Media studies senior Rosalind Hobbs (Class of 2022) has received the 2021 Rising Star scholarship from The Association for Women in Communications (AWC). When she picked up the call informing her of the news, however, Hobbs had entirely forgotten she was even a candidate for this prestigious prize. “It was not just the calendar fog that is life in the pandemic,” Hobbs recalled. “I actively try to put all applications out of my mind after I submit them. But when I got this call, it all came flooding back. AWC was on the phone! It was a very good day.”
The AWC is a national organization with local chapters throughout the country. It is dedicated to empowering and supporting the careers of women in the field of communication and media. As part of that mission, the AWC gives out annual awards for being outstanding students and emerging “agents of change in the industry.”
Hobbs’ Rising Star award includes a $2,000 scholarship and annual membership dues in local and national AWC chapters. “I am really looking forward to the nationwide networking, professional development, national and local recognition, and leadership opportunities provided by the AWC community,” remarked Hobbs. “They will complement the education I’m receiving in media studies, French and art here at The University of Tulsa.”
Women in communications and media
“Part of what makes this AWC award so gratifying to me is that, I hope, I can use the momentum to lift other women in the field,” said Hobbs. “The opportunity to surround myself with other women is quite inspiring and motivating.”
Hobbs takes special inspiration from Chapman Assistant Professor of Media Studies Emily Contois, noting her instructor’s “zeal, determination and passion” for her studies. “Many leadership roles within media and communication — from film directing and broadcast journalism to editor-in-chief positions and ad agency creative directors — are held by predominantly straight white men,” Contois commented. “My research, writing and teaching address these inequities, especially as I work with the next generation of media and communications professionals. Excellent women professionals like Rosalind Hobbs are vital to making media industries inclusive for all, unlocking their full potential to communicate in ways that make a positive difference.”
Integrative and interdisciplinary
Hobbs stood out among stiff competition for this award as a result of her excellent work in media studies at TU, through which she has integrated and showcased her learning in diverse fields, such as French, art, philosophy, political science and math: “My professors, including Benjamin Peters and Emily Contois, have fostered immersive and challenging conversations. They have also given me personal advice about how best to chart my future in communications as well as my interactions with professionals and other lifelong students.”
Hobbs also noted, “I strongly believe that the integrative and interdisciplinary approach to learning in media studies has allowed me to achieve opportunities such as this one. As a transfer student, I have also learned how to be adaptable and piece together knowledge across not just many fields but different institutions, skills that no doubt will prove useful in the communications field.”
A native of Tulsa, Hobbs grew up doodling alongside her graphic designer father and fine arts teacher mother. Drawing on this early inspiration, beyond the classroom Hobbs contributes to her mother’s childhood art education business and has begun her own freelance art business from the ground up.
She has also taken on other leadership roles at TU, including interaction with student organizations, such as the TU Transfer Club and the TU Peer Mentors program. During the summer, Hobbs held a D’Arcy Fellows internship with Living Arts. “Now that the internship has wrapped up, I can say I’m loving this field and eager to see what opportunities await,” Hobbs reported.
Each of these extracurricular activities, such as designing art kits for Tulsa kids who access to art education, has required Hobbs to see what she calls “zoom portraits” of her clients, zooming in to detail their particular needs and desires as well as zooming out to understand how those needs fit and work with the larger community, history and politics of the community, industry and country: “My education in art helps me zoom in and my liberal arts education helps me zoom out.”
When asked what she intends to pursue after graduation, Hobbs ticks off a couple career tracks and graduate school possibilities. “I don’t yet fully know what I’ll be doing. But, thanks to communities like the ones I have been fortunate to encounter during my time at TU, I feel confident that I’ll find somewhere to belong. I just hope I end up in Tulsa!”
Do you have a story to share about your experiences with media studies at TU? If so, we want to tell it! Reach out to Media Studies Chair Benjamin Peters at email@example.com