Student Testimonials | Communication Studies | SIU

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Student Testimonials

OJ Duncan

OJ Duncan

I chose SIU for my master’s degree because not only are the faculty knowledgeable in a wide variety of subjects, but they make students feel like they belong. From the second I stepped foot into the department, I felt like I was home. Faculty and students in the department genuinely care about each other’s wellbeing and support each other. I have many areas of interest, spanning organizational comm, intercultural comm, pedagogy, and gender and sexuality. The graduate program allows me to explore all of those interests and doesn’t silo me into a certain specialty. Opportunities to engage the campus and larger Carbondale community are vast, and I feel like I can make a difference in people’s lives through service.


Robert Fiedler

Robert Fiedler

I haven’t been able to stay away from Carbondale. When I first came to SIU, it was to visit a friend. Having lived further north in the state, it was incredible to me that I was still in Illinois. The region is beautiful. I transferred to SIU to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree in philosophy, and now as a PhD student in Communication Studies. What kept me returning was my growing appreciation for the incredible faculty here that guide our research and scholarship. Their publications are inspiring, and they are truly remarkable people. Despite a diverse range of communication interests represented in the department, there is a guiding ethos and commitment to justice that binds us together. It is a wonderful environment in which to grow and learn.


Caleb McKinley-Portee

Caleb McKinley-Portee

I came to Southern Illinois University Carbondale for Performance Studies in the department of Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale many years ago. I was privileged to earn my bachelors and masters in the same program. Part of what pulled me to the department was the lineage of the graduates from Communication Studies. I was a competitive speaker at a junior college prior to coming to SIU. My coach, Paul Cummins, was a graduate of the same department and told me that I would have a home at SIU. I am very happy to say he was right.

One of the many things I love about being a graduate student here is that there are so many opportunities to do research, collaborate, and explore a multitude of subjects within and outside of the department. I have had the opportunity to study everything from Black Feminist Thought, Africana Studies, Film, Rhetoric, and Intercultural Communication just to name a few. The opportunities have afforded me excellent academic and administrative experiences and have shaped who I am as a student, artist, and teacher.

One other additional incentive is the access to Southern Illinois’s beautiful landscape. With the Shawnee National Forest and Giant City State Park just a stone’s throw from campus, there are many chances to walk through nature. Not only this, but Carbondale has a warm community with a myriad of choices for food, community activism, the performing arts, and volunteering. No matter where my career takes me, I realize now there is no place I’d rather be.


Christos Patelis

Christos Patelis

When I applied to graduate school, I was told time and time again that it would be one of the hardest things in my life. So much is expected of you, and there isn’t enough time in each day. When I came to visit SIU Carbondale, I did not expect the amount of compassion and guidance that I encountered from the faculty and graduate students. The departmental culture was so warm and inviting, it truly felt like the place where I could grow the most. Graduate school is rigorous enough already, so picking a program that I could feel at home in for two years was incredibly important. So, when it came down to choose what program to go into, SIUC was the smartest choice. I found a home here, 13 hours away from where I grew up. I’m so thankful that I made the right decision.


Maddie Wiles

Maddie Wiles

I chose SIU-Carbondale because of their unique gender and sexuality program within communication studies. I searched countless hours trying to find the right school for me when I finally stumbled across what I was looking for. The faculty and staff in the department help their students strive for success and assist in any real-world problems. My time at Southern will help me prepare for my future because the classes and programs are tailored to each student that walks into its doors. I was apprehensive of moving away from all that I knew, but this department has shown me they are dedicated to making me feel at home.


Tao Zhang

Tao Zhang

SIUC is on the top of my list for its variety of courses available; great reputation in CCP (critical communication pedagogy), ICC (intercultural communication), postcolonial studies, & autoethnography; wide range of concentrations & specializations of professors; and democratic climate welcoming students’ involvement in most of the departmental affairs.

I like the supportive environment built together by the faculty, staff, and colleagues; great coordination between staff, faculty, and graduate students. There are lots of helpful Brown Bag Meetings and adequate opportunities for GTAs’ career development, including editorial training (Kaleidoscope Journal), teaching a variety of courses, scholarly guidance, and professional support, etc.