For Elena Svetieva, coming to UB was serendipitous. She had completed her undergraduate Psychology Honors thesis in deception at the University of Sydney. After working in research at the University for a couple of years, she decided that grad school in the United States was the next logical (and exciting) step.
At the time, she was only considering Psychology programs.
“One morning I opened an email from my brother (who was living in the U.S. at the time) saying that he heard an interesting program on NPR on deception which interviewed a professor from SUNY Buffalo. I looked up the name, and it was Dr. Mark Frank, a professor in the Communication Science department. I decided to apply to the program, and the rest is history. It’s strange to think how one email can change the course of your life.“
This milestone decision was made easier by Dr. Frank’s familiarity with her Australian culture.
“My mentor-mentee relationship is special in that, given Dr. Frank’s background (he had spent some time in Australia at the University of New South Wales), Mark knows all the little sayings and cultural tidbits that make us Australians unique. It’s easy to feel at home in a department when someone knows you, your working style, your particular strengths... and your sense of humor.”
Being part of this program allowed Svetieva to pursue her own interests using novel and creative approaches in both research questions and methodology. She came into the program as an experimental psychologist and completed projects in everything from phishing to new media studies using massive Twitter datasets.
“The department’s ability to broaden my view of research made me excited about pursuing interdisciplinary research and expanded my skill set to face the task.”
Not only that, she spent the last few years of her program teaching her own undergraduate class in Interpersonal Communication, which involved a lot of learning on my part about how students learn best.
“The task is never hard when you can learn from faculty like Dr. Tom Feeley and Dr. Lance Rintamaki, stars in pedagogy and invaluable resources for advice and support.”
So what is her overall impression of her experience?
“Being part of the UB Communication Science department is an outstanding and rare opportunity to work in a small department that enables significant collaboration between students and faculty. The great thing about being part of such a small department is you get to study in an environment of mutual care, trust and respect.”