Student Experience: Cool Comics

Graphic Novel is unlike any class that I have ever taken. The “textbooks” that are required are comic books; this makes the reading assignments entertaining and easy. The final project for the class was a comic novel of our own. As students, we were free to create our comic any way we wanted. We had the option of taking pictures or drawing our comic. Also, we could chose any genre of novel that we wanted. The Comic Life 2 software we used was easy to learn and fun. This class brought out the creativity in me. Two thumbs up.

Part of my graphic novel

A piece of my graphic novel done in Comic Life 2



Student Experience: The Wonderful World of Advertising

This class let us delve deep into the underlying principles of the advertising industry. We looked into what makes an ad effective as well as the trends throughout the history of advertising. Our daily routine was viewing ad materials and doing semeiotic analysis on a variety of adverts. The real meat of the class was design our own ad campaigns given certain parameters. We were given target market and told to do a 2-3 ad campaign for a certain product or video.

Some of the projects we undertook were campaigns for marijuana cigarettes,, a fictional brewing company, and a political advert for a candidate or cause we supported. Through these projects were explored making ads for a wide range of markets and products. I feel I obtained a working knowledge of how to succeed in a advertising and marketing ideas and products.

Here is an example of the work I did in the class:

Student Experience: Computer Mediated Communication


The concept of web design is simple and clean, and the delivery can be quite challenging. This class however, I found to be refreshing. It was at a pace tapered for each individual, which allowed the fluent, and non-fluent, to progress at their own pace and obtain optimal learning and knowledge. The skill sets required for web design or programming are typically tailored and unique for each person, because there are many ways to do a single thing. There was also a sense of freedom with our primary projects, which I enjoyed. I feel as though I tend to learn and retain more myself when not bottle necked with too many criteria or requirements centering around a project.

All in all, this was actually just a refresher course for me, but I did enjoy it. =)

COMM348 News, Newness and Neat Stories

Comm 348 or News Practicum is described as “A course in which students study the practice and politics of news reporting and journalism using traditional and new media.”

YES!  That statement by the Shepherd Catalog is right on the button and yet misses the richness and opportunity for expression that the course offers. Professor Cecilia Mason spearheaded my experience with local politics and happenings in the region.  We wrote news stories to be posted alongside podcasts that we recorded and edited and then posted onto the wordpress page that Cecilia had set up. (

I had never considered doing a real-live newsworthy interview nor had I fathomed what questions I might ask.  Professor Mason, who is part of The West Virginia Public Broadcasting organization, was a perfect fit for helping me ferret out unnecessary information in both text and interview.  My interest in getting a unique story and learning to put it in perspective grew each week during the course.


Chelsea McBee and the Random Assortment         

I fell in love with finding out what made a happening a happening or what put the air in the lungs of a story.  Two stories I wrote and reported on (I love them!) were one on a local ArmWrestler, Bill MacPherson and a local singer/songwriter

Go ahead, CHECK IT OUT!! AT… and the story on Chelesa McBee at TXMAS_Chelsea_McB_COMM348_voiceover.

The course was fun and easygoing.  Cecilia expected us to be self motivated and on time.  Deadlines do not wait! She gave us the right tools to complete our work and we worked as a group in many instances.

Take this class.  You won’t be disappointed!

COMM 406 Opening the gateway to glossy

A video by Jean Killbourne that shines a light on the way women are objectified by various sundry methods and the effect photoshop has on the female psyche

One of the videos that changed my thinking, “Killing Us Softly 3”, by Jean Killbourne

SOOOOO…the Advertising and Imagery section of the core curriculum is nothing short of EPIC!  Yeah, buddy.  Monica Larson was the perfect professor to take us on the wild ride of photoshop hunting and semiotics. The content of the class was nothing short of earth shattering.  Everything I thought I knew about advertising was usherd out with the trash. Dr. Larson expected alot from us and gave us the perfect ladder to climb in reaching her lofty expectations.

The course was rife with discussion and insights into how the industry targets our Id, Ego and Superego to serve its consumptionists addiction. Jean Killbourne was one of the pioneers in semiotics and identifying the objectification of women in advertising.  We analyzed movies, ads in magazines and watched eye-opening videos.

An ad I created for our fictitious shoe "SNEEKS" campaign.

One of three images I created for my “SNEEKS” ad campaign. Photo by me. (That’s my kiddo in the pic)

Monica  (Dr. Larson is down to earth and allows we students to address her by her first name) challenged us at every turn. After researching methodology and the good design elements of a great ad campaign, we (read..tried valiantly) created rockstar ads for a fictitious shoe called “Sneeks”.

To critically analyze the incessant barrage of media content is a skill everyone should posses!  I mean when and ad shoves a shackled woman with pouty red lips and six inch stilletoes at me in an effort to make some brand of shampoo seem alluring, hi[p and sexy…. I say “Thank you Monica”, for the ability to read between the handcuffs.

True Life: How I Got a Job After Graduation

Photo 33

Hello! I am Ashley Laspina, and I recently graduated from the Department of Communication at Shepherd University.   As graduation approaches for many seniors, I know first hand the excitement and stress felt as the job searches begin.

To help demystify the process, I’m writing a 3-part series of posts on my transition from graduation to my career. Here’s part 1 (part 2 can be found here)! Continue reading