Megan Kass is a graduate student in the Diederich College of Communication and is the first PARC graduate research assistant to participate in an assistantship between Diederich College of Communication and the Center for Peacemaking to tell the story of our community and the impact of community-enriching programs.
My name is Megan Kass, and I am from Cedarburg, Wis., a little town about 30 minutes north of Marquette’s campus. I am a second-year master’s student in the advanced degree program at Marquette. I graduated last May with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and will graduate again this coming May with my master’s degree in communication, focusing on digital communication strategies.
For the past year, my job has been to tell the stories of our community and our neighborhood’s enriching programs, specifically those of Near West Side Partners Inc. (NWSP) and its PARC initiative. PARC stands for Promoting Assets Reducing Crime and gathers constituents from the greater Milwaukee area, including NWSP’s anchor institutions, to positively promote safety, health equity, sustainable housing, and successful commercial corridors in the Near West Side.
I spent last summer compiling content for Marquette Today features. The PARC team meets weekly, and each working teacher shares updates of their projects. From these updates, I gather ideas, insights, and often follow up with a one-on-one interview to brainstorm what a Marquette Today feature would look like. In addition to my writing, I am lucky enough to lead a fantastic group of undergraduate research assistants who are really the boots on the ground for a substantial amount of data collection. Project management and program coordination is another large aspect of my role.
The goals of this assistantship are to gain a better understanding of the role of communication and its impact on community relations, community development, and storytelling. Additionally, the assistantship promotes awareness of NWSP and PARC initiatives across campus and via Marquette outlets.
As I prepare to transition out of this role in May, I am excited to see what a new PARC Communications Graduate Research Assistant will bring to the table. I have seen my student team grow from strangers to coworkers to friends and I am thrilled to see the Center for Peacemaking, NWSP, and PARC initiative continue to foster those student relationships. Additionally, I am excited to see how the storytelling of this role inspires more Marquette and Milwaukee community members to get involved in this neighborhood development.
I often don’t know where I’ll find myself in the next five minutes, so I’ll just say that in five years I see myself putting everything I learned at Marquette to positive use. The Diederich College of Communication, especially this assistantship, has provided me with the skills, memories, relationships and connections to make a difference in any realm, so I’m very much looking forward to my future after graduation, whatever it may entail.
My favorite Marquette memory was during my freshman year when Milwaukee experienced a polar vortex. For a few days, Marquette shut down and we had no classes, so my entire dorm floor congregated into the common room and watched movies non-stop for 72 hours on someone’s TV. 7/11 was open; however, so we were not short on slushie supply.