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Faculty Spotlight: Communication Studies

Communication Studies Department faculty from left to right: Brett Labbé, Kimberly McInerney and Yuri Obata.
PHOTO/JOSELYN ELLINGTON

By: JOSELYN ELLINGTON

Staff Writer

Much has changed recently with the IU South Bend Department of Communication Studies—a new office in a new building, new professors and new classes to name a few things—but what remains the same is that staff is open to help point students in the right direction.

Faculty members Brett Labbé, Kimberly McInerney and Yuri Obata recently sat down with the Preface to talk about the changes and a little about themselves.

“I like cat videos and dinosaur videos,” said Department Chair and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Yuri Obata.

“Yuri is obsessed with cats and T-Rex videos,” McInerney added in confirmation.

“I go snowboarding and play guitar,” said Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Brett Labbe. “But he’s taking up the motorcycle,” added McInerney

Labbe is one the newest staff member of the department. “This is my second semester here at IUSB,” he said. “ I’m Greatly enjoying my time in the communication department, becoming a member of the South Bend community, and I look forward to seeing you around.”

Labbe has just developed a new course on political communication, and he will also be attending The Central States Communication Association’s (CSCA) annual conference in Milwaukee, Wisc., in April.

“This is the first time we’re taking students to the conference,” said Labbe. The department plans to have recruiting tables for this event on campus at a date to come.

Coming up as well, Obata mentioned, is the Arts Lecture Series with communications studies guest speaker Richard Khleif from Oracle Company at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Performance Hall.

In her spare time Public Speaking Program Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Communication Arts Kimberly McInery engages heavily in the media whether it be books, television, or magazine, and she is deeply involved in the community. A little known fact is she is President of the Urban Adventure Games Board.

“One of the challenges is rafting around the river,” McInery said of the games. McInery also said that she is part of Pro-Choice South Bend.

The Department of Communication Studies is growing in many ways. Obata said there is a new curriculum for undergraduate students. “You will see new courses coming up,” she said. One of the courses McInery said is “Race, Gender, and the Media/Crisis Management.” Electronic media, however, will be phased out.

The staff is pleased with their new location now in the Educational and Arts building. “We are very excited for our new offices,” Obata said.

The department recently started a Facebook page. “We’re trying to connect more with our students, not just in the classroom, but also through social media platforms.” McInery said. You can connect with communications studies at facebook.com/commstudiesIUSB. Part of connecting with students is helping them navigate life after IUSB.

“The job field can be difficult to navigate once you graduate, so we are definitely here to help you before you graduate with looking at cover letters, or resumes, getting you internships, helping you make those connections before graduation,” said Kimberly McInerney.

After graduation McInery said the Career Services office is a wonderful resource, as well as LinkedIn.

“Let us know what you’re looking for because we might have some alumni that we can connect you to, to network with, to help build that job experience and get your name out there,” said McInerney.

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