Congratulations to Michelle Violanti, one of seven recipients of the 2017 Undergraduate Faculty Research Mentor of the Year Award! She received this award as the top mentor in the College of Communication and Information. Violanti is an associate professor in the School of Communication Studies, where she researches interpersonal and organizational relationships and the gendered, raced, and classed nature of communication.
While her profile modestly claims that she still hasn’t found an answer to why business majors struggle to communicate, Violanti’s students attest to the tremendous opportunities for growth and professionalization that she has provided through her teaching and mentorship. One of her recommenders, Katie Scott, says:
“As I write this, I am sitting in the conference hotel where I will present my research, which has been nominated for an award, to regional scholars. In addition, I am co-investigator on another project being presented here. I am at this conference because Dr. Violanti encouraged and aided me in the submission of my research. I am here because she kept me informed about funding opportunities. I am here because Dr. Violanti took additional time out of her schedule to help me develop as a scholar and professional.” Her guidance extends to the conference itself, teaching students how to interact and communicate with professional scholars as colleagues.
For Clint Graves, Violanti’s mentorship continued well beyond the classroom as well. In addition to her help with research projects, “Dr. Violanti also guided me through the process of preparing the manuscript for submission as well as gaining IRB approval status to present the work outside of the classroom. . . . I have not only developed compelling, relevant, and publishable research, I have learned disciplinary conventions and gained invaluable skills that I wouldn’t have otherwise encountered.”
From her support for students’ original work to her continued influence over their professional development, Violanti has clearly had a profound role as a mentor.
Michelle Violanti received a BA in communication arts and BSBA in finance from Villanova University, an MA in speech communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a PhD in communication studies from the University of Kansas. Her faculty profile can be found here: https://www.cci.utk.edu/users/michelle-violanti.