Communication Studies Fall 2023 Alumni Newsletter


Alumni Brock Purdy joins Communication Studies for a Special Event

On Thursday, November 2nd, the Communication Studies Program was happy to welcome back alumni Brock Purdy for a special event. Brock gave a private lecture to Communication Studies students focused on Leadership and Communication. He spoke about the importance of the skills he gained through Communication Studies classes and how they have helped him in his quarterback role! Brock mentioned how communication skills are essential in his role within the team and that he utilizes the communication techniques he learned in his classes to work and play with his teammates. He offered advice like, “prove yourself right more than proving others wrong,” and he encouraged students to know their purpose.  

Brock received the Communication Studies Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Young Alumni, which was presented at the LAS Alumni Award Ceremony. The Communication Studies Program is working to increase alumni involvement in the program. If you are interested in participating in Alumni events or presenting to the Communication Studies Club, please fill out this Qualtrics! 

Highlights from the Classroom, COMST 311: Relational Communication

COMST 311: Relational Communication focuses on issues central to communication and its application in interpersonal relationships. Students are completing an activity on a research study about interability communication (interactions between someone who doesn’t have a disability and someone who does) among family members (Byrd, Zhang, & Gist-Mackey, 2019).  Students answered a series of questions related to the research study such as “Why should we study disability from an intergroup perspective with a focus on communication,” “Identity three things you learned from the results of the study,” and “How do the findings of the study support Intergroup Contact Theory.”  Students worked independently and in groups to complete the activity. This is one of the many engaging and interactive courses that the Communication Studies Program has to offer. 

The Communication Studies ambassadors help grow the program

In fall of 2020, the Communication Studies Program launched a Student Ambassador program to help grow the programs recruitment efforts. Two of the current Communication Studies Ambassadors are Brooke Conover and Rory McDermott. The ambassadors are in charge of meeting prospective students that come to Iowa State for visits, helping out at recruitment events, and working with faculty and staff to promote the Communication Studies Program within the Iowa State Community. Students interested in a degree in communication studies appreciate hearing about Brooke’s and Rory’s positive experiences and growth.   Hear about their experience from them below:

Brooke- I have been an ambassador since fall of 2021 and my favorite part about being an ambassador has been getting to represent the Communication Studies Program and being able to talk about the positive impacts of the program with future students and their families. This opportunity has helped me to grow my relationship with COMST Faculty and get to know more students in the program! 


Rory- I started as a student ambassador at the beginning of Fall 2023 and my favorite part has definitely been the opportunity to connect with those interested in the COMST program. Iowa State’s Communication Studies Program has been such a rewarding and positive experience for me, beginning with the faculty who bring both intellectual excellence and are very personable and caring. It’s been so fun to meet students who don’t know much about our program and share everything I love about it! In our times meeting prospective students, doing outreach, and helping with department events, the positive atmosphere already present when I started working has grown my confidence in communicating with others. I highly recommend the opportunity to anyone interested. And, in general, connect with others in the department – the people are what make it so strong.

Benefits of Online Courses

The Communication Studies Program has worked to increase access to classes by providing more online courses each semester. The 2020 pandemic forced many changes, but this has seemed to be a positive one. One class that was taught fully online before 2020 was Dr. Katherine Rafferty’s COMST 450B: Health Communication course. This class was funded by an Engineering-LAS Online grant in 2018 due to the growing amount of health focused majors on campus. This class fills a gap that doesn’t exist anywhere else on campus and brings in students from across the university. Health Communication holds the distinction of being QM-Certified. This is a national certification process that requires peer-review by a panel of online education experts from other institutions. The extensive review lets students know their online course has a quality design that supports the course’s learning outcomes.  

Other courses that are provided online by the COMST program are Conflict Management, Professional Communication, and Communication and US Diversity. The Program hopes that providing online opportunities will help us grow as a more dynamic and innovative program within Iowa State.