Lauren Johnsen (’14 COMST) | Communication Faculty, University of Memphis-Lambuth

CATEGORIES: Alumni Updates

Dr. Lauren Johnsen (she/her/hers) graduated from ISU with a degree in Communication Studies and Environmental Studies, a minor in English Literature, and a certificate in Community Leadership and Public Service (now known as Leadership Studies) in 2014. With an already accomplished resume, Dr. Johnsen knew exactly waht she wanted to do: get a doctorate in Communication.

“Since graduating, I jumped right into graduate school!” Dr. Johnsen said. “I started my Master’s in the fall of 2014 at UWM, teaching public speaking and studying interpersonal communication.

“I started my PhD in Communication at Mizzou in the fall of 2016, defended my dissertation and graduated in summer 2020. I am starting as a faculty member in Fall 2020 at the University of Memphis-Lambuth. I will be the sole communication faculty member on campus, teaching oral communication and health communication.

“Studying COMST set me down this path. Once I figured out that I wanted to teach college students, I knew COMSt was the discipline I wanted to be in.”

Dr. Johnsen recalled an assignment with Dr. Mark Redmond (retired in 2018) that caused her to switch her major to Communication Studies. “In that moment I realized I could use what Iw as learning in the classroom in my relationships in life. I decided that day to switch my major to communication and clearly it led me down the path to study interpersonal communication.”

“One of the things I think that truly set me up for success in graduate school was attending and presenting a paper at a regional conference undergraduate honors conference,” Dr. Johnsen said. “Both Dr. Racheal Ruble and Dr. Stacy Tye-Williams helped me navigate that first conference, which helped me gain confidence in my own research and networking ability, and led me to continue to be engaged with the conference over the last six years–and something I will continue to as I pursue my career.”

“Whether you continue on in academia or head out in the the ‘real world,’ know that communication is a skill you will always use! Being able to effectively and efficiently communicate your ideas and translate things in such a way that the average person can understand is one of the most important skills in life.”

Congratulations on completing your PhD, Dr. Johnsen!