May 25, 2019  

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Communication Studies Doctoral Student Awarded Fellowship in China

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Amy Ellefson

Amy Ellefson, a University of Southern Mississippi doctoral candidate in communication studies, has been selected as one of just two participants in the National Communication Association’s (NCA) 2018-19 inaugural Visiting Fellows Program for Communication and Media Research (VFP) at the Communication University of China (CUC) in Beijing.

Fellows selected for the program serve one-semester appointments-in-residence, conducting research on their proposed projects in conjunction with the VFP’s annual theme, which for the inaugural year of the program is “The China Dream, the American Dream, and Communicating National Narratives.” Fellows are also responsible for delivering four public talks, workshops, or other scholarly programs meant to advance NCA’s mission, the broad goals of the VFP, and the interests of intercultural collaboration.

“This fellowship is the perfect opportunity to continue my prior academic work in communication studies and East-West studies by conducting site-specific research on my favorite topic, women and conflict,” said Ellefson, a native of Omaha, Neb. who will take part in the program in spring 2019.

“When I enter the job market in two years, participation in this fellowship will help distinguish me from other candidates. The experience of working in Beijing side-by-side with Chinese communication scholars will certainly be a highlight of my academic and professional careers.”

Ellefson also credited her doctoral program advisor, Dr. Steven Venette; Communication Studies Graduate Advisor, Dr. Katie Anthony; and Communication Studies Department Chair, Dr. Wendy Atkins-Sayre, for supporting her participation in the fellowship program; she said her coursework with Dr. John Meyer in conflict and negotiation will inform her research at CUC.

“The connections that I'm able to make with my USM professors and their willingness to act as mentors are great advantages in pursuing opportunities like this fellowship. I appreciate having them in my academic and professional corner.”

Although Ellefson is only in her first year in the doctoral program, Dr. Atkins-Sayre said “she hit the ground running.”

“Not only is she already undertaking fascinating research, she’ll now get to add this experience in China to her graduate education,” said Dr. Atkins-Sayre. “We’re proud of Amy and appreciate the national recognition she will bring to our program through this experience.”

For information about the USM Department of Communication Studies, visit