Chinese graduate student credits RSJ professors for her career success in America
By Melanie Peck
Yan Yang, who earned a master’s in 2005 from the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism and Center for Advanced Media Studies, is now an assistant professor of Journalism at High Point University in North Carolina. She came to Nevada from Hefei in Eastern China.
“I was a fresh graduate from college in China in 2002,” she recalls.’ “Ten years later, I am now a journalism professor at an American university. The transformation didn’t happen overnight, and I am forever grateful for my experience at the Reynolds School of Journalism.”
Alan Stavitsky, dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism, says: "We're delighted that Dr. Yang went on from our master's program to earn a doctorate and join the High Point faculty. While the Reynolds School is noted for excellence in professional training, we're also proud of our role in helping to develop communication scholars such as Yan."
Yang remembers taking Intro to Grad Studies from RSJ’s former Academic Chair Jennifer Greer in her first semester:
“The final project was to write a bibliography for a research paper. With no prior training in research, I didn’t know where to start. On the last day, I went to Jennifer’s office asking for an extension. Her answer was no. I went to the bathroom and cried, called my parents in China at 5 in the morning, went back to the office and finished it at 11:57 p.m.—three minutes before the deadline.
“That was the first lesson I learned at the Reynolds School of Journalism, and a story that I share with my students nowadays—and believe it or not, I do not give extensions in my classes.”
Her graduate program was certainly about getting an excellent education, but “more importantly,” she says, it was about “the brilliant people that I met.”
Yang recalls: ”I took a Media Management seminar from Professor Warren Lerude. At first I couldn’t believe that there was no reading list, and the class was taught by various guest speakers from the industry. ‘That was easy,’ or so I thought. It turned out to be one of the most illuminating classes that I had, and influenced me to choose media management as my research focus until this day.
“Professor Rosemary McCarthy was my professor in broadcast journalism. We have had many great conversations about the ethics and the future of the broadcast industry, which I now share with my students.
“Dr. Donica Mensing was a mentor to me, not only in academics, but also in life; she taught me how to be a better person, not just an excellent student. And I owe a lot to my former adviser, Dr. Jennifer Greer, who convinced me to pursue a doctoral degree in the first place. I learned from her how to do research, and how to do research like a real scholar. “
After graduating from the Reynolds School, Yang worked at KOLO News Channel 8, WNET-Thirteen (PBS), Katz Media Group and WOR-Radio in New York. She received her Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Florida in 2011.