U of A Graduate in Communication Wins National Award for Master's Thesis
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Elizabeth Ashley Clayborn, a 2018 graduate of the Department of Communication's M.A. program, has been named the winner of the National Communication Association's Master's Education Section's Outstanding Thesis Award. Clayborn's thesis, "The Myth of Southern Atonement: Constructed Forgiveness in Public Spaces," was advised by assistant professor Ryan Neville-Shepard. She was honored during the group's annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, in November.
Clayborn's thesis sought to explain how public space has been constructed in the South to atone for sins of the past. Her project analyzed public art in Fort Smith, the Billgrimage tour dedicated to the life of Bill Clinton, and the revitalized downtown of Wilson. Neville-Shepard noted, "Ashley's work was theoretically significant, and she found brilliant ways of combining approaches to regional rhetoric, narrative, and spatial analysis to explain some of the challenges of addressing the state's history."
"We are proud of Ashley's ground breaking research," said Robert Brady, chair of the Department of Communication. He added, "We are especially honored that our award-winning program continues to produce amazing graduate students who go on to the best Ph.D. programs in the country." Clayborn is now a doctoral student at the University of Georgia, where she studies political rhetoric and the American South.
About the National Communication Association: The National Communication Association advances communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. The association serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, the National Communication Association promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems. For more information, visit natcom.org.
Ryan Neville-Shepard, assistant professor
Department of Communication
The award, the department's most prestigious given to a single researcher's group, supports fundamental research with the potential to advance national security.
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