Reviews from Students

About Revising

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.

—  Richard

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.

— Minsik

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!

— Guanying

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.

— Roark

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.

— Matthew

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.

— Weiting

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.

— Stefanie

About Working with Dr. Rob Griffin

I have been awarded as the recipient of the Helene M. Overly Memorial Scholarship, the Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS), Atlanta Chapter. This is the first scholarship that I have received since I came to Georgia Tech. It means a lot to me! Dr. Griffin helped me revise my application materials, especially the personal statement. He helped me correct many grammar mistakes and provided useful suggestions about the flow of the statement. I really appreciate his help!

— Xinyi​​

I’m now a second-year master student who majored in Chemical Engineering. I have participated in the 2019 Three Minute Thesis competition. To prepare my speech, I contacted the Naugle Commlab to, and there is where I met Dr. Robert Griffin the first time. And I met with Rob at least twice a week in the following months to improve my public speaking skills. He not only improved my English pronunciation but also taught me lots of useful tips for improving my talk. In addition, he encouraged me a lot during the process and made me feel confident on the stage. I have attended many other English classes back in Taiwan, but Rob is definitely the best English mentor I have ever met. Rob is always willing to help me to improve my communication skills from different perspectives. As an international student, I’m so glad that I can have him as my English mentor and I strongly recommend other international students who want to improve their English to contact him!

— Powei

I participated in the 3 minutes thesis competition in Georgia Tech. The goal of the competition is to make non-technical audiences understand what my research is. It should include what the problem in my research field is, how I solved the problem, and how the results affect the world. The rule is that the presentation must not exceed 3 minutes and you can only show a single static slide to the public. The challenge of the competition is that a speech should be concise, clear, and simple enough. This is difficult for me as an international student, thus I reached out Dr. Robert who works in communication center at Georgia Tech. First, he proofread my speech in terms of coherent structure and vocabulary. Specifically, I realized that some of the words that I used frequently may sound difficult to others so that I could replace those jargons with simpler words. In addition, he fixed my pronunciation and intonation. The intonation was particularly beneficial to me as the audiences are much easier to catch the key words and thus understand my speech comfortably. Lastly, he gave me a feedback on my presentation slides, specifically whether he could understand how all the figures are correlated with my speech. Thanks to his support, I was able to earn the people’s choice award from the competition.

— Jeong-Won

After working with Dr. Griffin, I was invited to a campus interview. I appreciate him so much for his help in my application process. Dr. Griffin is always patient, efficient and reliable. I probably will keep seeing him in the following weeks for the interview preparation.

— Yuqing

I got an interview from the University of Arkansas for a teaching assistant faculty position. I really appreciate Dr. Griffin's dedicated help with my CV, cover letter and teaching statement. His advice and guidance really improved my faculty application package a lot!

— Euisun

It's been great taking Dr. Griffin's LMC class 8801 this semester! The class so far has helped me identified the weakness in my English language usage and inspired me to work hard to strengthen up with the guidelines discussed in the classroom. Most lately I received a job offer of software engineer from Apple. I find my English communication with recruiters has worked out better than before. I hope to continue pushing my efforts in the class and reach the next level of English communication which I believe will be a strong support to my professional growth in future.

— Joey

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