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Featured Graduate Students

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Camryn Nelson

MA student, critical media

Camryn Nelson is a pursuing her MA with a focus in critical media. In addition to pursuing her degree, Cammy has been a proud business owner of Brave Like Me for the past three years. Brave Like Me “empowers women through everyday bravery”. In our modern society, girls feel the urge to share life quickly; this leads girls to lack confidence when they cannot meet this standard. In addition, it creates poor self-esteem among girls. Cammy was featured in DOVE's 60 Years of Real Beauty Campaign. "Real beauty to me means challenging yourself to do the things you can’t and showing yourself kindness along the way". After graduation, Cammy plans to launch Brave parties, retreats, and conferences to continue her life’s ambition of empowering girls.


Kristiana Wright

PhD student, rhetorical studies

Kristiana Wright is a PhD student pursing a degree in rhetorical studies, with a specialized focus in labor movements and socialist traditions. She is from Vancouver, Washington and enjoys practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in her free time. In the summer, Kristiana enjoys running while spending time at Lake of the Isles or Lake Calhoun. By the end of graduate school, she hopes to have completed a marathon. Kristiana is passionate about teaching and the Fight for $15 campaign, and is excited to see the growing interest in activism and social justice. After graduating, she plans to continue working with non-traditional and working-class students at a community college while remaining active in labor organizing. One of her highlights in her graduate education was receiving a top paper award at the National Communication Association Convention in 2015. For future graduate students, she would like to offer her advice of being upfront about your interests. She is glad that she found a department that was so supportive of her desired research topic. She would like to thank Ron Greene and Karyln Kohrs Campbell for their generous support and wisdom throughout her time at the University of Minnesota. She invites you to check out her research related to rhetorical studies at

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Lucas Youngvorst

PhD student, interpersonal communication

Lucas Youngvorst is pursuing a PhD in Communication Studies with a focus in interpersonal communication. Luke grew up in Staples, MN which is a town of 2000 people near Brainerd. When deciding to come to the U, he recognized that this department is well respected in the field of communication studies. He believes that resources at a large school set students up to succeed with faculty that is versatile and well known. Luke’s research project explores how established relational partners, especially friends, are affected by conversations that use technology.  This research is based on real life conversations and the type of support that is typically provided by friends. He knows that support will be a staple of human interaction forever, so he is excited to continue exploring this topic. Some of Luke’s hobbies including playing tennis, camping, and spending time at local coffee shops. Luke would like to share the following advice with future graduate students, “the only person that is going to get in your way is you. The accomplishments that you have are the result of how you move forward in grad school. Don’t doubt yourself. Know that you’re here for a reason”. 


Emma Bedor Hiland

PhD student, media studies

Emma is pursuing a PhD in Communication Studies with a focus in Media Studies. Her research project is related to media studies, health and illness, and technology. She is excited that this industry is new and could provide a solution for an adequate amount of health resources. Emma loves spending time with her four-year-old beagle, watercolor painting, and cross-stitching. Emma would like to share with future graduate students that, make sure, wherever you go, if people do not have the same interests as you that the professors are excited about your interests. Furthermore, don't think you have to know what your dissertation project should be right away; learning is more important.