Researchers Receive International Honors and Attention

This year, the International Communication Association (ICA) held its 68th annual conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Presentations spanned a wide range of communication and media research topics centered around the theme of ‘Voice.’ The conference featured over 80 ambassadors from ComArtSci, a host of faculty and students eager to share their research with fellow scholars from around the world. 

Naming a Fellow

Journalism professor and associate dean for graduate studies for the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences Esther Thorson delivered a total of four papers at the ICA conference and participated as a panelist. Among her presented research was a study she conducted with a former doctoral student at the University of Oregon. The study examined how to optimize information for abusive parents to encourage them to seek help. 

Thorson was named an ICA Fellow at the conference for her scholarly achievements, receiving the highest honor bestowed by ICA.

“It’s an honor to be among that group, certainly for me. I think ICA is one of the best communication groups around,” said Thorson. “I’ve been going to it for years, but there’s almost never a time slot when there aren’t just really excellent people to go and listen to. I also felt good about being a woman Fellow. 22 Fellows were named this year, which is a really big number for them for a single year, and about 7 of them were females. That doesn’t sound too good, but relatively speaking, it is.”

Making Friends 

Assistant Professor Mandy Holmstrom also attended ICA. She presented her research on social support systems and their influence on the self-esteem of college students.

“The conference was extremely vibrant,” said Holmstrom. “There were a lot of people running around doing a lot of cool things. Every time you turn a corner, there’s an MSU person. It was a really good time to reconnect and reaffirm the Spartan identity.”

ICA 2018 was more than a place for researchers to present the fruit of their labors. It was also a place to connect with other researchers, potential collaborators, prospective grad students and fellow Spartans. 

“It makes a big difference if your university is heavily represented at these big meetings,” said Thorson. “It encourages graduate students to finish their master’s and come here, it impresses faculty members, and it invigorates people’s research programs, so I’m tickled pink with our participation level at ICA.”

Both Holmstrom and Thorson had the opportunity to reconnect with former students over the course of the conference, showing just how strong the MSU bond can be.

“There are a lot of things about conferences that are kind of the same, but there was something about the energy, the oneness at ICA this year, that I just feel like I’m not used to seeing,” said Holmstrom. “It was a good vibe, it was very exciting and it was really inspiring.”

By Kristina Pierson