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Renee Harmon

Renee Harmon, Colorado State University

“I love working in academia because of the freedom and experiences it provides me,” she said.


After the graduate program at UMSL I earned a Ph.D. in Education & Human Resource Studies at Colorado State University (CSU).

I fill many roles within academia, including teaching online communication courses for National American University (NAU), a regionally accredited for-profit university that works mostly with non-traditional adult learners and military students. I work at CSU as an online course development assistant. I'm also a Graduate Research Fellow with The Africa Center at CSU. And I work on other research and I am both a member and chair on faculty committees at NAU.

I love working in academia because of the freedom and experiences it provides me. I have met so many incredible people from all over the world, I've learned so much outside of the classroom, and I feel the work I do is important and will contribute to future generations. Most importantly, the flexibility works well with my personality.

I enjoyed the UMSL program because of the small class sizes. I was able to get to know my professors and build strong relationships with my classmates. To this day I stay in touch with many of my former professors and peers, which is something that I value from my time at UMSL.

Research, research, research. The UMSL Communication department prepared me for academic research, which has contributed to my success as a Ph.D. student at CSU. Though the work was challenging, and sometimes I didn't quite understand what I was doing, the lessons I learned from my professors at UMSL have come to be valuable tools.

My advice is to ask as many questions as you need to. Looking back, I see where I should have asked for more help. However, at the time I was a bit shy about what I didn't know.

Nick Harris

Nick Harris works at the National Archives.

“Sometimes I wish I could go back because the classes were so interesting,” he said.


A graduate degree (Communication MA) and an undergraduate degree (Communication BA).

I have worked since 2009 at the National Archives and Records Administration in various capacities. I am currently an Expert Archives Technician specializing in military records from World War I through the present.

I love being able to help people find out more about their family members. I also like being able to help our country's veterans get benefits they deserve or military medals that they earned but never received.

The quality of the instruction and the dedication of the faculty. All my professors really took the time to make sure I understood the material and that I was successful. Dr. Tian was the best!

To take time and gather all the facts and never jump to conclusions; things are not always what they appear. I also learned a lot about intercultural communication and that serves me well every day when interacting with people from all over the country and world.

It will be over before you know it. Sometimes I wish I could go back because the classes were so interesting. Stick with it and if you don't completely understand something, ask questions and ask them early. Don't wait until the last minute.