Graduate student Nara Cavalcanti has sights set on enhancing communication

Nara Cavalcanti

Nara Cavalcanti, graduate student in Corporate and Professional Communication.

Are conversations at the water cooler a professional form of communication? Ask second year graduate student Nara Cavalcanti and she'll likely say yes. If you ask what her motivation is for graduate school, she doesn't give a lofty wordy answer. She hasn't set out to save the world but she hopes to help the world communicate better. She wants to share what she has learned in her field of study, Corporate and Professional Communication with emphasis on internal communications.

"I really want to answer questions I've come up with while working in this field and perhaps provide organizations with good research and information about internal communication and its benefits," Nara says. All indications are she will succeed in doing just that.

Nara explains her internal communication studies as "communication within an organization." Communication within an office setting is an indication that communication to clients and the general public is on a solid foundation. Official communication includes "memos, guidelines, policies and procedures and the unofficial communication that goes on among and between the staff members of all organizations," she says. This includes "the exchange of ideas and opinions, the development of personal relationships, and the proverbial conversation around the water cooler. Internal Communication can give employees the information they need to do their jobs effectively and also allow them to take the pulse of the organization and understand its overall situation," Nara says.

Nara came to Radford University from her native Brazil in Summer '12. She said when she started meeting some of her professors she realized the teachers she had prior to enrolling at Radford were not as open as American teachers. "I really appreciate Dr. John Brummette, who was my first contact at Radford. He provided me with all the information I needed about the program and the university, and opening the doors for this great life/academic experience," Nara says.

Nara adds, "I have to mention Director of the Corporate and Professional  Communications Program Dr. Lynn Zoch, a great professor who, provides opportunities related to academic studies and also to the workforce. She is always available to talk and share her experience as a communicator. I am so thankful for all she taught me."

"Nara is an exceptional student. She appears shy in class because even though her English is exquisite, she's still not sure of it," says Zoch. "She has always done her readings for the day, made notes and thought about the topic at great length." Because Nara has worked in an organization prior to coming back to graduate school, Zoch says she knows what she wants to get out of the program.

"That has been a challenge working with her on a directed study because she wants to go BIG on her project, and you just can't do that in one semester. Our goal now is to have this project become her thesis," Zoch says. "It still can't be as big as she wants if she wants to graduate in May, but at least it gives her more time to get into the literature and do the research needed."

Nara Cavalcanti

Nara Cavalcanti

Networking is an important facet of Nara's life inside and outside the classroom. She believes there is value in forming a connection with fellow graduate students, and that includes fields outside her area of study. "Relationships make life better and might be the key to the success. I strongly believe anyone can share knowledge with you. The more people you know; the richer you will be with your cultural experience and ideas. It can benefit you personally and professionally," she says.

A true dedication to studying and pursing a career can be sometimes a bit draining both physically and emotionally. There are times when a student has to step back and breathe in a fresh dose of fresh air and bask in the simple joys of life.

For Nara, relaxation comes about listening to good music and praying. "That's what I used to do at the beach while looking at the ocean. But in my free time, I also like to hang out with friends, watch a movie and just have fun around the people I love," she says. She's a fan of "The Hunger Games," too "I Just read all three of them this summer. Strictly for pleasure, I like to read something that will make me think about anything but school and work," Nara says. She also likes to sneak in a sip of Coca-Cola every now and then but it's limited "because it may not be good for me."

With every new adventure, come surprises. Nara says "every little thing" in her RU experience has been a surprise. "Sometimes when you are foreign you just don't know what the next challenge is going to be. All you know is that it is going to be a big challenge. But if I have to pick one, I would say the professors. I was really impressed how open they are to help you," she says.

If she hadn't enrolled at Radford, she says she would be back in her native Brazil enjoying her eight-month-old nephew and professionally, "I would be probably working as a communication coordinator, making sure employees were well informed, engaged and happy about their jobs."

Nara will graduate in the spring.

Radford University is a comprehensive public university of more than 9,900 students. RU serves the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation through a wide range of academic, cultural, human service, and research programs. Well known for its strong faculty/student bonds, innovative use of technology in the learning environment and vibrant student life on a beautiful 191-acre American classical campus, Radford University offers students many opportunities to get involved and succeed in and out of the classroom. The university offers 69 degree programs at the undergraduate level, and 21 master's programs and three doctoral programs at the graduate level. A Division I member of the NCAA and Big South Athletic Conference, Radford participates in 19 varsity sports—11 for women and eight for men. Since 2005, the university has secured approval and funding for nearly $300 million in capital projects, including both new construction and renovation.

Learn more about Radford University at

Oct 1, 2013
Bonnie Q. Erickson
(540) 831-5804