Hugh Downs School standout: Communication major Lauren Hanneman

Lauren Hanneman


Lauren Hanneman, a communication major at Arizona State University, is a Hugh Downs School standout and a member of Barrett, The Honors College.

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Honors thesis: Mindfulness, listening and leadership. 

Three best things about the Hugh Downs School and ASU: The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication has amazing professors and graduate teaching assistants who are enthusiastic about their concentrations of study and care about their students. Additionally, the courses offered are interesting and applicable to real life. I still apply what I learned from COM 310: Relational Communication and COM 312: Communication, Conflict & Negotiation in my everyday life.

Favorite thing about ASU: Barrett, The Honors College. First, they have a great dining hall! Additionally, the honors college provides so many opportunities for its students. Before graduation, Barrett students get to work closely with two or three faculty members and defend a thesis on any subject or complete a creative project. I wrote my thesis on mindful leadership. Even though it was a difficult project, I am grateful to have spent two semesters researching a subject I am truly interested in.

Favorite class: COM 494 Topic: Being a Leader. In this class, Dr. Sarah Tracy teaches students about being a leader and encourages students to become leaders in their own lives. This course pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to take on more leadership roles in my own life. I wish everyone at ASU could have the opportunity to take this class before graduating because what I learned had such a positive impact on my life.

Lauren taking pictures on campus

What makes ASU special? All of the students and faculty. During my last semester of college while taking Being a Leader, Dr. Tracy told me to try free listening. To “free listen,” you stand outside with a sign that says “Free Listening” and listen to whoever comes up.

The first few times I listened, I stood on the ASU campus. At first, I was really nervous. I thought people would think I was weird or no one would come up and talk. However, by putting myself out there on campus, I had amazing connections and conversations with many different people. ASU has diverse students and faculty, which makes for an exceptional place to learn. I met so many kind and inspiring people during my time as an undergraduate.

What is something unexpected that you learned at the Hugh Downs School? I was not expecting to learn so much about myself in the Hugh Downs School. From Relational Communication to Conflict and Negotiation, communication theory has helped me learn much more about my own communication with the world.

What do you want to do with your communication education? I plan to continue my education in the communication discipline. Right now I am looking into master's and PhD programs so that I can continue studying listening and leadership.

My goal is to become a professor — I think it would be fun to teach college and high school students some day. I also love photography and creative writing, so I hope to incorporate both into my future work someday. 

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