Matthew Sweitzer had no idea he wanted to attend graduate school while he was an undergraduate student at the University of Missouri. After graduating in 2012, he was inspired by his wife, a PhD student herself, to pursue higher education. Sweitzer fell in love with research when he started reading and talking to people about graduate school and what it meant to be a grad student. He realized he loved teaching and helping people “understand all the intricacies of a problem.” That’s when graduate school seemed to click for him.
Sweitzer was drawn to the School of Communication’s graduate program due to the strength of the political communication research and the diversity of research areas from its faculty. His main overarching area of research is political communication, and within that, social networks and information processing.
Sweitzer always had an interest in politics. His first year at Mizzou was an election year, so while he was writing for the school newspaper, he ended up writing many political stories. His interest for politics, combined with his organizational communication major, drove his passion for social networking.
Sweitzer has won several awards while at Ohio State, but is most proud of winning the Emory Research Award this past spring.
Sweitzer said he loves all of his publications just as any parent would say they love their kids equally. The one that stands out to him the most, though, is his first authored piece at Ohio State with Assistant Professor Hillary Shulman. For this study, they looked at how asking questions in either easier or harder ways would elicit different responses.
“It was a very, very broad set of methods that we were using, but it helped answer this interesting question in a new way that hadn’t been done before,” Sweitzer said.
Sweitzer said his time at Ohio State has helped him in every possible way he could imagine. The biggest thing he’s learned from graduate school so far is how to be a good researcher.
“Grad school definitely isn’t for everyone and is a very different experience from undergrad,” he said. For students interested in graduate school, he suggests going to office hours and developing relationships with professors and teaching assistants.
“TA’s are currently going through [grad school] and … all of the professors have gone through it. They’ll be your letter-writers for applications. They’ll tell you where to apply, what kind of things to look for in a department, and really help you find a good fit,” Sweitzer said, adding that he urges students to use the resources available to them to find their proper fit.
Article written by students Rachel Rothstein and Alex Moreno