May 16, 2019 at 4:14 pm

Graduate Students Gain Confidence and Skills with ELIP Classes

Bethany Blinsky, a recent graduate of the Masters in Public Administration in the Voinovich School, credits taking classes in the ELIP Academic & Global Communication Program with playing a key role in helping her to prepare for this year’s Ohio University Student Expo, in which she along with undergraduate Voinovich Research Scholars Aleah Cumberbatch and Eli Wanner, won 2nd place in the Public Affairs division for their research entitled “How Ready is Columbus Public Health to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences in the City of Columbus.” She explained that what helped her the most was gaining experience practicing in front of an audience, and learning about how to effectively use nonverbal communication and the subtleties of speaking such as intonation and tone to get her message across clearly and professionally. With that knowledge, she shared: “I was then able to use what I learned to mentor the undergraduates I worked with.”

Bethany Blinsky, recent MPA graduate, stands in front of her winning poster at the Student Expo

Bethany Blinsky, recent MPA graduate, stands in front of her winning poster at the Student Expo

Blinsky is one of many students who have gained valuable experience from taking ELIP classes. Another member of her MPA cohort, Fulbright grantee Eleonora Mocanu, spent some of spring semester searching for jobs; the mock job interview in ELIP 5320 helped her to prepare. In this job interview simulation during class, each of the 21 students participated in two mock interviews. Leading up to the simulation, the students found jobs to which they might apply and created a list of questions that they anticipated. These descriptions and questions were provided to guest interviewers who provided the students with an opportunity to talk about their qualifications and constructive feedback after each interview. The interviewers included faculty from a variety of departments, staff from the CLDC (Career and Leadership Development Center), and out-of-town guests who Skyped in, such as Ruby Chen—a Music Therapist at the Metro Health System in Cleveland and alumna of Ohio University who was able to provide field-specific feedback to Mincai Hu, who in the simulation was applying for a music therapy-related internship.

•Eleonora Mocanou, recent MPA graduate and Fulbright grantee

Eleonora Mocanu, recent MPA graduate and Fulbright grantee

Anita Villacis, a Ph.D. candidate in the Molecular and Cellular Biology program at Ohio University who has also been a part of the Medical Entomology Unit of the Center for Research on Health in Latin America (CISeAL) at the Pontifical Catholic University in Quito, Ecuador, enthusiastically noted that she “really really enjoyed the interview.” What she particularly enjoyed was that the interviewers knew what they were talking about, allowed her to express herself without interruption, and gave her some strategies for answering difficult questions. For example, she was encouraged to transform a problem or something she wanted to criticize about the company for which she was interviewing into an opportunity.

Through the mock job interview and other opportunities through ELIP Academic & Global Communication classes, Villacis, Mocanu, and other OHIO graduate students witnessed a noticeable improvement in their skills. For her part, Villacis found that she now speaks “with more ease” and increased intelligibility thanks to the class and attending the ELIP Pronunciation and Presentation Lab. For Mocanu, the feedback she received from the instructor and her peers along with analyzing video recordings of her own performance in presentations was helpful. Mocanu’s adviser for her MPA capstone portfolio, Dr. Marsha Lewis, noticed the pay off of Mocanu’s efforts:  “Eleonora’s improvement in clarity and confidence was evident in her capstone presentation, which clearly demonstrates the specific competencies she has developed.” Dr. Lewis added “I would recommend this course to all students enrolled in professional graduate programs.”

ELIP courses provide both skills and practice opportunities to students who are working on their own projects, and indeed, practice makes perfect. Mocanu said that she can now easily talk about what she does and what she has studied and has perfected her elevator pitch. Simon Li, a first-year graduate student in Hospitality and Tourism program, echoes this. He said that after practicing multiple times in the class, in the ELIP Pronunciation and Presentation Lab, and on his own, he knows what he does well and what he should improve.

OHIO graduate student Simon Li

Simon Li, a graduate student in Hospitality and Tourism, practices his presentation

Each of these students has also taken ELIP writing courses for graduate students. Li noted that he enjoyed how active the courses are. Something else that both he and Villacis appreciated is the individualized feedback on their own projects both in class and in the ELIP Writing Lab. For Villacis and Erin Lynch, a 4th year PhD student in Hearing Science, learning how to structure journal articles, other academic papers, and abstracts has been useful. In addition to the feedback, Lynch said that another reason why she took several ELIP classes was to pace herself on her projects so that she “would not have to wait until the end of the semester to do them.” As a result, not only did she get “plenty of feedback” and do well on her projects, but she also felt that she “can organize easily now and communicate in a more precise, articulate manner.”

Whether through working on writing or oral communication, ELIP classes help graduate students to achieve success. After her performance at the Student Expo, Blinsky reflected on her own progress, noting “I became much better at public speaking. I now know how to be comfortable in front of an audience, and when presenting, to consider factors such as my volume, pace, and intonation, which I did not think about before.” ELIP classes are offered each semester.


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