click here for a .pdf of the 2015 program

Rocky Mountain Communication Association
2015 Annual Conference "Communicating Culture"
Group Publishing, Loveland, CO.

Registration in Lobby (8:00 a.m.-Noon)

Session I (8:30-9:45 a.m.)
A. An Exploration of the Role of Media in Public Pedagogy

Room: Summit North

        As American culture continues the arduous ebb-and-flow of cultural shift where race, gender, sexuality, and class are concerned, media continue to play a dominant, sometimes invasive, role in crafting a cultural narrative. Media not only provide a form of entertainment but also a form of pedagogy – a public pedagogy in which media provide a series of prescribed roles for members of the culture to follow. Because the United States is so media-saturated, the primary mode of enculturation comes from media. For this reason, it becomes vital to unpack the cultural narratives provided within American media. This panel will examine the role media play in developing moral roles, gender roles, and family roles.
Chair: Dustin Dunaway, Pueblo Community College

The Meaning of Modern Family
Brooklyn Salisbury, Pueblo Community College

        Captain America: Lighthearted Children’s Entertainment or Masculinist Propaganda?
              Madison Hildebrand, Pueblo Community College

        Are We the Villains of Our Own Reality?
              Steven Michel, Pueblo Community College

B.  Student Works in Progress - Perspectives of the Culture of Contemporary Young Adult Life

Room: Summit South

        Chair: Heidi L. Muller

As part of a long-standing RMCA tradition, this panel is comprised of student works in progress. Specifically presented are three master’s theses and one undergraduate honors project. The topics, including experiences of health, close personal relationships, and campus-based faith organizations are all timely and highly relevant for understanding the contemporary lives of collegiate and graduate students.

Conflated and Confused: A Phenomenological Analysis of Health as Experienced by College Students 
              Summer Terhark, University of Northern Colorado

        Dialogic Constructions of Monogamy 
              Stephanie Webb, University of Denver

        Constructive Conflict Knowledge and Domestic Violence in College Students 
              Nicole Cooper, University of Northern Colorado

        Navigating the Navigators: An Autoethnographic Investigation of Interfaith Dialogue 
              Robert Stise, University of Northern Colorado


C.  The Road to Social Consciousness

Room: Summit Central

        This panel presents a variety of frames to critically explore communication concerning controversy and social unrest.

        Chair: Rebecca Roberts, University of Wyoming

        Actor-Networks and Trajectories of Violence: Case Studies in Protest from Boulder and Denver
              Ricardo Munoz, University of Colorado Boulder

        From the Hardwood to the Ferguson Asphalt: Kairos, Hoops, and Social Movement
              Wayne Freeman, University of Colorado Boulder

        Nothing Sketchy About It: An Exploration Into How Socially Conscious Sketch Comedy Can Function With Post-Show Dialogues to Help Us Talk About Difficult Experiences Within Our Communities
              Jeffrey Angeloty, Regis University

        Safety or Not: Analysis of Controversy of GMO in China
              Michael Xiang Li, University of Denver


D.  Mediated Influence: Culture, Technology, and Rhetoric

Room: Learning Lab

        In line with this year’s conference theme, ‘Communicating Culture,’ this panel examines the rhetorical capacity of mediated culture to show how discourses (visual, verbal, typed, etc.) come together to structure and influence the experiences of cultural participants and users. The panel, which features three undergraduate rhetorical scholars, will introduce research that highlights how technologies such as photography, videogames, and social media communicate cultural information and value. Each will also lay out how these technologies work rhetorically to give meaning and order to the lives and experiences of those with whom they interact.

        Chair:  Samuel M. Jay, PhD, Metropolitan State University of Denver

        Images of War: The Rhetorical and Cultural Value of War Photography
              Shelby Edwards, Metropolitan State University of Denver

        Interactive Hyper-reality and Political Messaging
              Garrett Watts, Metropolitan State University of Denver

        Rhetoric and Reddit: Discourse and Culture in an Online Metacommunity
              Jesse Patrick, Metropolitan State University of Denver


Session II (10:00-11:15 a.m.)
A.  Social Media “Activism”: The Plight to be heard among the Masses

Room: Summit North

        This panel explores the use of social media to garner attention to important social issues. Specifically, we analyze the rhetoric of movements online, offering a variety of social contexts in which they occurred. One panelist examines messaging in fempowerment videos, while another analyzes a controversial music video that caused a social media uproar. Two panelists examine political movements internationally to uncover how tweets reinforce polarizing beliefs and how politicians fail to reach minority groups in their campaigning. Finally, one panelist offers an analysis of tweets to explore the mimetic nature of rhetoric in response to the recent release of the CIA torture report. Our insights shed light on the multiple facets of online discussion in the ever-shifting media landscapes.

        Chair: Kellie Marin, University of Colorado Denver

        Change and Commodity?: The Use of Feminist Messages in Viral Videos
              Christina Kunkel, University of Colorado Denver

        Zoophilia and the Beastial Rhetoric of “Elastic Heart”
              Jeremy Make, University of Colorado Denver

        @Aristotle: The Epideictic Rhetoric of Mimetic Response in #ReadTheReport
              Kellie Marin, University of Colorado Denver

        Internet Marginalization: Blogs, Politics, and the Latino Vote
              Bryan Reckard, University of Colorado Denver

        Gridlocking Scotland: The Binary Nature of Social Movements on Twitter
              Rachael O. Shaff, University of Colorado Denver


B. The Kids Are All Right: Children and the Stories We Tell


Room: Summit South

        From families, to books, to classrooms, to videogames: these papers ask questions about what motivates, influences, and informs children and their communication practices.
        Chair: Elizabeth Suter, Denver University

        We Remember the ‘First Stories’: Accounting for Children’s Communication in Fisher’s Narrative Paradigm
              Grant Campbell, Colorado State University

        The Influence of Family Communication Patterns and Family Types on Child Communication Apprehension
              Anastasiia Lazebna, University of Wyoming

        A Long Time Ago in a Classroom Far, Far Away
              Amber Robinson, Emory & Henry College

        The How and What of Video Games: A Quantitative Analysis of the Various Motivating Indicators for Video Game Play
              Michael Register, University of Northern Colorado


C. Encouraging, Transitioning, and Completing:  Working Together to Advise and RetainCommunication Students Transferring from Two-Year to Four-Year Schools


Room: Learning Lab

        This panel will look at ways in which two and four-year colleges can work together to improve the transfer of interested students into Communication programs in the Rocky Mountain Region.  The panel will focus discussion in particular on the opportunities created by the newly approved Communication Statewide Transfer Articulation Agreement in the state of Colorado for both two-year and four-year institutions to help students discern if Communication is a major they wish to pursue.  Focus will also be placed on the changing demographics of the community college student population and ways that two and four-year schools can better serve these students across the Rocky Mountain region.


Dr. Stephen Collins, Pikes Peak Community College
              Dr. Sherry Messina Dewald, Red Rocks Community College
              Dr. Samuel Jay, Metropolitan State University of Denver


D.Cultivating a Culture of Theoretically Informed Communication Praxis

Room: Summit Central

        Taking a practical approach to communication theory, these six papers theorize problematic moments in communication practice through various lenses associated with Craig’s seven traditions of communication theorizing.  The shared endeavor of these projects is to generate practical theory and cultivate a culture of theoretically informed communication practitioners.

        Chair: Heidi L. Muller, University of Northern Colorado

        Policing the Mentally Ill: A Problem of Communication
              Heather Kimiecik, University of Northern Colorado

        Cybernetic Communication: A Relationship Conqueror
              Zunzu Masunga, University of Northern Colorado

        Theoretical Approaches to Emergency Communication
              Hayley Hull, University of Northern Colorado

        Three traditions, Two Popes, One Paper
              Allison Ching, University of Northern Colorado

        A New Way of Talking for a New World: Exploring How Practical Application of Communication Theory Can Help Curb Abusive Behavior by Players of the Dota 2 Video Game
              Robert Stise, University of Northern Colorado
        Communication Theory in the Workplace
              Curtis Sullivan, University of Northern Colorado


E.     911 and the Academy

Room: Cafe Area

        Mark Finney will be conducting brief interviews with conference participants about their experiences in the pre- and post- 9/11 academic environment during sessions II. III. and IV.
              Mark Finney, Emory & Henry College


Keynote Address (11:30-12:15 p.m.)
Room: Summit Central
Brian L. Ott, PhD., University of Colorado Denver
Luncheon and Business Meeting (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
Room: Table of Contents
Session III (1:45-3:00 p.m.)


A. Top Graduate and Undergraduate Papers


        Room: Summit North

        The Rocky Mountain Communication Association proudly presents the top graduate and top undergraduate papers submitted to RMCA this year, including the award recipients for Outstanding Graduate Paper and Outstanding Undergraduate Paper.

        Chair: Beth Bonnstetter, Adams State University

        Top Undergraduate Papers

        Illness in the Clinic and the Media: First as Tragedy, Then as Farce
              Austin Morgan, University of Wyoming

        Campaigning in the Age of Social Media: A Content Analysis of the Republican and Democratic National Committees' Facebook  Messages
              Erin Amsberry, Colorado Christian University

         “You Complete Me”: LGBTQ Identity and Romantic Relationships in  Glee
              Ashley Hildebrandt, University of Wyoming

        Top Graduate Papers

        “Friends Don’t Let Friends Fat Talk”: The Body Project as a Workshop to
        Increase Articulateness and Decrease Female Oppression
              Shana Makos, Colorado State University

        “Herd Identity”: Face-Negotiation Theory, Groupthink, and Web 2.0
              Jena Shwake, Colorado State University

        The Fetishistic Gaze: Lara Croft as the Modern-Day Pandora
              Sabrina Slagowski-Tipton


B.  “Team Family”: 6 Winning Ways of Functional Families

Room: Summit South

        A graduate family communication class has constructed a comprehensive learning system designed to create winning or highly functional families. Course professor, Dr. Marrow (2008) conceptualized family functionality as being comparable to teamwork effectiveness, advocating 6 pivotal constructs: goals, hierarchy, communication, esteem, commitment, and accountability. The presentation will feature creative works that explain how these behavioral constructs can assist contemporary families ‘perform’ more like winning teams, across the various life stages.

              Sherilyn Marrow, Ph.D. University of Northern Colorado
              Rebecca Sheehan, University of Northern Colorado
              Mike Register, University of Northern Colorado
              Lara Underwood, University of Northern Colorado
              Rylee McManus, University of Northern Colorado


E.     911 and the Academy

Room: Cafe Area

        Mark Finney will be conducting brief interviews with conference participants about their experiences in the pre- and post- 9/11 academic environment during sessions II. III. and IV.
              Mark Finney, Emory & Henry College


Session IV (3:15 – 4:30 p.m.)


A.  Just Who Do We Think We Are?


Room: Summit North

        The papers presented on this panel analyze diverse discourses to consider the relationship between culture and and ideology, identity and individuality.

        Chair: Robert Affeldt, Adams State University

        When Robots… Save The Earth?: Connection, Individuality, and Humanity in Disney Pixar’s Wall-E
              Lauren Aemmer and Aly Fisher, Regis University

        They’re Not Just Toys: Fracturing Ideology in Toy Story
              Jake Garegnani, Adams State University

        The Graceful Prince of a Trivial Comedy: Symbolism and Aesthetics in The Picture of Dorian Gray and De Profundis
              Briana Regelin, Regis University

        The Function of Stereotypes in the Communication Processes of Sororities
              McKenna Solomon, Regis University


B. The Evolving Culture of Education: Understanding the Challenges in the Online Classroom Environment


Room: Summit South

        Taking into account the increase of movement in our culture towards online education, it is important to examine the differences in student learning. The goals of this panel are to examine the differences in teaching and learning in the two different classroom settings: online and face-to-face. We seek to understand how the classroom environment has evolved from strictly face-to-face to online through the development in technology. This panel seeks to provide understanding for the way the classroom environment developments have changed student learning and serve as a resource for face-to-face and online classroom instructors to understand the benefits and challenges of providing students an online education.

        Privacy and Perceptions of Autonomy in Face-to-face and Online Settings
              Lin Allen, University of Northern Colorado

        Differences in Student Success Rates in the Two Learning Platforms.
              Jean Lundy, Metropolitan State University of Denver

        Fully Online methods (Synchronous and Asynchronous) and Hybrid.
              Shaundi Newbolt, University of Denver

        Real-time Communication Assignments in an Online Environment.
              Rebecca Roberts, University of Wyoming

        Issues in Diversity
              April Samaras, Regis University

        Impact of Social Interaction when Examining Face-to -face and Online
        Classrooms and Technology Challenges.
              Rebecca Sheehan, University of Northern Colorado


C. Realizing & Reimagining Representation: Critiquing Identities, Messages, and Stereotypes in Pop Culture


Room: Summit Central

        This panel is composed of four undergraduate women who are committed to
        critiquing and reimaging representations in popular culture. The papers cover an
        array of cultural territory by examining music icons, TV shows, movies, and news
        reports. Together these pieces illuminate the ways identities are both objectified
        and empowered through pop culture. Each of these pieces reads cultural texts
        beyond their apparently progressive or seemingly stereotypical representations to
        identify underlying messages of power by considering race, class, ethnicity,
        sexuality, and gender.  Taken together these pieces weave a complex tapestry of
        how women wish to see themselves in pop culture, rather than accepting the
        reductive roles and evaluations that pop culture creates as expectations.

        Chair: Keeley Buehler Hunter, University of Denver

        Racist Feminist Imperialism: Pinkwashing in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
              Emily Krebs, University of Denver

        Not a Stupid Hoe: Placing Nicki Minaj Within a Feminist Framework
              Amy Wagner, University of Denver

        All Your Faves are Queer: A Critical Analysis of Disney’s Past and Present
              Sophie Jones, University of Denver

        Modern Family: Modernizing the Family or Reinforcing the Traditional Family
        Robin Nigro, University of Denver


D. Communicating Video Culture: Innovations in Student Media at a Rural University

Room: Learning Lab

        Formed in 2011, Grizzly Video has become a vibrant student media organization at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, a small, rural, Hispanic-Serving Institution.  Grizzly Video strives to create a wide variety of video content that is relevant and engaging for students and the community, such as news, entertainment, cultural documentaries, and campus event coverage, giving first-generation and other students the experience to become professionals, all while operating within a very limited budget. This panel will discuss the development of video production at a small, rural, and largely four-year university, and the successes and challenges of producing video on campus. We will showcase video excerpts from recent Grizzly Video productions.

              Alan Jackman: Grizzly Video General Manager, Adams State University

              Josh Gilbertson: Grizzly Video Content Manager, Adams State University

              Tyler Klemp: Grizzly Video Productions Manager, Adams State University

              Danny Ledonne, MFA: Grizzly Video Faculty Advisor, Adams State University


E.     911 and the Academy

Room: Cafe Area

        Mark Finney will be conducting brief interviews with conference participants about their experiences in the pre- and post- 9/11 academic environment during sessions II. III. and IV.
              Mark Finney, Emory & Henry College



RMCA Planning Meeting (4:45-5:30pm)


Backbone Gourmet Grub and Brewhouse
La Quinta Inn (across Cascade Avenue from Group Publishing)

        Join the RMCA Executive Council and Board of Governors in reviewing this year’s convention and planning for the future. A great opportunity for new and renewing members to network, give feedback, and explore opportunities; it's also a fun way to wind down the conference.