Spring 2012 TRINITY Magazine, Real World Success
Alex Walsh ’10
Major: Political Science, Communication Arts
Title: Doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant, West Virginia University
Alex Walsh earned his master’s degree from DePaul University in 2012 and is pursuing a Ph.D. in interpersonal and instructional communication at West Virginia University. As a doctoral student at a “research one” level institution, he is expected to complete his studies, teach undergraduate level classes, and research communication in both romantic relationships and instructional settings.
Learning beyond the books: “At Trinity, I got to know my professors, see their personal passions in the academic world, and apply my own interests in their classes. I learned to think critically about what I was studying, to explore different perspectives, and to create my own opinions. Trinity professors showed me how to be passionate about my studies while maintaining my faith. Dr. Craig Mattson, professor of communication arts, challenged the students in their academic work and found ways to tie the academic theories back to the Christian faith. Professors also tackled tough issues head on. Today as an instructor, I don’t shy away from the tough questions either; I charge at them with an open mind.”
Collaborative research: “During my senior year, Professor John Sianghio and I conducted a critical analysis on how digital technology creates and reinforces political identities. I was treated not as a student, but as a fellow researcher. I brought John ideas, he critiqued them, I critiqued his responses, and we would refine our goals for the study. We would wrestle over ideas that neither of us knew the answer to. This mentor/mentee process is exactly what occurs at the graduate level.”
Plans for the future: “I hope to become a professor. My research in instructional communication observes what factors encourage or discourage student interactions with their professors and their academic work. As a Christian, I think it is important that we know how to engage the students in their academic work, but challenge them in their faith.”