Here we are with one foot in 2018 and another in 2019. We hope you enjoy our Fall/Winter edition of the Communication Studies Alumni Newsletter.
In our Spring/Summer newsletter we looked back and celebrated our newest Watt Award winner. Barbara Burns is such a fine example of the caliber of our alums. In April we feted her at our annual Senior Awards Ceremony.
Now in this edition, we included features on five other amazing communication studies alumni. One of those, in our cover article, highlights a dramatic story that found its way to the Obama White House and, if that wasn’t enough, Erin Bagwell is now featured around the world in an Apple ad campaign. We also welcome back a former alum, Ms. Kimberly Beaty, as our Director of Public Safety. Here, you can catch up on a few of many of our alums that return to share their stories with our undergraduates. And as we celebrate their accomplishments, let me remind you that we welcome your nominations for this year’s Marilyn G.S. Watt Alumni award. Please send them my way!
At Christmas, we tried to lighten and brighten things up with some holiday spirit. We decked our halls, or at least our offices, and here you’ll see the results.
This year is bitter sweet because we will suspend our Communication & Leadership graduate program at the end of this academic year. Dr. Rosanne Hartman has worked tirelessly to make this a showcase program, with its own long list of successful and impressive graduates. The good news is that Dr. Hartman will stay with us, and teach organizational communication in our undergraduate program, starting in the fall.
One other bit of news: we have just learned that the state has approved a new Integrated Marketing Communication major that we will share with the Marketing department. Stay tuned for more details in our next edition in late spring.
Apple’s “Behind the Mac” campaign featured our very own alum, Erin Bagwell (COM ’09)! Bagwell now works as a documentary filmmaker and was the creator of “Dream, Girl” which was screened at the White House in 2016. Read our Q&A with her below.
What is this campaign and where it has been displayed?
Apple’s Behind the Mac campaign shows that Behind a Mac, there is a story of someone following a passion. Featuring some of the most creative people in Brooklyn, the photos from the campaign I was in were seen in subway ads, on billboards, and were even part of Tim Cook’s keynote presentation to announce Apple’s new products and technology at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in October.
Apple has been an enormous part of my creative journey, and I wouldn’t be able to have produced my first film without the technology of this incredible company. Having a Mac has given me the ability to execute and produce the film of my dreams and it’s an honor to be part of this tribe of creatives representing Brooklyn in the new campaign.
How did Apple find out about you?
I’m not sure how anyone finds me, but it’s my personal practice to answer every email I receive. You never know what will come your way if you are open, available, and respond timely to new opportunities.
Can you tell me a little bit about what it was like to see your ad in the wild?
I was coming home from an afternoon event and I decided to get off the Q train to swing by my husband Sal’s office to say hi and bring him a cup of coffee. As I was walking through Atlantic Terminal I saw all these gorgeous black and white photos displayed in the station. That’s when I saw the Dream, Girl sticker (and my face) among them!
I was in totally shock and had no idea the ads were live or that I’d bump into them that day. I cried and FaceTimed my mom. Later that night, Sal and I joined a couple of friends at the station and we walked around taking pictures and celebrating the launch of the campaign.
It’s surreal to think of all the long nights editing on my Mac and then to see these images come to life in my neighborhood. It was really special.
What has been your reaction to it?
I’m often seen as a “female” filmmaker as opposed to just a filmmaker, which means that people assume the work I do is linked to a non-profit and isn’t viable for the mainstream market. However it’s always been my intention to have Dream, Girl be a household name and to make money from my business like any other entrepreneur.
When I was at Canisius I use to devour business books and study company cultures. One of my favorite companies to read about was Apple. To be a founder means you have to walk your own path, and set your own standard of want to achieve. No one sets the bar like Apple- from their brand, to their products, to their in-store experiences they set the standard of excellence. So to have them see the work I’m doing with Dream, Girl and Feminist Wednesday blows my mind. It’s such a privilege to have them shine a spotlight on what I’m trying to build and work on everyday.
What have you been up to since graduating from Canisius?
Since graduating from Canisius, I moved to Brooklyn, was sexually harassed working my 9 to 5, started a feminist storytelling platform called Feminist Wednesday, and met a slew of female founders who inspired me to quit my job. From there, I created a documentary about them called Dream, Girl that raised $100K on Kickstarter and premiered at Obama’s White House in May 2016.
Since the launch of the film I’ve traveled around the world to Egypt, Tajikistan, and Dubai and have spoken at NASA, TIME, Goldman Sachs, and more to screen the film and discuss female entrepreneurship and inclusivity in the workplace. Dream, Girl is available for community screening events or to watch online now.
At home in Brooklyn I co-host a weekly podcast with Diana Matthews called BeaverTalk where we give Hollywood unsolicited advice about feminism. Episodes are available on iTunes and released every Feminist Wednesday.
If you stepped foot on the Canisius College campus within the last seven years, there is a good chance you have met Dr. Barbara Irwin’s therapy dog, Juno.
“Juno is better known than I am on campus,” said Dr. Irwin with a chuckle.
Juno started her therapy dog career by visiting ASPIRE and various nursing homes. She then started going to the Canisius College library and comforted students who were stressed with homework and final exams.
“The students really love her. They say funny things like, ‘This is the best thing that has happened to me all week,'” said Dr. Irwin.
Shortly after she started visiting Canisius, the Canisius College Counseling Center approached Dr. Irwin to have Juno participate in their Stress Less Days. The Counseling Center organizes a Stress Less Day once per semester as a way to counteract the anxiety of students. Juno was a perfect fit for the event because therapy dogs are dogs that are trained to provide comfort and affection love to people who might be affected by anxiety.
“She puts everyone in a good mood and she also brings people into the office. Students often just pass through, but when Juno is here they stop and talk. It really builds a sense of community,” said Devon Bradley, Graduate Assistant in the Communication Studies office.
Juno was not always set out to be a therapy dog. In fact, Dr. Irwin described her as the “class clown” of her puppy training classes. However, she endured months of training and much to Dr. Irwin’s disbelief, passed the therapy dog certification test.
Dr. Irwin says that the process has been rewarding and she believes that Juno is a valuable member of the Canisius College community.
“Just watching her with people, you can see the stress just melt away. It’s also a two-way street. Juno is so happy. She loves attention,” said Dr. Irwin.
Students in Dr. Barbara Irwin’s “Broadcasting in America” class produced four episodes of WBBZ-TV’s Bragging Rights, which pits two teams of three against one another in a race to answer trivia questions on a variety of subjects.
“I like to have my students work on real-world projects, so this was an opportunity for them to actually be an integral part of broadcasting, producing a program start to finish,” said Dr. Irwin, Professor of Communication Studies.
Dr. Irwin reached out to various contacts at local television stations to determine if there was any interest in the project. After a brief conversation with WBBZ-TV’s John Di Sciullo, it was determined that the students would produce episodes of Bragging Rights, a local trivia gameshow.
Dr. Irwin reached out to various contacts at local television and radio stations to determine if there was any interest in those stations developing a project with her students. After a brief conversation with WBBZ-TV’s John Di Sciullo, it was determined that the students would produce episodes of Bragging Rights, a local trivia gameshow.
“I was familiar with the show and I knew John would be a great person to work with” said Dr. Irwin.
Other projects in the class included students producing a 30-minute Edge Session with a local band for WEDG 103.3-FM The Edge and a newscast for WGRZ-TV. All of the projects provided the students with direct, hands-on experience in broadcasting.
“I was really proud of the students in my class. These projects were all challenging and they stepped up and did a wonderful job. I hope they learned a lot about broadcasting,” said Dr. Irwin.
This two-person exhibition, that ran from October – December in Lyons Hall’s Vogt Gallery, featured recent works on paper, sculptural installations, and screen prints by two Canisius College alumni (both ’13).
Katharyn Ketter-Franklin is a 27-year-old Canisius College graduate who grew up sketching dragons in Buffalo, New York, and now focuses in minimalist illustration and cut paper artwork. They spend their free time rewatching Evangelion, playing Final Fantasy, photographing cosplayers and creating movie posters for North Park Theatre.
The collection of work on view by Nathan Deganis Librera spans the past two years of his screenprinted illustrations. Reflecting on this installation, he commented, “While developing my style, I have found myself depicting the places I frequent most, illustrating the emotion and memories each place evokes. By capturing moments with small, sometimes hidden detail, I show a personal relationship I have with the spaces. It is a body of work in progress, as there are many more places I find magical enough to put ink to paper.”
The Communication Studies Department recently hosted a holiday desk decorating contest in November to spread a little holiday cheer. Faculty and staff in the department decorated their desks and members of the Canisius Community had the chance to vote. Dr. Wanzer’s Winter Wonderland themed desk took home first place. Great work to all involved!
Peruse these photos to see which one was your favorite!
How Professor Dunkle stole Christmas
Dr. Dahlberg’s Merry Griffmas desk
Dr. Irwin’s Juno inspired dog desk
Dr. Hartman’s Christmas Past
Dr. Wanzer’s Winter Wonderland theme (the winner!)