Communication Studies Pre Grad Intern Ashley Middleton

Ashley Middleton"The IE program was one the most transformative and instructive experiences that I had an as undergraduate and graduate student at UT. As an undergraduate, I worked closely with an advanced PhD student in Communication Studies and was able to gain insight into many aspects of the academy and graduate student life. I discovered my passion for the discipline and obtained valuable research experience that set the stage for my success as a graduate student. When I entered UT's MA program in Communication Studies, one of my primary goals was to provide undergraduates with the same rewarding experience that I had through IE. I mentored two students during my tenure at UT, both of whom have gone on to successful careers. However, my passion for mentoring and re-creating the IE experience did not end at UT.

When I began my doctoral work at the Department of Communication at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I realized that mentoring was an essential part of my identity as a scholar. I immediately sought out ways to engage students in projects and in the last four years, I have overseen nearly 10 undergraduate internships. Further, at U of I, I was instrumental in developing a small-scale version of IE within their communication program and thus far, it has been very successful. Needless to say, without IE, I would not be the scholar that I am today and my graduate work would not have been nearly as rewarding."