Santa Clara University


Communication News & Events

Communication News & Events

  •  Life after SCU: Jennifer Zeidan

    Tuesday, May. 14, 2013

    Jennifer Zeidan graduated with a Communication degree in 2009. After more than five years at Cisco TV, she recently moved on as a broadcast engineer to support the development of Al Jazeera America, a new national news network being built from the ground up. "I am excited to be part of this network," Jennifer said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

    AJAM will be headquartered in New York and have 12 bureaus across the nation, including San Francisco, where Jennifer will be assigned.

    "Thank you for the wonderful education that continues to move me forward in my life and career."

    Work highlights: Al Jazeera America, Cisco Systems, Major League Baseball, JZ Media.

    A few things Jennifer likes most about her work: I continue to be fascinated by my job. It allows me to keep up with the rapidly and continuously changing production technologies and techniques. I am also involved in various stages of production and facility designs, ranging from engineering designs, to on-location studio build-outs, to day-to-day production engineering. The variety keeps my job fresh and enjoyable.

    Why Jennifer majored in Communication: From the moment I stepped foot in the studio and spoke with Steven Lee, then chair of the department, I knew that the Communication Department was the perfect fit. I appreciated the breadth and depth of the curriculum and the variety of classes I could take, everything from Minorities in the Media to Documentary Production.

    The most valuable things Jennifer learned in the Communication Department: I came to appreciate the value of working with a strong team of dedicated, passionate individuals. In the world of production, you are only as good as your team, so being able to work professionally with everyone is a valuable asset. And the value of communication. Though it may be hard to believe, communication – even in a communication department in the business world – is lacking! Santa Clara University’s Communication Department does an excellent job of emphasizing the ability to communicate in order to collaborate and execute tasks effectively in the “real world.”

    Jennifer Zeidan on LinkedIn:

  •  Faculty Feats: SunWolf

    Monday, May. 13, 2013

    Twitter may limit posts to 140 characters, but Communication Professor SunWolf sees it as another way to convey insightful thoughts about a wide variety of complex topics. “For me, Twitter's appeal includes a writer's needful tool — succinctness and clarity of thought that grabs attention,” she said. “It allows me to regularly talk with scientists and poets, for example, in India, Australia, South America, and Great Britain,” she said.

    SunWolf created three Twitter accounts four years ago. One is for lawyers, featuring tweets about jury cases, strategies, laws, and verdicts. Another is literary and includes bits of haiku poetry, whimsy, and observations about life. @TheSocialBrain, which has more than 14,000 followers around the world, is about social behavior. It has gained so much attention from some top scientists and universities that last year the Huffington Post named SunWolf one of 30 national high-profile scientists who tweet on neuroscience.

    “My Twitter accounts allow me to talk with other scholars but also with ordinary folks on the street, who are interested in the scholarship I create, from poetry to law to human behavior,” she said. 

  •  Student Spotlight: Matt Rupel

    Monday, May. 6, 2013

    Matt Rupel, editor-in-chief of The Santa Clara, guided the student-run weekly newspaper to a Pacemaker Award for the 2011-2012 academic year. First awarded in 1925, the Pacemaker is the top national honor for student publications and is based on "coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in depth reporting, design, photography, art and graphics." TSC was selected from a group of finalists at the National College Media Convention in Chicago in November. The judges described the paper as "superbly organized with fine typography and relevant stories for readers, direct, clear and sometimes with an appropriate dose of humor."

    Matt, a senior Communication major, is now serving a second year as editor-in-chief. "I'm really proud of the entire staff for all their hard work and dedication," he said. "We used our personal experiences and everything we learned in the classroom to create a strong, ethical newspaper."

    The Santa Clara was awarded a Pacemaker in 1995, 2004, and 2006. The paper was a finalist in 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2005.

    The Santa Clara website:

  •  Life after SCU: Joe Tone

    Monday, May. 6, 2013

    "The other night, I was sitting in a Thai restaurant in a small Texas college town, talking to a group of graduate students about crafting newspaper stories. It was a scene – me, in Texas, grad students staring at me between spoonfuls of pad thai – that would have been unthinkable to my 18-year-old self.

    "That self knew little more of journalism than the box scores in my morning paper. But then I showed up at Santa Clara, and was welcomed into the Communication Department by professors across all disciplines. Things started firing. Lessons in public speaking got me comfortable on my feet, in front of a room. A foray into visual storytelling prepared me for video's eventual role in digital journalism. Research methods, reporting, writing – the building blocks started to stack up.

    "Late in my time there, I started to crave a chance to use them somewhere beyond the wide avenues and strip malls of my cloistered suburban youth. Chicago, DC, Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City, Dallas: Those building blocks are well traveled now. And at every stop, I've drawn on my experience at Santa Clara, in the classrooms, the halls, the basement of Benson and beyond."

    Dallas Observer website:

  •  Faculty Feats: Michael Whalen

    Monday, May. 6, 2013

    Michael Whalen’s latest film, Gringos at the Gate, explores the political, economic and cultural rivalry between Mexico and the United States as it plays out on the soccer field when their national teams face off. Michael is the editor, co-writer, co-producer and co-director of the documentary, which took him to both U.S.-Mexico 2010 World Cup Qualifiers, the 2011 Gold Cup Final, and across both countries interviewing fans, players, coaches, commentators and people on the street to discover the power and influence a 90-minute game can have on so many lives. In June, the documentary premiered at the Kicking+Screening Film Festival in New York, followed by sold out screenings in Los Angeles and Portland in September. It earned an Award of Merit from the Accolade Awards and an Honorable Mention from the Columbus International Film Festival "Chris Awards." A Question of Habit, a full-length documentary produced and edited by Michael, was broadcast in July on KQED, the San Francisco Bay Area’s popular public television station. The film is narrated by Susan Sarandon and examines the depiction of Catholic nuns in contemporary popular American culture. It has garnered several honors, including an Award of Excellence from the Broadcast Education Association. 

    "Both of these films help audiences see a reality from someone else's perspective —whether it be the experiences of nuns in the U.S. or Mexican-Americans,” Michael said. “Every time I make a film I try to turn the story over to my subjects. I try to stay out of the way and let the audience experience something different, learn something new and empower the subjects. It's how I teach as well. I want my students to feel free to tell any story, no matter how personal, difficult or controversial it might be. When that kind of honesty is practiced great films are created."

  •  Student Spotlight May 2013

    Sunday, May. 5, 2013

    During spring break 2013, Michael Whalen took 40 students to Los Angeles to meet with more than 20 SCU alumni working in the film industry, including Academy Award-winning editor Art Schmidt; Emmy winning writer-producer Michelle Ashford; Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes; and NBC vice president Stacey Melle. A group of students also received front row tickets to tapings of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

    Students from two of Sally Lehrman’s courses — Science News and Introduction to Journalism — published their work online. Alexandra Johnston, Ellen Wilfley and Ellen Eustaquio contributed to Patch. Their three articles ran on ten Patch sites. Stephanie Yanaga and Emily Robinson both had stories published on

    Buford Barr’s Public Relations Capstone course is making disposal of drugs a social issue to increase awareness of the issue and to bring pressure on authorities to provide easily accessible means to dispose of a rapidly expanding amount of unused and unneeded drugs. Students are also developing plans to garner support for Senate Bill 727 Solid Waste: Drug Abuse Prevention and Safe Disposal Program sponsored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson in Sacramento. Capstone students are learning how the business communication world works, how the political world works all while honing their communication skills and helping build a social issue that is critical to our future.

    Lisa Davis joined Lowell Bergman, producer of PBS’s Frontline and professor of journalism at UC Berkeley, and Lance Williams of the Center for Investigative Reporting to discuss the future of investigative journalism in a panel that was part of San Francisco State University’s Journalism Department’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.

    Katharine Heintz taught a senior thesis section in winter quarter 2013 examining mobile apps for social change. Students worked in teams to investigate a social issue, understand the theory behind the current social situation and how to mobilize groups to change, and then designed a mobile app to promote a behavior change that could result in social good. Two of the teams presented their papers at the Bay Area Undergraduate Communication Research Conference held at SCU on April 20, 2013.

    Students in Jonathan Fung’s Independent Filmmaking Practicum (COMM 191) produced the short film Happy Endings.

    Lotta Kratz is teaching a new course in spring quarter 2013 entitled Visual Cultural Communication (COMM 162B). Students use photography to explore questions about how to represent diverse cultures and identities. Students advance their digital photography skills while reflecting on the ethics of representing others and themselves, informed by readings on cultural and visual communication theory. In their final projects, students create and share images from local communities in online exhibits.

    Jonathan Fung and students in the Montage Film Club filmed Bethlehem, a live nativity in Santa Clara fora a 15-year anniversary DVD.

    Students in Chuck Byers’ Organizational Communication (COMM 150B) course are working on the Solar Decathlon website and house tour script as part of their class project. Their work will also be submitted as part of the Santa Clara University sustainability initiative.

  •  Faculty Feats May 2013

    Sunday, May. 5, 2013

    Hsin-I Cheng has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Hsin-I developed course on Intercultural Communication and Global Intercultural Communication, which helps students returning from study abroad reflect on their experiences. She is the author of the award-winning book Culturing interface: Identity, Communication, and Chinese transnationalism

    Laura Ellingson was awarded the 2012 Bonnie Ritter Award for Outstanding Book, given by the Feminist & Women's Studies Division of the National Communication Association, for Aunting: Cultural Practices that Sustain Family and Community Life. The book was co-written with Patricia J. Sotirin, who teaches at Michigan Technological University. Laura also published a second book co-authored with Patricia in February 2013 entitled Where the Aunts Are: Family, Feminism, and Kinship in Popular Culture.

    Jonathan Fung screened his film Hark and led a human trafficking panel discussion at the Social Justice Ministries Conference at the Jesuit Retreat Center in Los Altos. The film also screened at the Freedom Summit Human Trafficking Conference and The Response: A Global Sex Trafficking Summit. Hark was an official selection at the Cinequest Film Festival at the Camera 12 Theaters in San Jose and accepted to the Court Metrage Festival de Cannes.

    Paul Soukup published “In Commemoration: Walter Ong and the state of theology” in the December 2012 issue of Theological Studies.

    Katharine Heintz led Community Conversation, a roundtable discussion featuring Dr. David Kessler and a dozen community and campus participants on the challenges of healthy eating in a toxic food environment on April 10, 2013.

    Chad Raphael and Christine Bachen published “Flow and cooperative learning in civic game play” in the journal New Media and Society. The article, co-authored with Pedro Hernandez-Ramos of Santa Clara’s Department of Education, reports findings that players of educational games can experience deep immersion in games and learning with partners as well as alone. Chad's senior thesis students helped to gather the data for this article.

    Barbara Kelley spoke at Stanford University in January 2013 as part of the Help Center and Worklife Office Lunchtime Speaker Series. Barbara also spoke at Groupon headquarters in February 2013 at an event sponsored by Women@Groupon.

    Katharine Heintz and Justin Boren coordinated the Bay Area Undergraduate Communication Research Conference held at SCU on April 20, 2013. Forty-nine students and faculty from nine universities gathered to present research, hear a keynote speaker, and do some networking.

    Paul Soukup will serve as the faculty director of the university’s study abroad programs, concentrating on the SCU London and SCU El Salvador programs. Paul is also now an advisory member of the Communication Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    Lisa Davis wrote on the legal issues surrounding special education for the September 2013 issue of California Lawyer magazine. In the article, Davis explains how California’s budget crisis and an epidemic of autism have worsened the already contentious, emotional, and extremely complicated legal fights surrounding special needs children.

    Mike Whalen’s documentary Gringos at the Gate was purchased by ESPN, and his film A Question of Habit was screened at the University of San Diego followed by a Q&A with the audience.

    Justin Boren was appointed as an associate editorial board member of the journal Communication Studies.

    Chad Raphael published “Good publicity: The legitimacy of public communication of deliberation” in the journal Political Communication. Co-authored with Christopher Karpowitz of Brigham Young University, the study also involved multiple Santa Clara students as research assistants. The article examines how different kinds of citizen forums report their discussion process and policy recommendations to the public and decision-makers. The authors suggest practical ways that these reports can strengthen citizens’ voices in politics. Raphael also received a book contract from Cambridge University Press for his forthcoming co-authored book on citizen deliberation in politics, tentatively entitled A more deliberative union: Rethinking equality and publicity in civic forums.

    Lotta Kratz's photo entitled "The Wanderers" was honored in the 2012 Mobile Photo Awards and her work was exhibited at Soho Digital Art in New York in February and March 2013.

    Sally Lehrman organized and moderated “Executive Roundtable on Digital Journalism Ethics,” hosted by the Markkula Center on April 10, 2013. The roundtable featured leadership of news media outlets ranging from the entrepreneurial to the massive, including investigative shops, start-up apps, documentary producers, legacy newspapers and magazines, and news aggregators including Google and Yahoo! This year’s focus was the mission of journalists in the digital public square.

    Justin Boren’s paper, titled "Worker Co-rumination mediates the relationships between social support and stress and burnout," was accepted for presentation as a top paper at the International Communication Association gathering in London in June 2013. Justin also had an article he co-authored with Shannon Johnson from James Madison University published in Southern Communication Journal titled "Examining the Relationships Among Peer Resentment Messages Overheard, State Guilt, and Employees' Perceived Ability to Use Work/Family Policies.”

    Andrew Ishak, along with Barry Brummett from the University of Texas at Austin, co-hosted a conference on Sports and Identity at the University of Texas in February 2013.  The conference proceedings are being turned into a volume of a book series — co-edited by Andrew and Barry — on new agendas in communication.

    Emile McAnany’s chapter "Economics and Communication for Development and Social Change: An 'Economic Turn" to a New Paradigm?" was accepted for publication in The Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change.