Oprah Winfrey and My Personal Trajectory from Couch Potato to Assistant Professor

Today, the mighty Ms. O will be visiting the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University for the opening of our new studio and innovation center. I will be attending the luncheon where she will be the featured speaker. In honor of breathing the same air, I would like to share publicly the role that Oprah Winfrey has played in my own personal trajectory from spending hours in front of the television every day to an Assistant Professor at one of the most prestigious communications schools in the country.

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What is PR with Marisa Wayne

Marisa Wayne, VP at Rubenstein in New York City joins my COM107 class to talk about her years in the PR industry. Marisa interned at ABC Daytime and Soap Opera Weekly, and also worked at Z100. She talks about what she does on a daily basis, shares insights of the industry, and offers recommendations for students considering PR.

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“What are you?” Reactions to American Racial Rhetoric among Mixed and Multiracial Caribbeans

Historically, the United States has had tumultuous relationship with mixed and multiracial individuals within its borders; interracial marriage was illegal until 1967, and the one-drop rule continues affect racial discourse. Combined with the hegemonic power of American culture, the effect of this rhetoric is especially evident in neighboring cultures with different social constructions of race. This paper explores the experiences of young adults in the United States and the Caribbean who identify as mixed or multiracial, and their use of social media to publicly identify and affect this conversation.

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Are You Happy Now? #MentalHealthMonday

This episode of SpongeBob SquarePants makes some very interesting (and valuable) comments about depression. I’m glad to know that children’s programming can tackle serious adult issues in a normative, “fun” fashion: There is no simple solution to depression, and, as a friend, all you can do is be supportive. Breakthroughs can be where you least expect them.

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Congratulations Dr. Griffin!

Last week, one of my first McNair Scholars, Whitney Le’lani Griffin, graduated with her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, Learning Sciences & Human Development and Cognition from the University of Washington. Her dissertation is titled, “Who is Whistling Vivaldi?: How Black Football Players Engage with Stereotype Threats in College.”

Whitney was part of my very first McNair Cohort in Summer 2008. She was a Critical Studies major in the School of Cinematic Arts working with Ellen Seiter; I received an MA from CTCS in 2006 and also worked with Dr. Seiter. Her project, “The People’s Champion: Positioning the Multiracial Actor in the Action Genre,” was an amazing comparative case study of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel, and how their mixed race status intertwined with the evolution of their respective careers. It was a McNair Mentor match made in nerd heaven.

6 years and more than 30 McNair Scholars later, I still remember working with Whitney. Her inquisitive approach to research and critical fascination with culture, combined with general brilliance, a strong work ethic, and a tenacious attitude, made Whitney an amazing student and I am proud to have her in my academic family. Congratulations Dr. Griffin. You earned it!


PS: @Whitney: How did we not connect in 2011 for the premiere of Fast Five? I am planning a Fast & Furious marathon before Fast and Furious 7. Will you join my virtual movie club, where we watch every F&F for 6 weeks before the premiere, chat about it our favorite scenes online, and then to go on opening night (April 10, 2015) in our respective cities? I’ve already made a Facebook group.

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Color of #Selfie

Inspired by a photo series entitled Humanœ, a “chromatic inventory… to record and catalog all possible human skin tones,” I decided to do my own quick pantone using an assortment of selfies. Click here to see all 25 shades.


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