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Student Spotlight: Kielce Gussie to Study Church Communication in Rome

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After completing her Mount undergraduate degree in theology in May, Kielce Gussie, C'19, will head to the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome to study Church communication in the university's licentiate program. Affectionately known as Santa Croce ("Holy Cross" in Italian), the university is not just a school for seminarians and priests. Approximately 25 percent of students are from the laity and 21 percent are women.

kielce-gussie-1.jpgDuring Gussie's junior year, Mount Communication Department professors introduced her to the Rev. Jordi Pujol, professor of media ethics and law at Santa Croce. In spring 2018, while studying abroad in Florence, Gussie had the opportunity to meet again with Pujol and receive a tour of Santa Croce. She applied to the licentiate program last fall and was honored to be accepted.

Gussie credits her Mount professors and the excellent academic programs for equipping her with the confidence and skills she needs to pursue an intense graduate program abroad. “The Mount allowed me to grow as a well-rounded individual. The work and classes at the Mount offered lessons that will help me in any stage of life,” said Gussie. As a theology major, with minors in communication, Spanish and Italian, she took full advantage of the integrated liberal arts program offered by the Mount. Commenting on the communication program, she said, “The communication program is successful and effective because the professors focus on instructing students to write and communicate professionally with confidence. I learned to interact with people from many different backgrounds. The communication classes taught me to analyze how media affects every-day life and how people interpret things differently because of media.”

During her time at the Mount, Gussie has been involved in numerous activities including being in the honors program, a thrower on the women’s track and field team, a member of Mount Students for Life and a writer for the Mountain Echo student newspaper. Reflecting on her experience at the Mount, she said, “I enjoyed being able to learn in a diverse environment that enables students to meet people of different backgrounds and beliefs. The Mount encourages students to have difficult conversations about current events and topics, to allow them to voice their opinions and have dialogue with others.”

While in Rome, Gussie will pursue an internship with either EWTN or Catholic Bytes. After completing her Licentiate, she hopes to continue working in Rome with a Catholic media company. Her goal is to incorporate her Catholic faith with media directed toward youth evangelization. Assistant Professor of Communication Mary Catherine Kennedy, Ph.D., is confident that Gussie will succeed. “Kielce is a go-getter. She came to the Mount with an idea of what she wanted to pursue after graduation," Kennedy said. "She has paired her communication classes with her theology classes to pursue work in the Church. Her ambition and desire to serve others is spectacular, and I expect her to do well in her graduate studies in Rome.”