Come for the Pizza, Stay for the Courses

The first-ever Communication Department Career Social held on May 22 was crowded even before its official start time.

"We are trying to have students from all five majors meet and mingle," said Professor Sara Brewer. "We also want to inform students of transfer opportunities."

Professors who teach in the area of broadcasting, communication, film, journalism and speech informed students of the courses they teach.

Many of the professors instruct multiple courses within the Communication Department.

The large space in LS 152, which is often used as a movie theater, was cramped with the number of students and staff filling the area.

At one point Professor Brewer had to stand on top of a chair to be heard over the clamor. "Where are the professors?" she asked as she looked among the many attendees.

After the professors introduced themselves, pizza was handed out and disappeared in a matter of minutes. Free drinks and snacks were made available as students spoke among themselves and staff. Information on California State University Northridge and a table of pamphlets regarding job opportunities and transfer information were on display.

Several members of the Film Club wore shirts promoting the club proudly as they informed fellow students of their purpose.

"We're on the threshold of something great," said M. Bui, Film Club secretary. "This is grassroots talent. It's real filmmaking. This isn't about money or fame but about art and content."

Professor Sheila Laffey was visibly excited to speak about her new Film 5 topic "Green Screen." The class will feature movies on the environment and self-discovery.

"We can't clean up the planet if we are a mess ourselves physically and emotionally," Laffey said.

According to the flier being handed out, the class includes "breaks with yoga, meditation and martial arts."
Professor Deborah Kraut reaches out to students from many cultures in her Oral Interpretation: Performing Literature Across Cultures (Speech 4) course.

"In this class, we go over prose of different cultures, and the similarities and differences," said Kraut. "Students from different cultures get to perform in front of one another."

The class attracts students from many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Kraut noticed a shift in the interaction between the students as the semester progressed.

"At first the students are aloof and sitting apart, but by the end of the class they get along because they have a deeper understanding of one another," says Kraut. She has a background in speech therapy, and has been able to assist several of her students enrolled in the class.

Professor Charmaine Kaimikaua will be teaching Intercultural Communication (Speech 7) next fall, which will teach students how to communicate with different cultures.

"In order for us to communicate with other cultures effectively, we have to take a look at how we communicate ourselves," says Kaimikaua. "Race, class, gender, social institutions, and systems of power are all underlying issues that make up the way we communicate."

Professor Nate Brown flipped through a scrapbook of newspaper clippings on the Speech and Debate team that he's kept since the creation of the team in 2005. "In my opinion, there is no better way to master communication skills than to compete with others," says Brown. "You also end up with awards that you can show off."

Professor Gerard Burkhart, who teaches News Photography (Journalism 21), handed out copies of the Corsair to those in the room. Corsair staff members Alicia Milburn and Orit Cohen encouraged their fellow students to join the newspaper next semester.

"Journalism is a great experience and is incredibly helpful for students," said Professor Saul Rubin who teaches The News (Journalism 1). "Students learn how to effectively research subjects, and how to develop ideas."

"Students on the Corsair staff learn how to gather information and share it," said Baird, who teaches Journalism 16: Producing the Campus Newspaper. "It's also a fun way to get out into the world."
Baird, who spent 21 years at The Los Angeles Times, has been instructing the class since 1992.

Students in Brewer's Producing The Online Newspaper (Journalism 19) course learn how to work with html, Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Flash. "This class is essential for anyone studying broadcasting or journalism," says Brewer.

Brewer also teaches Survey of Mass Media Communications (Communications 1), where students are informed of different media outlets such as newspapers, the magazines and television.

Professor Nick Pernisco, who has been teaching at SMC for four years, was a student at SMC 10 years ago.

"I attended CSUN and received my bachelor's and master's degree," said Pernisco. "I came back to SMC for the students."

Among many of the classes he teaches is Communications 10: Journalism, Gender and Race. "In this class we look at the media's images of women and minorities," says Pernisco. "We look at the history of who controlled these images, and how the '60s changed things."

Those interested in broadcasting would gain a great deal of knowledge from Professor Frank Dawson. In Dawson's Television Production (Broadcasting 46) course, students gain hands-on experience of television production.

"There's an internship at Time Warner where students serve as production crew for their public access channel," says Dawson.

While SMC's student radio station can only be heard in the college's cafeteria, it is a chance for broadcasting majors to gain experience.

"We broadcast talk, sports and music," said Brad Lemonds of the Broadcasting Lab. "This eventually leads to internships and career opportunities for students."

Many students left the social with more than just pizza.

"I'm glad I attended," said 21 year-old video production major Angel Suarez. "There are a lot of classes that I'm interested in that I wouldn't have found out about otherwise."