“A majority of my mentors in communications have been women,” says Courtney Fallon, a communication graduate student whose research in social issues has won much praise in the Communication Department at Missouri State.
Fallon has done a majority of her work with criticism analysis and rhetoric. Her main focus of research is on social issues such as gender studies and racial injustice. Fallon was also a graduate assistant for the COM 115 course at MSU and was a communication liaison for the Vaccine Hesitancy Project operated by the CDC and Ozarks Public Health Institute.
Her major is in communication, but she also studies political science, which has helped her in her research. Her first successful research paper, which she co-wrote with two other graduate students, was about why people with similar religions have different political views that she co-wrote with two graduate students. The paper led her to her first conference in Portland, Oregon, and showed her talent in both communication and political science. Fallon explained more about her work on the research done for the paper.
“We chose to study Christians who were both pro-life and pro-choice,” Fallon Said. “We were interested in sort of what the communication processes affected their sort of deviation from their similar religious background to this completely different political background.”
Her most current work is a seminar paper on a speech given by United States Congresswoman Alexandria Occasio Cortez that is awaiting conference approval, and will be presented to faculty as a part of her masters degree requirement.
Fallon has enjoyed using both her major and minor. She did not start as a communication major and political science minor. It was switched with starting as a political science major and a communication minor.
“I did not start as a comm major, but in my public speaking class, I had a great experience with my instructor Nora Cox,” Fallon said. “I was a communication minor and took more classes with Nora. Eventually, as I started learning more about both departments, I decided that my skill set was better for comm. I switched and became a communication major and a political science minor.”
Fallon has had enormous success in her time at Missouri State. She is a nominee for the Cooper Award given by the Central States Communication Association and won Distinguished Teaching Award given by the graduate college at Missouri State University.
Brian Ott, head of the Communication Department spoke highly of Fallon and her work calling it “innovative.” He emphasized her time as a graduate assistant and what made her such a great teacher.
“She makes meaningful contributions to our department in all three of the major ways we evaluate,” Ott said. “She is a superlative teacher, she is an extraordinary scholar and she helps us build a better community through her service.”
Fallon attributes her success to her mentors who have inspired her over the years.
“Nora Cox and Carrisa Hoelscher gave me the steps to feel empowered not only as a woman, but also as a woman entering scholarship,” Fallon said. “Going into my PhD program, there are stereotypes and barriers about not only how women are treated, but how women think of themselves. One of the things that my mentors taught me is how to have the confidence to pursue a doctorate.”
Fallon is graduating with her Masters from Missouri State University on May 20 and has been accepted into the PhD program at Colorado State University. She is planning on continuing with her work in rhetorical analysis and research with social issues such as gender studies and racial injustice. Fallon previewed another rhetoric paper that she is currently working on, and how that is what she wants to pursue while at Colorado State University.
“I am currently writing the rhetoric of the Blue Lives Matter movement and how that invites us to look at that organization in relation to Black Lives Matter,” Fallon said. “That is the direction that I want to take, and looking at the intersection between race relations and rhetoric with organizations. I definitely want to maintain my interests in politics, but that could change.”
Fallon is hoping to use her success to also help empower her future students to gain the confidence that her instructors gave her.
“For me to see successful powerful women stay true to themselves, but also be phenomenal scholars in their field and just caring wonderful teachers have just inspired me that I can do that and can do the same for other women,” Fallon said.
Follow Maddy Rice on Twitter, @MaddyRice14
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