SUSI Scholars: It’s time to present our projects!

Alejandro Vargas presents on pedagogical goals

We concluded our project today by having every SUSI Scholar member present in a mini-conference in Room 444. The SUSI Scholars were given a maximum of 12 minutes to present their ideas, but it’s fascinating to observe the range of media and communication projects proposed, some of which may be entirely different from their original concepts.

In this session, the scholar needed to comprehensively outline their project and describe more detailed plans and information that can allow their work to be realized. However, academic communication conferences typically serve as platforms for researchers, scholars, and professionals to share their work and exchange knowledge in a particular field of study. 

These conferences covered a wide range of topics in the project presentations, in which the SUSI scholars described their backgrounds, aims, methodologies, and conclusions from their project. Most of the presentations include slides, papers, or photos.

The scholars look on as a peer speaks in front of a projected slide labeled "From Strategy to PR"
Angela Van Der Kooye (Suriname) included a short video about her country

Some scholars shared projects related to gaining practical knowledge or engaging in hands-on activities associated with specific situations and experiences they had while attending Cronkite. For instance, Angela van der Kooye, a communication strategist and tutor from Suriname, wants the country to emulate the Cronkite School’s public relations lab, which was observed by scholars during the first week of the program. She thinks that since the PR Lab is an integrated communications and public relations firm, it will be advantageous for her students to obtain both real-world work experience and a totally immersive educational experience.

Dr. Eman M. Soliman Amin, an assistant professor at Galala University in Egypt, had an interesting presentation. She said that the SUSI Program gave her ideas and experiences that she was eager to bring back to her own university. She is introducing a new digital media course that will help to further introduce the critical thinking viewpoint on communication and digital media discussed throughout the conference. It’s necessary because some developing nations struggle not only to adopt modern technology but also to deal with its many side consequences. 

A scholar speaks animatedly in front of a slide
The author, Firly Annisa (Indonesia) speaking about her proposed course

The goals of Eman’s idea and presentation are similar to those of other SUSI scholars, such as Tamanda Masambuka (Malawi), Mariana Kitsa (Ukraine), and myself (Indonesia), a lecturer for the Master’s program in Digital Media and Communication. We would all undoubtedly like to create new courses at the university where we are employed in our home country. The most notable aspect of this course is that it aims to provide students with knowledge and skills while also opening their eyes to the more challenging situations that will require the use of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, hybrid media outlets, and big data.

Additionally, several academics give presentations on their research. Dr. Hassan Fakih (Lebanon), who discussed qualitative research in artificial intelligence and public relations, provided an upbeat and optimistic view on how this technology will be received in the future.  

A scholar in front of a slide presentation
Hassan Fakih (Lebanon) delivered an idea about research in Artificial Intelligence and public relations

In addition, some SUSI Scholars also expressed their gratitude to the SUSI staff for providing them with numerous resources and opportunities to expand their networks and gain more expertise in the field of communication. Carmem Petit (Brazil) began her speech by thanking everyone who had given her the wonderful chance to participate in the SUSI program. The same message was echoed by Alejandro Vargas Johansson (Costa Rica), who said that the SUSI Program has provided him with additional resources and experiences that he didn’t expect. Alejandro also shared his AI simulation from the previous week at the conclusion of his presentation. Anida Sokol (Bosnia-Herzegovina) also gave a fantastic presentation that began with a tease: she started by announcing the title as “Best Bars and Club in Downtown Phoenix,” which elicited a hearty laugh from all of us. (She actually plans to create an ambitious new journalism training program in her country.)

A scholar stands in front of a slide labeled "Best Bars and Clubs in Downtown Phoenix" as a joke before discussing her actual project
A moment of hilarity marked the start of Dr. Anida Sokol’s (Bosnia-Herzegovina) presentation

For me, it’s crucial to emphasize that this conference gave me a lot of knowledge about other people’s perspectives, settings, and backgrounds from all of the participating SUSI Scholars. This kind of knowledge and idea exchange not only broadens our perspectives but also strengthens our relationships with one another.