Professors take on action-packed trip to the Nation’s Capital

By Taylor Viles – 1851 Staff

For Professors Lauren Anderson and Brian Wardyga, a communication-based trip, like the one they just chaperoned to Washington, D.C., is a vital experience for students to learn about the industry, make connections, and bond with classmates.

Taylor Viles: Why do you feel this trip is so important for COM students?

Wardyga:  D.C. provides a much more political arena for students to explore aspects of communication that they study… It’s nice to be able to put them in a different environment that still utilizes the skills that they’re acquiring in the classroom but in a completely different setting… It opens students’ minds to a completely different paradigm.

Anderson: It’s important for students to take their learning beyond the classroom which is what Lasell’s connected learning philosophy is all about.  How do you use what you know in your field of communication in the ‘real world?’

TV: What was your favorite part of the trip the first time you went on it?

W: I definitely enjoyed each of the places we visited in a different way.  One of the big takeaways I had from last time…was how fascinated the students were with what I consider to be a very small TV studio that we visited.  It actually inspired me to start pursuing smaller spaces at Lasell…that that led to the fruition of our own TV studio.

A: I think last year my favorite part of the trip was Sirius XM because I’d never been there before and it was just really cool to see the everyday workings of a big-time media conglomerate. Last year we also got to sit in on a radio show.

TV: What was your favorite part of the trip this year?

W: I was pretty blown away by the size of Sirius XM.  That definitely wasn’t something I expected. I couldn’t believe how many edit bays and studios that they had. [Besides Sirius XM], … Scooters; those were fun!

A: I think my favorite part of the trip this year was getting to know students on a more personal level outside the classroom and getting to know Brian [Wardyga] more.

TV: How did your first year differ from this year?              

W: First of all, I went with Luis Lopez-Preciado.  He was really good at keeping everyone on schedule and led the group.  I feel like [this year] we all took turns leading different initiatives… [Last time] we stayed in a hotel…it was more expensive and we didn’t see each other much at night; people just went back to their rooms.  We didn’t get to bond as much as we did on this trip.  That was a big improvement this time around. 

A: There was a different dynamic [with it] being all guys on the trip this year… As far as the sites that we saw, they were all the same… This year we had a little more time to chill, hang out…and enjoy the trip more… This felt a lot more communal…where we could all get to know each other.

TV: What’s one take away from this trip that you want students to have?

W: It’s so important that students can realize that all the different aspects of communication that they’re learning at Lasell can be applied in environments that might not seem to be communication jobs… [For example] You can use your skills…in journalism or public relations to be a press secretary.  That might be something students never thought of until visiting Joe Kennedy’s office.

A: You just have to work your ass off to get where you want to go and be 10 steps ahead of the next person. It might mean putting in a ton of work and not getting paid for it in the beginning…but you could get all of these super cool jobs. 

TV: How do you find students react to the trip when it’s over?

W: They’re all very appreciative of the trip and…students always bond from the experience.  Since we were able to spend more time talking…back at the house, …students are going to come away…with not only all the experiences from D.C., but also with closer friendships. 

A: Professionally I see students come back more motivated than they went into the trip.  Seeing students have that fire lit under them; ‘I lost my desire and drive to research history,’ like you were talking about… Who knows, maybe you’ll go into political communication, maybe not…but just to reignite that passion again…that’s really cool.  Personally, my favorite part…is seeing everyone bond after the trip. 

TV: What has the trip taught you as a professor?

W: It reminds me…that you can have fun in education and still come away with an educational experience.  It also reinforces the importance of the social component in everything that you do.  It’s encouraged me…to create more social occasions for my TV club and radio club.

A: It’s never too late. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll be a professor forever or if this is just a stepping stone… I’m doing it as long as it’s fun… I feel like…you can always continually learn and push yourself and get better whether you’re a student or a professor.

TV: What would you add to the trip or change about the trip in the future?

W: [Maybe] give us a little more time…in between locations so we’re not rushing around so much.  [Also], perhaps try to seek out other organizations that…are closer together so we are not traveling miles…from one place to another.

A: If there were no budget restraints…I would love to stay an extra night…and have Saturday night to chill.  I felt like when the trip ended I was very sad.  I also thought of…splitting up our…busy day… That would make it a little less hectic.

TV: How important do you think networking is?

W: It’s a form of communication. The communication industry is a small business.  As you start to live through it, you begin to realize…how many people actually know each other.  You want to make as many favorable impressions as you can… [Networking can] lead to a lot of future opportunities.

A: Oh my God, [it is] incredibly important. I got this job from networking at a conference.  I think it’s the number one skill that students can have besides working hard.

TV: If the D.C. trip doesn’t continue, what’s an idea of something that could replace it?

W: We’ve talked very briefly about locations that we could start scouting out.  I think it’s more important to get students out of Massachusetts, out of their backyard, and let them see the world from another perspective. 

A: I know we could go to…another big city…to save some money.  But we have so many great connections in D.C.  Why would we change that?  In the grand scheme of things…I think [the cost] is 100% worth it with the experiences we had in D.C.

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