February 2024 Graduate Student Newsletter

posted in: Newsletter | 0

Our second Graduate Student Newsletter is here! In this issue, we’re highlighting our Sports Communication MA program, resources available through the Graduate Student Association, graduate student accomplishments, and more. Read on to see what’s happened in the Emerson graduate community the past six months.

Program Spotlight: Sports Communications

When people name great sports towns, without hesitation, Boston is at the top of their list. Emerson’s Sports Communication program came about from the perfect pairing of the city of Boston and Emerson College. After observing Boston’s growing and dynamic sports industry, Emerson launched the Master of Arts in Sports Communication program in 2018. Offering an experience like no other, this program provides students with an excellent graduate-level education and hands-on career opportunities.

Emerson Advantage

The Sports Communication program is one of three Master of Arts in Communication degrees at Emerson. When speaking about what makes the Sports Communication program distinctive, Graduate Program Director Dr. Maryanne Talyor points out, “Boston is one of the few cities in the country with all four major sports teams and is a Top 10 Sports Media market. Emerson’s location in the heart of Boston gives students direct access to networking with professional sports organizations.” 

Because of the program’s location and Emerson’s connections, students have many opportunities to learn from talented people who work in award-winning sports media, athletic teams, and college sports. Emerson College’s ranking as a premiere institution in the field of Communication, along with faculty and alumni spanning the globe, gives students exclusive access to professional organizations and communities. Dr. Taylor says, “Our extensive network connects students to internship and employment opportunities with major league sports in cities like Boston, Los Angeles, Barcelona, and Sydney.”

Sports Communication Promoting Equity

Dr. Taylor believes that Sports Communication plays an important role not only in sports, but also in sports diplomacy. She notes that oftentimes conflicting countries may put everything aside for a weekend of soccer for their nations. She believes that Sports Communication is “a really great landscape for examining inequities…inequalities of gender and race and LGBTQ Plus [issues].”  Sports Communication is a growing field, “not just here at Emerson, but in the country and internationally because it’s this platform for getting people to the table to look at much greater issues that seemingly aren’t related to sports, but sports is what got us here in the first place.”

Graduate students in the program will participate in research and study that looks at how sports communication engages discourses of power and gatekeeping, according to Dr. Taylor. She points to the example of  the Olympic Games to show how sports communication can really look, in an academic and an applied sense. Dr Taylor explains, “It sort of ties to these feelings of nationalism. It ties to these feelings of supporting a sport, supporting a person while supporting a country. And of course there’s also a dark side to the Olympics too, which a degree in communication studies and sports communication would allow you to investigate and have a broader commentary.”  

International Focus

Sports Communication is one of the many programs that aligns with Emerson’s commitment to internationalization and global engagement.  One of the program’s courses, Sports as Soft Power, is directly related to Emerson’s mission. Dr. Taylor says, “The class is being taught this spring. What students learn through readings, discussion assignments, [and] assessment is the geopolitical possibilities that sports communication allows towards diplomacy. And I think we do that better than most…because of our commitment to global engagement, having a class and a perspective with something like Sports as Soft Power, where your prime focus is diplomacy, internationalization, equity, building relationships, understanding geopolitical complexities and nuances.”

International Study Opportunities

Graduate students in the Sports Communication program have the opportunity to study abroad with several course offerings. Global programs are an important part of the curriculum, giving students the opportunity to study in places like Blanquerna University, Sydney, Paris, and Lisbon. 

Just this past summer, Dr. Taylor took a group of 10 students to the Women’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia.  She says:

“One of the things I’m really proud to be a part of and I see in our students and our faculty is that in a changing communication environment where platforms that encourage expediency and recency bias are really at the forefront of our conversations. I see our students wanting more, digging deeper, and I see our faculty committed to that as well. And I think we’re going to be a big part of the solution to a lot of problems we face globally, culturally and communicatively moving forward. And that’s what I’m most proud to be a part of. I think we have to be a part of the solution and make sure that we are thoughtfully engaging with all of this content around us. And I see it. I see it’s there and we just need to continue to grow it.”

Graduate Student Association: Grants and Events

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is committed to helping students achieve their professional development. One way the GSA does this is through Professional Development Grants and Mini Grants. The graduate student representative of the GSA is Robin Van Impe (MFA, Creative Writing). Besides helping students with the application process for GSA grants, she also helps organize a variety of social, professional, and networking events for graduate students each semester. 

GSA Grants

Van Impe wants to ensure graduate students are aware of the GSA grants available for professional development. The Mini-Grant is a one-time grant of $100 that Emerson graduate students can apply for. The Professional Development Grant is another one-time grant for Emerson graduate students. The amount awarded through the Professional Development Grant varies depending upon the role of the student and the location of the conference.

GSA Events
An aerial view of the Bruins playing a game in TD Garden. The stadium is full of excited fans
The GSA offered discounted passes to Bruins games this season

In addition to grants, the GSA organizes events that provide opportunities for social interaction and networking.  Some of the events the GSA held during the previous semester were NaNoWriMo Writing Sessions, Discounted passes to Bruins games, and a Boston Harbor Lunch Cruise. The GSA also hosted Career Drop-Ins, helping students workshop resumes, portfolios, PhD applications, etc.

The GSA also oversees the Graduate Student Organizations, which are open to all graduate students and regularly host additional events and opportunities. You can find a list of the organizations here. If you have questions about the GSA or any of the student organizations, please email gsainfo@emerson.edu.

Graduate students gathered around a table on a cruise ship, enjoying food and beverages on a sunny afternoon
Students enjoying food during the GSA Boston Harbor Lunch Cruise event
More photos from the GSA’s Boston Harbor Lunch Cruise event

GSO Spotlight: International Graduate Student Organization

“It takes a lot of courage for any international student to move to a new country, all alone. Living in a new environment, speaking a foreign language, and adjusting to a different culture isn’t easy,” says Daisy Kao (MA, Media Design).

Six graduate students holding up bowling balls and smiling at the camera. They are in a Boston bowling alley for the IDGO bowling night
Graduate students at the IGSO’s Bowling Night

As the President and Treasurer of the International Graduate Student Organization (IGSO), Kao explains that the mission of the IGSO is to create a community for international students to connect and support each other. She says that the group strives to create a safe and welcoming place for all international students. 

One way the IGSO helps to create community is by holding social events each semester. These events are a chance for members of the IGSO to experience American culture(s). Participating in IGSO events opens doors to a vibrant community where students connect with peers from diverse backgrounds, fostering friendships and professional connections with both international and American students across departments.

Kao also points out that the events are a way for students to release stress. “Our organization offers a spectrum of engaging activities, providing much-needed breaks from rigorous academic schedules. From cultural exchanges to collaborative events, IGSO creates opportunities for memorable experiences that enrich your university journey,” she says. 

IGSO has lots of engaging and fun activities planned for their members in 2024. To join the group or if you have questions, email gsainfo@emerson.edu

President and Treasurer – Daisy Kao

Vice President – Ariel Kuo

Social Media Manager – Risa Michiwaki

Ten students smiling posing in front of a "Boxaroo" backdrop after completing an escape room. They hold up signs with humorous captions like "easily distracted" and "I was not a helpful person....."
Students at the IGSO’s escape room event
Seven students gathered around completed gingerbread houses on paper plates. The students smile at the camera
Graduate students at the IGSO’s gingerbread house event
A graduate student in a white turtleneck  holds out her arms and smiles behind a table loaded with teas and deserts
Students came together for the IGSO’s A Taste of Home event

Graduate Student Spotlight: Transformational Leaders Fellows

Chris Fong Chew 招偉明 (He/Him)
Christopher Fong Chew smiling at the camera. He has short black hair and a black shirt

Chris is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing, with a focus on poetry.  He completed his undergraduate degree at Berklee College of Music and is deeply interested in the intersection of social justice, leadership, and creativity. Chris feels that being a Transformational Leader means helping people realize their greatest potential. Transformational Leaders do this by providing the environment and tools that empower people to accomplish whatever they set out to do. It’s about investing in the growth and development of others. Helping people realize their own potential and the potential of those around them. 

Geoffrey Hicks
Geoffrey Hicks smiling at the camera. He wears black rimmed classes, a grey suit jacket, white shirt, and red vest and tie.

Geoffrey is pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on fiction. Currently, he works as Dean of the Middle School at Boston Trinity Academy. Geoffrey brings many talents and experiences to this new role of Transformational Leaders Graduate Fellow. He has years of experience as a humanities teacher in secondary education and writer. Geoffrey also has experience in historical research, public speaking, community outreach, editing, and leading creative writing workshops. These experiences allow him to bring a unique and singular perspective to the program.

Aniaha Ortiz
Aniaha Ortiz, smiling and standing in front of colorful autumn trees. She has long black hair and a floral blouse.

Aniaha is a first generation Afro-Latina student in Emerson’s MFA Creative Writing program with a focus in poetry. She hopes to pursue her PhD in Creative Writing and become a professor in the field. An alumna of Denison University, Aniaha earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, focusing on Creative Writing and East Asian Studies. Aniaha also plans on studying languages and cultures through the field of translational studies.

For Aniaha, being a Transformational Leader means “…learning how to occupy and navigate the leadership spaces that I want to participate in. It means that in order to learn, I must make mistakes and grow from them in order to become a better leader. It means fighting endlessly to, as Aaron Burr said, ‘be in the room where it happened’ — mistakes, growth, and all.”

Luciana Paz
Luciana Paz, smiling and standing in front of a hilly background. She has long dark hair and a black blouse.

Luciana is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing. She is an alumna of the University of Tampa with degrees in Political Science, Journalism, and Education. She works as a Writer/Editor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) where she focuses on environmental impact assessments. Luciana also participates in diversity initiatives which include chairing the USDA Hispanic American Cultural Effort group. She has also worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique. She considers herself a third-cultured individual from Bolivia, the U.S., and other countries.

For Luciana, being a Transformational Leader involves handling conflicts nonviolently and understanding situations clearly, distinguishing between simple problems and complex ones that require adaptability. She believes it’s about accurately and kindly recognizing one’s emotions, and skillfully asking others for solutions that benefit everyone. In her free time she enjoys training for triathlons.

Paul Raglow DeFranco
Paul Raglow DeFranco, wearing a green shirt and smiling at the camera. He has short brown hair

Paul, originally from Buffalo, New York, is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Sports Communication. He believes that the Transformational Leaders Fellowship will give hime a great opportunity to continue his work and learn leadership skills alongside other students aspiring to grow and lead. He feels confident that his experiences as a graduate student at Emerson and as a Transformational Leader will provide a distinctive graduate experience far beyond what he was able to achieve during his time as undergraduate student. 

Joseph Weingrad
Joseph Weingrad, looking at the camera. He wears a black shirt and has short black hair

Joseph is pursuing an MFA in Film and Media Art. Joseph’s artistic philosophy is something he learned from his mentor, Greg “Fella” MacIsaac – that film is a medium reliant on empathy, and a successful film creates a pathway for the viewer to forgo their own ego and become fully encapsulated in the experience of another. Joseph’s goal as a filmmaker is to create art that makes the stories of the marginalized accessible to the masses. As a bi-racial, Chinese-American, Buddhist-Jew growing up in Beijing, he understands that unique narratives and personal boundaries are difficult to overcome.

His work as a Transformational Leader will help him realize his goals, not only as a filmmaker, but also in bringing forth voices that are often silenced and seldom given the attention they deserve. 

Graduate Student Accomplishments

Abigail Nash, MA Media Design – Dec 2023

Abigail received and accepted a job offer as Public Programs Coordinator at the Farnsworth Art Museum.

Adam Swanson, MFA Creative Writing (Nonfiction) – May 2025

Adam was awarded an artist residency by the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon coast for Winter 2024.

Amy Goyette, Speech@Emerson – April 2024

Amy received a job offer at a private practice effective upon graduation.

Clarissa McLaughlin, MFA Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing – May 2025

Clarissa illustrated a picture book: “The Squirrel and the Moon.”

Craig Randall, MFA Popular Fiction – May 2025

Working this fall with over 500 teenagers, Craig spoke at five different high schools using his published poetry collections to encourage students to engage in conversations around mental health. Students did their own writing, creative and analytic, to help them build strong mental health habits.

Emily Lang, Publishing and Writing – May 2024

Emily received and accepted two job offers as part-time editorial assistant for both McSweeney’s and Harvard University.

Erika Clayton, Speech @ Emerson – December 2023

Erika was named NSLHA Chapter Representative and Emerson Student Ambassador.

Gabrielle Jonikas Publishing and Writing, MA – December 2023

Gabrielle got her dream job at Penguin Random House as a Subrights Assistant.

Jaely Manso, Speech@Emerson – Dec 2023

Jaely received an offer for extended speech and language placement after doing a spectacular job.

Jennifer Snow, Creative Writing – December 2023

Jennifer is working as a learning consultant and started an editing company while also working on multiple novels.

Katherine Bergeron, Writing for Film and Television – MFA 2025

Katherine’s story “The Old Red Schoolhouse in the Forest” was published in the anthology The Best of MetaStellar Year 2.

Mariam Paracha, Theatre Education – MFA 2024

Mariam finished an animated film and documentary.

Pablo Alvarez, MA Marketing – Fall 2023

Pablo began working on a project to create a digital marketing strategy for a brand that eventually became a consumer brand in South Florida. CoquitoCrave is a centered around the Puerto Rican culture in South Florida and beyond. Coquito is an alcoholic beverage typically created by Puerto Ricans around holiday time. CoquitoCrave is on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok (@coquitocrave), and blog posts can be found on https://coquitocrave.com. Pablo adds, “Emerson has truly helped bring this brand to fruition, and I’m excited to see what the future holds!”

Ryanna Hammond, MFA in Creative Writing – May 2024

Ryanna published her first novel, Searching For Emiliano, on Dec 1, 2023.

Safina Danish Elahi, MFA Popular Fiction and Publishing – December 2023

Safina’s novel has been published by Neem Tree Press UK. She was also selected for Iowa Writer’s Residency.

Scott Pomfret, MFA, Creative Writing (Fiction) – May 2025

Scott had several short stories published. “The Law of Forgetting” appears in The Write Launch, “Self Improvement” appears in The Café Irreal, and “Stopped Watch appears in Literally Stories.

Sofia Lindgren Galloway, Theatre Education and Applied Theatre – Spring 2024

Sofia published the essay,An Approach to Content Warnings in the Classroom,” for HowlRound.

Taryn Keller, Speech@Emerson – August 2026

Taryn is facilitating Character Strong, a socioemotional learning curriculum and parallel character education for the school district she works with.

Tess Rossi, MA, Publishing and Writing – December 2024

Tess gained a position in the Penguin Random House Production Editorial Mentorship Program.

Tochukwu Okafor, MFA, Creative Writing (Fiction) – May 2025

Tochukwu received the 2023 Oxbelly Writers Retreat Fellowship and a 2024 VCCA Fellowship.

Xudong Liu, MFA Film and Media Art – May 2024

Xudong’s short documentary “Gund Kwok” has received nine festival selections so far.

Yue Hua, MFA Film and Media Art -Spring 2024

Yue is working on a multi-projection performance as her MFA thesis, Blue Bird, a multi 16mm projector performance. Blue Bird is about journey of a bird’s soul finding its body and journey into the self. Blue Bird is not only a kind of bird, but also a symbol of a group of people, who migrate and explore their identity, history, and memory. Read more about Blue Bird on Yue’s website. Though a work-in-progress, it has appeared twice as part of a group show at Emerson Contemporary Media Gallery and Huret & Spector Gallery.

Professional Studies: Copyediting Certificate

Emerson’s Department of Professional Studies offers a number of non-credit certificate programs. The most popular non-credit certificate program is the Copyediting Certificate. The program offers courses such as grammar for professionals, editing for style, editing for bias-free language, precision proofreading that help students improve their writing and editing.

Who is Behind the Program?

Over the past twenty years, two faculty who helped launch the program have been dedicated to helping students become better writers and copyeditors. Professors Karen English and Carol Parikh have been involved in the writing and publishing industries for their entire careers. They both began teaching at other area colleges.

How Did They Come to Emerson?

Karen English’s degree is in History and as a young faculty member in the early 1970s, she edited a series of books about the Vietnam War. The series was very popular and eventually acquired by Time/Life books. She was then hired to edit a series of books about the history of the Olympic games, which led to opportunities to work as a magazine editor. When Emerson’s Director of Professional Studies asked Professor English if she might help launch the Copyediting Certificate program, Professor English suggested another professor, Carol Parikh as a co-teacher in the program.

Carol Parikh’s experience as a prize-winning writer informs what she brings to Emerson’s Professional Studies non-credit courses. She got to spend more time focusing on writing and teaching after raising a family. Beginning anew after a divorce and moving to Boston seeking a way to make a living, she began copyediting and writing for Natural Health magazine. She continued to teach and write. She also began working as a freelance copyeditor after a friend asked for help and then referred her excellent copyediting skills to others.

Both English and Parikh still work as editors and writers and their insight into the world of writing, publishing, and copyediting is invaluable for students in the Copyediting Certificate program. Over the years while teaching in the program, they developed and created a copyediting workbook which each student enrolled in the program receives.

Curriculum Requirements

Before the Covid-19 pandemic the non-credit copyediting courses were offered on Emerson’s Boston campus, but now all courses are held online, in a remote live format, via Zoom. There are multiple sections offered for each of the courses. The non-credit copyediting classes are offered in the fall and spring semesters. To earn the certificate, students must complete a minimum of 45.5 hours (4.55 CEUs) within a two-calendar year period from the time they begin, but the courses don’t need to be taken in order. Students must hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED to enroll.

What are Classes Like?

English thinks anyone with a desire to improve their writing and copyediting skills can benefit from these classes. Parikh acknowledges that the class time is long, 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., but she and English say they try to make each class interesting. “We try to make it fun,” says English. Most people have full-time jobs and families, so they keep the class interactive and lively.  

Professors English and Parikh couldn’t pinpoint the magic formula is to their success and the popularity of the Copyediting Certificate program. However, they try to keep students engaged ensuring their classes is never boring. They both truly enjoy teaching these classes. Their enthusiasm for helping students from all over the world to improve their writing and copyediting keeps these veteran faculty members coming back to teach each semester.

Follow Kim Costigan:

Kim Costigan is writer who has worked as a letter carrier, a unemployment claims agent, an airline ticket agent and for the last decade, a college administrator. She is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Emerson College and expects to graduate in May 2024. As a lifelong resident of Winthrop, Massachusetts, a tiny peninsula town located under the flightpath of Logan Airport, she especially likes writing stories about the lives of working-class Bostonians.

Latest posts from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *