SILC student earns prestigious Fulbright award, will study in France


March 26, 2018

A Fulbright scholarship is one of the most prestigious ways to study abroad, offering exceptional graduates a chance to spend a year researching, studying or teaching, all while broadening their horizons. This year, Arizona State University senior Shannon Ditto has earned that honor and is France-bound.

“I was absolutely enamored with French,” Ditto said, explaining how she built up to the Fulbright. “I love the culture. It’s hard to describe why people love languages. It’s like every word you speak has a continuous history.” Shannon Ditto For Shannon Ditto, her success comes down to one key philosophy: “Choose something you know you love, that you will work hard at, that you’ll do in your free time anyway… because if you choose a project like that, you don’t have to fake anything. It just comes from you.” Download Full Image

Ditto did not initially want to study French, but in high school the language courses fit into her schedule. She credits her high school, and then ASU's School of International Letters and Culture's French department, for turning a class into a passion.

When completing her Barrett honors thesis, Ditto threw all her language skills into the project: an ambitious translation of the famous French author Colette’s “The Vagabond.”

“I had read an English translation of it, and I had the option to read it in French and English,” Ditto said. “I realized that the English translation of this novel had bowdlerized a lot of the content that was a little more sensitive and a little more scandalous.”

She translated the work, without excluding the themes and issues of sexuality and gender. Ditto gives Associate Professor Frédéric Canovas tremendous credit for serving as her thesis director.

“I got this Fulbright, and it’s predominantly because of him,” Ditto said. “He’s such an inspiration to me, such a model.”

Ditto’s thesis work is what lead her to the Fulbright program. Her passion for Colette’s writing led her to a professor at Université de Strasbourg who specializes in the author's work. She submitted her Fulbright application to study there and continue her translation work.

“I was very fortunate to actually obtain a Fulbright, I’m still in awe. I didn’t actually think it would happen.”

“I came to SILC because they’re doing such great work,” Ditto continued. “I can honestly say, every step of the way there’s been professors across all the different languages, different cultures, willing to help out, willing to go out of their way to make sure that you can succeed.”

For Ditto, her success comes down to one key philosophy: “Choose something you know you love, that you will work hard at, that you’ll do in your free time anyway… because if you choose a project like that, you don’t have to fake anything. It just comes from you.”

Gabriel Sandler

Hugh Downs School opens its doors to prospective doctoral students


March 26, 2018

The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication held its annual Welcome Weekend this month for 14 prospective doctoral students visiting from across the country, providing them an opportunity to explore what Arizona State University and Tempe have to offer. 

“Our Welcome Weekend is an important part of our efforts to recruit students who will succeed in our PhD program,” said Benjamin Broome, professor, and director of Doctoral Studies at the Hugh Downs School. “Potential students become acquainted with many aspects of our community of scholars. They not only engage with Hugh Downs faculty members about their research, but they also experience the inclusive and collaborative environment that characterizes our school at all levels. These two factors are essential to helping students find the right graduate school for their work.” Graduate Teaching Associate Michael Tristano Graduate Teaching Associate Michael Tristano. Download Full Image

Welcome Weekend is a project organized and run by the Communication Graduate Students Association. Students opened their classes to the visiting students, socialized with them, gave tours of the campus and the area, and shared with them their experiences at ASU and the opportunities they have found.

A new feature of Welcome Weekend this year included the Hugh Downs School Invitational Mini-Conference Poster Session, an opportunity for the students to see collaborative research projects underway at the school.   

“The poster session was a great success due to the conversations about the research that the posters triggered,” said Linda Lederman, director, and professor at the Hugh Downs School. “The posters highlighted the unique feature of our school — our research initiatives that bring faculty and graduate students together through mutual areas of interest.

students talking

Discussions of Hugh Downs School of Human Communication research projects.

"This sort of collaboration on research projects is one of the biggest draws of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. The fact that the researchers responsible for the posters were there to talk about their work, and the level of engagement for all in attendance was what made this session quite like an academic conference.”

Graduate Teaching Associate Nikki Truscelli echoed Professor Lederman’s points.

“The poster session was a beautiful composition of faculty and graduate student research, past and present," Truscelli said. "The informal nature of the gathering led to brilliant introductions and dialogue among faculty and both current and prospective graduate students. This, I hope, was the first of many future HDSHC poster mini-conferences.”

Katrina Hanna, doctoral student, and president of the Communication Graduate Student Association, also felt the poster session was a success.

"It is difficult to describe the energy that was in the room as we all gathered to discuss the amazing work that is happening in our initiatives," she said. "Ultimately, the posters allowed potential students to gather with faculty and current graduate students to talk about research, funding, and all the possibilities that are available in our graduate program." 

YoungJu Shin and Benjamin Broome

Assistant Professor YoungJu Shin speaks with Professor Benjamin Broome.

Broome added that the potential doctoral students left with an overwhelmingly positive impression of the program, students, faculty, staff, and campus.

“The comments I’ve already received from many of the students point to the welcoming and inclusive environment they found here, and the excitement many of them feel about the possibility of studying here and working with the professors, the initiatives, and the many research projects they learned about during their visit. They all expressed their appreciation to us for inviting them and hosting them in such a warm, friendly, and hospitable manner.” 

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