Top Graduate Students
School of Communication News and Events
Graduate Students to be Honored
April 3, 2020
Abby Surprenant – Top Thesis
Abby Surprenant is the winner of this academic year’s Top Thesis Award in the School of Communication. Her thesis, titled Primary school teachers and their privacy management toward grieving and bereaved students: A qualitative analysis, how primary school teachers thoughtfully and intentionally reveal and conceal information about death to their students. Of particular importance is Abby’s finding that many teachers lack training on how to communicate with children about grief. Many of these teachers are forced to navigate these conversations without resources or conversational guidelines. Abby has identified an area of communication research that has great potential for scholars interested in the areas of childhood bereavement and teacher education. Her findings, her approach to research, and her thoughtful and sensitive work in this area exemplify what it means to be a scholar and advocate. It is for these reasons that the School of Communication has awarded Abby this award.
Naomi Yanike – Top Graduate Student
Naomi Yanike has been selected by the Graduate Faculty as the Top Graduate Student in the School of Communication. From one of her nominators: “She is outstanding in coursework and a leader and mentor to her cohort and incoming cohorts. She represents the school's academic merit and will contribute these efforts in a doctoral program next year.” Naomi has taken her decade+ of non-academic experience and has transitioned it seamlessly into her own research, coursework, and experiences with her fellow graduate students. Her desire to continue into her PhD (something she was not originally considering) OR move into the classroom as an instructor OR explore new avenues her degree experience has opened for her are just some of the many reasons why she is well-deserving of this recognition by her faculty.
Allegra Hardin – Top Graduate Assistant
Allegra Hardin has been selected by the Graduate Faculty as the Top Graduate Assistant in the School of Communication. She has taught CMST 1110 (aka Public Speaking) for the past two years and takes pride in creating a positive learning environment for the students. She is the first to ask questions about classroom management issues, teaching strategies, and how to work with “that student” and takes great care in preparing her classes. She serves as the graduate student director for the Speech Center, where she helps coordinate staffing for the center and works with students to review and improve their speeches. This assignment is typically given to the most responsible and conscientious graduate student. Between her work in the classroom, with her fellow graduate assistants, and the faculty throughout the School of Communication, while also being one of our top students, it is clear that Allegra is more than deserving for this recognition by her faculty.