The students of the class of 2023 are not the only Gusties exploring their new home at the start of this school year.
Visiting Assistant Professor in Communication Studies Breena Brockmann is also settling into her place on the hill and getting used to a new climate after relocating to Minnesota from Georgia.
However, the environment at Gustavus is far from unfamiliar to her.
“I’m excited to be back in the Midwest weather,” Brockmann said.
Brockmann hails from a small Wisconsin town, and she competed her undergrad at a liberal arts college in eastern Wisconsin with a student body of less than 1,000 students.
“I had wanted to come back to the small liberal arts style of teaching,” Brockmann said.
“I loved the experience of being at a small liberal arts college. I’m excited to be here,” Brockmann said.
For her undergraduate studies, Brockmann majored in Communications and Political Science, and minored in National Security Studies.
Her experiences also involved being a student worker for the Communications department and the library.
Her passion for her area of study shines through in all of her involvement.
She made a cross-country transition when she moved to complete her graduate studies at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. While earning her master’s degree and PhD, her studies in women’s political discourse and national security lead her to a notable connection with Gustavus’ roots.
“Gustavus’ connection to Swedish traditions is interesting to me. One chapter of my dissertation studied Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, so I have some familiarity with Swedish politics and rhetoric,” Brockmann said.
Brockmann works to incorporate broad topics of diversity and world-wide communication into her Public Discourse and Rhetorical Criticism classes this semester.
She notes that the Public Discourse class is unique to Gustavus’ Communication Studies department.
“The purpose is to ask students how they can be an advocate for change in their communities,” Brockmann said.
This idea seems to have resonated with students.
“[Brockmann] really helps emphasize that we learn communication from our community. It’s not about us, and how well we can talk or write. It’s about how we can ethically guide our communities to consider different perspectives and consider new ideas,” first year Ellie Hartmann said.
As she is new to Minnesota, Brockmann is particularly looking forward to learning about the area through her student’s projects.
“I think in the process of me helping students on those projects, I’m learning a lot about a lot of different communities in Minnesota. I think there’s something exciting about being a new instructor at an institution and some of these opportunities to learn from and with my students. I love the idea that I’m going to get to work one-on-one with students,” Brockmann said.
A student-oriented look to the future is what drives Brockmann.
She feels that her interests in national security and rhetoric surrounding gender are assets that she brings to the department.
“[I am] excited to hear what kinds of classes the students want,” Brockmann said.
She is also looking forward to broadening studies to a global perspective, taking note of different backgrounds in regards to communication and rhetoric.
Brockmann is exited to get involved more on campus, and says she is particularly looking forward to the Nobel Conference next week.
So far, settling in has gone as smoothly as she could have hoped.
“I’ve found everyone really welcoming. I’m really excited to be here,” Brockmann said.
In her free time, Brockmann enjoys reading and baking, and is planning on scoping out notable spots on campus.
For now, she is content taking strolls through the Arb and adjusting to her new home on the hill, though her rescue dog, Beasley, has already settled in quite well.
“He loves Minnesota…we’ll see how he feels about it in February,” Brockmann said.