Ramapo students and alum present at ECA convention

Communication arts students, an alum and Dr. Satarupa Dasgupta, associate professor of applied communication, traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts during spring break for the 115th annual Eastern Communication Association (ECA) Convention. Four students, senior Melissa Glasson, senior Sara Hosbach, junior William Jackson and junior Joseph Santana, shared posters about their research while Dasgupta and alumna Emily Melvin ‘23 presented their co-authored research paper.

All the students presented research papers that they conceived and worked on in Dasgupta’s classes. She shared in an interview with The Ramapo News that she wants all of her students to conduct research and create campaigns independently within her classes because it allows them “ownership” of their work, meaning they can then use it to apply to conferences and add it to their portfolios.

“I always encourage them to apply for conferences because I know a lot of my students, they would love to go to graduate school and go into full-time research, so I am trying to push them towards going in that direction,” she said.

While the topics of the students’ research varied, all investigated and addressed various social issues. Glasson’s research was about improving higher education for students with learning disabilities. Hosbach’s research offered solutions for the inaccessibility of menstrual products and the inadequacy of menstrual education in the U.S. Jackson’s research highlighted the importance of destigmatizing and increasing access to fentanyl test kits throughout the country. Santana’s research studied the portrayal of female characters in film to highlight the need for more women working behind the scenes.

For many of the students, ECA was their first time presenting at a conference, especially one of such a large size. While intimidating, the experience offered students a look into a field that they might consider pursuing in their future careers.

“ECA was a wonderful opportunity to interact with passionate undergraduates,” Hosbach stated in an email. “It was so cool to see what students my age are doing at other universities.”

Santana shared that he felt inspired by the experience. 

“ECA was like being a small fish in a big pond, as I saw many different students from all walks of life come to present their own unique projects. This motivated me to believe that my work could amount to something big,” he stated in an email.

ECA was not only a time to celebrate the students, however, as Dasgupta and Melvin had the opportunity to present their recently published paper about their research on how technology can help support Generation Z when dealing with intimate partner violence.

Melvin, who presented her campaign about medicinal marijuana at ECA last year while still an undergraduate, was recruited by Dasgupta to conduct faculty-student research in the winter of 2023 with their partnership continuing past Melvin’s graduation.

Melvin shared that attending her second ECA conference, this time as a scholar, was an entirely different experience than last year’s.

“I was much more confident and prepared to present, network, and attend other sessions,” she stated in an email. “I felt proud of myself and my work, and it helped me realize that I have something important to contribute and belong here.”

This is not the first time that Dasgupta has forged partnerships with students through the faculty-student research program at Ramapo. She shared that she currently has eight students who are conducting research with her, six of whom are studying support for intimate partner violence and two who are focused on neurodiversity.

Dasgupta described ECA as a “fantastic experience” for the students overall. 

“Quite a few of my students who went to ECA… they have not even thought about graduate school before, but I’m like, ‘you know, you could do this,” she said. “It’s such a big confidence booster. It can boost up [their] confidence that ‘I can do this.’”




Featured photo courtesy of Emily Melvin, Linkedin