Throughout the Spring 2024 semester, a group of students in the Department of Communication Studies were hard at work creating events and opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and alumni in their department and beyond.

The goal of the COMM 380 Practicum in Communication Studies class is to provide practical experience in intercollegiate debate, individual events, applied communication research, or alternate communication studies projects.

In the Spring semester, the class focused on putting on or assisting with a number of events as well as maintaining a presence on social media. Students split up into small groups and each served as leaders for one of the projects or events. However, the rest of the class would come together and pitch in when it came time to carry out the project or event.

Throughout their journey, they were supervised by Professor in Communication Studies Laura O’Hara.

“This experience has been deeply satisfying because it has given me the chance to make great connections with my students and with alums,” O’Hara said. “I welcome the chance to direct this course again in the future. I see it as essential to attracting potential majors, retaining current students, increasing our visibility in the Muncie community, and meaningfully engaging with our fabulous alum!”

While the class involved a lot of hard work and commitment regardless of if a student was serving as a team lead or not, they agreed that the experience was incredibly rewarding and valuable for their futures.

“Being in this class involved a lot of hands-on work with the department and actually applying what we have learned about the field in a way that mirrors life in the workforce,” sophomore Advocacy and Public Communication Major and Social Work Minor Mo Armor said.

For junior Interpersonal Communication Major Alex Buxton, participating in the class was “one of the highlights of my undergraduate experience,” and Liz Clevenger, Interpersonal Communication Major ’24, said she enjoyed the opportunity to work behind the scenes to see what it was like to put events together.

Meet The Spring 2024 Class

  • Laura O’Hara, Professor in Communication Studies
  • Katie Kois, Graduate Assistant


  • Mo Armor, Big Talk Team Lead
  • Diana Beasley, Social Media Team Lead
  • Alex Buxton, Alum Return to Campus Day Team Lead
  • Liz Clevenger, Alum Return to Campus Day Team Lead
  • Charlie Cronin, Robotics Competition Team Lead
  • Jordan Denagall, Social Media Team Lead
  • Olivia Gabrich, Big Talk Team Lead
  • Leah Hayes, JDAY+/CCIM+ Team Lead
  • Zoe Hurst, Alum Return to Campus Day Team Lead
  • Max Johnson, Big Talk Team Lead
  • Grace Molnar, Robotics Competition Team Lead
  • Oakley Myers, Social Media Team Lead
  • Maggey Parker, One Ball State Day Team Lead
  • Zoe Pointer, One Ball State Day Team Lead
  • Marie Scudder, Social Media Team Lead
  • Zach Shepler, Alum Return to Campus Day Team Lead
  • Brooke Stallings, JDAY+/CCIM+ Team Lead
  • Adonnika West, One Ball State Day Team Lead

Spring 2024 Events + Projects

Alum Return To Campus Day

Comm Alum Return to Campus Day was led by Alex Buxton, Zach Shepler, Liz Clevenger, and Zoe Hurst. A wide variety of careers were represented with the alumni that attended, including academia, philanthropy/development, sales, PR/Marketing, and counseling.

Throughout the day, the class held an Emerging Professionals Panel, LinkedIn Workshop, and an Established Professionals Panel, which were open to any student in CCIM. The group also partnered with the six other COMM classes that were in session on the day of the event for the “Class Takeover” portion of the event. This involved groups of alumni attending the classes and having an open dialogue about their professional experiences with the students.

At noon, more than 100 alumni, faculty, and students were treated to a banquet where alumni and faculty members were recognized for their accomplishments. Among those recognized were Dr. Paul Sommer, who received the “Distinguished Service Award,” and Dr. Glen Stamp, who will be retiring as the Chair of the Department of Communication studies in July.

I am so grateful to be a part of Laura O’Hara’s COMM 380 and for all of the skills this class is teaching me. Alum Return to Campus Day was such an awesome experience, and one that I won’t forget!

Zach Shepler, Junior Interpersonal Communication Major and Business Management Minor

Robotics Competition

Throughout the semester, Grace Molnar and Charlie Cronin led the COMM 380 class in coaching various schools participating in the State Robotics Competition and eventually served as judges at the competition. Their goal was to help the competitors achieve a growth mindset and excel in the competition, especially when it came to explaining the journey of building their robots, which had an impact on their overall scoring.

My favorite part about coaching the robotic students was that I could visibly see the students grow and feel more confident when talking about their process of designing their robots as well as their ability to communicate and use teamwork.

Grace Molnar, Junior Interpersonal Communication Major and Strategic Communication Minor

The robotics event was a great experience to work with kids on honing their communication skills. We spent many hours working with robotics teams across the state on how to get their points across. The culmination of all our hard work at the state championship was very fulfilling.

Charlie Cronin, ’24 Public Communication Major and Political Science Minor

Big Talk

The Big Talk is an event that aims to showcase the talent of students in the Department of Communication Studies. To prepare, the students reached out to previous participants and coordinators of the event, pulled together a group of speakers, and collected their topics in order to write a script for the event. Mo Armor and Max Johnson served as emcees, and Olivia Gabrich handled some of the behind-the-scenes work. Students, faculty, and alumni were invited to hear the selected speakers’ presentations, including:

Max and Mo emcee the Big Talk
  • Oakley Meyers, Organizational Communications Major and Strategic Communications Minor, who discussed the flaws of the book The Great Gatsby.
  • Hayden Adams, Advocacy and Public Communication Major and Public Health Minor, who discussed adapting to changes and maintaining relationships during a family member’s gender transition.
  • Colin Bisel, Public Communication Major, who discussed how playing Dungeons and Dragons can enhance academic and professional skills.
  • Zoe Pointer, Interpersonal Communication Major, who discussed letting go of one’s need for a “picturesque ending” and embracing the chaos of life.
  • Hope Churchill, Business Administration Major minoring in Communication Studies and Human Resource Management, who discussed the need to change culture, not make excuses to validate choices, and be content with other people’s happiness.
  • Alex Buxton, Interpersonal Communications Major, who discussed the importance of ignoring the phrase “stay in your lane” and getting out of one’s comfort zone.

Helping to lead the Big Talk was amazing. On the front end of things, it looked as if there were just a few main things to take care of while planning the event. Come to find out, I was way wrong. From communicating to speakers, finding a location for the event, creating all the slides and PowerPoints, adjusting our script — there was a ton of work. But it was all fun and well worth the long hours. Being an emcee for the event was the cherry on top. Seeing all the work pay off in live time was so cool!

Max Johnson, Junior Advocacy and Public Communication Major and Religious Studies Minor

One Ball State Day

One Ball State Day is a university-wide fundraising even that encourages faculty, staff, students, alumni and community engagement to raise money. Laura O’Hara, Katie Kois, Addonika West, Maggey Parker, and Zoe Pointer led the COMM 380 class in planning and executing fundraising efforts for the Department of Communication Studies, which included organizing and maintaining a database of donors, reaching out to possible donors, posting on social media, and facilitating different giving-related challenges throughout the day.

My experience in this class has been incredible, allowing me to branch into event planning and aspects of communication that lead to practical experience that I can discuss in interview settings, and even advertising images I can use for job portfolios.

Zoe Pointer, Junior Interpersonal Communication Major


The Annual JDAY+/CCIM+ conference provides middle and high school students and teachers with the opportunity to learn from industry experts, college professors, and award-winning secondary media teachers in real-time with in-person, interactive workshop sessions.

The event also allows attendees to explore Ball State University’s campus and has an exhibition fair that includes student organizations and different departments, offices, and colleges from across the university.

This year, Leah Hayes and Brooke Stallings served as team leads and taught two of the sessions that were offered to attendees. Many other COMM 380 students assisted the event in various positions, including checking attendees in, ushering attendees as they explore campus, and providing assistance to speakers.

This has been one of my favorite classes and has allowed me to tie together multidisciplinary skillsets, especially honing my leadership skills, and building upon training skills I have learned in previous educational internships and conference planning experiences.

Brooke Stallings, Junior Interpersonal Communications Major

Social Media

Throughout the semester, the practicum class also had a group of students who created and managed social media posts to promote the events that other teams planned. Led by Jordan Denagall, Marie Scudder, Oakley Myers, and Diana Beasley shared promotional materials, took photos at events, hosted “tiny-mic interviews” that included relevant questions and information about the events, and more.

As part of the Social Media team, we created posts to advertise departmental events and connect with comm majors and minors online. It was a ton of fun learning more on graphic design. I was able to attend many events and take photos and videos to share.

Marie Scudder, Sophomore Interpersonal Communications Major and Journalistic Storytelling Minor