Kim Smith is a successful alumnus from the Department of Communication at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She graduated from UWM with a BA (2008), MA (2010), and a PhD (2014) in Communication. Originally from Florence, Wisconsin, Kim currently teaches for the University of Central Florida. Once she completes teaching at UFC in May 2016, she plans on moving back to Wisconsin to teach at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. She will begin her new position in August 2016 and will primarily be teaching courses related to organization communication.
Kim decided to pursue a degree at UW-Milwaukee because the campus stood out to her; she loved the location and overall feel of the campus. Kim says that she felt like she belonged at UWM, and the ten years she spent in Milwaukee were some of the best years of her life, another reason for her returning to Wisconsin.
Kim hadn’t always planned on pursing a degree in Communication. She had a deep love for sports, and she originally wanted to use her degree to work for a sports franchise. As an undergraduate, she said she didn’t have a real direction and jumped around from major to major. One semester she decided to take a communication course because she found it intriguing, and that was the moment she realized how much she enjoyed studying communication. She came to love the field of communication because it is involved in our everyday lives and it matters.
During Kim’s time at UWM she had the opportunity to connect with multiple great professors. Kim said during her time, her favorite professor was Dr. Erik Timmerman. She appreciated how enthusiastic he was about the study of communication. She mentioned that Dr. Timmerman always translates his enthusiasm into really good advice and ideas for students. Kim said that Dr. Leslie Harris had a huge influence on her decision to continue to graduate school. Dr. Harris encouraged Kim to submit one of her papers to the Central States Undergraduate Honors Research Conference, and her paper was accepted. Kim credits Dr. Harris for setting her on the path to her Masters and beyond. She also had great memories with her advisor, Dr. Kathryn Fonner, who was an important resource for Kim during her time at UWM. Dr. Fonner always made Kim feel that she believed in her, which she really needed at times. Kim also mentioned that Dr. Mike Allen is an extraordinary resource for young scholars trying to find their place in the world of academia, and she learned a lot from him.
Finally, Kim stated that she credits UW-Milwaukee, more specifically the Department of Communication, for giving her a true direction in her life. She knows that her place is in academia but she would have never figured that out without the direction she received during her time at UWM. She feels UWM is a really special place, with really special people. She looks forward to returning to Wisconsin and is happy to have found her way back home again. The position at St. Norbert College embodied what she wanted in her ideal job—small classes, exceptional students, and a tight-knit community. She is very excited to be back near her family and to begin a new chapter in her life!
By Marissa Trgo, UWM Communication Major