For me, the faculty in the COMS department was the best (and my favorite) surprise about the program. I chose SHSU because, as an online program at a Texas public university, it was both convenient and affordable, but when I enrolled I was not expecting to be taught by such an accomplished faculty. As someone who excels in an academic setting, it is not often that I feel like an instructor is pushing me to become a better version of myself; yet, in my time at Sam, I had multiple professors who did that very thing. The faculty challenged me to become a better writer, researcher, teacher, and ultimately, a better human being. Now, as a full-time professor at a community college, I am regularly able to point to a study cited in the textbooks I teach from and say, "This was one of my professors in graduate school." That's fun!
May 2018 Graduate
I choose SHSU because of the people—the expertise of the researchers and professors in the department and the excellence of the staff were all apparent from the first day I discovered this program. And as I moved through the program, I knew I made the right choice because of the people.
I had the opportunity to forge lasting partnerships with academics that I respect and value immensely, and I plan to continue to foster those relationships throughout my career. The department is filled with people who worked to make me a better academic and educator.
Dr. Bello’s gift in crafting a message in the most impactful manner has forever changed the way I write. Dr. Zhang made statistics and research methods accessible and enjoyable. Dr. Brandau embodied creativity as she worked through research questions with me and was always willing to answer the phone when I needed to talk through something—bringing topics to life. Dr. Weathers coached me through the vital experience of being a graduate and teacher’s assistant. In fact, Dr. Weathers invited me to assist her on two publications and has guided me through the process of producing my own work for submission. With her support, I stepped into my dream—I took my first role as an instructor—and her guidance will shape who I am as an educator and researcher for the rest of my career.
And finally, anyone starting this program should know the source of joy and connection you will have in Michelle Plitt. She will keep you connected to the program and feeling like a part of the Bearkat community. Michelle is a veteran in her work. She literally knows everyone and can answer any question, making everything from getting squeezed into a course, access to the right scholarship, or securing your graduate assistantship a seamless process. Each of these people have amplified my education at SHSU. Thank you!
While no one will remember every detail from courses, articles read, or theorists covered during their time in graduate school—the experiences that relationships like these create can foster moments that cement the critical knowledge we all need for our academic careers. So, when you’re considering an online program, remember you’re not just a student ID number at SHSU—you’re a Bearkat. I’m proud to have chosen this program and grateful for the experiences, relationships, and knowledge I’ve gained as a part of it.
May 2020 Graduate
The journey that led me to the Communication Studies graduate program at SHSU started at a crossroads. Having to decide between Georgetown University and Sam Houston State, I traveled to D.C., researched, read and contemplated. I’ll never forget receiving an email from SHSU that immediately provided me with a sense of support and confidence. I had a feeling that, at SHSU, I would not be a small fish in a large pond that gets lost in the program. Instead, I would be guided and mentored each step of the way. That gut feeling was right.
My two years under the leadership and teaching of the brilliant, caring and professional Communication Studies faculty were the most fulfilling of all my educational experiences. I was privileged to work as research assistant to Dr. Zhang who taught me how to be a thorough, critical thinker and learner. Every single faculty member authentically cares about your success and future. You are not just another number to them; you are a mentee. This program allows for you to pursue your individualized passions and learn from the best while still balancing the many other facets of life.
Today, I am a full time speech professor at Lone Star College and an adjunct professor alongside my Bearkat family here at SHSU. I continue to be amazed by these researchers, writers and educators. Years ago, I made one of the best decisions of my life by choosing the Communication Studies graduate program.
The decision to attend Sam Houston State University and major in Communication Studies is one of the best decisions that I’ve made – personally and professionally. I have to say my professors were beyond my expectations that I had for the online learning environment, but each professor made me feel like I was in the classroom. Without my degree, I would not be able to communicate effectively and coordinate with over 200 global associates. I know for a fact that each class and professor is the reason that I’ve advanced as a human resource professional with a top investment firm in Los Angeles. The Department of Communications at SHSU didn’t only provide me education but the confidence to stand in a room with some of the most senior leaders in my business. I will forever be grateful for Dr. Brandeau and all my other professors for sharing their knowledge, time, and encouragement!
Forever proud to be a BearKat!
Sam Houston State Communication Studies Grad, 2017
Human Resources Professional