Communication Studies/Business Administration Pre-Grad Intern
Nicholas Navarro

Nicholas NavarroThroughout the spring 2011 semester, I completed many activities for my Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Graduate Program internship to learn about the dual Communication Studies/Business Administration Master's Degree programs at The University of Texas at Austin and opportunities that existed for me after completing my two bachelor degrees in these fields.

I began my internship interviewing students and professors from these graduate programs to learn what courses and life would be like if I continued my education. I first had the chance to meet with Dr. John Daly to discuss how he decided to attend graduate school and how it opened academic and corporate opportunities for him; while we talked about many things, I ultimately learned that the most important factor when deciding to attend graduate school is having a genuine interest in a particular field of study. I continued to see how true this was after interviewing my mentor, Stephanie Dailey, and two other Ph.D. students in the Communication Studies program, Gamze Yilmaz and Abigail Heller. Each of them provided me with a lot of insight about why they decided to attend graduate school and what student life was like at this level. Like Dr. Daly, they stressed studying something I was sincerely interested in and spoke about how their classes and advisors were instrumental to them defining their dissertation topics; after discussing the research that each of them had done on their respective topics, I learned that much of life at the graduate level would be focused on contributing to academia and other relevant fields by completing studies with significant findings.

So to find out more about research and classes at the graduate level, I attended three courses and seminars from the communication studies and business administration programs. I first visited Dr. Daly's Advocacy class and listened to ways to improve on communicating with conciseness and confidence, whether speaking on a research panel or talking to businesspeople. I then attended Dr. Keri Stephens Contemporary Issues in Organizational Communication course, where I learned about constructing research papers and presentations for conventions like the International Communication Association Conference or the National Communication Association Conference; through listening to practice presentation sessions and discussions about how to effectively communicate research findings by framing them for different applications, like publications, case studies, and corporate workshops, I learned about a major aspect of pursuing a graduate education that each of the students I spoke to described.

In addition, I gained firsthand experience working on a communication project while assisting my mentor, Stephanie Dailey, with organizational identification research that she was conducting on the United States Marine Corps. Over the month of April, I collected, coded and analyzed over 200 pages of data on this topic and discovered that I had a strong interest in researching; after finishing with this task, I was even able to lecture to my mentor's communication students about organizational identification and the work I had done through the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Graduate Program. By the end of the semester, I was fortunate enough to earn funding from the IE/College of Communication to visit Boston, Massachusetts for the International Communication Association Conference and had the chance to see dozens of research presentations and network with many communication professionals. Hearing about works others had completed and listening to my mentor speak about her projects has inspired me to seek out research opportunities with employers, professors, and the university for my upcoming semesters in school.

I am excited to have a newly redefined vision for my remaining time as an undergraduate student at The University of Texas at Austin; through the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Graduate Program, I gained invaluable knowledge about completing both a Master's in Business Administration and Master's in Communication Studies, both of which I plan to pursue, and also found an avenue in research for applying what I have currently learned through the undergraduate programs I am a part of. This internship has broadened my horizons and expanded my outlook on academic and research opportunities in my areas of study.