Dr. Carrie Teresa and the staff of the Niagara Wire visit WIVB News Channel 4. From left to right: Dr. Teresa, Gabi Jackson, Ferrah Staley, Matthew Vizzi, James Burns, and Jacqueline Dellaneve.

Many people at Niagara University know Dr. Carrie Teresa. A communication studies professor, Dr. Teresa helped start Niagara’s student-run newspaper, the Niagara Wire. Despite her accomplishments in communications, many might be surprised to find out that it wasn’t her original plan to teach, work or study in the field.

“I was interested in literature and women’s studies, but eventually followed that track to study film and other pieces of media,” says Dr. Teresa.

Since communications is so broad, Dr. Teresa enjoys being able to use her knowledge of philosophy, English literature, history and sociology on a daily basis.

“I came into NU thinking I would be a researcher,” says Dr. Teresa. “I was pretty good at teaching at Temple, but when I got to NU and got to work with students one on one, my mind changed completely. It’s about getting to know your students and building relationships with them, flattening that hierarchy of teacher and student.”

In 2014, Dr. Teresa became an assistant professor in the communication studies department at Niagara University. For her first three semesters, Dr. Teresa focused on getting acclimated to NU and the Buffalo-Niagara area, but was soon approached by a group of students who wanted to start a newspaper. Fortunately for the university and her students, she was willing to dedicate herself to the cause and NU now has a student-produced newspaper, the Niagara Wire, which debuted Feb. 15.

Dr. Teresa says that she always tries to think of one thing to go home and tell her husband about and, lately, it’s always the Wire. As the former editor of the Villanovan, the student-produced newspaper at Villanova University, there was no one more qualified than Dr. Teresa to prepare the five student editors and create connections throughout the campus and community to build a publication from scratch.

“There is nothing I am more proud of in my career than helping my students create and run the Niagara Wire,” she says, smiling.

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Teresa loves to spend quality time with her husband, Brendan, who is a vinyl collector and a home improvement enthusiast.

Dr. Teresa is originally from Long Island but later moved to Philadelphia to attend Villanova. There, she got her bachelor’s degree in English (with a minor in women’s studies). To further her education, Dr. Teresa received her master’s in liberal arts from the University of Pennsylvania and later obtained her Ph.D. in media and communication from Temple University.

Throughout her career, Dr. Teresa has contributed her work to several scholarly journals, including American Journalism and the Howard Journal of Communication. In addition, she has spoken on several panels regarding feminism, racism and social justice. She was also awarded the Margaret A. Blanchard Doctoral Dissertation Award in 2015 by the American Journalism Historians Association. She is pleased with where her career has landed her, although it may not be where she expected.

In the future, Dr. Teresa plans to continue advising the Niagara Wire as well as speaking about social justice and fostering equality through her publications and conference panels. As an assistant professor with only three years under her belt, Dr. Teresa has made quite an impact on Niagara University, and students and faculty alike are looking forward to seeing what more she has to offer.