SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. — Honors students Adam Moyer and Courtney Weikel and associate professor of Communication Arts and Sciences Valerie Schrader have had research papers accepted to three state, regional, and national conferences this year. The trio’s papers rank among the top five within their respective categories for the National Communication Association Conference (NCA), and Moyer and Weikel are the only undergraduate students to have their papers accepted to the Top Student Paper Panel at the NCA Conference.
Adam Moyer applies communication theory to "Chicago" and "Kinky Boots"
Adam Moyer is a junior majoring in corporate communication with a minor in communication arts and sciences. This year, he has had three papers recognized in three state, regional and national communication conferences, and his work has been recognized as a top student paper.
In “Relational Dialectics in the Musical Chicago,” Moyer applied interpersonal communication scholar Bill Rawlins' theoretical constructs of relational dialectics to five relationships in the musical "Chicago," suggesting that theater-goers can learn lessons about their own relationships from the musical. Moyer’s work was accepted by both the Eastern Communication Association’s (ECA) Undergraduate Scholars Conference and the NCA's Theatre, Film, and New Multi-Media Division, where it was recognized as a top paper.
In his second piece accepted by the ECA, Moyer analyzed two Woody Guthrie songs. In this paper, Moyer argued that Guthrie was a social movement activist using intermediate tactics.
Moyer had another paper, “A rhetorical analysis of relational dialectics and friendships in the musical Kinky Boots,” accepted to the Ohio Communication Association (OCA) Conference. “We are looking to possibly submit it for publication at a state communication journal as well,” said Schrader. “Adam is a gifted writer with a natural talent for seeing connections between theory and text, and he’s already looking to submit a paper to the National Communication Association Conference next year.”
Moyer not only serves as a peer tutor in Schuylkill’s Academic Resource Center, but also as the president of the Penn State Schuylkill Honor Society. He has also received the Penn State Schuylkill Communication Research Award in 2020, and was inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, the national communication honor society, this fall.
Courtney Weikel earns award for research paper on 'Kinky Boots'
Courtney Weikel is a junior majoring in corporate communication with minors in business and in communication arts and sciences. She has had papers recognized in three state, regional and national communication conferences this year, and has earned top paper awards from two of those conferences.
In "'You are Not Alone': Burkean Identification in Dear Evan Hansen's 'You Will Be Found,'" Weikel applied Kenneth Burke's concept of identification to the song "You Will Be Found." In her abstract, Weikel argued that the song connects with theater-goers by assuring them that "no matter who we are, we are not alone in our struggles." Weikel’s paper was accepted by the ECA's Undergraduate Scholars Conference as well as the NCA Conference's Theatre, Film, and New Multi-Media Division, which recognized her research as a top student paper.
Weikel also had two papers accepted by the OCA Conference this year. One explored social judgment theory in the musical "Kinky Boots," and the other examined the Burkean pentad in the song "Cell Block Tango," featured in the musical "Chicago." Weikel's "Kinky Boots" paper was also selected as a top undergraduate student paper at the conference, for which she has received an award and a publication opportunity.
“Courtney is my first student to have earned two top paper awards from two different conferences,” said Schrader. “She has incredible attention to detail, especially when making corrections to her papers.”
Weikel acquaints prospective students with the Schuylkill campus as a Lion Ambassador and also holds office as the vice president of the Penn State Schuylkill Honor Society. She has also received the Penn State Schuylkill Communication Research Award in 2020.
Schrader to present at conference; finalizes book for publication
Schrader herself has earned a top paper designation at the NCA Conference. Her project, "Examining the 'Histo-remix:' Public Memory, Burkean Identification, and Feminism in the Musical Six," is ranked among the top five papers in the conference’s Theatre, Film, and New Multi-Media Division. She also has submitted the study for publication in the peer-reviewed international theater journal Studies in Musical Theatre.
For the past several months, Schrader has been fastidiously editing her upcoming book, "Public Memory and the Television Series 'Outlander'.” This long-term research project is now complete and has gone to press this week. Schrader expects the book to be in print in just a few weeks. In the meantime, a portion of Chapter 4 was accepted to the OCA Conference, and she presented alongside Moyer and Weikel at the virtual conference in early October.
In addition to coordinating Schuylkill’s Honors Program and teaching communication courses at the campus, Schrader serves as secretary of the NCA’s Theatre, Film, and New Multi-Media Division. This year, she will chair the Top Film Panel, share a teaching activity on a pedagogy panel, and serve as respondent for the Top Student Paper Panel.
An outstanding conference season
Moyer, Weikel and Schrader have had a prolific year, and their acceptance to regional and national conferences is a testament to the caliber of their work.
“I've never had two students have such a successful summer with conferences,” said Schrader. “We are looking into publication opportunities for both of their NCA papers.”
Though the ECA Undergraduate Scholars Conference was cancelled in April 2020, the group will virtually attend the OCA and NCA conferences in late October and mid-November, respectively.