If you have not met Communication senior, Sandra Alvarez, you are missing out. Alvarez’s passion and enthusiasm for UWM, the Milwaukee community, and her future are inspiring. She is excited to use the knowledge and all that she has learned from the Department of Communication to help improve the Milwaukee area.
Alvarez is a first generation immigrant who was born in Mexico City. When she was eight years old, she moved to Milwaukee after her father worked hard to bring her family to the United States. When she was a senior in high school at Bradley Tech, she decided to take part in the pre-college program, which allowed her to take Portuguese at UWM. She took the city bus each day from her high school to attend this class, and she fell in love with the diverse campus and the community outreach UWM provides. She chose to attend UWM for those reasons and because she did not want to leave her family.
Alvarez is majoring in Communication because when she was in high school she was an intern for the Greater Milwaukee Community, which works to make Milwaukee a great place to live. Alvarez saw what being persuasive and what being a good communicator could do to promote the city of Milwaukee. She felt that the skills she could learn from the Department of Communication would be valuable for her future.
This past summer Alvarez participated in the McNair program, which is an eight-week research internship program at UWM. She worked with her mentor, Assistant Communication Professor Dr. Erin Ruppel, and two other Communication PhD students on a research study about communication technology and older adults. The study is about trying to understand how older adults use communication technologies, such as social media, and the study attempts to understand how those technologies affect close relationships. She enjoyed being a part of the research and was invited to continue on with the study after the program ended. She is currently helping to conduct and transcribe interviews, and Alvarez will be a co-author when the study is published.
After graduation, Alvarez aspires to work at a non-profit in the education sector helping students who have shared some of her challenges and experiences. She wants to help bridge the gap between students and institutions. In the future, she would also like to go back to school for her Masters and PhD in Communication and complete more research. She would like to use the knowledge and experiences she hopes to gain to possibly teach at the college level.
For now Alvarez is enjoying her time at UWM. You can often find her by her favorite place on campus, the fountain, doing class readings and listening to music. You may also find her at her favorite place in Milwaukee, Discovery World on the lake, where she likes to craft, visit the aquarium, or go to Fish Fry & a Flick in the summer. If you see her, be sure to say hello. She loves meeting new people and talking about her favorite show, Dexter.
By Meagan Sklar, UWM Communication Major