WU senior earns accolades for his thesis at a national conference

by University Communications,

At the Northwest Communication Association’s annual conference in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, Alex Kubitz’s senior thesis tied for top undergraduate paper.

The paper is titled, “Pebble Mine and Evolving Notions of the Ecological Indian: An Epideictic Function of Political Television Advertising.”

In it, Kubitz '13 wrote how advertisements created for and against the development of a large mine in Alaska have the potential to make the public confront preconceived notions on Native Americans, in relation to environmental discourse.

“For me to tie for the top paper award meant that my hard work I put in on my academics at Willamette, especially for my rhetoric major, has been recognized, and that my education has been top notch,” says Kubitz, who double majored in politics and rhetoric and media studies.

Kubitz, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, was one of about 150 undergraduates, graduates and faculty from the Northwest who attended the conference in late April. While there, he gave a 10-minute presentation of his work, responded to questions and attended other student presentations.

He also learned first hand how academic conferences work.

“Part of the idea is to give a good presentation so that people are interested in reading your paper — increasing your chance of getting it published,” he says. “As an undergraduate, this is not something we are often able to be a part of or observe.”

After graduating, Kubitz plans to return to Anchorage, where he is considering working with the Alaska Legislature. He hopes to attend law school in the fall of 2014.

Since 2001, 17 Willamette students have been honored for their papers at the Northwest Communication Association’s annual conference.