"My first visit to the communication lab was four years ago, when I was preparing my Statement of Purpose for graduate school applications. As a nonnative speaker, I was able to put sentences together, but often struggled with basic grammar usage, word choices, and organization in general. The staff members at the communication lab started with some general guidelines on what is considered as a good Statement of Purpose, and moved on to help polishing my article word by word. I had 3 sessions, and I found them extremely helpful.
My most recent encounter with the lab was to prepare my student reflection speech for the 2018 Ph.D. commencement. I was fortunate to work with James and Joshua for 3 sessions, where they provided tremendous help in a wide variety of ways: from basics such as sentence structures, word choices, flow, to tips on how to present in front of a podium, hand gestures, etc. I was later selected as the student reflection speaker, and had the honor to work with the Executive Director Dr. Head directly to further polish the presentation. Dr. Head is a very seasoned writer and speaker. She was highly attentive to details and had high standards, which in turn helped me a lot with getting well prepared for the big day. She was very fun to work with, and I learned different things about presenting every time I had session with her. As I compare the first version of my speech with the one I gave at the commencement, I was constantly amazed by how much the speech got improved in just a matter of visits to the lab.
Overall, my experience with the communication lab was overwhelmingly positive, and I strongly suggest other students to utilize this amazing service."
"The revisions that I found to be the most helpful in reaching my final draft were made through having other read my work and giving me feedback on how I can get my point across more clearly. I find this to be very helpful, I have gone into the [CommLab] here at Tech, which has helped tremendously by having, a second pair of eyes go through and edit. One thing I like to do before I write an assignment like this is to sit down with a pen and paper and write whatever comes to my mind when I think of the topic. I find that by using this method I come up with the most original idea I can think of and it usual is the easiest to write. I could use better timing techniques because I using cram both my drafts pretty close together, which could hurt my editing. Overall I felt like this assignment showed my strengths in getting out my emotions but also showed a lot of weaknesses in areas where I need to expand on."
— ENGL 1101 Student
"It was my first time to ask for help from the [CommLab]. To be honest, our group believed that the first draft was good enough and so I was thinking of borrowing the [CommLab]'s ability to help us correcting small things like catching any grammatical errors rather than fixing the big picture. However, Dr. Pease insightfully pointed out isolation of the ideas due to the weak argument and he also suggested us to restructure the paragraphs so it can be more connected to each other."
About Professional Development
"I am a second year graduate student. I just got two internship offers today from two employers on the top of my list and would love to thank Dr. Head and Mr. Laughter for the guidance you have given to me.
I was there when Dr. Head gave the lecture on interview strategies during the Career Fair Preparation last month and found her advice on "to-do" and "not-to-do" is extremely helpful. I did make some obvious mistakes in my interview back in January, although I looked up the strategies on Internet in advance. They simply did not reach the depth Dr. Head was talking about, such as how to keep the eye contact and how to response to those probing questions.
I also would love to contribute special gratitude to Mr. Laughter. I went to his resume workshop in February, which totally changed my understanding about resume and job market. He not only told us how to craft a resume but also told us specifically how a recruiter or employer would look through our resume. He talked about the communication principles through the job searching process, which could be easily applied to other communication process in the professional world.
There is no change in my qualification between January and February, but after the resume workshop and a one-to-one session with Mr. Laughter. I have a complete new and MUCH better resume. It is at that time that I realized Mr. Laughter is someone I could get real help from and take his advice with little conservation. During a few more one-to-one sessions, Mr. Laughter has given me advice on my personal website, helped me to do mock interview, and taught me how to response to offers properly. And above everything else, he is always smiling, patient, and extremely encouraging. As an International student and a non-native speaker, his kindness and dedicated help means a lot to me.
All in all, thank you Dr. Head for creating the program and providing the resources to graduate students. Your work is greatly appreciated!"
"In retrospect, I definitely misused the Commlab. I took it as another set of eyes to review my paper when it could have helped me the whole way with my paper. Guidance from the Commlab on where to even start would have made the process much, much easier. With their insight, I could probably have dodged the time wasting rewrites it took to get the paper where I wanted it. A simple brain storming session would have done away with it completely."
"In addition to peer review, our group took the poster to the Commlab and got some helpful input there. The Commlab was very useful and definitely worth going back to for other projects."
"Our professor introduced us to the communications lab where a tutor suggested us to write down the main ideas and create a flowchart of our speech on a white board. It was very useful because we could see a clear flow of logic. With this technique learned, our final written speech was much more organized and neat."
About the Dissertation Writing Boot Camp
"I learned of the Communications Lab towards the end of my PhD journey. It turns out that it was right on time. I applied to and attended the Dissertation Writing Bootcamp and over that week I was able to focus exclusively on producing content. By the end of the week, I had finished writing four chapters. The atmosphere was so conducive to productivity that a couple months later, as I was revising the draft of my dissertation, I asked if I could come back for a week. Dr. Fontaine obliged my request and once again I was supported by encouraging staff and resources. Setting daily goals with the tutors added a level of accountability that pushed me to finish revising three chapters that week. I would encourage any PhD student who is in the writing process to attend the Dissertation Writing Bootcamp. Having time dedicated to writing is great, but the resources and support provided by the Communications Lab have continued to help me through the dissertation process, even after bootcamp ended."
Reviews from Faculty
"One of my students worked with the tutoring center on his oral presentations this semester and I was really impressed with his improvement as a result of doing so. His second presentation was dramatically better than the first. I have rarely seen that much improvement in that amount of time. Nice job [CommLab]!"
— ENGL 1101/1102 Instructor