2021 CCA Conference News

Key Note Speaker

How to Have an Adventure in Communication

Shayla Thiel-Stern, Ph.D., started her career on the digital news team that launched The Washington Post to the web 25 years ago and since then has worked in academia, digital marketing, nonprofit organizations, public media, music and more.

In this keynote talk, she will discuss the importance of understanding what fulfills you as a communicator, researcher and human who constantly moves among different worlds – particularly the academic, the “professional” and the personal. Navigating these worlds, maintaining responsibilities to your field, your profession, your friends and family and yourself and not burning out is probably an impossible proposition. So, what can you do about it? Might the answer be in the pivot?

Thiel-Stern reflects on her career, shares wisdom based on her experiences and gives you the peptalk you may not have known that you needed when you signed up for this conference.


Dr. Thiel-Stern is the Director of Content Strategy for Level2, a health-tech startup company helping people put type 2 diabetes into remission. Previously, she has been Vice President of Content Marketing for ServeMinnesota/AmeriCorps, Editorial & Content Director at PBS Next Avenue, Senior Digital Strategist at Fast Horse, Content Producer at washingtonpost.com, Weekend Announcer at Iowa Public Radio, and Affiliate Sales Manager for Cars.com. She was an Associate Professor in the University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication and an Assistant Professor in the DePaul University College of Communication. Thiel-Stern earned a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Iowa. She has published extensively in popular and academic media, including two books – From the Dance Hall to Facebook: Teen Girls, Media and Moral Panic, 1905-2010 (U. of Massachusetts Press 2014) and Instant Identity: Adolescent Girls and the World of Instant Messaging (Peter Lang, 2007). She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her family, dogs and cats.

Dear CCA Community, 

The Executive Committee of the Carolinas Communication Association is writing to announce that the 2021 annual conference will transition to an online-only virtual format. The Executive Committee reached this decision after much deliberation and in pursuit of shared understanding. As always, the health and safety of our members is the priority in our decision making process. 

The Executive Committee also consulted with membership about a virtual conference and a full 80% of respondents expressed their interest in attending a virtual option, amidst our ongoing COVID 19 public health pandemic, which continues to impact both conference travel and institutional budgets. We are grateful for our members’ input and their support. 

Together, we believe that a virtual conference is the best way to convene our community during these challenging times. We look forward to gathering in a digital space in the Fall of 2021. And our hope remains to be back in person in 2022 in Aiken, South Carolina. 

We will be in touch before April 1, 2021, with more information about the specifics of the CCA 2021 virtual conference. We are grateful to our community for their enduring support and we are excited for what’s ahead. 

The Executive Committee of the Carolinas Communication Association 

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