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In the Spotlight
December 18, 2019

St. Francis Students Meet With Fcc Chairman Ajit Pai

SFC Students at FCC

A group of St. Francis College students discussed telecommunications policy in a private meeting last month with Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission, the nation's top regulatory body governing the communications industry.

The meeting was set up as part of a visit to Washington DC for students in the Communications and the Law class taught by Dr. Brian Gregory, SFC Assistant Professor of Communication Arts. In preparation for this visit, the students watched the Commission's November Open meeting and completed a project focused on a current FCC issue.

During their closed-door meeting, Pai fielded students' questions on hot-button topics ranging from government efforts to combat scam phone calls to the challenges FM radio faces in light of the growing prevalence of digital streaming services. He also probed students' opinions on the positive and negative effects of social media.

"They were extremely impressed with us," said Nermina Markisic '20, on Pai's and other FCC executives' reaction to their discussion. "I don't think half the people working there had read those 80, 90 page dockets that we read beforehand. I was really proud of us as a group. It was a wonderful experience."

The DC trip is the first that Dr. Gregory has arranged. He intended to expose students to the inner workings of the federal government and give them first-hand contact with the individuals and institutions setting critical communications policies.

"My course Communications and the Law is a deep study of how American law affects and influences mass communication," said Dr. Gregory. "Understanding the complex regulatory issues of the FCC and being able to address those issued directly with FCC leadership is a capstone to my students' intellectual pursuits this semester."

Dr. Gregory worked with Sherry Dawson, FCC Deputy Chief of Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division, to set up the meeting. As a testament to their preparation and performance, FCC leaders ended the discussion by offering all visiting SFC students summer internships there.

The November 18th and 19th visit to Washington DC included a tour of the Newseum, a museum devoted to journalism and free-speech issues that is closing at the end of 2019 after an 11-year run.

The students who participated in the DC visit were:

Carly Berk

Daniel Colgan

Ashlyn Doyle

Gavin Dunleavy

Sarah Innamorato

Robert Manetta

Nermina Markisic

Matthew Panico

Tamia Porter

Hannah Swift

Kent Wilson

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