CRS Majors Offer Advice for New Students

Within the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies (CRS) currently houses around 400 students. Among the undergraduate body, there are many individuals who are not only eager to hone their knowledge of communication but are also eager to give back to the CRS community. Three current students agreed to be interviewed about their experiences in the department and provide advice for new students.Their bios can be found at the bottom of the article.

Throughout your time in this department, which CRS course has been the most impactful, and how has it contributed to your experiences as a Syracuse University student?

Mo Morris: “Not to sound cliche, but picking one single course that has been the most helpful is extremely difficult. Throughout my time in CRS, I have learned that each course has enhanced my knowledge of communication in their own way. For example, CRS 183: Concepts and Perspectives in Rhetorical Studies taught me the importance of rhetoric and how it can be used to create a plausible argument; CRS 287: Foundations in Human Communications allowed me to understand the importance of marketing and how knowing who your target audience is is essential to have a successful campaign. Each course in CRS will definitely have an impact on you and will appeal to every field (of interest).”

Riley Lullian Moore: “As someone who is very interested in the law and creative writing, CRS does an amazing job at providing an array of courses that appeals to each and every interest that makes up the student body. However, CRS 375: Public Memory was a course that I took in Fall 2020 where the topics of collective memory and perceptions of the past were emphasized. Those topics are something that resonate with my interests as public perception is important when you are advocating for other people.”

Chloe Scopa: “CRS 435: Interviewing was a course that not only helped my professional skills, but my interpersonal skills as well. Unlike other courses, the content that was engaged with resonated well with every student because it helped everyone improve on their interviewing skills. This course allowed me to improve not only my interviewing skills, but also allowed me to understand the significance of body language, being able to actively listen, and not overloading a conversation.”

Either within or outside of the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, which resources have been the most impactful and how have these resources contributed to your experiences as a Syracuse University student?

Mo Morris: “Since CRS is such a small community of SU, it is very likely that you will meet every professor and student, and form a close relationship with them. I can guarantee that whenever you walk down Sims Hall, that close relationship will follow you as every single professor has their office/classroom door wide open and is ready to welcome you.”

Riley Lillian Moore: “Specifically with Professor Kendall Phillips, he has constantly believed in me and has always told me how I have the potential to accomplish a lot of things. The faculty here is very hands on and really want to help you learn, grow, and do amazing things with CRS. I am not only grateful for the many things that the CRS professors have given me, but I am extremely grateful to have such leading and inspiring individuals that showcase the things that I do not see in myself.”

Chloe Scopa: “As many other CRS students will say, this program is extremely flexible and allows you to create the experience that you want for yourself. Many professors and my academic advisor (Benjamin Luhrs) have played such pivotal roles with helping me figure out which courses to take, declaring my minors, as well as pairing me with additional resources to ensure that I do not fall behind. I would say that the advising within the CRS community cannot be duplicated nor done better by any other college.”

As a CRS student, how do you react to the common idea that “CRS is extremely flexible and you make it to what you want it to be?” How has this statement affected your CRS journey, and would you say that you have been able to make it an experience that you want it to be?

Mo Morris: “When I first came to CRS, I had the same impression that every other CRS student felt when they first stepped into a CRS classroom: what am I going to do with a program that is extremely broad? Though CRS seems extremely loose and flexible, the professors and courses help guide you on a much clearer path and not leave you in the vague starting point. Not only that, but all of the CRS professors have been extremely helpful with giving me advice and have given me the specific tools to pursue the entertainment industry. While CRS is broad from the outside, CRS is extremely structured and put together once you find your footing.”

Riley Lilian Moore: “Through CRS, I have been able to find my love for argumentation law, and it has helped me realize that I want to go to law school and practice family law to advocate for those who cannot. CRS has significantly helped me improve my writing and communication skills to prepare me to be able to do that and does not restrict me to just one part of communication. I love being able to study multiple things and being able to forge my own original path.”

Chloe Scopa: When I first came to CRS, I was extremely shocked to know that I would be able to study additional fields of interests to supplement my college experience. Most of the people who I have spoken to – both from those who are studying within and outside of the communication field – are extremely envious that I am able to apply one idea (CRS) and make it relate to the other things that I am interested in. There has never been a time where I have been bored of CRS as there is always something new to learn.”

How has CRS affected your understanding of communication and how have you applied the things that you have learned in CRS to your everyday life?

Mo Morris: “CRS is realistically the coolest thing that you can experience at Syracuse University; it is a well-rounded program that allows you to develop a well-rounded understanding of communication and apply it to almost anything. As someone who is pursuing a minor in women and gender studies, I have been able to apply the information that I have learned from CRS to the information that I am learning in my WGS courses. CRS allowed me to see past what communication is and has made me realize that there is more to communication than just speaking. Communication is a way of life that allows an individual to understand the greater things in life and realize why those things have become a phenomenon.”

Riley Lilian Moore: “I would say that CRS teaches everyone – both those who are in the program and those who hear about the program from their peers – that the world is extremely open and how there are so many things that you can learn if you would like to grow. CRS has given me the building blocks to interpret the everyday things – whether it be in or outside of school – in a very engaging and interactive way.”

Chloe Scopa: “CRS has been extremely beneficial – not only academically, but socially as well. CRS has made me more aware of the things that I never considered whenever I would communicate with my peers, engage with the media, or think about the impact that certain communicative techniques have over the other. With CRS, I have been able to be more mindful whenever I speak and to consider that communicative aspects are everlasting and will almost always have an impact.”

Mo Morris (he/him/his) is a rising junior who is currently studying in communication and rhetorical studies with an emphasis on music entertainment. As a CRS student, Morris has found interest in understanding how visuals and media contribute to the principles of communication as well as to the performance of music. On campus, Morris is involved with the University Union where he serves as the STEMS director, is responsible for working with talent agents, and oversees the planning process of University-wide events. He also serves as a peer advisor for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, where he is responsible for helping students acclimate to campus culture. In the future, Morris hopes to work in the entertainment industry.

Riley Lillian Moore (she/her/hers) is a rising junior who is currently studying communication and rhetorical studies, creative writing, and political science. As a CRS student, Moore has found interest in law and the ethics of argumentation. On campus, Moore is a member of the University’s marching band and serves as a peer advisor for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, where she is responsible for helping students acclimate to campus culture. In the future, Moore hopes to attend law school, where she intends to practice in family law to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.

Chloe Scopa (she/her/hers) is a rising senior who is currently studying communication and rhetorical studies with a minor in psychology and information management and technology. On campus, Scopa is involved with the University Union, where she oversees the organization’s involvement on social media. She also serves as a peer advisor for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, where she is responsible for helping students acclimate to campus culture, and she is actively involved with the Syracuse Panhellenic Council. In the future, Scopa hopes to work in the entertainment industry. 

–Thomas Cheng ’23, CRS News Team