<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Celeste Lacroix
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Dr. Lacroix's Intercultural Journeys Abroad
By Kathy Austin

Dr. Celeste Lacroix taught her first course abroad in 2001. To date, she has taught in 11 different spring and summer programs. Lacroix has taught in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Spain.

This Spring 2010 semester, Lacroix, an associate professor from the department of communication, is co-directing the Study Abroad Program in Trujillo, Spain. She regularly teaches Intercultural Communication abroad.

"Immersion in another culture is an ideal 'laboratory' for the study of intercultural communication," Lacroix says. "Each day living in another culture affords students an opportunity to experience firsthand the theories and concepts we are studying."

Her research interests include studying race and ethnicity in popular culture and media. Her experiences abroad have allowed her to "observe such issues, to make comparisons among the media of different cultures and how they construct and depict these identities."

While abroad, she also directs independent studies and bachelor's essays, some of which have looked at gender and race in international media. One set of projects she has worked on has focused on representations of contemporary Native Americans. Lacroix has authored a number of regional and national conference papers, with many receiving prestigious awards. For instance, her work, "Wealth, Power and Identity in (Native) America," received a "Top Four" citation at the prestigious National Communication Association gathering in Seattle in 2000.

Currently, she is working on an article that will likely be published this year, regarding recent television depictions of Native Americans. In the past five years, she has co-authored three race, gender, and mythic analyses with Dr. Robert Westerfelhaus, a fellow associate communication professor.

Lacroix's educational background is reflective of the hard work and dedication she brings to the college. She received her bachelor's degree in speech from Emerson College and her master's in communication/performance studies from Eastern Michigan University. She received her Ph.D. in rhetorical studies/media criticism from Ohio University in 1999. Lacroix found her passion for intercultural communication and media criticism through a graduate level cultural studies course. It comes as no surprise, then, that Intercultural Communication and Media Criticism are her favorite classes to teach.

Lacroix has been teaching at the College for more than a decade. As a Rhode Island native, Lacroix was very interested in living someplace warmer. When she saw a position posted at the College of Charleston, she jumped at the opportunity. "I felt that Charleston would be a lot like Providence or Boston, an older historic city, just with palm trees," jokes Lacroix.

Her decision to teach at the college has influenced many around her. Department of Communication Chair Dr. Brian McGee says, "Dr. Lacroix continues to bring passion and energy to her teaching and all her work on behalf of the community."

Maggie White, a graduate communication student, studied abroad with Lacroix in 2009. She writes that Lacroix "is curious and passionate and those qualities are contagious-making any student on an abroad program with her want to see and learn more."

Savannah Davis, Class of 2009, studied Media Criticism in 2008 with Lacroix. When asked to describe Lacroix in one sentence, Davis writes that Lacroix "is an enthusiastic, energetic, and open-minded person who makes learning about the field of communication in the classroom an interesting adventure, rather than a task."

With researching, writing articles, and teaching full time, Lacroix tries her best to balance her personal and professional life. She strives to work hard while at school and reserve time for family and relaxation every day. To stay away from the ever invasive technological communications, she does not allow herself to be connected 24/7, so she doesn't carry an iPhone or Blackberry. During her semester and summer breaks, she loves to travel.

While Lacroix is overseas, she enjoys relaxing at the Arab Baths in Spain and visiting landmarks and sites. The Arab Baths date to the 11th century and were used in the past as public baths, a place to purify the soul, a place to conduct business, and a place to receive massages and beauty treatments. Today, Lacroix enjoys visiting the baths for spa time.

In Spain, her favorite landmarks and sites include the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela and the Plaza Mayor in Trujillo. She enjoys hiking and bird watching, as well as walking through the twisted streets and alleys of historic centers of Spanish cities.

As for her communication skills in Spain, Lacroix considers herself to have an intermediate level in Spanish. Before heading to Spain this semester, she brushed up her Spanish speaking skills with Rosetta Stone, a popular language learning program. She still struggles at times with verb tenses and pronouns, but quips, "There are some topics on which I can speak very fluently and have a great vocabulary- like food!"
Photo Above: Professor Lacroix is pictured during last summer's study abroad trip to Italy, Germany and Austria. Lacroix is at the Berchtesgaden National Park in Bavaria, Germany.