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College of Information and Communications

Frances Hutchful - Master of Mass Communication

Posted October 8, 2020

Where are you from and how did you end up here in Columbia at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications for your graduate work?
I'm from Cape Coast, Ghana, and had never been to the United States.  So, Columbia seemed like a "calm" enough city for my first visit and, most importantly, the school offered a master's degree that prepares students for the corporate world. The curriculum resonated with the what I wanted to gain from the program.

What is your favorite thing about your program of study?
I'm impressed with the practicality of all the courses and the balance it comes with. It's not so much that it overwhelms you, yet it's not too little to leave you wanting. I love the responsibilities assigned to graduate assistants. For someone like me who hasn't fully experienced the corporate world yet, opportunities to work with other professors and help with events are a great confidence boost.

Is there a faculty or staff member who has been particularly helpful or influential to you?
I absolutely appreciate Camea Cato, the graduate student manager. She is our go-to person and is always available to students. I have also been greatly influenced by Augie Grant and Lisa Sisk, whose classes were simply a joy to take. Working as a graduate assistant for Anli Xiao has also been one of the greatest joys for me this semester amidst the pandemic.

Is there something you are particularly looking forward to accomplishing during this next year?
I look forward to applying my research skills from Dr. Overton's Research Methods class into my project for the Graduate Civic Scholars Program (a community-based research opportunity offered by the graduate school) which centers around deciding factors that make international students opt for studying abroad.

What are you involved in outside the classroom?
I am a cabinet member for the Graduate Student Association and secretary for International Student Affairs. Also,  I will be hosting an International Coffee Hour organized by ISS this semester to address graduate student concerns and foster honest discussion.

Any words of advice for other students considering the MMC program?
Because I couldn't visit campus before applying, the physical image I had of the school was very limited. It is better than my imagination. I believe it's one of the most beautiful colleges in USC. 

Also, the SJMC is strategically positioned and offers great experiential learning opportunities.

The professors and staff are super friendly and helpful, and the program is well-suited to shape you into what every company needs.

Follow Frances on Instagram.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.