George M. Hayward
George M. Hayward graduated from Penn State in May of 2014 with degrees in Communication Arts and Sciences and Sociology, and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. While at Penn State, George was very active in several organizations, including Toastmasters International, TEDxPSU, Penn State Debate Society, and Victory Christian Fellowship. He was also selected as the Distinguished Graduating Senior in Sociology, and recently began a Sociology Ph.D program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Having a background in Communication Arts and Sciences has helped George tremendously. In fact, the benefits of this major began almost instantly for George, who spent his first two years as an architecture student. He was so inspired by his new studies that he joined some of the previously mentioned organizations (such as Toastmasters International and Debate Society). Specifically, his interests in rhetoric, persuasion, speech writing, and social influence led him to compete in several Toastmasters speech contests and further develop his hobby of stand-up comedy.
Now in graduate school, George is still influenced by some of his studies as an undergraduate. For example, his training in research methods has proved useful, and he still recalls various theoretical ideas that are relevant to his sociological interests. Among his favorite ideas are Burke's concept of terministic screens and Plato's critique of rhetoric, both of which are directly applicable to the field of sociology and understanding social influence. While in graduate school, George plans to focus primarily on the sociology of religion and the family, and he is excited to see how his experiences at Penn State will continue to influence his work.