Brittany Weiner

Brittany Weiner has written 2 posts for The Digital Bullpen

Dr. Stephen John Hartnett to Speak at Annual Communication Day

On Friday, USF will be celebrating Communication Day with a lecture by Dr. Stephen John Hartnett from the University of Colorado, Denver.

The lecture will be held at C.W. Bill Young Hall in room 107 at 12:15 p.m.

Hartnett is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado, Denver. For more than 20 years he has been teaching creative writing, public speaking and various other classes and workshops to prisoners in states across the country.

In his lecture Friday, Hartnett will talk about lessons he’s learned through his work in prisons and of the importance of communication. He will also bring with him poems and artwork by prisoners.

As an advisor to his university’s Center for Public Humanities and editor of Captured Words/Free Thoughts, a bi-annual magazine of poems and stories written by prisoners, Hartnett is highly involved as an educator.

Hartnett has also protested in prisons and given lectures in twenty-one states, speaking out against the death penalty.

He has been awarded the Northwest Communication Association’s 2008 Human Rights Award and the University of Colorado’s 2010 Thomas Jefferson Award, among others for his work in the communication field.

PPLC at Harvard changes one USF student

USF sophomore Richard (Kyle) Castello came back from the 11th annual Public Policy and Leadership Conference (PPLC) at Harvard University a changed man in more ways than one.

Formally a communications major, Castello decided to major in interdisciplinary social sciences upon returning from the conference.

“I wanted to get a more liberal arts education and get a bigger picture of how things work,” Castello said.

Castello said he thought the conference was very enlightening.

“The conference showed me how studying public policy can make you an asset to many levels of government,” he said.

After attending a law program at FSU last summer, Castello decided he wanted to major in communication to better those skills. However, it was the PPLC that led him to thinking about his current pursuit of interdisciplinary social sciences.

Castello was one of 40 students selected for the conference held February 17-20 at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

According to the Kennedy School’s website, “The conference will encourage students who possess a commitment to public service to prepare for graduate study in public policy and international affairs, as well as to provide information on financial support through various fellowship programs.”

The conference is for first and second year undergraduate students with aspirations in the fields of federal, state or local government and work in the nonprofit sector or in international agencies.

Castello was chosen for this all-expenses-paid trip after applying for the conference. Students interested in next year’s conference can apply online at

Though no longer majoring in communications, Castello still plans on taking courses in the field and remains very interested in it.

Castello’s plans for the future are still unknown.

“After I graduate, I would like to work for a little before I enter graduate school,” he said. “Maybe community organizing, maybe the Peace Corp., maybe Fulbright scholarship or maybe even a Mitchel Scholarship.”

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