Rebecca M. Chory, now home from a Fulbright Scholar grant-funded trip to Hungary, can’t wait to share and connect students and scholars there and in the United States.
High on her to-do list is a conference she’s planning in Budapest on communication and aggression.
“I’d like to bring WVU faculty there to see all of the great things we can learn and share. By making those connections and building relationships, we can all gain so much,” says Chory, the first member of West Virginia University’s Department of Communication Studies to be honored with the prestigious Fulbright Scholar grant.
Matthew Martin, chair of WVU’s Department of Communication Studies, believes that Chory is the best person to lead such a conference.
“Our department is one of the strongest academic programs in the country for studying the topic of communication and aggression,” he said. “With her research of looking at aggression in the media, the workplace and the classroom, Dr. Chory is highly qualified to arrange an international conference to further explore this topic at an international level.”
Chory spent five months at the Budapest College of Communication and Business in Hungary where she taught two classes including American Media Entertainment and Media Violence in the U.S.
She was impressed by how media savvy the Hungarian students were, and by the warm welcome that she received from the students and the faculty.
“They had a real interest in the U.S. and in the English language. They told me that it was rare to have a native English speaker, and since Americans are the leaders in the field of communication, they really appreciated my being there,” Chory said.
According to Chory, there are many contemporary issues in communication studies that were not formerly discussed while the Hungarians were under communist rule. With the end of communism in Hungary in 1989 came a renewed interest in new topics such as the study of verbal aggression.
“There are a lot of opportunities now to introduce new perspectives in areas like verbal aggression where they don’t have a lot of research yet,” said Chory. “It was so exciting to have the opportunity to help grow the field of communication in Central and Eastern Europe. It’s nice to think that I can contribute something and that others are eager to learn about it.”
Although Chory’s trip has ended, this is just the beginning of the work she hopes to do in communication studies to connect WVU to Hungary.
“Dr. Chory is a leading scholar in mass communication and a great representative of our department and the University,” he said. “Her experiences in Hungary will give her additional perspectives and views to share with our students here at WVU.”
Aside from the professional experience that Chory gained from the trip, she also gained a deeper understanding of her family’s history.
“When I applied for the award, I knew I wanted to go to Hungary because of my personal connection to the country,” Chory said.
Chory’s family has its roots in Hungary, and although she had been to the country once before, it was only for a short time. Through the weekend excursions that the Fulbright program offered, Chory and 12 other selected professors traveled to different parts of the country.
“I actually visited villages that two of my great grandparents came from. To think that they came from those tiny, rural villages to the U.S. 100 years ago made me realize what brave and determined people they were. It gave me such a deep admiration for them,” Chory said.
In addition to planning the conference, Chory hopes to develop a study abroad program in the next few years so that WVU students can also experience Hungary.
Chory received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication studies from WVU in 1994 and 1995. She studied European history and humanities in France and England through the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and she received a doctoral degree in communication from Michigan State University.
Chory plans to return to Hungary and also looks forward to exploring other parts of the world. After having such positive international experiences, Chory also encourages others to travel and study in other countries.
“If you want an adventure, go for it,” she said. “Anything is possible.”
CONTACT: Natalie Committee, WVU Department of Communication Studies