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Skegee Spotlight: Dr. Jennifer Bender

August 02, 2021

Contact: Kawana McGough, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing
   

The Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing regularly shines its "'Skegee Spotlight" on employees, students and alumni who help make Tuskegee University "The Pride of the swift-growing South."  

Communications, getting you started on the right path

Dr. Jennifer Bender

Dr. Jennifer Bender, communication studies professor, doesn’t just set the foundational work for Tuskegee University communication major students, there is more to it, as she offers students a chance to learn that communications is a great area to begin your place in work.

Bender is an interpersonal and health communication scholar with expertise in subject areas of communication in close relationships, nonverbal communication, business and professional, and communication & ethics. She received her bachelor's, master's, and finished her doctoral degree from the University of South Florida in 2019. She currently works as an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies for the Department of Modern Languages, Communication, and Philosophy at Tuskegee University.

“I began in 2019 and continue to work with young scholars in our community. I'm heading into my third year on a tenure-track position and I work closely with many service-learning opportunities, such as heading the Committee for Community Outreach,” noted Bender.

For Bender, coming to teach at Tuskegee University was the best choice she could have imagined.

“Communication is a vital skill in any field, and it is the number one hirable and most marketable trait,” she explained. “Tuskegee's community is flourishing, and communication is key to everything we do both verbally and nonverbally. The Tuskegee communication studies program is growing, and our department is elated to have such honorable and wonderful scholars.”

Directing students towards success

Bender says being a communications teacher allows her the opportunity to bring students out of their comfort zones.

“Watching a student in public speaking who is afraid to speak, and then watching that student build up the courage to go to the podium is the real accomplishment – I am so proud of our students,” she noted.

Recently, Tuskegee University’s Communication Honor Society, (Lambda Pi Eta’s, Alpha Epsilon Nu Chapter) received the Chapter of the Year Award, and Bender, too, will receive the Top Panel Award and a National Teaching Award from the National Communication Association.

Bender says this year, eight students in Tuskegee’s program were accepted into the honor society and will benefit from a free year-long membership to the National Communication Association, a graduate fair, helpful seminars, and free access to materials and texts via the national website.

“As a strong representative for our National Communication Association, I fulfill several leadership and stewardship roles. One strength of representation from Tuskegee at our annual conference is the scholarship opportunities for students, especially those with strong grades. Additionally, the career fair will help in guiding young leaders in Communication Studies to paths of success,” explained Bender.

A program on the rise

“Tuskegee's communication program is growing quickly and students are constantly reaching out to transfer their studies into this field,” she explained. “Communication studies is a broad field that encompasses small group, interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, ethical communication, communication research, and a majority of other skills that are practical and useful in the workforce,” she continued.   

Bender added that you can do almost anything with a communication degree including public relations, human resources, sports media, health communication – earning a communication degree is highly sought and a reputable field post-graduation.

In addition to her communication honors, Bender will have her second chance in serving on the highly competitive, President’s Task Force for the National Association. She will represent Tuskegee University and have the opportunity to work on a committee to address disparities in mental health among underrepresented populations.

To learn more about Lambda Pi Eta, and its criteria for placement in the program visit https://www.natcom.org/sites/default/files/pages/NCA_LPH_Flyer_printer.pdf. Tuskegee’s chapter, Alpha Epsilon Nu advisor is Dr. Jennifer Bender, she can be reached at drjenniferbender@gmail.com.

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