By Laura Oldham
Communication media major and undergraduate researcher Danielle Schmidt knows the value of hard work, diligence and consistency. Over the course of her time at NC State, Schmidt, a senior, has committed herself to academics, extracurricular activities and now to an executive position in NC State’s communication honor society, Lambda Pi Eta.
Schmidt joined the organization in the fall of 2014, never considering the presidential position. In fact, she was intimidated by the job.
“Catherine Glover (LPH’s 2014-2015 president) was such a good president, and I feel like she did a lot of things to move our chapter forward. I was also interested in helping build stronger roots for our chapter, but it was kind of scary to follow after such a great leader,” Schmidt said.
However, since becoming its leader, 30 new members have joined the honor society.
Lambda Pi Eta is a nationally recognized communication honor society extending membership to individuals who show a commitment to the field of communication. Members must have at least a 3.25 minimum GPA for all communication studies courses and a 3.0 overall GPA, completed at least 60 semester credit hours, and remain in good standing. Students who meet these requirements will receive an invitation by email and can then decide if they would like to join. But this is where Schmidt sees a communication breakdown.
With a number of invitations circulating from various honor societies, it is hard for students to distinguish between credible organizations and those that are simply seeking membership fees. In order to highlight the value and validity of Lambda Pi Eta among the wide range of invitations students receive, Schmidt believes sending students an invitation from a personal email account will help grab their attention. This is just one improvement she wants to make to help Lambda Pi Eta reach its goals.
Throughout the academic year, Schmidt hopes to increase Lambda Pi Eta’s membership and continually encourage its members to come to meetings and plan events. She would also like to spread the word about the honor society through face-to-face contact, including announcements from communication faculty and Lambda Pi Eta members.
“If we keep recruiting students who can lead our society, the only way it can go is up with success,” she said.
The organization also provides opportunities to serve the community as well as meet faculty members and develop professional relationships with them. Some members have recently attended the 2015 Communication Research Colloquium and served as ambassadors for the honor society at NC State’s Open House.
No stranger to the field of research, Schmidt has conducted two undergraduate projects with NC State professors. Dr. Kami Kosenko facilitated one of Schmidt’s projects. The pair studied survival strategies learned from watching TV. They co-authored an essay titled, “The Instructional Capacity of Reality Television: Learning Survival Strategies from Survival Shows,” which they will present at the National Communication Association convention in Las Vegas in November.
Schmidt’s second research project was an independent study. With Dr. Andrew Binder as her faculty advisor, Schmidt studied ebola on social media. She collected data from sites between 11 pm − 2 am every night for 60 days, in addition to developing a coding scheme. Her involvement began when Dr. Bender attended an LPH meeting and expressed his interest in the project. Schmidt reached out to him and the rest is history.
Schmidt not only works tirelessly on her own academic commitments, but encourages others to do the same. As the “executive and chief” of LPH, she makes sure events run smoothly and delegates tasks to other executive members. She conducts monthly executive and LPH meetings, working closely with Dr. Ryan Hurley, LPH’s faculty adviser.
“Danielle is not only a well-organized student leader, but she has shown an aptitude for scholarly research. Considering LPH is devoted to developing students’ research skills, Danielle has proven to be an excellent role model. She will be presenting her research with Dr. Kosenko in Las Vegas this November,” Dr. Hurley said.
“Furthermore, she has been a kind and wise leader this year, and LPH and me personally have benefited greatly from her hard work and thoughtful leadership,” he added.
As for Schmidt’s future, she would like to take the knowledge she has gained throughout her participation in LPH and as an NC State student and enter the world of social media and marketing. Her hectic schedule, conveniently organized by her color-coded planner, will continue to fill as the 80-member organization grows, but that does not hold her back.
“I really want to get people involved and plan things. Otherwise we’ll just be sitting around. I’m trying to drive that home this semester so next year I can have a full schedule,” said Schmidt.