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School of Communication welcomes new instructional faculty

Fell Hall, made of bricks, sitting on the tree-covered Quad

Fell Hall on the Illinois State University Quad in fall.

Illinois State University’s School of Communication welcomes new instructional faculty members this semester. Each instructor brings a passion for teaching, varying interests in research, and of course, a deep love for Illinois State University. A few of these new faculty members are highlighted in the article below.

Instructor in the School of Communication, Alyssa Hernandez

Alyssa Hernandez ’17, M.S. ’19

Alyssa Hernandez (’17, M.S. ’19)

Alyssa Hernandez (’17, M.S. ’19) recently joined Illinois State University’s staff this new school year. Alyssa obtained her bachelor’s degree at Augustana University before transferring here. After graduating with a master’s degree in communication from Illinois State University, she did not experience much of an adjustment except for working alongside fellow instructors that inspired her to continue building connections and create a passion for teaching.

Through the School of Communication, Alyssa teaches the courses Introduction to Communication and Interpersonal Communication. Her areas of research are in Hispanic disclosure, and she also wants to focus on doing studies that shed light on minorities. Hernandez enjoys working with narrative work and the impact that it has on others. Recently, she wrote a paper on narrative work and she plans on taking it to an upcoming conference. When asked what she liked most about Illinois State University and the School of Communication, Hernandez said, “When it comes to the School of Communication, I love the content especially the research and I’m really eager about it. I also love the open attitudes here.” Hernandez is also really looking forward to building bonds with coworkers as well as her students.

Hernandez discovered that she wanted to be a teacher ever since Graduate School. She looks forward to continuing to build more connections with students and getting even more involved through the School of Communication.

Alyssa recently won the ISU Fisher Thesis Award at the College level. The Fisher award is highly prestigious, as it awards the best thesis of the year. Alyssa’s thesis, completed at the end of her master’s program in spring 2019, focused on the perceptions of single Hispanic women in American culture.

Instructor in the School of Communication, Jessa Hendricker

Jessa Hendricker ’17, M.S. ’19

Jessa Hendricker (’17, M.S. ’19)

Jessa Hendricker (’17, M.S. ’19) is very enthusiastic for being a part of the ISU faculty in the School of Communication. Graduating from Olivet Nazarene University with her bachelor’s degree and then from Illinois State University with her master’s, she is excited for what her future holds. She is currently an instructor in the School of Communication for Communication 110. After graduating, Hendricker finds the transition from being a student to now being an instructor very interesting.

Hendricker’s main areas of research are in Instructional Communication and Interpersonal Communication. Her focus is studying how communication can be used in the classroom between students and teachers. Hendricker also studies how connections with others can be formed and maintained and studying where they connect.
She is currently focusing on the Graduate Teacher’s Assistant training program and working to better facilitate relationships between mentors and mentees in the classroom. Hendricker is also studying the impacts of grief and how people overcome grief by communicating it with others.

She loves Illinois State University, because she feels that “ISU is a safe and welcoming diverse community” and enjoys the environment here. Hendricker stated that she selected ISU because her mother went to school here as well in the education program. She is looking forward to discovering more about the future steps in teaching and hopefully obtaining her doctorate degree. For now, she will enjoy the perspective of teaching instead of being the student. Hendricker is living out her legacy as a newly hired Illinois State University faculty member.

Instructor in the School of Communication, Abbie Paul

Abbie Paul ’90, M.S. ’19

Abbie Paul (’90, M.S. ’19)

Abbie Paul (’90, M.S. ’19) obtained both her bachelor’s and master’s degree at Illinois State University. She graduated with her undergraduate degree in mass and speech communication as a double major. Her focus in education and research is still toward interpersonal communication and also social emotional learning and empathy.

Since she graduated with her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Illinois State, Paul’s start to teaching here didn’t require as much of a transition. In her role as an instructor, she hopes to continue learning and forming new relationships with students. Paul said, with “That first group of students that graduates in four years, and if I still have connections with any with them. I will consider that a great success.”

Paul appreciates how much that Illinois State is a college campus that is both an established and reputable university that cares about its students. She also enjoys working with fellow instructors and creating good connections with them. She pridefully noted, “ISU’s staff is incredible and so helpful not only towards fellow instructors but more importantly towards students. ISU faculty also care a lot towards their students and their needs 100 percent.”

As an instructor, Paul aims to better prepare her students for the future after graduating. She hopes that students not only go to college to meet the requirements, but to also gain a wealth of knowledge from their experiences. Paul is a great example of a Redbird dedicated to her extraordinary and caring passion for the students at ISU and her hopes that they too will become successful.

The School of Communication is excited to welcome these new instructors into the close-knit community of students and teachers, committed to the highest standards of academic excellence.