Research and theory lead to educational adventure

Isha Thompson smiling at the camera, wearing a black and white sweater.

This story is part of a series highlighting students from the Master of Arts in Professional Communication program.


I enjoy strategic communications. I do well with a broad issue or goal that needs to be understood and connect with internal or external audiences.  I currently work as a Senior Executive Communications Strategist at a university. 

I’m currently in the thesis path of the Master of Arts in Professional Communications. I am still early in the program, but so far, a key takeaway is to expect the unexpected. Before starting the program, I had a very clear idea of the path I would take, the courses I would most enjoy, etc., but I have surprised myself. I have benefitted from keeping an open mind. 


 My program highlights 


I have honestly enjoyed all of my courses, but I think my favourite course so far has been the one that has challenged me in a very specific way - Introduction to Communication Theory PCOM510 . The many readings reminded me of my undergrad years when I did a degree in History, which I loved. However, there was also some tension with managing my expectations and scrutinizing how I instinctively express an idea to a specific audience. I learn a lot when I’m a little bit uncomfortable so I’m grateful for the experience. 


I ended up getting a lot from the work I did on my research proposal in Research Process and Methods in Communication PCOM515. It is what has made me want to do a thesis, which was not my initial plan. I’m deeply interested in my research topic and pursuing this path will allow me to explore new territory. 


Residency was intense in the best way. I underestimated how much I would appreciate connecting with my cohort and professors in person. 

Program Flexibility 

I spent a long time (too much time?) looking at different graduate programs. I kept coming back to the RRU MAPC graduate program because the course list resonated with me. I like how you can choose your own adventure through the different pathways, and that it accommodates working professionals. It felt like a match for what I was looking for. 


I’m sure I’ll have better advice once I complete the program, but for now I would suggest coming into the program with an open mind and don’t shy away from incorporating what sets you apart, as an individual, into your work. The way I think, process information, feel and see the world has created a beautiful yet imperfect dynamic within my long journey in academia. I’m now better at channelling that in my research or class assignments rather than feeling frustrated by it.  

Learn more about the Master of Arts in Professional Communication program.