Most Influential Mass Media Professors

Most Influential Mass Media Professors


Continuing with my post-grad nostalgia, there are a few professors who certainly made an impact in my life while I attended Washburn. Although I did have a lot of wonderful instructors throughout my two and half years, there are a few who stood out and I want to honor them with this humble post. Think of this post as a very long article.

Since my major was Mass Media, I’ll start with two professors from said department, but will talk about two professors in the English Department (my minor) in a future post.

Mass Media Department

Dr. Stover

I would have to start with Dr. Maria Stover. While I had a few classes with Dr. Stover, there’s one that really made an impact and that’s Media Literacy. I went into the class not really knowing what to expect, but I came out with a whole new perspective in how I see the word.

Thanks to Dr. Stover’s class, I was able to recognize all the gender and racial biases in the media, as well as in my own life. Although I was raised by wonderful women, I certainly grew up in a patriarchal society, where machismo is touted as the norm to follow. However, thanks to this class, a lot of my own biases were removed. Thanks to this class, I began to make smarter decisions as to what toys to buy my daughter. For instance, my daughter doesn’t just have the stereotypical girly dolls, she also has a doctor’s kit, as well as a set of hammer and tools. And that’s just one thing.

Besides those eye-opening lectures, Dr. Stover grew up under a Communist regime, just like me. It’s an unfortunate bond to have, but it was incredible to learn that the hardships she faced in her native Bulgaria, were the same exact things that I faced in Cuba. Dr. Stover also invited me to speak to the entire class about Communist propaganda during one of the lectures, which was a great and wonderful experience.

But besides all that, the thing that I appreciate the most about Dr. Stover is an encouraging conversation she had with me. She told me that it’s not often that she comes across students like me and that I could literally do anything I wanted to. She said that if I wanted to, I could have a very successful career in the Mass Media field. She even encouraged me to pursue my Masters and maybe even teach one day.

It’s hard to overstate what hearing those words from someone you highly respect does to your self-esteem.

Regina Cassell

Although I had Regina early on in my Washburn career, it was online, so I didn’t get to really meet her until this Spring. One thing that immediately stands out with Regina is that she really cares about her students. Because I work full-time, I had a hard time juggling work and school, but Regina was very understanding and flexible.

Someone once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun” and Regina understands that well. In her Creative Media Practicum class (where we created the Mass Media Messenger alumni magazine) she allowed us to be creative, to explore, to have fun. At the same time, she made sure to keep us on task and motivated. And whenever we had a question about something, she would help us out because she does know her stuff.

But the class that really made a difference in my life was the Independent Study class where we put together a live half-hour news show on YouTube, KSWU News. Not only did I learn a lot about cameras, sound, editing., lighting, reporting, etc., I also made a lot of good friends. There were people in that class that I’ve had in previous classes, but given the nature of the studio environment, we got to know each other a lot more. I think one of the best parts about college is getting to know other awesome people and this class made that so much easier.

Finally, Regina also has a literal open-door policy with her current and former students. To celebrate out last KSWU show, she had a party at her home and invited all of us, as well as other Mass Media students. It’s rare to have a professor be so welcoming and accommodating, but Regina made room for all of us and made us feel right at home.

Thanks Dr. Stover and Regina!

I didn’t want to make this post too long, so I’ll be talking about two professors in the English Department in a few days. Those professors are Tom Averill and Liz Derrington.


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