How the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication Will Benefit Rowan Students

Two Rowan students stand in front of 301 High St.

Today we speak to Dr. Julie Haynes, director of the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University. Dr. Haynes is also a professor of Communication Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. Dr. Haynes, along with two students who intern at the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts, tell us how the Center will benefit Rowan students.

A portrait of Dr. Julie Haynes, the director of the Center for the Advancement of Women.
Dr. Julie Haynes, director of the Center for the Advancement of Women.

Can you tell me a bit about how the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University came to be?

“The Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University is an affiliate of The Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Florida International University. The Kopenhaver Center was founded in 2012 by Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, who currently serves as its executive director.

“Dr. Kopenhaver graduated from Glassboro State College in 1962 and continues to be active at Rowan. She has been instrumental in several recent initiatives on campus, including The Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for Alumni Engagement in Shpeen Hall as well as the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Career Resource Library in Savitz Hall.

“Dean Sanford Tweedie, the Dean of the Ric Edelman College of Communication of Creative Arts, discussed the possibility of creating an affiliate center for women in communication at Rowan with Dr. Kopenhaver. He approached me about directing it, and I was thrilled. We launched the Center in October. Although our initial plans were to launch in spring 2020, COVID, like in so many areas, presented challenges, so we pivoted to more virtual opportunities in the fall.” 

Can you tell me about the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication?

According to Dr. Julie Haynes, “The mission of the Center is to promote advancements for women, and gender equity overall, in communication industries and academia. We highlight career and internship opportunities for students and provide networking events while serving as a thought leadership center on gender equity in communication for southern New Jersey. We work collaboratively with the Kopenhaver Center to advance these initiatives across our campuses and across the country.”

A Zoom screenshot of "A Level Playing Field: Female Leaders in Sports Communication", a virtual workshop the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication held.
A screenshot on Zoom of “A Level Playing Field: Female Leaders in Sports Communication,” a virtual workshop hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication.

How do you feel that the Center has helped students at Rowan?

“We just launched in October, but I feel that we are already starting to help students at Rowan. We provide students with opportunities to get involved in internships within the Center. I have students working on my social media and website that are students. We also give students opportunities to network with professionals and potentially find internships through our virtual workshops. Our inaugural event was “100 Years of Speaking through the Ballot: Women and Political Communication.” Students were able to hear about women in politics and political communication from E. Michele Ramsey, a professor at Penn State, Berks, and Heather Simmons, a Gloucester County Freeholder and director of University Business Relations at Rowan. We also held a program on Women in Sports Communication as well, with speakers Gail Dent from the NCAA and Marisabel Muñoz from Major League Soccer & Soccer United Marketing.

“In April we’re holding an event on working in museums and public spaces with a communication degree. One of the speakers for that event, Julissa Marenco, is the Chief Marketing Officer at the Smithsonian Institution and a 1997 RadioTV/Film graduate of Rowan. She has also sent me information on how to get a paid internship at the Smithsonian for students. Our goal is to expose students to different speakers from a variety of communication backgrounds and provide them with networking opportunities. In the future, we also plan to have a student club.

“In addition to our events, students have also been able to take advantage of programs offered through the Kopenhaver Center at Florida International University (FIU). We have been excited to collaborate with them on these workshops. For example, the Kopenhaver Center held a virtual workshop on starting your own communication business in January, which featured a southern New Jersey public relations firm owner, Laura Bishop. Bishop currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts and is a member of the Leadership Council for Rowan’s Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication. It has been rewarding and so interesting to work together on creating events, and the feedback from attendees and students has been extremely positive. Once the pandemic is over, I will be able to take selected students to FIU for the Kopenhaver Center’s annual conference as well.”

Jessica poses outside of the 260 Victoria building.
Jessica Newell, an intern for the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts

How do students feel about the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication and its benefits and future benefits to students?

According to Jessica Newell, an intern for the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts that works with the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication, “The Center serves as a networking hub for students, scholars, and industry professionals in the various communication-related fields. Our events showcase female leaders and seek to demonstrate how a solid background of communication skills will help you thrive in any path you take. For students, like myself, seeing these female role models inspires me to pursue leadership roles in my own future. I think students also benefit from seeing the breadth of career possibilities in the field of communication, some of which may not be immediately obvious.” Jessica is a junior Communication Studies major from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Jessica also minors in Spanish and Women’s and Gender Studies, and holds an Honors Concentration.

“It is so inspiring to see the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University putting gender equity at the forefront of its agenda,” says Sarah McCabe, a junior Public Relations and Advertising double major from Mantua, NJ (Gloucester County) with an Honors Concentration who also interns for the college. 

“As a female Public Relations student at Rowan, I am always looking for ways to create connections with powerful leaders in the field, especially leading women in communication. The new Center offers students just that, with virtual workshops and events featuring different professional communicators each month. I am so glad to see the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts recognizing and empowering women’s voices.” 

Sarah McCabe, one of the interns for the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts.
Sarah McCabe, an intern for the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts

How has COVID affected your plans for the Center?

“Launching in the midst of COVID has been challenging, but there have been some excellent opportunities created by it and the overall shift in virtual communication. We have been able to have virtual workshops with people from all over the country who might otherwise not be able to visit campus in person. While we certainly can’t wait until we can be together in person, we are excited to be able to provide such excellent opportunities for our students and the entire Rowan community. “

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Story and photo of Jessica by:
Rachel Rumsby, sophomore communication studies and public relations double major

All other photos provided by:
Sarah McCabe, junior public relations and advertising double major

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