Undergraduate Gurwinder Mann, ‘23, strives to build connections while utilizing his coursework from speech comm.

By Emily Willis, CLA student writer - October 19, 2023

Born in India, Gurwinder Mann arrived at OSU in 2021, instantly falling in love with the campus, people, and the curriculum. Originally majoring in biology, Mann switched to speech communication soon after taking a public speaking course (COMM 111).

“I just discovered that I really flourished in talking to people and listening,” says Mann, “Then learning more about how I can understand their lives, and how people communicate.”

After COMM 111, Mann found his true passion and enrolled in both a combination of communication and education courses, hoping one day to potentially enter into a teaching role.

“I was always excited to take all of these classes together, which was 24 credits per tem,” says Mann. “Especially for Speech Communication, it works really well because each class is related and interlinked with one another.”

One of his favorite classes was COMM 416 - Ethnography of Communication, taught by Associate Professor Elizabeth Root.

“Gurwinder has been a thoughtful student in my courses,” says Root. “In COMM 416, he worked on an autoethnographic research project in which he examined his religious identity as a Sikh international student at OSU. In his research, he considered how his religious identity has been challenged and transformed by navigating differences in religious practices, adjusting to new social norms, and working to manage time for religious rituals and activities while in the USA. During the course, he carefully presented aspects of Sikhism to his classmates. I appreciated learning about his religion, the identity challenges he has faced, and how he has navigated cultural differences.”

Mann has also published multiple poetry books in English, and expresses the art form as being one of his other interests. After immigrating to Canada in 2016, Mann continued writing poetry in his native language, Punjabi, Mann then began writing poetry in English after friends and coworkers, those who couldn’t understand Punjabi, expressed interest in reading them. Since then, his writing has flourished and poetry has become one of his bigger passions to pursue.

“I am looking at grad school,” says Mann regarding his future. “I really enjoy giving lectures, talking to people, and motivating them. I admire the work of my professors. I would like to pursue teaching, as well as receive my master’s or PhD in communication.”

This last summer, Mann completed an internship in San Francisco, California, at Room to Read, a nonprofit group that supports the education of girls. Gurwinder worked the front desk at INTO OSU, and was recently offered a full time student services senior coordinator position starting in fall 2023.