Public Relations Major

Program Overview

The study of public relations at Fairfield University focuses on clear, effective and ethical communication that creates change and advocates for those with the least access to wider audiences. The study of public relations is not simply about press releases or “spin,” but instead about understanding how various communication channels and platforms are used to effectively communicate. Public Relations at Fairfield University is concerned with ethical argument and advocacy, clear writing, understanding interpersonal relationships, and thinking critically about how to shape stories aimed at specific stakeholders.

By completing a major in public relations students will be able to:

  • Apply the principles of primary and secondary research to public relations situations
  • Apply basic public relations theories and principles to practice
  • Create effect public relations plans across media platforms utilizing clear and effective writing
  • Deliver clear and effective presentations
  • Create ethically sound and socially responsible public relations plans
  • Synthesize broader liberal arts knowledge in the service of public relations plans
  • Identify optimal means of communication across various media platforms and channels, audience and situational context
  • Critically evaluate the work of others for clarity, appropriate style, ethical soundness and sensitivity

The Major

You can download a printable summary of the Public Relations Major and Minor here.

Requirements

The BA in public relations is a demanding 33-credit course major for undergraduate students that will engage students in the study of strategic communication and prepare students for a broad range of careers. The public relations major consists of eleven three-credit courses. All public relations majors complete a set of seven (three-credit) required courses known as public relations foundations. Public relations majors must also complete one writing course, one ethics course, and two electives. With the aid of the communication faculty, students have the ability to focus their studies in several areas of interest and to develop a personalized trajectory that best suits their theoretical and applied interests. Public Relations majors are strongly encouraged to complete minors related to their areas of interest, to continue their foreign language beyond the intermediate level, to study abroad, and to pursue internships that allow for applied learning of theoretical material. The requirements are detailed below.

Required for all public relations majors

Public Relations Foundations (15 credits)

Students must complete all of the following:

  • CO 101: Argument and Advocacy
  • CO 102: Introduction to Public Relations
  • CO 130: Mass Media and Society
  • CO 201: Persuasion
  • CO 220: Introduction to Organizational Communication
  • CO 324: Crisis Communication
  • CO 309: Research Projects in Communication: The Capstone (senior majors only)

Writing Component

Students must select one of the following:

  • EN/W 336: Issues in Professional Writing
  • EN/W 332: Business Writing
  • EN/W 220: News Writing
  • Or other approved EN/W offering

Ethics Component

Students must select one of the following:

  • AE 281: Ethics of Communication
  • AE 294: Ethics of Media and Politics
  • AE 296: Ethics in Government
  • AE 396: Seminar in Ethics and Government
  • AE 399: Special Topics
  • PH 250: Ethical Theory
  • PH 350: Advanced Topics in Ethics
  • Or other approved AE or PH offering

Electives courses

Students must select two electives. A course taken as a required course above can not “double count” as an elective. Students can select electives from one focus or multiple foci.

Media-Focused Electives

  • CO 231: Media Institutions
  • CO 233: Information Technologies: Economics, Law and Policies
  • CO 236: Gender, Sexuality and Media
  • CO 238: Communication and Popular Culture
  • CO 239: Consumer Culture
  • CO 334: Comparative Media Systems
  • CO 336: Social Media
  • CO 338: Media Audiences
  • CO 342: Technoculture and Information Society
  • AE 294: Ethics of Media and Politics
  • MK 241: Digital Marketing
  • FTM 132: Web Design
  • CS/SW 131: Fundamentals of Programming
  • CS/SW 141: Introduction to Computer Science
  • SW 151: Introduction to Computer Game Modeling
  • SW 304: Introduction to Web Development
  • EN 340: World of Publishing
  • EN/W 220: News Writing
  • EN/W 221: News Writing II: Digital Design
  • EN/W 222: Journalism Editing and Design
  • EN/W 320: Writing the Feature Story
  • EN/W 323: Photojournalism I
  • EN/W 327: Photojournalism II: Documenting The Community
  • EN/W 329: Issues in News Writing
  • EN/W 330: Literary Journalism

Nonprofit/Policy-Focused Elective

  • CO 200: Interpersonal Communication
  • CO 240: Intercultural Communication
  • CO 242: Alcohol, Addiction, and Culture
  • CO 246: Family Communication
  • CO 345: Relational Communication
  • PY 148: Social Psychology
  • PO 155: Public Administration
  • PO 165: Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Public Opinion
  • PO 166: American Public Policy
  • PO 167: Media and Politics
  • AE 294: Ethics of Media and Politics
  • EN/W 339: Grant and Proposal Writing

Corporate Communications-Focused Electives

  • MK 101: Principles of Marketing
  • MK 212: Consumer Behavior
  • MK 231: Advertising
  • MK 241: Digital Marketing
  • MK 311: Marketing Research
  • MK 312: Global Marketing
  • MK 321: Marketing Channels
  • MK 322: Business to Business Marketing
  • MK 331: Media Strategy
  • MK 332: Public Relations
  • EN/W 332: Business Writing
  • EN/W 335: Technical Writing
  • EN/W 336: Issues in Professional Writing
  • EN/W 338: Persuasive Writing
  • EN/W 340: The World of Publishing
  • PY 148: Social Psychology
  • CO 322: Leadership Communication
  • CO 325: Organizational Communication and Advertising
  • CO 340: Conflict Communication
  • CS/SW 131: Fundamentals of Programming
  • CS/SW 141: Introduction to Computer Science
  • SW 151: Introduction to Computer Game Modeling
  • SW 304: Introduction to Web Development

Healthcare-Focused Electives


  • CO 200: Interpersonal Communication
  • CO 240: Intercultural Communication
  • CO 242: Alcohol, Addiction, and Culture
  • CO 248: Health Communication
  • CO 343: Ethics in Marketing: Medical Drugs and Devices
  • CO 347: Communication in Healthcare Organizations
  • CO 348: Risk Communication

Special Notes:

  • CO 101 and CO 102 are the foundational courses in the public relations major. Students should plan to take both courses during the same semester, preferably during their first or second year. CO 101 and CO 102 should be taken before taking the 200- and 300-level courses.
  • Students complete CO 309 - the required capstone course - during their senior year.
  • A course taken as a required course for the public relations major cannot “double count” as an elective.
  • Students can select electives from one focus or multiple foci.
  • No course that counts toward the public relations major can be applied to "double count" for the University core.
  • With the approval from the Department Chair, double majors can "double count" up to two courses from their second major as public relations electives. Some second major and minor programs may also choose to "double count" public relations courses to satisfy the second major or minor requirements. Students should check with those second major or minor chairs for approval.
  • Internships (CO 399) can be counted toward the major one time only. Although two internships can be completed for academic credit (up to 6 credits) only 3 credits will count toward the PR major.
  • Independent studies do not count toward the public relations major.
  • Special topics courses (CO 329, CO 339 and CO 349) can each be taken twice for credit if the titles of the courses are different.
  • Students are encouraged to meet with faculty advisors to design a comprehensive academic plan that takes advantage of the varied offerings in the Communication Department as well as from complimentary majors, minors and programs across the University to fulfill their public relations major.

The Minor

To earn a 15-credit minor in public relations, students are required to complete the following five, three-credit courses:

  • CO 102: Introduction to Public Relations
  • CO 101: Argument and Advocacy
  • CO 201: Persuasion
  • CO 324: Crisis Communication

Plus one elective from the above list of electives in the public relations major. A writing course is highly recommended.

For more information: Contact any faculty member in the Department of Communication or CAS Associate Dean Dr. David Gudelunas at dgudelunas@fairfield.edu. If you’re looking to declare a major or minor in Public Relations, schedule an appointment with Dr. Gudelunas by calling ext. 2227

Communication & PR Configurations

PR Major with Communication Minor: Students must complete the Public Relations major requirements, plus 4 additional communication courses. CO 200 must be completed. CO 399 does not count towards the four additional CO courses. (45 credits)

Communication Major with PR Minor: Students must complete the Communication major requirements, plus 5 additional courses (CO 102, CO 201, CO 324 required if not taken as part of Communication Major). CO 399 cannot be repeated. (45 credits)

PR and Communication DOUBLE Major: Students must complete the Public Relations major requirements, plus 8 additional (CO 100 and CO 200 required) Communication courses (CO 399 cannot be repeated). (57 credits)

For more information: Contact any faculty member in the Department of Communication or the Department Chair. If you’re looking to declare a major or minor in Public Relations, schedule an appointment with the Department Chair.

Course Offerings

See Communication course descriptions from our catalog for more information.

  • CO 100: Human Communication Theories
  • CO 101: Argument and Advocacy
  • CO 102: Introduction to Public Relations
  • CO 130: Mass Media and Society
  • CO 200: Interpersonal Communication Theories
  • CO 201: Persuasion
  • CO 202: Group Communication
  • CO 220: Introduction to Organizational Communication
  • CO 231: Media Institutions
  • CO 233: Information Technologies: Economics, Law, and Policy
  • CO 236: Gender, Sexuality, and Media
  • CO 237: Sports, Media, and Culture
  • CO 238: Communication and Popular Culture
  • CO 239: Consumer Culture
  • CO 240: Intercultural Communication
  • CO 241: Communication and Culture: East and West
  • CO 242: Alcohol, Addiction, and Culture
  • CO 245: Identities, Discourse, and Social Change
  • CO 246: Family Communication
  • CO 248: Health Communication
  • CO 309: Research Projects in Communication: The Capstone
  • CO 321: Communication Processes in Organizations: Negotiation
  • CO 322: Leadership Communication
  • CO 323: Gender and Organizing
  • CO 324: Crisis Communication
  • CO 325: Organizational Communication and Advertising
  • CO 329: Contemporary Topics in Organizational Communication
  • CO 331: American Media/American History
  • CO 332: Children as Media Consumers
  • CO 333: News Media and Democracy
  • CO 334: Comparative Media Systems 
  • CO 335: Globalization, Media, and Culture
  • CO 336: Social Media
  • CO 337: Visual Communication
  • CO 338: Media Audiences
  • CO 339: Topics in Media Theory and Criticism
  • CO 340: Conflict Communication
  • CO 341: End-of-Life Communication
  • CO 342: Technoculture & the Information Society
  • CO 343: Ethics and Marketing Communication
  • CO 345: Relational Communication
  • CO 346: Spirituality and Communication
  • CO 347: Communication in Healthcare Organizations 
  • CO 348: Risk Communication
  • CO 349: Special Topics: Constructing Social Identities
  • CO 397: Independent Study
  • CO 399: Internship

Faculty

‌‌The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the innovative members of our Communication Department.

Student Resources

Looking for useful resources to help you in your communication or public relations studies at Fairfield? Get involved in our Student Communication Club and stay informed by following professional organizations and news resources related to your major.

Internships

The Department of Communication offers credit for independent study - CO 397 - to highly self-motivated communication majors in their junior or senior year of studies. Interested students must discuss and document their independent study proposals with a member of the communication faculty before registering for credit. As an elective course recommended only for the most motivated students, CO 397 does not satisfy any requirements in the communication major (or minor), but counts towards graduation.

The Department of Communication also sponsors an active internship program for qualified (2.8 overall GPA) junior and senior majors. Students may earn no more than six internship credits. One three-credit internship course - CO 399 - can be used in fulfillment of the final elective requirement in any of the three areas of concentrated study within the communication major. Communication majors interested in applying for an internship complete the departmental internship application form before registering for CO 399.

alumni-profiles

2010_ug_aca_cas_comm_profiles_hallissy_8152016

Megan Hallissy

'10

get to know Megan →

Undergrad Degree: Communication & Mass Media
Extracurricular Activities: Honors Program, Student Alumni Association, Glee Club, Kairos; NBCUniversal Camus Relations Ambassador at Fairfield U.
Career: Asst. Manager, Learning (Professional Expertise, Marketing, Finance & Digital Programs), L'Oreal USA 

Describe a project done through the communication program that you are particularly proud of:

As a Communication major and a member of the Honors Program, I used my mass media concentration as a filter for my senior Honors thesis. At the time an economic downturn impacted businesses of all sizes, and I had just completed 3 internships with a major media corporation. With the support of Dr. Gisela Gil-Egui and text analytics software, I reviewed the content of annual letters to stockholders from News Corporation and The Walt Disney Corporation over a period of ten years to assess framing strategies of corporate performance in the context of a struggling economy. The quantitative and qualitative results showed that these two corporations were indeed framing both their successes and challenges in a positive light during both economic peaks and valleys, likely in an effort to maintain stockholder backing. I was particularly proud of my thesis not only because it broadened my understanding of corporate communication, and was well received within the Honors Program, but also because my thesis earned me the Award for Distinguished Work in the Social and Behavioral Sciences from the College of Arts and Sciences. I owe much of this success to the constant guidance and encouragement from Dr. Gil-Egui and the Honors Program, and I continue to reference what I learned from this project in my various jobs since graduating.

 

What attributes regarding the faculty did you find particularly helpful/encouraging?

I only had extremely positive interactions with the faculty within the Communication department, and still do even four years later. What I found particularly helpful, outside of their quick email response time to my many questions and therefore also their patience, was their diversity of backgrounds and expertise. Between all of the professors from whom I had the pleasure of learning, I was able to gain their insights and perspectives into journalism, mass media, interpersonal and organizational communication, pop culture, medical communication, women and sexuality, and much more. Having this exposure to multiple facets of the communication field, and seeing the overlap with other fields ranging from psychology to finance, was crucial for application in the “real world” after graduation.

 

Describe a favorite course and how it helped your academic growth

My favorite course was one that I took not once but three times: my for-credit internships. The opportunity to intern two days a week in New York City while balancing a full course load was not an easy undertaking, but it was one that was absolutely fundamental to getting the most from my Communication degree. I was able to apply and build on my classroom knowledge on organizational communication and mass media in a corporate media environment at NBCUniversal, while I explored potential career paths and networked with experts in the industry. After completing my first internship, where I picked up the nickname, “Meg the Intern,” I was offered a second internship in a different department, where I stayed for two semesters. The company ultimately offered a full-time job to begin upon graduation in the historic NBCUniversal Page Program, which I happily accepted under a new nickname, “Meg the Page.”

Communication Internships:

  • Production Intern, Dateline, NBC News
  • Production Intern, New York/Northeast News Bureau, NBC News 

Past jobs: 

  • Page, NBCUniversal Page Program (assignments included Green Room Coordinator, TODAY Show; Executive Assistant to EVP of Content Distribution; Page Office Coordinator)
  • Human Resources Coordinator, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group
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Michael Barrett

'07

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Undergrad Degree: Psychology / Communication
Hometown: Trumbull, CT
Career: Senior publicist at Scholastic 

Describe a project done through the communication program that you are particularly proud of.

I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of the first-ever Fairfield University Diversity Grant in 2006/2007. Under the guidance of Dr. Gudelunas, my team and I examined the campus’ climate toward LGBT students, faculty and community members and its implications on the LGBT community. It set a precedent for this University’s dialogue about an invisible minority on campus. This project was the perfect marriage with my final thesis about an individual’s reaction to LGBT people in correlation with their exposure to LGBT characters in the media. The Communications department pushed me to dig deeper with this study and break boundaries. I am still proud to have been part of this project. 

 

Describe a favorite course and how it helped your academic growth

Honestly, you just can’t pick one course when it comes to academic growth. Every course prepares you for your future. My career in public relations would not have advanced without the cornerstone classes of interpersonal communications, media communications, communications theory and more. My career, including working at Viacom, Discovery Communications and Scholastic, require me to use the vital skills everyday – and trust me, employers notice the difference with those with a strong Communications background. 

 

Describe the ways that the university’s Jesuit mission and identity had a positive influence in your academic and personal experience while at Fairfield.

The Jesuit mission and identity encourages you to be an authentic person. This was crucial for me as an undergraduate and it’s even more important now. It keeps you humble, honest and self-aware of what you project into the world – especially where a tweet can make or break you. Here’s my tip to undergrads: look at the bigger picture and understand the Communications’ professors are an asset – you will thank tenfold after graduation.

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Kaitlyn Buckheit

'09

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Undergrad Degree: Communications (Organizational) & English (Professional Writing)
Extracurricular Activities: Varsity Women’s Swim Team, Ignatian Residential College, Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit Honor Society), Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society), Lambda Pi Eta (Communication Honor Society), Swim Lesson Instructor for Fairfield University Swim Lesson Program 
Career: Business Development at Eventbrite (San Francisco, CA) 

What was one of your favorite courses when you were a student at Fairfield? 

My favorite course as a Communications major was Argument & Advocacy with Dr. Wills. I took the course as a freshman and it set the foundation for success both at Fairfield and in the workplace through learning an array of presentation techniques. Not only did I learn how to engage and capture an audience with confidence, I learned how to organize and explain my thoughts to others, which made me a better writer and communicator.  

I still prepare for every presentation I give at work with techniques Dr. Wills taught me: practicing the full speech in advance in the mirror, writing reminders to pause and breathe on my notecards and understanding who is in the audience and tailoring the content to them. Throughout Fairfield, graduate school and jobs in both marketing and sales I have consistently received positive feedback about my public speaking skills and I have Argument & Advocacy to thank for that praise. 

How did Fairfield's Jesuit mission and identity influence your academic and personal experience while at Fairfield?

I wanted to attend a Jesuit university because of the focus on developing the whole person through knowledge, experience and personal interests.  Not only was I going to Fairfield for education, I wanted to become a leader and incorporate my passions into my everyday life. The Fairfield professors I encountered made all of that a reality. 

Fairfield’s strong core curriculum helped me to discover my other interests and talents. My Communications Department advisor encouraged me to sign up for a professional writing course which then lead to ten more writing and literature courses and ultimately a second major in English. 

When I mentioned my interest in service and nonprofits as a freshman, a professor informed me of an internship with the Special Olympics of Connecticut. She didn’t stop there, she then recommended courses to take in order to secure that internship my junior year.  

Most importantly, my professors recognized that many skills are developed outside of the classroom. As a member of the Fairfield swim team I never faced criticism from professors for missing class or needing to make up an exam due to traveling for swim meets. Instead, professors would take the time to ask how I swam at the meet, what my experience was as captain of the team and if there was anything they could do to help. The leadership and discipline I learned as a collegiate athlete are things I would never give back, and I am lucky to have had the support of my professors.


Prior internships:

  • Public Relations & Events Intern, Special Olympics of Connecticut (Stratford, CT)
  • Public Relations Intern, Quick Start Language Center (Bridgeport, CT)
  • Human Resources Intern, Sikorsky Global Helicopter (Coatesville, PA) 

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2010_ug_aca_cas_comm_profiles_maia_8152016

Catarina Maia

'09

get to know Catarina →

Undergrad Degree: BA in Communication with a concentration in Media Studies
Extracurricular Activities: Studied abroad in Madrid (Fall 2007); Contributed to The Mirror; participated in the Ignatian Residential College (Loyola) dorm program Sophomore year; waitressed at Joe’s American Bar & Grill from 2007-2009; Secretary for the Student Beach Resident Association (SBRA) where I acted as liaison between students off campus and on-campus personnel, organized, planned and executed events for off-campus students for all of Senior year.
Career: Special Events & Projects Coordinator, September 2013-Present; Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester

Connect with Catarina through LinkedIn!

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

Growing up in a suburb of Boston, there was certainly no shortage of local options available for me to apply for college. Despite the astounding number of prestigious colleges and universities available nearby, I had my heart set on going away to school to gain some independence. After visiting a number of schools up and down the East coast, I decided to visit Fairfield because of the proximity to New York City and the Major I was interested in was offered there. I still remember my very first tour of this school ten years ago and I remember the distinct feeling I had walking through the campus. I turned to my father and said, “This is it. I want to go here.” Fairfield University simply felt like my home away from home from the moment my tour started to Commencement Day. Fairfield is a school where you are seen, heard, noticed and accepted. If you want a school where you can be an anonymous number in a giant lecture hall, then Fairfield is not the school for you. The beautiful campus and beach-side off-campus housing privileges are of course alluring to any prospective college student, but Fairfield is so much more than that: it’s a community. The support & encouragement I received and the opportunities that were afforded to me were unique compared to those of my friends at other schools. The friendships and bonds that I formed at Fairfield have lived on well beyond the four years I spent there (I can say this with confidence, being five years out!)

 

Why did you choose to study communication? 

When I first started at Fairfield, I was an English Major with a Concentration in Journalism because I had aspirations to be a glossy magazine editor. After approximately two Fairfield Mirror article assignments and two Journalism courses, I decided that I didn’t want a career that would stifle my creative input and opinions. Journalism is, after all, reporting the facts. I contemplated a degree in marketing, but ultimately felt that such a specific concentration of study would limit my option. I wanted to learn about marketing, communications, and media in a much broader sense so I could have a solid base for whichever career path I chose to take after graduation. After speaking with some friends who were comm. majors, I ultimately decided that this was the right choice for me. I quickly discovered that not having any idea what I wanted to do for a living wasn’t a problem for a communication major; in fact, that was the beauty of the major. I was free to study every facet there was to the area of communication through the multitude of interesting courses offered and through internships in various fields I wanted to explore.  At a time when it seemed everyone around me had decided on a field of study that would set them on a specific career trajectory (I had many accounting and nursing major friends), I felt that I had found my true niche at Fairfield by choosing a major that didn’t force me to choose and instead encouraged me to explore the possibilities. 

 

What attributes regarding the faculty did you find particularly helpful/encouraging?

Every single Communication professor I had was unabashedly challenging and encouraged us to truly think for ourselves. I found the faculty to be extremely knowledgeable, approachable, flexible, and most importantly, they all made it a priority to get to know each of their students down to their individual strengths and weaknesses. In this field of study, I think it’s also especially helpful to have professors who aren’t just full-time professors. The entire faculty in the Communication Department had real-world experience out in the field that they could share with us in real-time. Learning a subject and passing a course is important, but the most valuable lesson a professor can teach their students is how to be adequately prepared for the outside world post-graduation. As a student at Fairfield, I gained invaluable insights and wisdom from these professors who I had built relationships with and looked up to as mentors. To this day, I often find myself wishing I could go back to Fairfield just to take a course with my favorite professor, Dr. Gudelunas!  

 

Communication Internships:

  • CBS Radio: WBCN (Boston, MA); Promotions Intern, Summer 2007 
  • Greenough Communications (Boston, MA); Public Relations Intern, Summer 2008 
  • Greenwich Magazine (Greenwich, CT); Editorial Assistant Intern, Spring 2009 

 

Post Grad:

  • CBS Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub (Formerly WBCN); Promotions, Street Team, May 2009- November 2010 
  • Boston Magazine; Marketing Intern (post-grad), May- November 2009; Office Coordinator, November 2009- February 2010; Online Sales & Marketing Coordinator, February 2010- April 2011 
  • One to One Interactive (Digital Advertising Agency, no longer in business); Online Media Coordinator, April 2011- January 2012 
  • Boston Ski & Sports Club; Events & E-Marketing Manager, March 2012- August 2013

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2010_ug_aca_cas_comm_profiles_rubertone_8152016

Michael Rubertone

'11

get to know Michael →

Undergrad Degree: Communication with a focus on Media
Extracurricular Activities: FUSA, Senior Interviewer, Tour Guide, Orientation, Senate, Ultimate Frisbee club
Career: Walt Disney Company; project assistant supporting a new company initiative, MyMagic+ 

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

I chose Fairfield University because of the way the University focused on a wholesome education.  It was important to me that the college I attended had that focus because I was uncertain of what I wanted to do after I graduated.  By taking different courses I was able to figure out my major early, and from there start to develop a plan for my post graduate career.  Because of my work at Fairfield University I was able to get my dream job working for the Walt Disney Company.  Fairfield University also added great opportunities to meet alumni from all over the area, and the support program of the faculty and staff helped solidify my decision. 

 

What attributes regarding the faculty did you find particularly helpful/encouraging?

The faculty at Fairfield University preached an open door policy, but they always stuck to it.  I felt comfortable approaching different professors to talk not just about my studies, but personal growth too.  The faculty truly cared about their students, and truly cared about their success.  In the Communication Department I always knew that regardless of the professor I had I was always able to talk to any about things happening academically and personally.  To this day, 3 years after I graduated from college, I still stay in contact with my professors.  They not only were professors, but were mentors.  

 

Describe a favorite course and how it helped your academic growth

One of my favorite courses I took at Fairfield University was Dr. Gudelunas’ "Communication in Pop Culture" course.  I took it during my first semester of my junior year. The course was so important to my academic growth because Dr. Gudelunas pushed his students to dig deeper, and not just focus on the surface. Through this course I was able to realize that I made the right decision in choosing communication as my major. I realized that there were endless possibilities with communication, and most importantly it helped redefine the way I watched television, movies, listened to music, and read books.  The course forced me to find the deeper meaning in things and from there get more out of the potential message trying to be portrayed by the piece of media.  

 

Communication Internship:

  • Fairfield University Office of Admission 

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2010_ug_aca_cas_comm_profiles_serafino_8152016

Melody Serafino

'05

get to know Melody →

Undergrad Degree: Communication (Media Studies) & French
Extracurricular Activities: At Fairfield: Glee Club, Sunshine Kids, Fairfield Tour Guide. Currently: New York Cares Junior Committee, Time Out New York freelance writer, Fairfield 10-year Reunion Planning Committee, TEDxNewYork Director of Community

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

It was important that a school offered more than just great classes. I was really drawn to the spirit of community service at Fairfield. Some of my most memorable learning moments at Fairfield took place outside the classroom – working with children affected by HIV/AIDS through Sunshine Kids or taking a service trip to Tijuana, Mexico where we volunteered in an orphanage and helped mix cement to create school playgrounds.   

 

Why did you choose to study communication? 

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I understood the full extent of what a communication major really meant when I declared it my freshman year. The one thing I did know was that I wanted to work in the media world in some capacity, and hoped that my communication courses would help direct me. I knew a communication degree would give me a broad skillset that would afford me opportunities to pursue many different jobs, whether in television, local news, or journalism. If you had asked me in college if I’d work in PR, I probably would’ve laughed. I truly thought I’d be working in television, but after three very different internships – in local news, at Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and at the Fairfield University public relations office – I discovered I loved how fast-paced and ever-changing media relations is. And even more important, it allowed me to tap into my love of writing. As it turns out, I wasn’t cut out for being a behind-the-scenes gopher even if it meant working for a major network or show. I craved something a bit more cerebral, creative, and hands on.

 

What attributes regarding the faculty did you find particularly helpful/encouraging?

I was fortunate enough to be taught by Dr. Robbin Crabtree and Dr. David Gudelunas at the very start of their careers at Fairfield. Both brought fresh perspectives and challenged communication majors to think critically not only about our area of study but also the world at large. Dr. Crabtree was my advisor and guided me when it came to internships. She brought a worldliness and excitement to communication that really inspired and motivated me. 

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2010_ug_aca_cas_comm_profiles_tesauro_8152016

Christina Tesauro

'07

get to know Christina →

Undergrad Degree: Communication (Media Studies)
Extracurricular Activities: Freshman Year Experience (FYE) leader
Career: Associate Account Executive at ABC Primetime Sales

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

My choice to attend Fairfield University was solidified upon sitting down with Dr. Robbin Crabtree who was the chair of the department at the time. Her passion for the discipline and her championing of women’s voices in the workplace helped me realize that Fairfield inspired an environment of hopefulness for the future. Now, over seven years since graduating, I still often reflect upon that initial meeting with Dr. Crabtree and how she helped shaped me into the woman I am today. 

 

Describe a communication project that you are particularly proud of:

I participated in the internship course under the tutelage of Dr. David Gudelunas while interning with which at the time was LIVE with Regis and Kelly.  Dr. Gudelunas was an excellent mentor for the program and advised our class on things we could expect from our first encounters in corporate America.  In addition to that, he proved to be an excellent sounding board for the trials and tribulations for what was for most of us, our first jobs. I am a huge believer in the internship program. I think that if you are very lucky, it solidifies what you think it is that you might want to do. Equally as important, it gives you a chance to experience what you may never want to do which is just as important. In addition to hands on experience beyond the classroom, internships provide vital contacts for the future and resume illustration for interviews.  

 

What attributes regarding the faculty did you find particularly helpful/encouraging?

What I found most helpful about the Communication faculty was the accessibility. I often vetted my approach to assignments and understanding of a lecture through them. Their doors were always open and not only were they always willing to help, they encouraged it. This is one of the major reasons that made Fairfield University so unique to me. Participation and inquisition is celebrated at Fairfield. This environment has benefitted all communication graduates as we have moved forward in our lives both professionally and personally.  

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Alumni Updates

A major in Communication prepares students for careers in a variety of communication and other industries, as well as for graduate study in areas such as communication, education, law, politics, public administration, social work, and business. Our majors and minors will also develop the skills necessary to make valuable contributions to society and develop a commitment to influence the media and other organizations to become more just and socially responsible.

Our graduates are attractive to many employers who identify communication skills as the most important factor in hiring and promotion decisions. Employers also value our students' intensive coursework in the major, the experience gained from the internship, and the broad liberal education that all Fairfield students receive. The department regularly sponsors career events to help students think about their future careers and how communication classes connect to communication practice. Fairfield alumni have found employment in:

  • Advertising
  • Communication education
  • Communication training
  • Community affairs
  • Consumer research
  • Copy editing, design, and creative services
  • Corporate / organizational communication
  • Educational leadership and communication
  • Environmental communication
  • Health communication / administration
  • Human resources
  • Journalism
  • Management leadership and training
  • Marketing and consumer research
  • Media planning and buying
  • Mediation and diplomacy
  • Non-profit communication
  • Patient services
  • Public information and policy
  • Public opinion research
  • Sales and sales training
  • Social and human services
  • Strategic communication


com_students_ny_conf10Others have gone on to graduate school to study law, communication, business, education, and journalism at schools including:

  • Columbia University
  • Boston College
  • University of North Carolina

Learn more about how Fairfield's Career Planning Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

And check out how a few recent alumni have navigated their career path from Fairfield University to industry professionals at the Media Careers Night. Or, visit our alumni profile page to hear from our graduates in their own words.

School of Communication, Arts, and Media Alumni Panel

Once a year, the College of Arts and Sciences’ invites alumni from each of the School of Communication, Arts, and Media’s four departments (Communication, Visual and Performing Arts, English, and Modern Languages and Literatures) to participate in an interactive panel discussion. From public relations professionals to digital managing editors, the panelists represent a wide breadth of careers and share their professional advice and personal journeys with current students.

Communication & Public Relations Blog

Follow Fairfield University’s Communication and Public Relations blog for the latest departmental news and fascinating student and faculty profiles.

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