Melissa Whitaker, Communication Major

Profile on Melissa Whitaker, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication Major with a 4.04 GPA 

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

Concentrations: Bachelor of Science in Human Communication, Double Minor in Business and Real Estate

Three best things about the Hugh Downs School and ASU:

  1. The Hugh Downs School has an excellent Human Communication program that has allowed me to take a wide variety of classes, and have a double minor
  2. The Hugh Downs School recognizes hard working students and has opportunities for scholarships, and events for recognition.
  3. ASU is revolutionizing higher education, and at an affordable cost. ASU graduates get a world class education and are prepared for the real world.

Melissa with her Hugh Downs Scholars Program Scholarship

Favorite class:  COM 494 Rhetoric of Documentary Films: The objective of this course was to understand rhetoric, and be able to think independently and critically about messages. The course used documentary films to explore topics such as identities, marginalization, power, and social order. I signed up for this class because I had taken a course with the professor before, and I thought we would have interesting discussions. There were only 12 students in the class, so each day we would arrange the desks in a circle and talk about the film that was assigned for that day. It was my most memorable experience at ASU because it felt so intimate. The professor created an environment where we all felt comfortable to express our own opinions and ideas, knowing that no one would judge you for what you said. This class helped me become more aware of the world around me, and to consider the perspectives of others. I am able to apply this to my life every day because we didn’t just study it, we practiced it, and we had fun!

What Makes ASU Special: ASU is special because of the incredible staff of professors and instructors. I have been so lucky to have such great experiences in so many of my classes. A few that stand out are: COM 207 Intro to Communication Inquiry with Janet Jacobsen, COM 225 Public Speaking with Carl Schuh, REA 380 Real Estate Fundamentals with William Gray, COM 312 Communication Conflict and Negotiation with Luke Brenneman, COM 408 Quantitative Research Methods in Communication with James Stein, and SWU 250 Stress Management Tools with Buffy Sanchez. These people made difficult subjects fun, they care about students, and they want you to succeed. They have made such a tremendous impact on my life, and I truly believe that I would not be the person I am today without everything that they have taught me. They go beyond the call of duty, and for that I am truly grateful.

Something unexpected that you learned at the Hugh Downs School: Everything I learned in my education at the Hugh Downs School was unexpected. From the communication courses that taught me about people, to the electives that let me learn about transborder culture, technology, the environment, finance, history, marketing, and so much more. The school helps students to be well rounded, and I have learned so many things that I never expected to.

What do I want to do with my communication education? After graduation I will be working at Vanguard in Scottsdale Arizona. I will be starting my position in their Retail Investment Group in July 2018. I will be able to apply my degree and both of my minors to this role. I am very excited to stay in the city that I was born and raised in, and be close to all of my family. I cannot wait to see what the future holds, and the best part is knowing that the possibilities are endless. The best thing about a degree in Human Communication is that your education prepares you to work in all industries, so choosing only one isn’t necessary!