In this issue of Converging News:
- Minute to Mentor: Following the Numbers
- Graduate Profile: Dane Kiambi, Ph.D.
- Graduate Program Overview
Minute to Mentor: Following the Numbers
Video by Ben Jarvis
Graduate Profile: Dane Kiambi, Ph.D.
By Lauren Glover, photos by David Vaughn
Every path to a doctorate is different for each person who works toward such distinction. For Dane Kiambi, Ph.D., the journey would begin in a Nairobi newsroom where he was considering a move from journalism to public relations. Because of his decision to leave his job as a reporter and switch to working at a public relations agency, Kiambi discovered his passion.
"I was fortunate to work with clients in various industries including banking, insurance, manufacturing and airlines," Kiambi said. "That is where I fell in love with public relations. That is where I said I wanted to learn more about the research and theories of PR."
His desire to learn more brought Kiambi across the Atlantic to Miami University in Ohio where he earned his master's communication degree.
In 2010, Kiambi's journey brought him to Lubbock to pursue a Ph.D. from the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication.
Kiambi chose Texas Tech because the college fulfilled two criteria. One was faculty with research interests matching Kiambi's.
"Another one was hands-on experience," he said.
The college's doctoral program allows doctoral students to teach for 10 hours a week and research for 10 hours a week.
"Tech is very good at making sure that their students, especially doctoral students, leave here with that kind of experience," Kiambi said. "I could not be more thankful to the organizers or the program advisers of this graduate program for having come up with such an effective arrangement."
Kiambi said effective time management was essential to his success as a doctoral student.
"Any Ph.D. student that is in a three-year program like ours better know that there is no time to waste," he said. "Whether it is a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, there is no time to relax. You've got to get down to your work and finish it before the week starts."
Kiambi does not attribute all of his success to time management. He also cites Assistant Professor Autumn Shafer, Ph.D., as a mentor.
"When it comes to working with professors, I was very lucky to get to work with Dr. Autumn Shafer," Kiambi said. "I have learned so much from her to a level that sometimes I wonder whether she's learned anything from me. I feel bad when I think of it from that perspective."
Kiambi and Shafer will continue to work together in the future as they finish several studies on crisis communication and strategic health communication in parts of East Africa.
On June 25, Kiambi successfully defended his dissertation about how four African countries can effectively manage their reputation in the United States.
After earning his Ph.D., Kiambi left Texas Tech to work as a tenure-track assistant professor for the University of Nebraska--Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications. This fall he will start teaching two communications classes. Weiwu Zhang, Ph.D., assistant professor of public relations, taught Kiambi for two classes and served as a methods adviser on Kiambi's dissertation committee. He said Kiambi was given a good job offer.
"It's a good sign that a graduate of the Big 12 goes to the Big 10," Zhang said. "Usually it is the other way around.
"It attests to the quality of our Ph.D. program. It was a good offer, and we are obviously very thrilled to have that because it will let us recruit better students in the future."
Zhang said Kiambi's 2010 cohorts were the best graduate students he has seen so far.
"We want to continue that," he said.
This year's doctoral graduates include Patrick Merle, Ph.D., Sherice Gearhart, Ph.D., Clay Craig, Ph.D., Brandon Nutting, Ph.D., and Phillip Poe, Ph.D. Their respective placements are at Florida State University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Coastal Carolina University, University of South Dakota, and Mississippi State University.