Saydie French, a public relations and communication studies graduate from Houston, is the College of Media & Communication banner bearer for the Fall 2020 graduation ceremony.
Although the honor is given for her top academic merit, French believes she owes a lot of her success to her time as an undergraduate research assistant.
“Originally, I came into college and wanted to go into non-profit work,” French said. “Once I got involved with research, I wanted to continue on that route. I really like to learn new things, and I think research is a good way to challenge your preexisting beliefs and learn different things and how they affect real people in the real world. You also have an outlet to learn more about the things you want to learn about.”
French discovered her passions through research, but she also discovered some of her favorite faculty members while working in the college.
“Lisa Low and Trent Seltzer are amazing,” French said. “They were both the kind of professors that really helped me retain the information. Seltzer is a big part of the reason I'm applying to grad school at Tech. I did undergrad research with him, and I'd love to continue working with him. Lisa Low is just a passionate lady. I took a business PR class with her—and I'm not the biggest fan of that subject—but I actually really enjoyed it with her teaching.”
As the Fall 2020 banner bearer, French can't think of a better way to honor everyone from the college who has helped her achieve such an honor.
“I wouldn't say this if I didn't believe it because I'm a pretty upfront person, but I feel like this college actually cares about me as a person,” French said. “Coming to Tech, I was kind of worried because it's a big school and I didn't want to be just another number. I wanted to be valued and heard, and I feel like we have some of the best advisors, we have professors who really want us to succeed and do well, and we have professors—like the ones who pulled me into the research—who want to see you be your best self.”
French finds these relationships truly unique to her time as a student.
“Overall, you can just tell the faculty of CoMC actually care and want you to be the best version of yourself,” French said. “Talking to my friends, I don't think those are very common things to get out of a college experience. I'm really grateful.”
Out of all her accomplishments as an undergraduate, French says her presentation at the National Communication Association conference in Washington, D.C., stands out in her mind.
“I presented a study on sexual objectification in female empowerment and how those messages affect women,” French said. “I specifically looked at advertising that feature objectification and empowerment and how women interact with them both or individually, as well as how it makes them feel. It was this big moment where you kind of see what your future looks like, and a lot of the professors in attendance were really cool and came up to me afterwards to tell me I was doing great things and to keep it up.”
Even as French prepares for graduation, her work is far from over—but not without a little breather, first.
“I applied for grad school, but I applied for next fall,” French said. “I applied to multiple places, so I'm not sure where I'll go, but Tech is definitely an option. Tech has a lot of good things for me, but I feel like I just need to take that one semester off to save some money and gather myself.”
The College of Media & Communication extends congratulations to French for an amazing honor, as well as to all the Fall graduates. Wreck ‘em, Tech!