Graduate Laura Russell Returns for Colloquium — Nicole Fracasso

This past week, Laura Russell returned to Wittenberg to speak at the cmmunication colloquium about her research, “Unmasking ‘ill’usions of Wellness in Contemporary Life.” Russell, who was one of Wittenberg’s first communication graduates, is now a professor of communication at Dennison University.

Throughout her time at Wittenberg, Russell was involved in a number of activities. She was part of the Communication Club, a practice-based group for communication majors, and Lambda Pi Eta, a research-focused group. Russell was also involved in Circle K, a leadership group focused on volunteer work.

Russell began the colloquium by informing the audience that she owes a lot to what she was able to learn here. She then began to dive into her research.

“We have a culture that values work ethics,” Russell said.

A big section of Russell’s presentation was focused on her research on workaholics. She stated that people often confuse a strong work ethic with the issue known as workaholism. From her research, Russell was able to discover that people feel their worth is based on what they produce. Therefore, people with a strong work ethic are easily absorbed by their work, resulting in workaholism.

“Often in life when a crisis happens, you can repair, but you can’t go back,” Russell said.

Recovery was another major aspect of Russell’s research. She was inspired to start this research due to her brother’s accident. When her brother had a near death experience, he played the “best golf game of his life” shortly afterwards. One of the illusions of recovery that she mentioned was celebratory narrative vs. unspoken realities. While others saw this as an inspirational story, Russell only remembered the suffering she and her family went through.

While Russell has achieved a lot since she graduated, she recognizes the fact that “it began here.”

“I will forever be indebted to Wittenberg,” Russell said.

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