Nicole Garlic, KLN '21, has found that law and communication make a compelling case when studied together. Now, combining the two subjects is working in her favor. The media and communication doctoral student recently landed a remote teaching position at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) for the university's master of justice management degree program.
Garlic's experience in law, legal studies and communication studies is extensive. She attended the University of Pennsylvania for her bachelor's degree in communication, Georgetown University for her doctor of jurisprudence and Temple University's Beasley School of Law for her master of laws degree in transnational law. In between and during those experiences, she was a practicing attorney, a business owner and a law clerk. She first became interested in the unique research opportunities offered by law and communication while conducting volunteer legal work in Kenya, where she noticed challenges in intercultural communication. Now, her primary research focus is on the relationship between the fair administration of justice and communication technologies. Her dissertation will focus on the impact of virtual courtroom hearings on the legal system.
Tom Jacobson, Klein professor and Garlic's advisor in the media and communication doctoral program, has admired her ability to manage her convergent interests. Along with advising Garlic on her dissertation, he is working with her to establish a code of ethics for the field of social and behavior change in communication. The two also co-authored a research paper and have presented their findings together.
"I've seen her both thinking on her feet during presentations and also seeing her write — she's terrific," Jacobson says.
When Garlic decided to apply for the faculty position at UNR, Lauren Kogen, assistant professor in the media and communication program, assisted Garlic in the application process. But Kogen says that while they held mock interviews and formulated questions together, Garlic was very capable of securing the position without additional help.
"[Garlic] didn't really need me, she was so on top of it," Kogen says. "She was just so perfect for this position that I can't imagine them not hiring her. She just had absolutely everything that they needed including just being very organized and on top of things."
Garlic hopes that she can challenge herself intellectually in her new role. As she has become more confident in navigating digital technology — a skill that she says is just "another method in my toolbelt" — she has been able to study her two areas of expertise with greater ease. She appreciates that the program at UNR allows students to learn on a flexible schedule that fosters critical thinking while also leaving breathing room for exploration on students' terms.
"That's something that I also just support generally, this idea of making school flexible enough that people can get the education they desire in a way that works for them and their schedules," Garlic says.
Garlic has a course release from UNR for her first year as an instructor, allowing her to finish her dissertation and complete her responsibilities as a doctoral student. Because the position is remote, she will not be required to relocate.