Of note: news about center faculty, students and alumni

The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics is pleased to recognize the accomplishments and activities of its faculty, students and alumni:

Monic Behnken, far left, takes a picture of her table during the POLITICO Women Rule Summit on Dec. 5.
Monic Behnken, far left, takes a picture of her table during the POLITICO Women Rule Summit on Dec. 5.

Monic Behnken, a 2017 Ready to Run Iowa participant and assistant professor of sociology, was invited to attend POLITICO’s Women Rule Summit on Dec. 5, 2017, in Washington, D.C., as an ambassador for women's leadership in politics. Her role was to help the women assigned to her table identify ways they could become leaders in their communities based upon their particular interests and skill sets. “The summit was an amazing opportunity to meet many diverse women leaders from a variety of fields,” she said. “I met with women who owned their own businesses, worked in high-level government positions, or were completing their education.” Behnken added that she met many of her idols – such as Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, and Michele Norris, former National Public Radio host. She also learned from women business leaders like Marion Blakey, who is the chair, president and CEO of Rolls Royce, as well as high-level White House officials such as Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “In addition to the collaborative and supportive tone of the event, the most surprising thing was that most people knew exactly where Ames, Iowa, was,” Behnken said. “When I said I was from Ames, people would immediately respond, Go Cyclones!”

Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, gave a presentation on “The Media was the Message: Gendered Coverage of Hillary Clinton’s Historic Campaign for U.S. President” on Nov. 18 during the annual meeting of the National Communication Association in Dallas, Texas. Her presentation described the results of a computer-assisted content analysis conducted with Kimberly Nelson, a graduate student in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, on the media coverage of Clinton in four national newspapers. Their research also will be published as a chapter in an edited book, “Communication and Media in the Age of Trump: Assessing Campaign Coverage, Social Media Use and Political Rhetoric,” in 2018.

Daniela Dimitrova, professor of journalism and communication, and Bystrom published an article, “Role of Social Media in the Iowa Caucuses,” in volume 16 of the Journal of Political Marketing in October 2017. Their study investigates the effects of visiting political party and candidate websites as well as following presidential candidates, posting political comments, and liking or sharing political content on social media on participation in the primary stage of the 2016 U.S. election.

Krista Klocke, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree and doctorate in rhetoric and professional communication at Iowa State, presented two papers at the National Communication Association conference in Dallas, Texas, which was held Nov. 16-19: “The Macho-Feminine Mystique and the Visual-Rhetorical Persona Construction of Senate Candidate Joni Ernst” and "The Moral Imperative of Philosophical Decorum." As an undergraduate student at Iowa State, Klocke was a Phyllis Davis Legacy of Heroines scholar from 2012-15. She is from Ames, Iowa.

Hunter Martin, a May 2017 graduate in public relations and women’s studies with a minor in psychology, was selected to take part in a delegation of graduate students who visited China in December to learn about the media from the Chinese perspective. They were hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Martin was also selected to take part in the "Muslim Women in the Media" training institute. The year-long institute's first seminar will take place at the University of California, Davis, California, from Feb. 2-4. The second seminar will take place in San Antonio, Texas, from Nov. 13-14. During the seminar, participants will work closely with leading scholars and journalists of Islam and Islamic cultures and Muslim women on their representation in the media. Participants are also paired with a mentor, with whom they will work closely during the coming year on a project that they will present at the second seminar. Martin is a first-year graduate student at American University in Washington, D.C., where she studies international media. She is originally from Ceresco, Nebraska. She served as the Catt Center’s public relations and events planning student intern in 2016-2017.

Jennifer Spencer recently accepted a position as a technical solutions professional at Modern Desktop for Microsoft in the Netherlands. Spencer was a Connie Wimer Legacy of Heroines scholar from 1997 to 2000 and a Legacy of Heroines peer mentor during the 2000-2001 academic year. She graduated from Iowa State with degrees in journalism and mass communication and Spanish in 2001. Spencer is originally from Meriden, Iowa.

Tara Widner, leadership studies lecturer and coordinator of the Vermeer International Leadership Program, was appointed to chair the leadership education member interest group for the International Leadership Association.

Kelly Winfrey, assistant professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and research and outreach coordinator for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, published “Caucusing: Media Use and Voter Opinions in the 2016 Iowa Caucus” in the American Behavioral Scientist journal on Oct. 18, 2017.