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Los Angeles


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Kate Kurtin '06


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Pasadena, CA

Oxy Major/Minor:  


Current Company:

California State University, Los Angeles

Current Position:

Associate Professor of Communication Studies

Campus Involvement/Special Programs:

I was in a number of clubs and was an RA for 2 years and an HC of Newcomb my senior year

Secondary Schooling:

MA in Advertising & MA in Communication Research from Boston University, 2008; PhD in Media Effects and Communication Studies from University of Connecticut, 2013

Favorite MP/Cooler Food:

Sandwiches and waffles from the MP, pizza and grilled cheese from the cooler

Best Oxy Class:

I loved a sex and gender class I took that pushed me as a student; sociological theories shaped how I understood the world; my theater classes got me out of my world and into a new one, and a required class my freshman year that I don't even remember set me on the path to working in advertising by showing a video called, "killing us softly." I talk about it in all of the classes that I am teaching now

Groups I Identify With:

women; communication; sociology; advertising; public relations; academia


My name is Kate and I am currently an associate professor of communication studies at Cal State LA. I never set out to be a professor. I loved the work that my Oxy professors did and valued them so much, but that was never my path. I started Oxy pre-med (both of my parents are physicians, and that seemed like the path to take) but I was miserable in the 8am lab classes. In a required first year seminar (I don't remember the subject!) the professor showed Jean Killbourne's 'Killing us softly" and I was hooked. I wanted to go into advertising! I wanted to change the way that advertising executives marketed to women and children. After graduating from Oxy I was accepted to Boston University's MA in Advertising program and started working immediately. Also while at BU I was required to take communication research classes and it is there where everything changed for me. I had question that I needed answers to and research became my tool. After graduating I started working in market research in Boston and it was very fun, but I realized that my original goals of changing the way marketing executives advertised to women and children was still a goal. I decided that the best way to do that was to teach advertising. I want to teach the next generation of execs so that hopefully they can change the world. I went back to school for my PhD and started at Cal State LA in 2013.
I want to be a mentor in this program because I know what it is like to graduate from Oxy with dreams but no clear plan. I also advise students as part of my job at Cal State LA and I really love it.

Career Advice:

Ask yourself: What do I want to be when I grow up? and then go for it. Don't worry if the answer to your question changes.

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