By Christiana Dillard

Robin Ashley Lawrence, KLN '16, started at Klein College of Media and Communication after earning her associate's degree in communication studies at Delaware County College. She soon learned that Temple University could not only help her earn her bachelor's degree, but also provide her with lifelong connections with her fellow battalion members in the U.S. Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps and establish meaningful relationships with those similarly interested in making communication a central part of their lives.

Lawrence's time in community college helped her understand the ways communication is used in academic and professional settings, as well as its functions in society as a whole. Studying intercultural communication, mass communication and interpersonal communication all piqued her interest, and she dove deeper into the field. This prepared her for transferring to Temple and into Klein College's communication studies program, where she knew her knowledge of communications would expand even further.

Supplementary opportunities to learn about communications such as the Communities and Organizations in New York City study away program helped her to acclimate to the school.

"It really broadened my classroom experience because we actually went into the city and did a study there," she says. "That was probably one of my most enjoyable times at Temple."

Lawrence's adjustment to Temple was also assisted by joining Army ROTC, where she gained leadership skills that complemented her education. 

"You have a community and you have bonds that you build with those that are going through like experiences," she says.

After graduating from Temple, Lawrence started her graduate school studies in communication studies at West Chester University. In 2018, Lawrence was deployed to Kuwait as a human resource officer. Still, she was much more interested in working in roles that could help her with her study of communication. Now, she works as a public affairs officer and is interested in connecting her studies to that role.

"Bringing [those] two worlds together--studying communications and actually now working in the field in the military with communications--it's like a magical experience," she says. "I feel really blessed to do that."

Her graduate assistantship as a forensics coach for speech and debate allows her to help undergraduate students at West Chester with competitive presentations that display their knowledge of public speaking and effective communication.

Lawrence's ultimate goal is to teach interpersonal communication in higher education and provide others with the opportunity to recognize the importance of communication in daily life. She considers her time at Klein College and Temple University instrumental in strengthening her love of communication as a student, an Army officer and an educator.