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Congratulations to the 2018 Civic Engagement Public Speaking Contest Winners

The CAS department would like to congratulate all of the 2018 Civic Engagement Public Speaking Contest winners! First Place: Lauren Fish (Elle Morgan) “Increased Integration of General Education and Special Education Students” Second Place: Sam Ross (Kathy Kile) “Opioid Education: Fostering a Brighter Tomorrow" Third Place: Aidan Lake (Jose Maldonado) “The Next Chapter in Penn State Reads” Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): -Becca Stroschein (Brandon Johnson) “Awareness for Endometriosis: A Need For Change” -Jacob Ringer (Marguerite Lehman) “The Longest Time: Confederate Flags in School” -Michelle Irwin (Kathy Kile) “A Community of Respect: Perceptions of People who use Wheelchairs”

The CAS department would like to congratulate all of the 2018 Civic Engagement Public Speaking Contest winners!

First Place: Lauren Fish (Elle Morgan) “Increased Integration of General Education and Special Education Students”

Second Place: Sam Ross (Kathy Kile) “Opioid Education: Fostering a Brighter Tomorrow"

Third Place: Aidan Lake (Jose Maldonado) “The Next Chapter in Penn State Reads”


Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

-Becca Stroschein (Brandon Johnson) “Awareness for Endometriosis: A Need For Change”
-Jacob Ringer (Marguerite Lehman) “The Longest Time: Confederate Flags in School”
-Michelle Irwin (Kathy Kile) “A Community of Respect: Perceptions of People who use Wheelchairs”

CAS Class To Be Offered for London Study Abroad

CAS will be cross-listing a course with ENGL next summer in a London study abroad experience!


ENGL 455/262 Mysticism, Magic and the Occult in Literary Modernism

Long before Harry Potter, London was a hotbed of magic, mysticism, and the occult. This course will investigate how these cultural currents (in addition to late Victorian spiritualism and the “new” study of psychology) impacted great works of literature and art produced by "the moderns" between 1890 and the start of World War II. Readings will be selected from such canonical masterpieces as Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw; shorter works by Virginia Woolf, William Butler Yeats, and T.S. Eliot; and selections by lesser known authors such as Ithell Colquhoun, Aleister Crowley, and Mary Butts. London is our classroom, so course excursions will include a walking tour of Occult London; stops at The Atlantis Bookshop, Watkins Books, and/or Treadwell’s; a visit to Virginia Woolf's Bloomsbury and/or Sissinghurst Castle; tours of churches designed by Christopher Wren and built by the “Devil’s Architect” Nicholas Hawksmoor; and a viewing of the “Magical Realism in the Weimer Republic 1919-1933” exhibit at the Tate Modern.* *wands not required


ENGL 473/130 Creating Public Memory in London

*Communication Arts and Sciences students should enroll in CAS 497 so that the course can count toward the major or minor*

How do we remember past events and people, and to what effect? Public memory (as opposed to private recollection) embeds itself in culturally available “texts,” including literary works, monuments, museum displays, music, orations, rituals of remembrance, photographs, quilts, tattoos, films, and so on. How do we “read” museum holdings, memorial structures, and historic sites—and how can we understand the designs those sites have on our values, beliefs, and actions? Anyone acquainted with the news knows that how communities allocate honor and remember the past are topics of intense controversy these days—take, for example, the current debates about what to do about civil war monuments. Loaded with monuments and memorials designed to allow the past to speak to the present, London offers an ideal site to take up questions related to how public memory is created through rhetorical action. In addition to readings and classroom discussion, students can look forward to guided visits to the British Museum (and some of its controversial holdings, such as the Elgin Marbles); to the Globe Theatre and other stages (to see how they construct Shakespeare’s England and individual characters such as Henry V); to Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London; to the National Portrait Gallery and the Imperial War Museums (including the “bunker” beneath London featured in the recent film “Darkest Hour”). Students can also expect outings outside London—perhaps to Stratford to experience how the community wishes Shakespeare (and his times) to be remembered and understood.


To apply, go to:

Professor Smith Receives Award

The Department congratulates Professor Rachel Smith on being named PA's 2018 Public Health Prevention Ambassador by the Secretary of Health on Friday November 16th. Professor Smith, who was nominated for the award by the Pennsylvania Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship (PCAS), is being recognized for her role in the creation of PCAS and communication research to advance judicious use of antibiotics. The award will be presented at Antibiotics Awareness Art and Video Competitions Award Ceremony at the Pennsylvania State Museum on November 16th, where Professor Smith will give a speech to share her perspective as an Ambassador.


Before the semester is officially over, we wanted to let you know of some great course opportunities for Fall 2018!

Interested in speech, debate, argument, or public/political discourse? All of the following courses cover those topics. CAS 210 and 311 are excellent follow-up courses to CAS 100 or 201 (while offering Gen Ed credit). All of them should interest students enrolled in the Rhetoric minor.

Please feel free to contact CAS Academic Advisor Kristie Kalvin ( or CAS Director of Undergraduate Studies Brad Vivian ( about availability for Fall!


CAS 210 (GH) - Landmark Speeches on Democracy and Dissent

Landmark Speeches on Democracy and Dissent is an exciting new course that offers a survey of key speeches, debates, and controversies making up the rich tradition of U.S. civic life.


CAS 311 (GH) - Rhetorical Criticism

Rhetorical Criticism exposes students to the theories and practices of conducting rhetorical analyses of speeches, newspapers, television, commercials, movies, slogans, debates, and other forms of public communication.


CAS 420 - Rhetorical Theory

This course features advanced study in the theories and ideas about rhetoric first introduced in CAS 201. It emphasizes how the study and practice of rhetoric helps us to care for ourselves, as individuals, as citizens, as participants in relationships, and as members of communities.

Peer Educators Lead Conversation on Sexual Assault at Penn State

Communication Arts and Sciences Doctoral Candidate John Rountree is the instructor for CAS/PLSC 409: Democratic Deliberation this semester. Students in Democratic Deliberation study the importance of deliberation to effective participation and decision-making in civic institutions. During the course of the class, John and his students decided to organize a public deliberation on an important issue, thereby promoting skill in sound deliberation beyond the classroom. On the evening of Monday, April 16, 2018, they held a public conversation on sexual assault at Penn State in the HUB. Planning for the event involved coordination the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council, the Penn State Gender Equity Center, and co-sponsorship with the Center for Democratic Deliberation. John and the students in CAS/PLSC 409 have shown admirable leadership, skill, and initiative in putting their academic lessons into public practice. In doing so, they have contributed to enhancing the quality of deliberative engagement on campus in general.


To read more click here.

To view photos click here.

Speech and Debate Team heads to Wisconsin

The Department has high hopes for the Penn State Speech and Debate Team as they head to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to compete at the National Forensic Association National tournament! Pictured here are members Kapila Komnareddy, Lilian Schaefer, Miao Han, Josh Kwak, Alex Lawson, Elisa Vogel, and Seckin Kara, along with coach and CAS Teaching Professor Margaret Michels. Good luck to the team!!


2017 Fulbright Fellowship Update

2017 Fulbright Fellowship awardee, Laura Kastner, provided us with an update on the work she has been doing in Maylaysia!


Laura graduated from Penn State in May ’17 with a B.A. in CAS and a B.S. in Statistics. She is working now as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia, living in the small city of Kota Bharu, Kelantan. This city is notable for its “seafood” (read: anchovies), proximity to Thailand, Kelate dialect, and its 95% Muslim population. She has been teaching in a rural secondary school called SMK Padang Kala whose students range from 12-18 years old.

During the week (which runs Sunday-Thursday in the three most conservative states in Malaysia), she co-teaches 14 different classes per week, with a new set of 14 classes each month. Teaching mostly consists of playing English games and lighter activities, as the teachers want her to make English more exciting for the students and it’s difficult to keep track of where each class is in their curriculum. Outside of class, she runs Public Speaking Club, a Video Pen Pal program, Choral Speaking Club, English Society, and a Confidence & Leadership Club. Aside from classes and extracurriculars, ETAs in Malaysia are required to lead two English Camps - 1-3 days of themed activities held entirely in English. She plans to lead a girl’s fitness-themed camp, and to co-lead a national TED-style conference.

Laura says, "I have been so pleasantly surprised over the past two months – by the students’ skill and insightfulness, by the teachers’ concern and hospitality, by the community’s enthusiasm and warmth, and by my own ability to adapt to living without comforts that I previously considered necessities. I look forward to continuing to forge close bonds at school, to exposing my students to new ideas and opportunities, and to discovering more about the city and culture I feel so lucky to be a part of."

Keep up the great work, Laura!


To view more photos, please visit our facebook: click here.

2017-2018 Student Marshal

We are proud and delighted to recognize Erica Reeves as this year's student marshal from CAS!

Erica’s academic record is truly exemplary. She has maintained an superlative GPA as a double major in two demanding programs (CAS as well as Political Science). She has also excelled as an Honors student. Erica has diligently selected her coursework to provide a stellar foundation for her professional ambitions concerning law, politics, and history. Beyond the classroom, she has admirably sought out additional academic experiences, including her service as a research assistant for doctoral research on election outcomes and democratic citizenship. Erica’s all-around professionalism as well as her commitment to the broader community is evident in the various societies to which she belongs. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity, Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society, and the Phi Sigma Pi Honors Fraternity.

Posdoctoral Teaching Fellow Awarded Student Academic Achievement Award

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences would like to congratulate Jessica Kurr, CAS Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, on being selected as the winner of the 2018 Student Academic Achievement Award by The Penn State President's Commission on LGBTQ!

To read more about the Student Academic Achievement Award and Penn State President's Commission on LGBTQ please click here.

Congratulations Jessica!


Speech & Debate Team - John Carroll University Results

The Penn State Speech and Debate Team competed at John Carroll University this past weekend.  The team placed second in sweepstakes.  Mia Han competed in semi-finals and won 3rd place novice speaker for both the tournament and the conference.  Sean Reilly placed 6th in impromptu speaking.  Seckin Kara placed 1st in informative speaking, 2nd in extemporaneous speaking and 4th in impromptu.

The regular season has now ended with the team qualifying eight of the nine active members to the NFA national tournament to be held in OshKosh Wisconsin in April.