Students, professor present at National Communication Association conference

At the National Communication Association’s (NCA) annual convention, which was held virtually this year, two Hastings College students and a professor presented their research papers.

Courtney Hanson
Courtney Hanson
Sam Burke
Samantha Burke

Senior Samantha Burke, a communication studies major from Denver, Colorado, and senior Courtney Hanson, a communication studies and philosophy and religion major from Brookings, South Dakota, represented Hastings College at the conference.

Burke presented her research paper, “You are a Surivivor: An Analysis of Sexual Assault Narrative within Grey’s Anatomy” and attended the Lambda Pi Eta (LPH) national business meeting, as she was a student advisor on the board. LPH is the NCA’s honor society, which has more than 500 active chapters across the country.

Austin McDonald 1
Dr. Austin McDonald

Burke also presented alongside Dr. Austin McDonald, Hastings College assistant professor of communication studies, with their research paper, “Exploring the Impacts of an Open Door Policy and a Mindfulness Room at the Intercollegiate Speech (Individual Events) Tournament,” which was published in a peer-reviewed journal during the summer of 2020.

Hanson presented her research paper, “Attempting to End Fat-Shaming by Fat-Shaming?” on the Top Paper Panel of the LPH Division.

McDonald also presented, “Discerning Polychronicity’s Role in Forensic Coach Burnout” on a larger panel titled Coaches at the Crossroads: Professional and Personal Challenges to Continuing in a Coaching Career.


Hastings College is a four-year residential college that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement, Hastings’ student-centered initiatives include providing books, an iPad and a two-week study away experience at no additional cost. A block-style semester schedule allows professors and students to focus on fewer classes at a time and promotes hands-on experiences. Discover more at

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