PPR Strategies


From Intern to Grad: Caleigh Shares Her Stevenson Story

This week’s blog is contributed by recent college grad and PPR communications specialist, Caleigh Bernota! While earning her degree and slaying on the collegiate volleyball team, Caleigh spent her last semester condensing her communications knowledge into her capstone project. Today, she is sharing her college experiences and a little from the big final project! Take it away, Caleigh!  

Everyone says college is the best, yet quickest, four years of your life. After graduating magna cum laude from Stevenson University last month, all I can say is wow, they were so right!

The past four years have flown by, and now I am left with gratitude for the countless memories and invaluable lessons that Stevenson has provided me throughout my experience.

On May 13, 2024, I proudly took my first walk across the graduation stage, having missed this experience as a high school graduate due to COVID-19. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Business Communication and a minor in Fashion Merchandising. 

As a college freshman during the time of strict pandemic restrictions, my college career got off to a rocky start. All classes were remote, socializing was nonexistent, and my beach volleyball practices were distant and masked.

Thankfully, as the world began to reopen safely, I was able to start exploring all that Stevenson had to offer and immerse myself in the extracurriculars. 

From the communication and fashion club to managing the men’s volleyball team, I fully embraced college life and explored my interests. This included internships, where I began working with PPR Strategies!

The variety of activities I was involved in—practices, team lifts, and classes I was juggling— encouraged me to hone my time management skills. In addition, after I completed the marketing internship with PPR Strategies during the summer, I was hired to work part-time as the Communications Specialist.

My time management skills became especially important during my final semester when I was tasked with completing a semester-long research project for my Business Communication Capstone class. We were tasked to choose a research topic and, using our theoretical knowledge, relate it to a communication theory.

My project focused on the impact that screen time has on children’s communication development, and how that relates to Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of cognitive development from 1978. I applied the practical time management skills gained from PPR and combined them with my classroom theories to condense this vast subject into a concentrated research paper. 

During this project, my research concentrated specifically on the effect that children’s screen time has on their language acquisition, vocabulary development, non-verbal communication, social interaction, and attention span.

Spoiler Alert: The findings indicate that screen media exposure (i.e. consuming any media via screens) during the crucial developmental stages (from two to eight years old) impedes linguistic and cognitive growth, hindering social engagement and decoding of non-verbal cues. This aligns with Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, and the research underscores the pivotal role of social interaction and cultural context in cognitive development, particularly in communication skills.

Overall, too much screen time can also impact economic development. Excessive screen time can lead to reduced educational outcomes, workforce productivity, higher levels of social isolation, and lower levels of community involvement, and ultimately hinder innovation. This negatively impacts the formation of human capital, which is essential for economic growth and stability. This too is why community events and place-making are so important! Creating spaces for families to live, connect with one another, and grow away from screens can provide children with brain-stimulating alternatives to screen time! 

Interested in learning more? Click to read my full paper, “How Does Children’s Usage of Screen Time Impact Their Communication Development, in Relation to the Sociocultural Theory”!

As I prepare to embark on the next chapter of my life at PPR Strategies, I carry the knowledge, lessons, relationships, and memories I have forged as a Stevenson Mustang. I am entering the real world with the confidence that I can and will succeed in this next step of my life.

Reimagining Places With You, 

Caleigh Bernota, Communications Specialist

Stevenson University, Class of 2024

Related Posts