hard to find people at the institution to interview,” she said. “However, once I did find an interview, it was a rewarding experience yet very emotional.”

There were over 100 submissions from all over the United states; less than 60 submissions, including the five students from OBU, were chosen to present.

“We often get one student in a national conference; it’s unusual to get five in one conference,” Dr. Vickie Ellis, Chair of the Division of Communication Arts, said. “Our students are doing excellent work that is being reviewed by panels of people from all over the country by people in those fields of research.”

McPheeters, whose paper is entitled “They Will Know You are My Disciples: Intentional Group Formation for Short-Term Missions,” said she is excited to be able to share her work and discuss topics with experts in her field at the conference.

“I’m looking forward to meeting other scholars in my field at this conference,” McPheeters said. “I will be able to discuss my research with other people who truly care about this subject.

McPheeters also said she was excited to represent OBU and Christ through her research.

“The conference attracts scholars across the United States, and my research is about effectively sharing the Gospel with the world.”

Williams’s paper is titled “No Show for No Kids: An Analysis of a Child’s Effort to Advance the KKK’s Agenda,” and Belcher’s paper is titled The Unspoken Holy War: An Evaluation of How Christians Describe Spiritual Warfare.”

East conducted a rhetorical critique on a political artifact. His paper is titled Branding Trump: Fantasy Themes in Ads from the Clinton Campaign.”

“I’m so very thankful to OBU and my amazing professors who made this possible,” East said.

Ellis praised the students and their hard work that will be representing the OBU in Minneapolis March 16-19.

“OBU’s name will be all over the honors communication conference,” Ellis said. “It’s such a coupe for us to be able to have our student shine in that kind of format, because graduate schools – as well as those in the communication industry – are there looking at our students for potential fellowships and career entry positions.”

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