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By Diana McElfresh, ’18
Layne Dowdall, a sophomore journalism and mass communication major, came to love St. Bonaventure University upon her second visit.
“Everyone was super nice,” Dowdall, an Ellicottville, N.Y., native, said, adding that Bonaventure’s small classes afford her the opportunity to forge real bonds.
“You get to know your professors really well, and you’re not just one out of 100,” Dowdall explained.
The strong personalities that initially drew Dowdall to Bonaventure continue to have an impact on her education.
“I have a really good adviser, so he’s good at getting me involved in things and connecting me with alumni,” she said.
In fact, her adviser, Dr. Denny Wilkins, professor in the Jandoli School of Communication, quickly found out Dowdall was interested in pursuing environmental journalism. While the market is niche, Wilkins himself has a background in environmental studies. Wilkins, who has been a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) since its founding, has served as the editorial board chair for the society’s quarterly journal.
“He has a history in environmental journalism, so he’s excited that I want to go down that same path,” Dowdall explained.
Wilkins has managed to wrangle her a membership with the SEJ, which allows her access to their publications and offers networking opportunities. He’s also helped her in figuring out how to stay involved with environmental studies on campus.
“She came here as a freshman interested in environmental studies,” Wilkins said. “So, I suggested she go see Dr. Ted Georgian, and Ted explained to her what the environmental studies minor is all about.”
Dowdall hasn’t been afraid to branch out on campus. She is involved with The Buzz; the Bona Reach program, which is starting a newsletter for local high schools so students know about on-campus events; and Orion, the astronomy club.
“One thing that I’ve realized from being involved in Orion is how fast everything is moving,” she noted. “When looking through a telescope, it needs to be adjusted every few minutes because what we are looking at shifts out of view.”
What is firmly in focus for Dowdall is her future writing about environmental topics.
“I feel that there’s usually miscommunications, where people aren’t informed enough, or aren’t informed properly,” she said. “If I could help resolve those miscommunications through my writing, I’d be glad. I’m here to learn how to do that.”
Diana McElfresh, ’18, is a senior journalism and mass communication major. She is interested in pursuing advertising after graduation.
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