Conference takeaways ‘transformative’ for Hazleton corporate communication major

Female student holding folders and standing next to poster board positioned on an easel.

Penn State Hazleton corporate communication major Gretchen Pucklavage presented original research at the Eastern Communication Association’s James C. McCroskey and Virginia P. Richmond Undergraduate Scholars Conference in March.

Credit: Gretchen Pucklavage

HAZLETON, Pa. — When Gretchen Pucklavage graduates from Penn State Hazleton on Friday with a bachelor’s degree in corporate communication, it will be with the added insight and experience of presenting original research alongside peers and professionals at a prestigious communications conference. 

In March, Pucklavage attended the Eastern Communication Association’s James C. McCroskey and Virginia P. Richmond Undergraduate Scholars Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1910, the Eastern Communications Association is the oldest professional communications association in the country, according to the organization. 

There, Pucklavage presented a poster of her research exploring the impact of societal influences on male communication patterns.  

Titled “Exploring Male Communication Patterns in College Students' Interactions,” her work examined contributing factors to toxic masculinity and stigma in interpersonal communication, including norms regarding masculine behavior, she said. 

The experience helped her improve her research abilities, presentation skills and knowledge of communications theories, she said. 

“The ECA conference was a transformative experience that further fueled my passion for communication research and advocacy,” Pucklavage said. “It equipped me with valuable skills and perspectives that will undoubtedly shape my future endeavors in the field of corporate communication.” 

Additionally, Pucklavage took advantage of the opportunity to discuss her project and network with industry experts, fellow students and educators in the field. 

“Knowing that my study contributed to the broader conversation on communication challenges, particularly those related to toxic masculinity and stigma, was deeply fulfilling,” she said. 

Pucklavage was among a group of 11 other student researchers from Penn State Schuylkill whose research projects were accepted for display at the conference. The students were all enrolled in various corporate communication courses taught by Penn State Schuylkill Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences Valerie Schrader.