Students Find Perfect Fit in Ph.D. in Communication and Information

Darin Freeburg and Shelley Blundell are among the first students to pursue a Ph.D. in Communication and Information with a focus on library and information science. Read about why they chose this particular field and what they hope to do when they've completed the program. — Profiles by Nicole Gennarelli

Freeburg pursues research interests in Center for the Study of Information and Religion (CSIR)

Darin Freeburg, doctoral student in the College of Communication and Information, moved from Kansas City to do his Ph.D. with a focus on library and information science.

[Darin Freeburg] Freeburg, born in Iowa, came to Kent State from Olathe, Kan. He said he chose Kent State because it had a program that fit his interests perfectly.

“There are quite a few options to do graduate work; the key is finding that unique place that wants to work with you,” Freeburg said. “The CCI Ph.D. at Kent State was that place for me. The Center for the Study of Information and Religion (CSIR), housed within the School of Library and Information Science, is equipping me for high-impact research in a dynamic field.”

Freeburg plans on continuing the line of research started at CSIR, as well as beginning his teaching career, when he completes his Ph.D. “The CCI program is preparing me to do both,” he said

When he’s not studying, Freeburg is a huge sports fan; however, he said that moving from Kansas City to Cleveland didn’t really upgrade his sports viewing experience. 

“I also enjoy listening to and playing music,” he said. “I want to go on tour with Cee Lo Green, but I’m coming to grips with the chance that this might not happen.”

Blundell aims for career in academic librarianship

Shelley Blundell, doctoral student in the College of Communication, thought the Ph.D. with a focus on library and information science at Kent State was the perfect opportunity to blend her past education and professional experiences together.

[Shelley Blundell] Blundell, who was born in Durban, South Africa, moved to Ohio with her family in March of 2000. Shortly thereafter, her father began teaching business courses at Kent State University at Stark, which made Kent State a logical choice for her undergraduate work. She went on to complete a Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) in the School of Library and Information Science in 2009.

“Once I complete my [doctoral] degree, I hope to secure an academic library position, wherein I will liaise with university faculty in a number of disciplines to develop collaborative information literacy instruction for students who test into remedial coursework,” she said.

“The research I am currently engaged in indicates that for students with remedial skill levels, collaborative instruction that positions information literacy contextually within their courses aids those students in learning more about information literacy, and how information literacy skills can be applied throughout their academic experience and toward creating lifelong learners. Furthermore, I intend to pursue any opportunity that will allow me to work collaboratively with international partners, and hope to travel extensively to this end — not only to teach, but also to learn from the practices of the cultures I visit.”

In her spare time, Blundell enjoys reading, swimming, playing guitar, baking and watching documentaries. She is also skilled in the art of calligraphy.

“At one point, I considered a career as a music historian, and still continue to read and collect an array of musical facts,” she said. “I hope these will aid me when I achieve my dream of being on Jeopardy!”

Although her primary research interest is in information literacy instruction in academically underserved undergraduate students, she has secondary research interests as well. 

“I am interested in how information anxiety is affected when students are the victims of cyber-bullying, and anything to do with continuing education efforts in South Africa,” Blundell said.

This year, Blundell served as a Graduate Student Orientation leader for Graduate Student Orientation. She worked with team members and the orientation director to create a comprehensive program dealing with a range of graduate student needs from weighing in on guest speakers for general sessions, presenting a team-taught session on exploring and conducting research at the graduate level, to making herself available throughout the two days to answer any questions graduate students may have about life at Kent State, expectations, resource facilities and so on.

For more information about the Ph.D. in Communication and Information, visit For more information about the School of Library and Information Science, visit

POSTED: Friday, February 17, 2012 12:00 AM
Updated: Sunday, March 26, 2023 11:27 AM