When Keeley Buehler came to Wittenberg, she wasn’t exactly sure what her major would be, but she did know one thing – she wanted to work with fashion. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting her, you’ll understand why right away - Keeley is one of those people that, no matter what the weather, will be looking sharp every day of the week. When Keeley found as a freshman that there were no design or merchandizing programs at Witt, she knew she would have to look to other departments to channel her love of style into something workable. Luckily for her, she met Dr. Matthew Smith.
Dr. Smith, the chairman of the Communication Department, was the first to woo Keeley toward her present love of communication. Sitting down with her, he explained how, really, fashion IS communication in its own sense. It’s all about how you express yourself, and style along with the advertisement / persuasion that surrounds it is as much a medium of communication as radio might be. “Dr. Smith calls me his ‘workout buddy’ now, he’s great,” says Keeley with a smile. “That’s the thing about this department, the professors are so personable! They are so excited about what they do, and it’s easy to identify with them because of it. It’s almost like a family atmosphere. I love it!”
Now in her senior year, Keeley has become a bit more focused on what she wants to do once she graduates. She knows now that she definitely prefers qualitative research to quantitative work. Rhetoric and rhetorical criticism in public affairs specifically has been a focus area for Keeley of late. “Maybe I’ll be a professor some day; a consultant for a clothing company would be great too,” she muses in an interview. “But for now, graduate school is where I’m looking.” Keeley has applied to six grad. schools now and she’s waiting to hear back with fingers crossed at this point.
Asked about the application process, Keeley had a few tips for future applicants: “Make a spreadsheet of what info. you need for each school, it really helps. Also, the online applications are great, take advantage of them. You can reuse some of the information for multiple schools, and it’s just more convenient. Oh, and before you start, call them! Express interest; tell a person how much you want in. I once almost applied to a non-existent Comm. department because I hadn’t called to find out about it! The GRE’s that you have to take can be done whenever you want (unlike the SAT’s); you just go in and take them on computers. Also you can do it multiple times, which may not be a bad idea either.”
Keeley has already presented an analytical paper focusing on Chanel fashion at the Ohio Communication Association conference in October, and will soon be presenting her senior honors thesis at the Communication Honors Colloquium on March 27th (4:00pm-5:15pm in Bayley Auditorium – Come!) and at the upcoming National Conference of Undergraduate Research. She has proven Dr. Smith right – fashion IS communication, and judging by her multiple conference presentations, she has done what she set out to: Found a field where her research is seen as both valuable and enjoyable.
Hoping that others can find what really interests them as well; Keeley had a few pieces of parting advice for others: “Take advantage of every opportunity. Apply for stuff even if you don’t think you’ll get it, it worked for me! Trust me, the faculty will guide you, they’re great, so don’t let opportunities pass you by! I didn’t leap at every one, and maybe I should have looked into more of them. If you are thinking about Comm. as a major, consider the challenge of contributing the research. There is a lot out there but still much more to be done and it takes a lot of creative thinking and an understanding of how Comm. is distinct from other disciplines. Finally, if you have an interest in going into the work force right after college, do Comm. Leaders! It really helps a lot.”
Keeley has accomplished great things so far in her academic career at Wittenberg; between her conference presentations, studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria (which she absolutely loved), participating in Comm. Leaders (previously mentioned, it’s a group of seniors who interact with businesses through Karen Reynolds to get a feel for communication’s role in industry), and maintaining a spot on the Dean’s List, she has really brought honor to her department in her years here. It is with that in mind that we are appointing Keeley as the department’s first Featured Senior! Congratulations to her, and keep up the good work!
~Lukas Treu ‘09