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March 13, 2019

Can we talk?

March 13, 2019 

Last week, we said goodbye to my mother-in-law, Helen, who was truly one of a kind. She was honest, hilarious, often unfiltered and was unapologetically herself. She introduced me to pierogi, played a mean game of cards, loved to laugh and spoke her mind. Though life handed her some pretty tough circumstances, she rolled with the punches and made the best of things. She never backed down from a conversation and, sometimes, was the only one to say what others were thinking. Like me, she was a talker and a storyteller.

So much of who I am and who she was is wrapped up in our talkative natures. I’ve never known a time when I couldn’t find something to say. My family teases me that when someone simply asks me for directions, they really don’t need my life story. I’ll admit there might be a little truth to that. Communication is key to who I am, and it frustrates me to no end if I’m misunderstood or not heard at all.

We all communicate in different ways. I’m an extrovert with a loud voice, but I know plenty of people who are much quieter and speak less often. There are thousands of languages across the world — I’m a bit embarrassed I only speak one.

Doctoral students Seth Tichenor and Caryn Herring are deeply involved in researching communication, specifically stuttering. It’s also not just their area of study, but something they personally experience in their daily lives.

Frustrated by a lack of knowledge about stuttering in their childhood therapists, they’re dedicated to making life better for people who stutter. Check out their video in the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Understanding the mystery of stuttering, to learn more about their work in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders — which boasts the largest number of people researching stuttering of any university in the country.

Christian Danve M. Castroverde, a postdoctoral scholar studying plant research, places a huge value in interpersonal communication in research and teaching. While he says, “human relationships, like host-pathogen systems, can be complicated and may even prove difficult sometimes,” he knows that collaboration is key to scientific research. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Striving for harmony, to learn more about his philosophy and work.

Alex Gust, a senior forestry student, has found that good communication with his fellow students and professors has been key to his success as a Spartan. Read his STUDENT VIEW: Finding the perfect fit, to learn more about the opportunities he’s had at MSU.

That’s the great thing about being a Spartan — there’s always another Spartan to collaborate with. We know that our collective brain power is a force to be reckoned with. Sometimes casual conversation leads to partnerships and discoveries. It all starts with communication. So, be like Helen and speak up. Talk to people and don’t be shy. Find common ground and state your case. Voice your questions and search for answers. There is great power in conversation. Make your voice heard. #SpartansWill.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Kurt Stepnitz


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