Summer 2024 Communication Studies Alumni Newsletter

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized

Alumni Gathering: For the Very First Time!

You are invited to the FIRST Homecoming Gathering for all alumni of Communication Studies. Come reconnect, remember and reminisce! The first Communication Studies Alumni Social Gathering is the Saturday of Homecoming weekend, the same day as ISU’s Homecoming football game: November 2, 2024. Time and location will be announced as the date draws closer. Thank you to these six alumni for volunteering to be on our gathering planning team: Anne Salem, Elizabeth Settles Huffman, Debbie Ellen Burk, Nikki Gilbert, Kimberley Strope-Boggus and Vance Watts.

Dr. Rafferty Receives Alumni Inspiration Award

The ISU Alumni Association established the Inspiration Award in 2011 as a way for former ISU students to recognize ISU faculty or staff, based on the significant impact they had on the student’s professional or personal life. Dr. Katherine Rafferty’s former students share a feeling of being believed in and supported by her. “Dr. Rafferty notices,” said nominator Amber Loecker (2019 communication studies). “She notices when you’re there, she notices when you’re gone, she notices if you’re having a difficult time, and she clearly wants her students to grow while holding them to a standard of excellence.” Dr. Rafferty was one of six award recipients this spring to receive the ISU Faculty-Staff Inspiration Award funded by the Nancy and Richard Degner ISU Alumni Association Endowment.

Your Gifts to Communication Studies Make a Difference

On April 3-4 Communication Studies participated in Iowa State’s Forever True Day for the first time! THANK YOU to the 22 donors who contributed during FTD’s 24 hours of giving! These generous givers helped unlock the challenge matching gifts, raising a total of $3575 for Communication Studies! These donations will assist our program in a variety of ways, including costs for our first alumni gathering during Homecoming this fall. Donations are welcome at any time (not just on Forever True Day).

Thank You to Dr. Vogel for 15 Years as Program Director

After 15 years, Dr. David Vogel is stepping aside as coordinator for Communication Studies, to focus on his teaching and research in Psychology. Thank you to Dr. Vogel for his many years of leadership! Under his tenure, our program has grown significantly: in the number of faculty, in our student body, and in our visibility and impact across the ISU campus. Dr. Vogel was recently selected to present the LAS Dean’s Distinguished Lecture on the important topic “How Stigma Derails the Help Seeking Process.” This presentation on how stigma deters people from accessing the mental health help they need may still be viewed at:



Recently, we asked our alumni to share their memories from their time in Communication Studies. Here are a few of their stories.

Brent Behrens

We actually just talked about a great memory we had in 2008 in Leadership Communication Theories. As a class we kept inquiring if it was absolutely necessary to have a course final, and brought it up numerous times throughout the semester. I like to think it was because of our persuasion skills and effective communication, but Dr. Jenks noticed we were truly dedicated to providing our best participation and engagement to your class every day, and eventually let us know that we would be able to forego the final examination if we all promised to still come to the scheduled final time. We held up our end of the bargain and [were] sent out on a scavenger hunt that connected to multiple events and/or learnings that occurred throughout the semester. We went out and collected items from around the campus and came back. One of the items was from Teddy Roosevelt’s quote “Speak softly, and carry a big stick”. I returned to the classroom with a large branch from a tree that was difficult to haul up the stairs and even fit through the classroom door!

Kayela Hadaway 

I learned so many valuable skills during my time at Iowa State in the Communication Studies program. I am in Project Management and lead projects with people from various backgrounds and that are responsible for different aspects of the project. Using what I learned, I am able to quickly identify different types of communication styles and adapt my style to ensure progress is made and deadlines are met effectively. I am also able to take my thoughts and effectively translate them to the entire project team in a way that everyone will understand, even though they may not be familiar with a particular part of the process. I have heard time and time again that strong communication skills are imperative in the workplace and my time at Iowa State has more than prepared me for that!

Best of luck with compiling feedback for the newsletter!

Caleb Lubka 

I was involved with the Communication Studies club back in the 2005/2006 time frame. I recall that we made and sold T-shirts one year (I’m sure this happened many years).  As you might imagine, there was a great amount of discussion about what phrase we should put on the t-shirts.  We landed on a completely ridiculous and corny line, “communication is the key to life” with a little skeleton key on it. In many ways, it seems like there is more truth in that statement then I realized all those years ago. For some reason the line makes me cringe and also laugh a bit to this day. In countless ways, my time and experiences in the Communication Studies program ended up being very applicable to my professional career.