“They are family!”
This was UB Alumna K Hl Kwon’s first impression of the UB communication graduate program and its faculty.
“For international students, it is not always easy to feel ‘at home’ in ‘All-American’ types of surroundings. I vividly remember the first semester of my Master's in this program when I was warmly welcomed by faculty members, peer colleagues and staff. That warmth lasted through the rest of my graduate years, so now I feel ‘at home’ whenever I think of Buffalo.”
Kwon credits her UB Communication PhD with preparing her for her current position as an assistant professor in School of Social and Behavioral Science, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Science, Arizona State University.
“UB gave a strong quantitative background which made us students prepare to be social 'scientists'. Not only that, some faculty (e.g. Frank Tutzauer, Joe Woelfel, and George Barnett) made students question the true nature of current statistical investigation in social science. I found that their sincere inquiry into ‘mathematical communication’ and how to overcome the limitation of existing methods explored an enormously important issue and presented many new opportunities for future research.”
UB gave Kwon many opportunities for interdisciplinary growth and service.
“Interdisciplinary work is fascinating because you learn a different approach to shared phenomena. I began collaborating with Management Information Systems (MIS) people at UB, and it is still on-going project. This was possible because I learned social network analysis and developed a research interest in technology. The Social Network approach is one alternative to the conventional approaches and it was great help for me to learn this methodology while studying at UB. I'm still learning about it and am now a huge advocate of structural analysis.
“One visible success that I had was the Dorddick Dissertation Award from the Communication and Tech division of the International Communication Association (ICA). This was possible thanks to my mentors who taught me innovative methods (i.e. Social Network Analysis) and novel perspectives (i.e. structural understanding of computer-mediated communication).”
Kwon also served two years as Treasurer of the Communication Graduate Student Association.
“Another thing I remember as very helpful and interesting was to be a member of Dr. Stefanone's project team. He found that several of his students shared similar research interests (about how to make people participate in activities or help others in
computer-mediated context) and initiated a project by gathering us all together. I had a few publications from this project and it became seed research for my dissertation. It was a great opportunity for me to extend my interest and learn how to collaborate with other colleagues. I still have active connections with him and we're still eager to work together.
“Dr. Frank Tutzauer taught me the hardest lesson ever: to be a real social scientist. This is still my ultimate goal, and I'm actually studying Mathematics these days--inspired by him!
“I would say that the best part of our department was the passion that our faculty members consistently showed to grad students. Most of our professors were simply falling in love with what they do and I was encouraged a lot by their passion towards research.
“Dr. Tom Feeley conveyed passion and a hard work ethic by being himself a role model. It feels like even now I'm hearing his energetic laughter resounding in the department hall.”