LU communication student wins National Communication Association award

For senior public relations major and upcoming graduate Mattie Hamilton, it all started as a standard research paper for an eight-week online class during the fall 2021 semester. Following a conversation with Professor Andre Favors in the Department of Communication & Media, Hamilton continued her research.

After adding more to her paper, she was able to present at the Office of Undergraduate Research conference at Lamar University. She was awarded first place in advanced-level research.

Now, one year later, she has been awarded the Stephen A. Smith award for her research at this year’s National Communication Association convention.

The National Communication Association is responsible for promoting communication as an academic discipline, and each year they host a convention for Lambda Pi Eta honor society members to present undergraduate research. Hamilton, who is the president of LU’s Lambda Pi Eta chapter, received her award for the top-ranked individual paper.


“When I found out I won, I was completely shocked,” said Hamilton. “I worked tirelessly for a very long time to compile the research I did and get my paper in pristine shape. This was an incredibly daunting process, especially while I was still taking classes full-time.”

Hamilton’s paper, a 21-page document titled “A Feminist Rhetorical Analysis of Hillary Clinton’s Keynote at the 2015 Women in the World Summit,” explores third-wave feminism and assesses Clinton’s rhetoric during one of her speeches. It was a process that took a year to complete and, according to Hamilton, included many sleepless nights.

During this time, Hamilton garnered the support of the faculty in her department, however, her biggest support system existed with Favors.

“I absolutely could not have accomplished all that I did without the help and support of the university along the way, especially Mr. Favors,” she said. “He’s been my mentor for about 2 years now and he’s been one of my biggest support systems throughout this entire process.”

“Mattie has been a great asset to the Department of Communication and Media,” Favors said. “She models for others how to do academic scholarship and has been a great leader as the president of our Lambda Pi Eta chapter. I am very proud of her.”

As Hamilton prepares to graduate in December, she looks back on her time as a student, her accomplishments, friendships and mentorships.

“Without their help, I could not have done all of this,” she said. “It is exactly that unwavering support that reaffirms my choice in Lamar University every day. I am extremely excited to give LU my continued support as an alum.”

When asked about what’s next, Hamilton’s answer is one that has been inspired by her time at LU and her mentors along the way.

“At some point in the future, I would love to come back and teach and inspire other students in just the same way that my professors have inspired me,” she said.