Kansas State University


Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

Students, Faculty, and Alumni 2016 SAAS Conference: A Reflection on Graduate Student Experience

Story by Cassie Wandersee, (master’s student)

When I accepted a position as a graduate teaching and research assistant nearly two years ago, I did not fully understand what communications research in the agricultural industry would look like. After being assigned my first literature review for a research project it seemed I was in over my head.


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K-State students, faculty, and alumni attended the SAAS 2016 conference. Pictured left to right: (back) Jeremy D’Angelo, Katie Rohling, Gina Nixon, Dr. Lauri Baker, Cassie Wandersee, Audrey King. (front) MCKayla Brubaker, Lindsay Graber, Courtney Meyers











After a fair amount of coaching and several revision stages, I completed my first literature review. However, it wasn’t until I attended the SAAS 2015 conference in Atlanta that I realized the application of my literature reviews and research.

Research conferences provide an opportunity to share research and make connections with our colleges. As a graduate student, the various research conferences I attended were a source of inspiration for my own research and career goals. The networking opportunities and friendships I formed at conferences have been even more valuable to me.

Knowing the SAAS 2016 conference in San Antonio would be my last was a very bittersweet event. While I am very excited to complete my thesis research and continue on in my career, I will miss the friendships I have developed with my fellow students and colleagues at research conferences.

I would encourage all of our alumni and friends to attend a research conference if you are able. The application of research to our field and the relationships we form with our colleagues will only strengthen our discipline.

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