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May Student of the Month

Posted on May 20, 2015 8:03 am by dlleeder

May Student of the Month Cody Davidson

May Student of the Month Cody Davidson

Meet Cody Davidson, Humanities and Social Sciences Student of the Month

Hometown: Pilot Mountain, NC

Class:  Junior

Major:  Communication

Minors: Business Administration; English

Sample Courses:

  • Critical Analysis of Communication Media
  • Marketing Methods
  • Contemporary European Literature and Film


  • Social Media and Marketing Intern, Kay Yow Cancer Fund, Fall 2014
  • Social Media Coordinator, English Club, Fall 2014-Spring 2015
  • Brand Ambassador, Banana Republic, January 2015-present
  • Study Abroad in Netherlands, Summer 2014
  • Member, NC State Dressage Club Team
  • Educational Psychology Research Assistant
  • Volunteer and Event Planner, NC State GLBT Center
  • Mentor, Read to L.E.A.D. program
  • Representative, Inter-residence Council/Residence Hall Council


University Honors Program

Postgraduate Plans:

Position at a public relations or marketing firm, hopefully focused on fashion.  May eventually return to school for MBA or master's degree in journalism or communication.

Why did you choose the College of Humanities and Social Sciences?

I love the people and the college's way of thinking. Everyone is very open-minded and so willing to help one another that I naturally found a home in the college’s nurturing environment. The sense of community is an inherent part of the college. Everyone from faculty to students has always been incredibly nice and helpful; I just walk into Caldwell Lounge and I feel at home.

What has been your favorite Humanities and Social Sciences course? Do any individuals stand out as making a difference for you?

My favorite course thus far is Public Relations Writing (COM 316) with Professor Dean Phillips. I have benefited from the extensive knowledge he carries from his years inside and outside the classroom. He shared with us his experiences and gave us practical skills that we will use for many years in our careers.  My first advisor, Tara Hudson in the College of Education, was pivotal in my success at NC State. I must have had a million questions when I first arrived. She was a fabulous advisor because she answered all of my questions with such patience, and strongly encouraged me to get involved around campus. She was one of the first friendly faces when I arrived on campus, and that made all the difference.

What has been your greatest challenge so far?

My biggest challenge, although not unique to me, has been trying to find my way at a large university. However, once I got involved and found my niche, I made some of the most devoted and genuine friends of my life.

What advice would you give incoming students?

Most of my family did not attend college. Many of them have found great success in other ways, but college has opened the doors for me to have a professional career, an opportunity most of my family never dreamed of. It has also opened my eyes and taught me how to think differently, seeing things from varying perspectives.  So my advice for incoming students would be to have an open mind and experiment with new things. I have been involved in so many activities during my time on campus and each one has taught me so much. I am still trying new things because I realize that this is the one time in my life where I will have a wealth of resources at my disposal.  Also, get to know your professors. They want nothing more than to help you succeed and they will value the fact that you took the time to get to know them.

Solidifying Interests Through Internships

Posted on March 13, 2015 4:39 pm by dlleeder

Sarah Smith currently interns with

Sarah Smith currently interns with a full-service communications firm in Cary.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences encourages students to participate in internships that help them explore career options and acquire real-world experiences. In this Q & A, a student demonstrates the power of proactive research in acquiring internships, and shares how her internships are giving her new skills, knowledge and insights.

Sarah Smith is a junior majoring in Communication. She has held editorial and writing positions at NC State's student paper, Technician, and provides Spanish tutoring and interpreting services. Her three internships have taken place in Summer 2014, Summer-Fall 2014, and Spring 2015.

How did you locate your internships?

For my first internship at AMEXCAN (Association of Mexicans in North Carolina), I was given the contact information for the head of the organization and I sent him an email detailing my interest and explaining my relevant work experience at Technician. For LiveItUp! Hillsborough Street, I found the application online through personal research and applied. For my internship at MMI (a full-service communications firm in Cary, NC), I sent a cover letter and resume to the company, and asked if they were currently accepting interns.

Describe the internships.

During my internship at LiveItUp!, I spent twelve hours a week at the office working on different design and communication projects. For AMEXCAN, I met with my adviser twice a month and discussed projects that needed to be completed. Outside our meetings, we communicated through daily e-mails and phone calls. With MMI, I spend twelve hours a week at the office completing different tasks and assisting the senior account executive with her projects.

How do you feel the internships relate to your major, career goals, and personal interests?

I have tried internships in different areas, which I believe is the best way to narrow down what you want to do while developing your skills. My graphic design internship with LiveItUp! was primarily to develop my graphic design skills and push myself creatively. At AMEXCAN, I had the opportunity to develop my Spanish skills while working on different communication projects. MMI allows me to dive deeper into the work of public relations.

What did you learn?

I think the most significant thing I have taken away from my internships is confidence in my work. I am now more self-assured of my abilities and skill sets. This confidence allows me to take greater risks and pursue tougher challenges. I am more comfortable with being in a work setting and speaking with professionals.

What were some of the challenges?

Time management has always been my greatest challenge. It can be incredibly hard to juggle extracurriculars, internships, class work, and working to support myself, while still trying to enjoy the college experience. In the end, you have to make sacrifices, but this also has allowed me to figure out what is most important to me.

What were some of the rewards?

I have met so many interesting and wonderful people, and have found a lot of inspiration through them.

Alum's Think and Do Response To Children's Cancer

Posted on March 2, 2015 6:44 am by Lauren Kirkpatrick

Jessica Ekstrom (Communication '13) founded Headbands of Hope while she was a student at NC State.

Jessica Ekstrom (Communication '13) founded Headbands of Hope while she was a student at NC State.

Jessica Ekstrom graduated in 2013 with a degree in communication, a minor in Spanish -- and a fully-fledged business she created to support children with cancer. “Preparing to launch Headbands of Hope at NC State taught me responsible thinking and the importance of taking action,” she says. “My learning wasn’t limited to the classroom.”

During a student internship with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Ekstrom noticed that young girls who lost their hair from chemotherapy treatments did not like to wear wigs. But they still wanted a way to express their feminine identities. Ekstrom settled on headbands, and came up with a compelling business model: for every headband sold, one is donated to a girl who has lost her hair and one dollar is given to cancer research.

Ekstrom and her team have delivered headbands to more than 300 hospitals in the United States and internationally. The company has sold 35,000 headbands and donated $35,000 to charity.

This inspiring entrepreneur embodies the NC State Think and Do approach to addressing challenges -- including those faced by little girls with cancer.

This article is adapted from a recent post  in the NC State Alumni Association's Red and White for Life blog. Ekstrom gave the 2013 NC State student commencement speech

Re-creating ‘A Creative Protest’

Posted on February 27, 2015 7:11 am by Lauren Kirkpatrick

vMLK digital-humanities

The Virtual MLK Project will allow modern audiences to experience history at NC State's Hunt Library.

Fifty-five years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made a historic appeal.

Two weeks after black college students began conducting nonviolent sit-ins to protest segregation at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, King stood at the altar of a church in Durham and called for “a creative protest.” For the first time, he urged African-Americans to commit nonviolent civil disobedience, encouraging them to break unjust laws in pursuit of equality.

“Let us not fear going to jail,” he said at White Rock Baptist Church on Feb. 16, 1960. “If the officials threaten to arrest us for standing up for our rights, we must answer by saying that we are willing and prepared to fill up the jails of the South.”

“This speech is the first time King calls for nonviolent direct action,” says Victoria Gallagher, professor of communication in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

King’s sermon has been at risk of being lost to history. No recording of it exists, and the church itself was bulldozed in the late 1960s to make way for the Durham Freeway. Gallagher and a group of colleagues in the digital humanities launched the Virtual MLK project to resurrect the speech, giving modern listeners a chance to hear King’s words as 1,200 people heard the original address in 1960.

The project has three phases, Gallagher said at an exhibition Feb. 23 at the Hunt Library. The first was a recreation of the sermon last summer, with voice actor Marvin Blanks delivering King’s words at the rebuilt White Rock Baptist Church. Nearly 250 people attended the June 2014 event, including some who had heard the original sermon in 1960.

Gallagher and her team captured Blanks’ reading to feed the second phase of the project: a multimedia website combining archival photos with pictures, audio and video from the June 2014 recreation. The team placed microphones throughout the church to gather sound from several perspectives: just in front of the altar, deep in the church balcony and in the middle of the congregation.

In phase three, the sermon will come to life in a digital recreation incorporating the June 2014 sound and video, as well as three-dimensional renderings of the interior of the original White Rock Baptist Church sanctuary. The model for Gallagher’s vision is colleague John Wall’s reconstruction of a 17th-century John Donne sermon, which has been nominated for a Digital Humanities Award.

Once the Virtual MLK Project is finished, listeners will be able to stand in an architecturally accurate digital recreation of the old White Rock Baptist Church. They’ll be immersed in King’s speech, hearing it just as a child in the church balcony or an elderly woman in the front row did.

Interdisciplinary research projects such as Gallagher’s, Wall’s and a new effort to recreate Queen Victoria’s Buckingham Palace garden put NC State at the forefront of the digital humanities. They bring together faculty and students from English, architecture and computer science to recreate lost times and places, using cutting-edge technology and experiential education to enhance our understanding of history.

by Jimmy Ryals. This article first appeared at