Department of Communication Studies

Gwenne Culpepper-Berry

Gwenne Culpepper-Berry

As an undergraduate at Iowa State University, I received my bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a minor in English. Shortly after I graduated, I was hired on at UNI as the manager of news and editorials for  the Marketing and Public Relations department.  I really enjoyed my job and didn’t plan on leaving any time soon. Little did I know that my life was about to change. One day, a colleague of mine suggested I apply for a newly opened position on campus. I took their advice, and I am now the Associate Director of Compliance and Equity Management.

When I received this position, I felt there were skills I lacked that prevented me from performing better in my job. After this realization, I decided to get my master’s. After carefully weighing my option between several graduate schools, I chose to enroll in UNI’s Communication Graduate Program because it was not only a great fit with my undergraduate degree, but it was also recommended so highly.

I started my graduate school experience in the fall of 2005, and throughout my time I watched myself grow. Graduate school renewed confidence in me that I forgot I had. It also helped me think critically, improve investigative skills, and gave me a better understanding of communication theories. All of these things have helped me in my job.

Victoria DeFrancisco and Tom Hall were a few of the professors that played an important role in my success at UNI. Victoria is the type of professor that would lose sleep just to ensure that her students retained a theory. She also challenged me with the high expectations she set. Tom Hall is another professor that amazed me with his wealth of knowledge. I was so intrigued in lectures that I would be shocked that our class time was over.  Even though these two professors were very influential during my time as a graduate student, every other professor in the department was also passionate about providing the most conducive learning environment. It was so obvious that they loved to teach, and they were so willing to give me a listening ear.

Working full-time meant that I took one to two classes per semester. With hard work, I finished my degree in 2009 and am so grateful for the experiences and opportunities that I received at UNI.