Communication Connection

Friends of COM Newsletter

Faculty Profiles

The College Experience: Your Professors’ Take

Friday, February 21, 2014

by Danielle Carlson

The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Department of Communication Studies has amazing faculty members. These professors are colleagues and mentors for the community of UNCW. What many don’t know is how these professors came to be the individuals they are today. The question is, “Why does the Communication studies department have such a unique department, how are they so successful?” Five professors were interviewed and asked a series of lifestyle questions to get a better idea of what their experience in college was like, including advice for current students.

Matthew Lapierre

For Dr. Lapierre, the most memorable moment of his college career was when he did a one-year exchange program at the University of Central Washington, away from his home at the University of Massachusetts. He packed up all of his things and boarded a plane to Seattle. Upon arrival, he rented a car, drove 200 miles, and ended up having to sleep in the university parking lot by himself with all of his belongings in the car. Waking up to the sound of strangers at his new university was a scary and exhilarating experience. “Don’t be afraid to be alone,” Lapierre says. His advice to students is to give yourself the opportunity to cut yourself off from everything you thought you were and make new experiences.  

David Weber

Dr. Weber’s habit in school was to work very hard in the courses he liked, and not in the courses he didn’t like. Although, he explained, sometimes you just have to do what you are asked to do. Dr. Weber tells students, “Do everything you can to take advantage of every resource offered to you.” Dr. Weber also insists that students take the opportunity to study abroad or have an internship. Something you might not know about Dr. Weber is that he enjoys skiing. When going to college in California, every quarter he would try to take a road trip up to northern California or UCLA.

Richard Olsen

Dr. Olsen hit the realization that he was in college when his professor spent three weeks discussing a quote by Descartes in his philosophy class. From this moment Dr. Olsen tried to embrace what college was really about, which he explained as expanding your interests and knowledge. Dr. Olsen was an active member of the debate team. His favorite part of being on the debate team was going on the road trips. Spending five hours on a bus with 8-12 students with no technology gave them the ability to have organic fun, singing in the car, playing games and joking with friends.  Dr. Olsen suggests that students do things they wouldn’t normally do. He says, “ Go to a jazz concert, not the same club every Thursday because they serve dollar beers.” When Dr. Olsen was in college, he was able to see Dizzy Gillespie. “Now that’s something I remember,” says Olsen. Something you don’t know about Olsen is while attending UNCW, he lived in Hewlett Hall room 301 and played basketball against Michael Jordan’s brother on the court.

Tammala Bulger

For Mrs. Bulger, it was a struggle finding her major. She was urged by her father to become a business major, but after taking economics and accounting classes, she quickly discovered she wanted to look into something else. Her Introduction to Communication Studies course helped her find the Communication Studies major. To deal with stresses in college Mrs. Bulger loved to ski. She took advantage of every opportunity she could get on the slopes. During the spring and summer months Mrs. Bulger put her time into creating the yearbook. Mrs. Bulger suggested that current students be involved and take on leadership positions. After college, she suggests becoming involved in the community. “Find a club or organization that feeds your passion,” says Bulger.

Julie-Ann Scott

Dr. Scott’s most memorable moment in college was from her independent study abroad. When she went backpacking down the coast of Italy with another student, she realized one of the hostels she had planned to stay in did not exist. She ended up meeting a British man that was taking refuge at his grandmother’s house that overlooked a lemon grove.  Dr. Scott and her friend were invited to stay at the house. Scott doesn’t suggest this method of shelter, but admits he was an excellent cook, and he prepared the best Italian food she’s ever had. Dr. Scott loves to travel, and would tell any student it is a must when you are young and before things start to get more complicated in life. Something you don’t know about Dr. Scott is that she was born on St. Patrick’s Day and when she attended college in Boston she went to the Irish district and was able to crowd surf to Irish music. 

If you wondered why the Communication Studies department has such a unique dynamic, and how they continue to succeed each year, you can thank the professors for their dedication to education and for encouraging students to take opportunities just as they once did. The choices these professors have made throughout their lives helped them grow into colorful people and inspiring teachers.