By Robyn Vincent
Joining the COJO Department in January 2014 is Leah LeFebvre, a communication doctorate student and instructor at University of Texas at Austin.
LeFebvre holds a master of communication from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a bachelor of science in communication studies and political science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She said she hopes to satisfy a fundamental need in the COJO department, offering a variety of interpersonal communication courses.
“Some of my teaching interests include interpersonal relationships - how people go about talking to their significant other,” LeFebvre explained. “My first communication course was a romantic relationship course, which undergrads really see the practical nature of and how it relates to them.”
LeFebvre said she is also interested in topics such as sexual communication, a subject that is often under-discussed, lying and deception, and some of interpersonal communication’s darker issues, such as abuse, violence and stalking.
Until she embarks on her Cowboy State adventure, LeFebvre will be working to complete her dissertation, which explores how individuals and couples relay stressful experiences.
“It’s interesting how couples talk about turbulent stories. How they tell stories together versus how they tell them individually,” she noted. “When people want to know what’s going on in a relationship, often when you get couples together, they each have a different story to tell.”
COJO associate lecturer Beau Bingham noted that her research interests are sure to strike a chord with students.
“She’s going to bring a new level of excitement to the COJO Department,” Bingham said. “Students will be able to really relate with the work she’s doing on interpersonal relationships.”
An avid outdoors person who logs 100 miles a week on her road bike, LeFebvre said she looks forward to exploring Wyoming’s outdoor offerings. “I’m really excited to learn how to ski on some Western mountains,” she said. “I’ve only skied in the Midwest, and it’s a much different experience.”
LeFebvre is also planning to take advantage of her Wyoming digs by conducting some geographically specific research. “I’m hoping to do research about people who live in rural locations because they are often forgotten,” said LeFebvre, who also plans to take a break from the books once in a while.
“I’m excited to see UW sports because it seems they have as much pride as the UT Longhorns.”