Raluca Cozma, associate professor in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, will soon step up into a new role as the associate director of graduate studies and research. She will replace Barb DeSanto, who is retiring this December.
Cozma began her university work this semester, including teaching graduate-level classes with topics of political campaigns, international communications and research strategy.
DeSanto said she thinks Cozma will be a great replacement for her.
“She is going to do very well because she is open-minded and well informed on the state of higher education,” DeSanto said.
Steve Smethers, associate director for undergraduate studies in JMC, said Cozma will be a great addition to the school because of her background in so many areas of journalism.
“Raluca can do practically everything,” Smethers said.
Cozma said her interest in journalism came from her upbringing. Growing up in Romania, Cozma’s childhood was very different from one of a child’s in the United States due to Romania’s communist policy. It was after the Romanian Revolution of 1989 that she became interested in journalism.
Up until the revolution, the government controlled the press, and after the revolution, no one knew how to properly report or disseminate information, which was what made Cozma want to attend university in Romania for journalism.
“I caught the bug,” Cozma said.
Cozma said the education program at her undergraduate university was very theory-driven, not practice-based.
“I went to classes, but never stepped foot in a newsroom,” she said.
Once Cozma finished her undergraduate degree, she knew she wanted to learn more about journalism and looked into graduate programs in the U.S.
She said she noticed so many differences between media here and her home country and could not believe how well trained and dedicated American journalists were.
Cozma said she was inspired by how Americans responded to Hurricane Katrina while she was getting her doctorate in media and public affairs from Louisiana State University. She said everyone came together so quickly that she could not believe it.
She said the journalists at her college decided to sleep in the newsroom instead of accepting professors’ invitations to stay at their homes during the hurricane because they did not want to miss any opportunity to report.
Cozma received the position of associate director of graduate studies and research in JMC through K-State’s Spousal Accommodation program. Her husband was offered a position at the university that she said was too good of an opportunity to miss, so they both left their positions at Iowa State University and came to Kansas.
Cozma said she thinks everyone in Kansas is so friendly and welcoming and not at all like the John Wayne movies she watched as a child and thought were normal for the Midwest.
“I feel like I belong here,” Cozma said.