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Communication Studies Masters Student Exceeds High Expectations

Posted Oct. 26, 2012

Kaitlin Banduch was honored Friday night with the Outstanding Master’s Student award for her scholarly achievement. Banduch was honored along with doctoral student Jenny Rosenberg and undergraduate Daniel Smith at the School of Communication Studies Centennial Awards Celebration during Homecoming weekend. Distinguished alumni Dominic Infante, Deborah Easton-Bentley and Adam Earnheardt, Ph.D. were also recognized. 

“I’m excited about being honored at the Homecoming event,” Banduch said. “It is a really big honor and I wasn’t expecting it at all. It’s nice to be recognized for all the hard work that I have put in.”

Banduch is originally from Texas, but calls Chicago, Ill. home. She graduated from Augustana College with a degree in communication studies and a minor in biology and psychology. She went into the field of communication studies for a number of reasons, but was sold when she found out that she could use her communication skills in the health industry.

“I had a couple of great classes my sophomore and junior year with really good communication studies professors,” said Banduch. “They were very interesting and I never looked back.”

Banduch started her undergraduate career as a pre-med major. When she decided to change her major she wanted her future career to be related to healthcare.

“I volunteered at places and didn’t necessarily like the jobs themselves, but I think it’s interesting to understand why they work that way,” said Banduch. “That’s why I’m interested in the research side. Once you start researching health communication there is so much you can do you can find anything interesting.”

Banduch had a strong support system at Augustana College. A few of her professors were mentors and assisted through her college experience.

“I wrote a small thesis my senior year which encouraged me to go to graduate school and focus on the research side of health communication,” said Banduch. “That is the one thing that helped me get where I am today.”

Banduch is in her second year in the COMM graduate program at Kent State University. One reason she chose Kent State was because of a unique connection she had with Professor Nichole Egbert, Ph.D. Both attended Augustana College with the same major and minor. Banduch also enjoys how Kent State has a strong Health Communication program.

During her time at Kent State, Banduch has been doing research, taking classes and teaching the Introduction to Human Communication class. After Banduch’s teaching experience, she feels that teachers are under appreciated.  

“I realized after I started teaching I am more of a researcher,” said Banduch. “It is a good experience and I feel like everyone should teach a class once in their life.”

Banduch has been involved in an ongoing research study about asbestos related diseases with professors Rebecca Cline, Ph.D. and Jeffery Child, Ph.D.

“It was good to work with Dr. Cline and Dr. Child, to see how actual research is done,” she said. “You always see the papers or surveys but you never get to see behind the scenes. It was great to be a part of that.”

Banduch likes that Kent State challenges her academically. She is currently working on her thesis which is focused on decision making and what motivates people to get tested for Huntington’s disease.

“The faculty here is really great and have helped me grow as a researcher, student and writer,” said Banduch. “They always say when you come to graduate school the first paper you write and the last paper you write seem years apart. That is definitely true.”

Banduch will graduate in the spring and hopes to move back to Chicago to continue her career path.

“I am going to try out the job market and start working for a research institution or maybe even a hospital,” said Banduch. “If I don’t like it I think I’m going to go back and get my Ph.D. and focus on health related research.”