Communication studies professor stresses value of diverse interests

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    When TCU assistant professor of communication studies Kristen Carr’s aunt asked her to make a cake for her uncle’s birthday, Carr awakened a unique creative outlet for herself.

    What began as a simple request, resulted in a huge poker themed cake with die to top it off.

    Since that fateful favor eight years ago, Carr said she has made about 20-30 cakes, ranging from mini-cakes for family members to a four-tier wedding cake weighing more than 100 pounds for a friend.

    Carr said she has never charged for her cakes. She decorates them solely as a hobby.

    She said she believes there is a connection between her career in communication studies and her unique and diverse interests.

    “I was taking a course in interpersonal relationships [as a first-year undergraduate], and I was sitting in class and thinking, ‘Why would I choose another major when [communication studies is the major] that informs all of the other ones?’” Carr said.

    After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Stonehill College in Massachusetts, Carr searched for a job in California. She said she realized she had many options available to her due to the diversity of her education.

    “[Communication studies is] the one major that encompassed and informed all different areas of study,” she said. “It is the foundation for so many different aspects of our life.”

    Carr obtained a master’s degree from TCU and then earned her Ph.D at the University of Nebraska, all while still finding time to pursue other hobbies. A self-professed yoga lover and marathon runner, Carr said she has a need for “organized creativity.”

    Carr’s enthusiasm for her studies is evident to many of her students.

    “What I love most about Dr. Carr’s classes, besides the fact that she is the most fashionable professor I have ever had, is the way that she relates to her students,” senior biology major Hayley Perryman wrote via email. “She makes every topic we cover relevant and interesting.”

    Bobby Beecroft, a junior psychology major, said, “Her door is always open to students.”

    “In one case,” Beecroft said, “she took the time to help me with a class that she didn’t even teach.”

    When asked if she had any advice for students working on their undergraduate degrees, Carr said, “Even after finding your major, there’s a process to find your place in life.”

    “It’s okay to allow your professional life to develop as you develop.”