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For Immediate Release

June 9, 2008

Health communication concentration linked to triumphs in graduate school acceptances and scholarly paper presentations


EWING, NJ ... The College of New Jersey health communication concentration, a multidisciplinary program allowing students, regardless of major, to satisfy a broad distribution of course requirements, is linked to triumphs in grad school acceptances and undergraduate student papers presented at conferences. Health communication is both an academic search for message patterns that reduce risky behavior (for example, driving under the influence, unsafe sex), as well as the implementation of best practices to encourage prevention behavior (seat belt use, frequent mammograms).

2007 health communication concentration graduates are enrolled in related master’s programs at Penn State (Tom Hipper) and Ohio State (Dana Eisenberg). Eisenberg has also senior-authored a paper on cross-national coverage of Non Governmental Organization efforts to fight AIDS that won the Stephen Smith award for best co-authored undergraduate paper in the nation at the 2006 annual conference of the National Communication Association (NCA).

2008 health communication concentration graduates Danielle Catona and Rowena Briones are enrolled in master’s programs at, respectively, Penn State (health communication) and Maryland (health communication and public relations). Another concentration graduate, Brigitte McNamara, is enrolled in a graduate program in nursing at NYU. Catona and Briones, along with another 2008 TCNJ graduate, Brian Keefe, who is enrolled at George Mason for a master’s in health communication, co-authored a paper on nationwide coverage of global warming that also won the 2007 Stephen Smith award for best student paper in the nation at the 2007 annual conference of the NCA. The same three students, in addition to graduating seniors Meghan Higgins and Genevieve Faust and rising junior Dominique Sauro, co-authored a paper on cross-national coverage of progress and responsibility fighting AIDS in Sub-Saharan Anglophone Africa, presented in refereed competition at both the April, 2008, biannual University of Kentucky Health Communication Conference, as well as the May, 2008, annual conference of the International Communication Association in Montreal. In addition, Brigitte McNamara co-authored a paper on nationwide coverage of abortion that won the award for best undergraduate health communication paper from the Eastern Communication (ECA) association at its 2007annual meeting, and Genevieve Faust co-authored a paper on nationwide coverage of “Plan B”, the morning-after pill, that also won the ECA best undergraduate paper award for 2008.

Other 2008 graduates attending distinguished graduate schools include Stephanie Berzinski, enrolled in the master’s program in television production at the Newhouse School at Syracuse, co-author of a paper on nationwide coverage of “Plan B”; as well as Jason Katz, enrolled in the master in public administration program at the top-ranked Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse, co-author of a paper on cross-national coverage of AIDS stigma. Both papers were presented at the November, 2007, National Communication Association annual conference in Chicago. Former TCNJ communication students have also pursued master’s or doctoral degrees in health communication at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, George Mason Rutgers and Johns Hopkins.

All papers presented or receiving awards were written in either classes taught by John Pollock, or a 2007 summer seminar supervised by him and professor Paul D’Angelo, both professors in the communication studies department. Reviewing student performance over the past two years, Pollock, advisor to the health communication concentration, declared, “I am convinced that the striking success of TCNJ health communication concentration students in attending top-ranked graduate schools, presenting refereed papers at conferences and winning awards is associated strongly with exposure to a wide range of disciplines.”

Learn more about the health communication concentration.