You are here: Home / News

Current News

Speech and Debate Tournament Results

The Penn State Speech and Debate Team made a strong showing at the Otterbein forensic tournament held Nov. 3. Joshua Kwak placed 2 in the

Novice Division and won top speaker award for novice.  Lilian Schaffer advanced to

Novice semi-finals and received a 4th place speaker award.  Kapilia Kommareddy received a third place speaker award.  Alex Lawson

and Elisa Vogel advanced to quarterfinals in the Open Division and Elisa took 4th speaker in Open.


Six members of the Penn State Speech and Debate Team have qualified for the National Forensic Association national tournament to be held in OshKosh Wisconsin this coming April.

Public Speaking Contest Results

On behalf of Benjamin Firgens regarding the results of the Public Speaking Contest:

Honorable Mentions: Tara Bunce, Megan Davis, and Ian Harrison

3rd Place: Claudia Hatch

2nd Place: Joe Shanley

1st Place: Celeste Watson-Martin

Hearty congratulations to these speakers!

I'm also proud to acknowledge the help of so many who made the contest possible: Pearson Learning Solutions, for their continued support; Dave Dzikowski and Michele Kennerly, for overseeing the planning and the event itself; the many judges who volunteered their time for the preliminary rounds; Don Hahn, Meredith Doran, and Jeff Goldman, for judging the final round; and the many volunteers who helped in other small ways throughout the contest's unfolding. Thanks to all for making possible such a special event for the students!

National Communication Association Convention

The Department of Communication Arts & Sciences was in the spotlight at the National Communication Association convention in Dallas, Texas, November 16th-19th.  What follows is a list of accolades accrued by members of the CAS community.  Photos, courtesy of Karen Campbell of NCA, feature new NCA Distinguished Scholar Mary Stuckey, and also Professor Debra Hawhee, who received two prestigious awards at NCA this year.  Stuckey and Hawhee are joined by incoming Assistant Professor Michael Steudeman in the group photo of all the recipients of association-wide honors.  Congratulations to all!!


Lindsey Aloia (PSU alumna) and Denise Solomon (Professor): 2017 Franklin K. Knower Outstanding Article Award, Interpersonal Communication Division

Adam Cody (PhD student): Outstanding Student Paper, American Society for the History of Rhetoric

Veronica Droser (Visiting Assistant Professor): Elected New Professional Representative, Family Communication Division

Ben Firgens (PhD Student): Top student Paper, Visual Communication Division

Debra Hawhee (Professor): 2017 Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award, National Communication Association

Debra Hawhee (Professor): 2017 Distinguished Scholar Award, Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division

Andrew High (PSU alumnus and incoming Associate Professor): Outstanding Early Career Award, Interpersonal Communication Division

Samantha LeVan (PhD student): Top Student Paper, Interpersonal Communication Division

Nikki Orth (MA student): Top Student Paper Panel, Theatre, Film, and New Multi-media Division.

Haley Schneider (MA student): Top Paper, American Studies Division

Michael Steudeman (incoming Assistant Professor): 2017 Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, National Communication Association

Mary Stuckey (Professor): NCA Distinguished Scholar

Keren Wang (PhD Student): Top Student Paper, Japan-US Communication Association

CAS Faculty Identified among the most Published Scholars in the Communication Discipline!

A recent article in Communication Education reviewed scholarly productivity defined as peer reviewed articles published between 2012 and 2016 in 24 journals in the field of communication.  In addition, the study identified the scholars with the most publications in four journals characterized as central to the discipline (Human Communication Research, Communication Research, Communication Monographs, and Journal of Communication). Penn State’s Department of Communication Arts and Sciences is the only program to have two faculty among the nine scholars identified as the 1% most published scholars in journals central to the field. Congratulations to Denise Solomon, Liberal Arts Professor and Head, and LJ Shen, Associate Professor! Further accolades to Denise and to Daniel Mansson, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State Hazleton, who were also among the 32 scholars comprising the 1% most published scholars across the full array of 24 journals examined in the study.

GEW and 483 Work Group

This past week CAS 483, information and technology class, met with the Global Entrepreneur Week(GEW) group to evaluate their web site and look for other possible methods that they could use to improve their outreach as well as considering other social media might work for them. It was a collaborative project(both town and campus) to assist in the promotion of GEW to students.  More information can be found at

Speech & Debate Competition Updates!

This picture was taken at last weekend's debate tournament at Clarion.  Seckin Kara received first place in Impromptu, Extemporaneous, and Informative Speaking.
Joshua Kwak received first place in Novice Debate and Kapila Kommareddy received 3rd place in Novice Debate.  Our next tournament will be Nov. 4 at St. Anselm.

Congratulations Everyone!

CAS Panel Informs, Inspires

On Thursday, October 19th, a panel of current and graduated CAS majors shared their experiences and tips with undergraduates about their paths to success.

Three current CAS majors, Matthew Dabiero, Cory Steinle, and Daniel Zahn joined CAS graduates Angela Brosnan, Matthew Crager, and Laura Kastner in offering both practical and philosophical advice to the audience about how to approach their time as undergraduates. The event was moderated by Lambda Pi Eta president, Peter Yu.

Brosnan, who followed her 2011 degree from Penn State with a law degree from Villanova and is now a child advocate attorney in Philadelphia, brought memorabilia to highlight the importance of the connections she made with CAS faculty.

Kastner and Crager, 2017 graduates and Fulbright recipients, offered a hindsight point of view encouraging others to make choices that generally enhance the quality of their lives and allow them to focus on that which makes them happy and feel fulfilled.

Sophomores Steinle and Zahn stressed the importance of making strategic choices about being involved, noting that it was more important to contribute significantly to a few things, than to be a poor participant in many.

Dabiero, a junior and former immunology major, commented about the ways CAS allows students to investigate so many different fields of study. He used the example of a paper he wrote in a communication theory course that dealt with the biological sciences, noting the serendipitous significance to his “former life.”

Throughout the hour and a half discussion, all the panelists seemed to return to a common theme: CAS provides the skills and flexibility to be successful in whatever field of study one chooses. To illustrate, they talked about research they’d done or were doing. It ranged from Kanye West to rhetoric of war and peace to Supreme Court decisions and forced arbitration.

Another common rejoinder was the connections they all felt they made with CAS faculty and how that helped shape decision-making and how they found their personal and academic passions.

The CAS department is grateful to the panelists for their time and insightful comments and to all who attended.

Congrats to the Speech & Debate Team!

 The Speech and Debate Team after competition at Lafayette College.  They compete next at Clarion College.

Speech and Debate Team Competitors

Speech and Debate Team Champs








CAS Issues Statement on DACA

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences unequivocally supports DACA students at Penn State University. This support is consistent with our departmental mission as well as principles of diversity and inclusion that the College of Liberal Arts professes. “The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences,” our mission statement begins, “is committed to the study, teaching, and practice of human communication for the betterment of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world.” We believe that this commitment to human communication and the public good obliges us to acknowledge and respect human communication in its full cultural diversity. Our department therefore promotes excellence in the study, teaching, and practice of human communication by working to include and support members of underrepresented groups in our student body.


Many campus resources are available for both graduate and undergraduate students directly or indirectly affected by the unfolding presidential actions on DACA. CAS faculty are not professionally trained in matters of immigration law or psychological counseling. But we are committed to helping our students find the best campus offices to advocate for their rights and wellbeing.


Undergraduate students should feel welcome to approach our undergraduate officers if you seek services and support in the Penn State system: Lori Bedell (Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies and Departmental Liaison for Student Affairs; 865-0974 or and Bradford Vivian (Director of Undergraduate Studies; 865-0945 or Kirt Wilson, Director of Graduate Studies (865-1985 or is also available to discuss concerns over DACA especially relevant to graduate students. Our faculty in general, moreover, stand ready to help all CAS students find appropriate resources if necessary.


In addition, here is a list of potentially helpful contacts and sources of information:


Legal Services:

  • The Affirmative Action Office (814-863-0471) and Student Legal Services (814-867-4388), provide free confidential advice, representation, and referrals.
  • The Penn State Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (in the PSU Law School) has compiled detailed information on the current status of DACA and immigration law:


Counseling Services:

Prossor Erina MacGeorge as Guest on President Barron's WPSU Show "Digging Deeper"

Communication Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Erina MacGeorge will join Andrew Read, Evan Pugh Professor of Biology and Entomology and Eberly Professor of Biotechnology, in a conversation with Penn State President Eric Barron during the season premiere of President Barron’s monthly WPSU show “Digging Deeper.” In the show, which airs on WPSU-TV at 11:30 am and 6:00 pm on September 17th, Professors MacGeorge and Read discuss the dangers of overuse of antibiotics and their ongoing research on how interactions between doctors and patients at University Health Services can affect the prescribing of antibiotics. See: