Welcome Back Fall 2023

Welcome Back!

As the first week of classes ended, the department held its official kickoff event with a round of introductions for all faculty and graduate students followed by a reception at Moody’s Kitchen. A new group picture was taken as well.

At the kickoff event, department chair Craig Scott previewed some of the many events planned for the year. He also made several introductions:

  • Mark Strama starts his first full year with us. He is a Professor of Practice and Director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. 
  • This will be Jenn Porras’s first full year with us as Graduate Coordinator. Welcome Jenn!
  • We have several new lecturers this fall mostly covering classes of the faculty who left us this past year: Natalie Andreas, Jenifer Sarver, Christa Rose, and Denise Patrick. 
  • Mia Duffy was introduced as our new social media intern. 
  • We also note that Scott Stroud has officially become a full Professor, Larry Schooler is now an Assistant Professor of Instruction, and Stacey Sowards has begun her term as our new Associate Chair.
081 CMS

The main set of introductions was led by Graduate Advisor René Dailey and Graduate Coordinator Jenn Porras, who asked each person in attendance to list one thing they loved, one thing they did not like, and one thing they wanted to do. Amid the diverse responses, it seemed clear that the department generally loves cats, hates the Texas heat, and is looking forward to ICA in Australia.

The week before classes began, Dailey and Porras welcomed 14 new graduate students with a series of orientation events to help prepare them for the program. In addition to training from the university and from our Center for Advancing Teaching Excellence, the new cohort had a full day of orientation activities in the department. After some informational sessions, the new cohort had lunch with the faculty, met Yohanna Tesfai and other leadership from the Communication Studies Graduate Community (CommSGC), and talked with current students. The CMS Graduate Student Orientation Day ended with an Amy’s Ice Cream social for the full department.


Jenn Porras also provided students with a list of campus and area resources that is useful to even those who have lived here for decades:

Campus, transportation and university info
Career Center https://moody.utexas.edu/career-center
University Writing Center https://uwc.utexas.edu/
Check your tuition bill if you made recent updates https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/studentfinancials/mytuitionbill/admin/
Parking https://parking.utexas.edu/ 
Cap Metro https://parking.utexas.edu/transportation/capmetro
Gender and Sexuality Center at UT https://diversity.utexas.edu/genderandsexuality/
International Student Connections https://global.utexas.edu/isss/life-at-ut/get-involved
UT Counseling and Mental Health https://cmhc.utexas.edu/

Things to do in Austin 

Music, Film, and other fun items 
The Drag podcast https://thedragaudio.com/
KUTX Radio --- located on level 1 of DMC https://kutx.org/
South by Southwest https://www.sxsw.com/
Austin Film Society https://www.austinfilm.org/
Austin City Limits Music Fest https://www.aclfestival.com/
Eater Austin – Best restaurants https://austin.eater.com/maps/best-restaurants-austin-eater-38
Paramount Theater Austin https://www.austintheatre.org/
Austin Public Library https://library.austintexas.gov/
Austin Museums https://www.austinmuseums.org/museums
Bat Watching https://www.austintexas.org/things-to-do/outdoors/bat-watching/

Welcome back, CMS!

New Cohort

The members of the incoming graduate cohort are:  

INP area 
Ellen Alley
Rebecca Baumler
Karissa Hernandez
Natalie Wellman 
Yating Yang
Nadya Zamora 

OCT area 
Nicole Butterbaugh
Xiaotong Liu
Muna Sabiha
Ruoxiao Su  

RLP area 
Dewi Azizah
Chloe Caballero
Ari Davidson
Cynthia Marentes
Leonard Memon

CMS at Moodys