Baylor Graduate Students Are Productive Researchers

April 30, 2014

Dr. Cassy Burleson, Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, and Dani Brown represented Baylor University at the AEJMC Midwinter Conference in Oklahoma this spring.

"Standing on the shoulders of those who preceded us, we hold a perspective on higher education today that sees beyond the uncertainty of a complex and changing world." This quote is from the introductory paragraph of Baylor's Pro FuturA&S document, the strategic 10-year plan for the College of Arts and Science.

This plan is designed to lead Baylor into a future of development and discovery, and consistent with that mission many students and faculty in the Baylor Journalism program are already engaged in scholarly research and providing new insights into the fields of journalism and public relations.

"I'm very excited about all of [the students'] topics," said Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, graduate studies director for Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media.

Moody-Ramirez teaches students proper research methods, mentors the students as they work through the task of researching their topic, and encourages them to present their work at academic conferences.

Hannah Mason, who received her master’s degree in May of 2013, and Moody-Ramirez had a paper accepted by the AEJMC Midwinter conference held in Oklahoma Feb. 28 through March 1 titled “The Use of Twitter in Sports Image Repair: A Case Study of Ex-Heisman Reggie Bush.”

Another May 2013 master’s graduate, Dani Brown, presented a paper at the same conference with Moody-Ramirez and Dr. Cassy Burleson titled “Fifteen years and still counting: Jasper Dragging Longitudinal Study.”

“One of the most exciting aspects of graduate school is the opportunity to learn and conduct research with published faculty who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of journalism,” said Tonya Lewis, graduate student. “I believe the curriculum and structure of the program coupled with great teaching will fully prepare me to apply and be successful in a top-tier journalism doctoral program.”

Recent graduate students' topics cover the common themes of user generated content, framing and tone. While these themes may be reflected in each student's research, the individual topics vary greatly. Some of the topics include the future of publishing, use of social media in the classroom, the history of racial comedy, volunteerism, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the upcoming Texas governor election.

“Through the guidance of my professors, I’ve been pushed to improve my research and writing skills,” said Ben Murray, graduate student. “The classes here focus on current issues while teaching you to develop and communicate your thoughts more effectively. I know this program will prepare me for whatever career path I choose in the future.”

Faculty are also actively presenting research at conferences and publishing journal articles. Dr. Marlene Neill published the article “Building buy-in: The need for internal relationships and informal coalitions” in Public Relations Review and has another article forthcoming in the Journal of Communication Management titled “Beyond the C-Suite: Corporate Communications’ Power & Influence.”

Moody-Ramirez published the article “Ethnic/Racial Minorities’ Participation in AEJMC: How Much and What Type of Progress?" in Journalism & Mass Communication Educator in the fall.

The faculty are also sharing the findings from their research with undergraduate students in the classroom. Moody-Ramirez and Neill recently discussed their findings on social media management with their students based on survey and focus group research with public relations and human resources professionals.

For more information on how Baylor Journalism’s graduate program, you may contact Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez by email

Baylor public relations student Jon Platt contributed to the story
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