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Troy Lesesne

Assistant Coach, Men's Soccer, College of Charleston

lesesneIt was the spring of 2007 when I made the first of many rush-hour drives to the Lowcountry Graduate Center. My initial position about earning a graduate degree was the overall process was nothing more than a means to an end. As the assistant coach for the College of Charleston men’s soccer program, I understood that to be considered for a head coaching position, having a master’s in Communication would make me a more desirable candidate. While this statement is true, my experience in the graduate program was much more than 33 hours, APA formatted papers, mindless memorization (oxymoron), and COMPS. I came away with much more than just a diploma and a boost to my resume.  This program provided me with a firm understanding of why we communicate, how to constantly analyze the way I communicate and improve this technique, and a better comprehension of my leadership style. These three ideas seem straightforward, but are fundamental in my profession.

For those who are contemplating enrolling in this program or for those who have already started, I’m sure you desire a deeper description about specific classes or insight about certain professors. I can’t provide all the answers because the program is ever-evolving and constantly improving, so some of the information I may describe could be dated. What I can describe are three of my most memorable experiences in the program.  

First, Dr. Ruth’s Risk Communication class in the spring of 2007. There is a little nostalgia here, as it was my first experience in the graduate school program, but more than anything, Dr. Ruth instilled a confidence in me from the onset that I could absolutely handle the program. She is invested in her students and I had the pleasure of working with her on independent studies that directly correlated to my job. The course was extremely interesting and while Dr. Ruth challenged us with a considerable amount of work, this challenge established my expectation for what the remainder of graduate school would be like.

Second, a pedagogy/independent study mentorship with Dr. Benigni during my last semester. I had the wonderful opportunity to directly apply the knowledge I had gained over my time in the program into helping teach Dr. Benigni’s “Sports Writing Class.” This was truly a test to see if I could conduct myself as a professional communicator. Dr. Benigni, the director of Graduate Studies, was not only my advisor but also a marvelous mentor. The amount of energy he puts into teaching is inspiring and his dedication to each of his students is unmatched. 

Finally, Communication Theory with Dr. Ferrara. As I’m sure you’ve heard from many others, Dr. Ferrara is top-notch. It is challenging to keep a classroom engaged for forty-five minutes, let alone two hours and forty-five, but she was always able to achieve this feat. She genuinely cares that her students understand the information she is providing, not just memorize it then forget it. I highly recommend that you work with Dr. Ferrara in some capacity. 

I am able to appreciate what the graduate program did for me and truly believe in the professors and their objectives. This wasn’t just a means to an end.  I thoroughly enjoyed the process towards achieving my Master of Arts in Communication.