All posts by Siarra

About Siarra

I am a Portland State University student. I am majoring in Communications.

Siarra Unleashed: Thoughts on a Plane

Fast paced days and high energy.

That’s how I would describe my life these days. In an attempt to slow down and really enjoy my journey, I’ve traded my Portland hustle and bustle for some alone time in NYC. The crowded city is full of vacant eyes and people who are constantly colliding with one another. There are animals and machines and things that tower above my head. There’s no way to see it all and I feel small. But that’s the point all along. I want to know the world is bigger than the walls I’ve built around myself. I feel myself sitting alone in a crowded room wondering how to find connection in such a big world. Maybe it’s okay to be lonely and connect to my own heart.

Maybe I need to evaluate who helps me be the best me I can be. And maybe I need to figure out how to help myself be my best self, too.

Well, here it goes…

With small tears welled up, here I sit.

My anticipation is more than simply palpable… it’s got an electric hum all its own, all my own. This is more than helping a nation (that I adore). This is to show myself that I can do things I dream of. I grew up hearing Alice’s words, Sometimes I believe as many as three impossible things before breakfast. Today my impossible thought has proven to be a feat within my realm of abilities and capabilities.

Can’t turn back now.

Israel, I’m coming for you. Onward and upwards.

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PoliCOMMS Assignment #1: PACS, Dialogue, and Significant Choice

CLICK HERE: 10-4-16-homework-1

1. Political action committees, which are also known as PACs, are influential single-focus groups that use communication practices to pressure the political process. PACs have significantly contributed to the decline of parties.

The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 changed ways campaigns are financed when the Supreme Court ruled that individuals could spend as much as they want for their candidates but only separate from donations tied to a campaign. However, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of unlimited contributions provided by corporations and PACs in 2010. This proves to show the power of PACs in elections as well as their vast influence.

The NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is an example of a PAC. They are a pressure group that works to aggregate individual opinions in to a group around a single issue; they also raise large funds quickly, in addition to the other functions of PACs.

PACs often make the difference in elections because of the many communication activity related functions they perform, including turning voters on to their “hot button” issues and the influence they have on officials using various communication channels. These functions are communication related activities because lobbyists employ use of social media, written fliers, emails, phone calls, pseudo-events for publicity and other methods to appeal to voters and officials.

2. Omitted

3. Deliberation entails careful inspection of a problem and varied viewpoints before arriving at a well-reasoned answer. This involves a solid information base so you can weigh the pros and cons after thinking about a broad range of solutions. To hear all sides it is important to engage in open dialogue when you speak with others as opposed to a monologue-style of communication, when you speak at others. Dialogic communication shows that you value and respect the other person’s viewpoints, even if you don’t agree. Communicating in an open dialogue shows that either party is willing to listen and potentially change their mind. The monologue-style of communication closes off, or shuts down, conversation. Some ways that the monologue communication style shuts down conversation are by: freezing participants, disqualifying other’s points, naturalization, topic avoidance, subjectification of experience, meaning denial, and pacification.

I witnessed an example of poor communication the other day, specifically participant freezing. I was on the MAX train today when the conductor made everyone shuffle off the train. As it turns out, there were protestors blocking the tracks so our train could not pass. Thousands of people couldn’t get to work on time because of these protestors. So it was no surprise to me that I heard an argument when I passed by the Black Lives Matter protestors camp. One man was telling a Black Lives Matter protester that he was selfish and disrespectful. He wouldn’t listen to the protestor’s points but instead kept insisting the protestor was rude for blocking everyone from commuting. The man was basically saying, “I know who you are,” instead of listening to understand.

4. The “marketplace of ideas” refers to a metaphorical marketplace where there are ideas of every kind for a metaphorical shopper to experiment with. The marketplace is important because the shopper has virtually unrestricted access to billions of ideas so the shopper can make his or her own decisions. Having access to the marketplace of ideas is crucial to “significant choice,” which refers to the act of choosing as voluntary and free from coercion. Significant choice is based on all available information and includes knowledge of alternatives, including short and long term consequences associated with each potential choice. The shopper must also think about potential motivations of influencers as well as their own needs and motivations.

As Thomas R. Nilsen, author of Ethics of Speech Communication, writes, “freedom is proportional to the opportunity for significant choice,” and I believe he is correct. Nilsen means that a shopper is only as free as long as he or she has few limits on the information that they have access to. The less information a shopper has access to, the less informed that person can be and therefore there are fewer options available.

An example of a limited marketplace of ideas can be found at my previous university. I attended Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, which is a private Christian university that teaches a very religious-based curriculum. There was no access to information on democrat, liberal, or independent presidential candidates. In fact, there was a Young Republicans club on campus but that was the only political group at the school. This is an example of a limited marketplace of ideas because there was not enough access to information on a wide variety of topics for people to make informed decisions. BYU can expand to become a true marketplace of ideas by bringing in information from every angle.

Works Cited

Gastil, J. (2008). Political Communication and Deliberation. CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Kennamer, J. D. (n.d.) Lecture notes. Retrieved from             https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/590312/viewContent/2615826/View?ou=590312

Nilsen, T. (n.d.) Ethics of Speech Communication. Howard W. Sams & Co., Inc.

 

Family Communications Assignment #1

CLICK HERE: 10-10-16-assignment-1-siarra-orange-nielsen

 

 

Abstract

What is the definition of family? I would argue that family doesn’t have to be blood; instead, my definition of family involves members who are connected by affection and maintenance of long-term relationships. I believe that family consists of people who are married, adopted in, rear children together, who have joint finances, or who find their place close to that nuclear group. Together, family members create identity, protect one another, teach commitment, provide intimacy and participate in a transactional process meant to prepare members for their roles in the greater community. The proposed research questions are as follows:

  1. At this point of your personal and academic life, what is your definition of a family? Please provide a comprehensive definition including who are the members. This doesn’t need to be about your actual family, but rather, I am looking for your own definition of how you construct the notion of “family.”
  2. How do members communicate in your actual family? Keep in mind that communication acts do not only include talking, but also nonverbal communication. Give an example.
  3. Give an example of a habitual family communication act and explain what the act means for the family. In other words, describe something that your family does (or did) habitually, and then analyze the act for its deeper meaning.
  4. From any chapter in any of our text so far analyze your family from one of the theoretical approaches to communication. Provide an example from your own Make sure that the example/s you give demonstrate the theoretical approach you intend it to.

Keywords: family, communication

At the end of a challenging day, when my heart doesn’t feel full and I feel exhausted, I want to see my family. I want to prepare a meal with them, or relax on the sofa, or have a dance party. I want to go for a walk with them and talk about the plants we encounter or paint our nails together while listening to the latest single from Regina Spektor. The people who I consider to be my family fill my heart with positive energy. Family doesn’t have to be blood, but instead my definition of family requires that members are connected by affection and maintenance of long-term relationships. Family includes people who are married, adopted in, rear children together, who have joint finances, or who find their place close to that nuclear group. Family members create identity, protect one another, teach commitment, provide intimacy and participate in a transactional process meant to prepare members for their roles in the greater community.

The members of my actual family mainly use nonverbal communication to express their thoughts and feelings. This comes across in many forms such as hugs, kisses, dancing around, and acts of service for one another. We tend to run high on emotions and as a result sometimes we don’t use words at all with each other for days. We resort to communicating only through interpretation of each other’s body language and Facebook posts. When we do talk with each other, our words are colored by passion. There is a difference between the way we talk to the members within our family and others not associated with our family unit.

Family takes care of you during times of intense struggle. I’ll never forget this past week when a stranger stole my iPhone off Portland State Campus. I felt lost and scared and very frustrated. The thief not only stole my favorite Apple product from right next to me, but also my MAX pass which was saved on the Trimet app, my only means of connection to my safety network, my map of Portland, my GPS app, and so much more, all within seconds. That same night I ended up making my way to Washington State where my family lives. I visited my dad because his smiles are cheerful and he usually can take my mind off my problems. My dad was heartbroken for me and asked to be packed up for a mall trip. We already know that family means we help each other and as it turns out, my father had dropped his phone in a puddle that same day and was also without a phone. My dad is disabled and without his cell phone he felt vulnerable and scared. After I signed him out of his care facility and agreed to provide all his medical needs, we went to the mall together. He paid for a new cell phone for each of us and also helped alleviate stress by smiling and taking action. He got my mind off my problems as I completed acts of service for him and as he took care of an issue that I was so frightened over. Family communicates love, even without words.

Looking back over the years at habitual communication patterns presented by my family, I notice a trend in the way we pay each other off. I feel like the way my dad uses money communicates that he loves us and he’s sorry that he can’t physically take care of us. Our dad has been physically disabled due to advanced Multiple Sclerosis for as long as my sisters and I have been alive. We have never known a healthy father who runs with us or teaches us how to play ball. Our dad loves to sit with us but he struggles to converse on topics that aren’t stored in his long-term memory. He struggles to understand many components of reality and while he is the gentlest soul I have met to date, he will never be a physically strong person who can protect me from physical dangers. It’s more than him just giving my sisters and I money when we plead our case to the family, there’s an underlying message: I’m sorry I did not protect you girls, please forgive me. In analyzing my family’s use of money as a means to communicate with one another, I sense that we are missing part of what’s most important within a family; and that is the component of intimacy. We aren’t as close as we could be because we have that issue of money looming over us. We know that we are tied together not only by love, but also necessity which can lead to resentment. Family is a complex enigma.

My family, as it relates to the relational dialectics theoretical approach to communication, struggles with contradiction. According to the class lecture presentation on chapter 3, a dialectic refers to “a pull, tension, or contradiction between oppositions that we experience within relationships, including family.” While the members in my family long for autonomy, we desperately need each other at times. We cling to each other fiercely and we rely on each other’s resources during moments of immense stress. We long to feel connection to one another within our family because we know that when we need help, they will be the ones consistently there for us. More than that, we feel unconditional love for one another because of that sure knowledge. That connection marks our family with a seal of totality, as a relationship that operates as a whole.

Another component of relational dialectics is novelty vs predictability. The age old question: “So… What do you want for dinner?” comes to mind. My family can never decide if we want our favorite go-to dish or a new dish that we may or may not like as much. Like we learned from those chapter 3 lecture notes, “we want some patterned behaviors, but we want some change.” Our family units introduce us to relational dialectics and attempt to prepare us.

At the end of a great day, I want to see my family. I want to share my joys with them and tell them all about my studies. I want to show them the new dance routines I teach for my Zumba class at work and laugh when they do the moves better than me, a trained professional. I feel pride in my sister as she tells me about the after school business club she attends and in my dad when he tells me that he used an exercise machine that day for a full hour. I find the corners of my mouth smiling when my boyfriend rattles off law statistic after statistic. At the end of the day, I am who I am because of the people who are in my life; my family is what keeps me going.

Works Cited

Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., Soderlund, L., & Brizee, A.           (2010, May 5). General format. Retrieved from    http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

Bagley, Kenny. (n.d.). Powerpoint slideshow. Retrieved from             https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/593325/viewContent/2623589/View?ou=593325

Bagley, Kenny. (n.d.). Powerpoint slideshow. Retrieved from                            https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/593325/viewContent/2623591/View?ou=593325

It’s Election Season… So What is a PAC Anyway?

Political action committees, which are also known as PACs, are influential single-focus groups that use communication practices to pressure the political process. PACs have significantly contributed to the decline of traditional political parties.

The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 changed ways campaigns are financed when the Supreme Court ruled that individuals could spend as much as they want for their candidates but only separate from donations tied to a campaign. However, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of unlimited contributions provided by corporations and PACs in 2010. This proves to show the power of PACs in elections as well as their vast influence.

The NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is an example of a PAC. They are a pressure group that works to aggregate individual opinions in to a group around a single issue; they also raise large funds quickly, in addition to the other functions of PACs.

PACs often make the difference in elections because of the many communication activity related functions they perform, including turning voters on to their “hot button” issues and the influence they have on officials using various communication channels. These functions are communication related activities because lobbyists employ use of social media, written fliers, emails, phone calls, pseudo-events for publicity and other methods to appeal to voters and officials.

Resume July 2016

I have overwhelming passion for media communication so I was very excited to see job listings on your website.

When I was four years old my mother signed me up for a traveling performance group. One of my favorite places to perform was on the Clark County Fair’s Radio Disney and Columbian sponsored stages. I eventually became a solo act and performed for over a decade. I took my passion to Clark College where I studied communication and public speaking after receiving numerous student marketing awards in high school through DECA, a marketing and business club. I also took courses in media during college and eventually began studying advanced media communication at the number one broadcast media university in the nation: Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

While at BYU I interned with BYUtv Corporate Support, collaborating closely with the president and vice-president of the department. My internship team developed a survey and we analyzed the thousands of responses to provide insight into the marketing preferences of BYUtv viewers. We used our collected data to identify 100 companies with commercials ready to go that would follow BYUtv not-for-profit guidelines. We presented our findings to a panel of BYU faculty and department heads. Our research earned BYUtv tens of thousands of dollars from the resulting outreach to those 100 companies and I still feel a surge of accomplishment at doing my part as an intern.

I also worked for BYUtv as a Marketing Agent for the Membership department. I contacted patrons of BYUtv and assisted with marketing outreach calls. I was the lead fundraising agent for five months.

I have aced courses in business communication, journalism, digital media, marketing, public relations, advanced writing, photography, public speaking, small group communication and more.

I am confident that I can add to the workplace. Please contact me at (360)721-5766 or SiarraNielsen@gmail.com.

Cordially,

Siarra O. Nielsen

S. Nielsen resume 7.2016

Dog Treats

5 cups whole wheat flour

1 t. honey

1/2 cup applesauce

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup water

3 eggs

some peanut butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients except flour and peanut butter
  3. Slowly add flour
  4. Divide into 3 equal pieces for 3 batches (I usually bake 1 batch at a time and freeze the other 2 for later)
  5. Roll out till about 1/4″ thick and use a cookie cutter to make desired shapes
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until hard
  7. When completely cooled, you can put a layer of peanut butter on the top if you wish (I usually don’t because the dogs don’t want to wait)
  8. 1.30.16 dog biscuits

 

Be a Coach First, Boss Second

The most important thing you can do for your team is to help them find meaning in their work. That means sitting down with each member one on one and finding out what matters to him or her.

When I think of a coach, I think of a role model saying,

“You can do it!”

“I believe in you.”

These are things a coach tells his or her players. Be a coach first, and a boss second.

-Teach by example.

-Lead the way for your team to follow.

-Be uplifting.

 

How to Break Trust at Work

open-door-policy.jpg

Step 1. Keep your door closed. If you’re a boss, keep your door open -literally-. This helps create the image that you’re available to listen when you’re needed.

Step 2. Micromanage. I once had a boss who told me that my work pants were too long and needed to be hemmed an inch. I couldn’t believe that something so small could be such a problem to another person. It made me resent my boss when we should have be able to get along.

Step 3. Hold information back from your team. People can tell when secrets are being kept; be forthcoming with information when necessary.

How to Develop Trust with Coworkers

Trust is number one in the workplace. To have a prosperous work environment, trust must be established.

First, let’s define trust.

The dictionary defines trust as, “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”

Step 1. Be the kind of person who others can have a firm belief in your reliability, truth, ability and strength. Be trustworthy and convey honest sentiments to your coworkers.

Step 2. Trust others around you. Expect others to be honest.

Step 3. Be open with information that is relevant. Make friends and share stories.

Step 4. Communicate and be direct when needed. Go directly to the source and address all topics respectfully.

In the end, the way you establish trust at work is to be honest yourself, the rest will follow.

team