NCA Convention 2023

Faculty, Grad Students Win Multiple Awards

The department once again had a very strong presence at the National Communication Association (NCA) convention in National Harbor, MD. On Thursday of the conference we hosted a very popular booth at the open house for graduate programs. Graduate Advisor René Dailey was joined by staff members Jennifer Betancourt and Jenn Porras along with multiple volunteers as we recruited potential applicants to our graduate programs. The department also hosted its annual Texas Party on Saturday evening of the conference. The Brass Tap was the location for this packed celebration as we reconnected with program alums and other friends of the department. Special thanks to Interim Dean Rachel Mersey and department faculty with professorships for making the Texas Party possible.

Department members won several awards/honors at the conference. These included the following:

  • Top Student Paper from the Nonverbal Communication Division: Ellen Alley
    "I understand how you feel: Integrating empathic accuracy and emotional intelligence.”
  • Top Paper in Communication & Sport Division: Nicole Butterbaugh (with B. Browning)
    “(S)tumbling blocks: Making sense of and creating a model for mental blocks in sport.” Nicole is also the Co-Graduate Student Representative in that division. 
  • Top Three Paper in Environmental Communication: Shiv Ganesh, Samantha James, and others
    “The PowerPoint imagination: Visualization and managerial vocabularies in environmental reports.”
  • Top Performance in the Performance Studies Division: Eva Margarita 
    “Requiem for Black Grief.” This is Eva’s second consecutive year as part of this division’s Top Performance panel.
  • Top Paper in Family Communication Division: Roselia Mendez Murillo (with J. Kam)
    “Relational maintenance for separated latina/o/x/e immigrant parents and their children: A focus on primary caregivers as communication gatekeepers.”
  • Top Paper Panel in Training & Development: Emily Norman, Keri Stephens, and others
    “Bringing training, learning, and development into team science: Effectively freeing team members from disciplinary barriers in research.”
  • Top Student Paper (and #2 paper overall) in the Environmental Communication Division: David Rooney
    “’They want to kill our cows. That means you're next:’ White masculine victimhood and the Green new Deal’s war on hamburgers.” 
  • Top Paper in Asian/Pacific American Communication Studies Division: Meenakshi Yadav 
    “Finding love in the anti-caste movement.”
  • NCA Mentorship and Leadership Council Member: Keri Stephens 
  • Honorable Mention for Outstanding Article in Management Communication Quarterly: Jared Jensen, Shelby Rolison, and Josh Barbour
    “Temporal dominance: Controlling activity cycles when time is scarce, sudden, and squeezed.”
  • Top Paper Panel in Latina/o Communication Studies: Fernando Cereceres (undergraduate major) “’El Amor Ya Es Ley’: Familia and Reproductive Justice in Cuba’s 2022 Family Code.”

Department Chair Craig Scott made brief remarks at the Texas Party. In honor of UT Austin’s incredible #7 ranking in football, he had 7 incredible things to quickly share about happenings back in our little corner of campus: 

  1. Scott Stroud has been promoted to full professor! We always suspected he was full of it, so nice to see that confirmed! 
  2. Stacey Sowards is not only the amazing new editor of the Quarterly Journal of Speech, but she is also the wonderful new Associate Chair for our department! Dr. Sowards is so amazing, we thought she might apply for our open Dean’s job too, but rumor is she’s “Soured” on that. 
  3. Many of you will recall the Hopper Lab, which we rededicated this fall after a generous gift from Robert Hopper’s wife Kay. The lab of course is for serious things like graduate student research. Within that lab, we also created the Surratt Lounge, named in honor of longtime department administrator Margaret Surratt. The Surratt Lounge is where some of us secretly hope and others openly fear that select Emeritus faculty will entertain us with lounge-worthy musical numbers on Friday evenings…
  4. There is no debate that our combined speech and debate programs continue to be the best in the country, once again winning that overall title from the American Forensics Association this past season under the leadership of Brendon Bankey and Randy Cox. And, while I am sad to announce that this is Randy’s final season as Director of Texas Speech, I am thrilled that we have hired current assistant coach Eva Margarita to takes the Director reigns from Randy starting next year. That means we’ve not only hired another great director, but also have someone with the perfect name for celebrating in Texas. Congrats all!
  5. We’ve had another wonderful NCA. Thanks to Jennifer and Jenn and the rest of the dept. staff for the successful grad open house and for making these party arrangements. And, the following 10 faculty and students were all on top paper panels here at the conference (see list above). 10 is the same number of wins the Longhorns should have after a victory tonight—so nice to see them pretty much keeping pace with us!
  6. Vanessa Beasley, President of Trinity University in San Antonio and President of the Rhetoric Society of America, was named our 2023 outstanding grad program alum and we honored her with an award reception last month. That’s not an easy award to win—I mean look around this room at all our amazing alums! …maybe not so much the group just hanging out by the bar, but the rest of you…amazing! That brings me to remark &7:
  7. I’m pleased to introduce two other outstanding program alums who are here to make a special announcement: Dr. Amy Young & Dr. Luke Winslow. 

At that point, Young and Winslow announced the kickoff of our fundraising effort for the Barry Brummett Endowed Lecture (click here for more information).

Congratulations to all the award winners and all those who helped make this year’s NCA a success for the Communication Studies department.

Ellen Alley NCA
Top Student Paper Award Winner; Ellen Alley
NCA Booth
NCA Grad Fair Booth