By the end of his time at UNI, Aaron Barber could see how being stretched in graduate school produced growth.
I am currently employed as a Policyholder Relations Associate for Sammons Financial Group in West Des Moines. I also teach two classes per semester for Des Moines Area Community College. On the side, I have been an assistant varsity baseball coach for Waukee.
When I am teaching or preparing for a class, I not only think of my experience as teaching assistant at UNI, but also the classes I took. I think my professors at UNI did a great job at presenting the material clearly and making it relevant to my experiences. It’s something I strive to do for my students. I credit this to my time as a Communication Studies graduate student. The work I was asked to do was more than mundane schoolwork. I was able to relate it to my own everyday experiences.
The opportunity to teach Oral Communication at UNI has helped me in preparing for my own classes, or served as an affirmation of my love for teaching. Teaching has always been so interesting because each student adds their unique perspective to the class through his/her own experiences. I think any time you have the ability to present to a class, you gain confidence, improve your speaking skills, and improve your ability to think on your toes.
The professors in the Communication Studies department were phenomenal. One such faculty member was April Chatham-Carpenter. She served on my thesis committee, and played such a crucial role in strengthening my research and tightening the language of my thesis. April pushed me with revision after revision of my thesis, but also celebrated with me when I was finally finished. She is such a great teacher, so approachable, and genuinely concerned with helping her students.
I really enjoyed Tom Hall’s Organizational Assessment class, as well. We were able to get a “real world” experience and assess the communication environment of a local business. With his work and research experience, he was a valuable resource for the class. Victoria De Francisco also has such a passion for teaching. Like April, Victoria was so helpful in improving my writing skills.
I chose UNI thanks to a friend who was in the Communication Studies program. She had great things to say about her classes and professors. Now I have done some recruiting for the department. I am proud to let the people I meet and students in my class know where I went to school, and why it was the right program for me.