Communication Studies

Welcome to the Communication Studies Program at Centralia College.

2021 Statewide Champion speaker Tony Messineo of Centralia College

Bloomberg Media surveyed 1,320 job recruiters at more than 600 companies to find out which skills employers want but can’t find, and communication skills were in the top three (Levy and Rodkin, 2015).

Creative problem-solving and strategic thinking were the other two hard to find skills in college graduates. With this in mind, we believe that a degree in Communication Studies – complemented with some of our business courses - can be your key to success.

Centralia College has a long history of successful Communication Studies students, including several debate teams that were tops in the Northwest, and state champion public speakers. And every summer the college hosts the Statewide Inspirational Speech Championship, where students from all 34 community colleges come here to compete for the state championship.

Here are just a few examples of fun careers for Communication Studies majors:

  • TV or radio
  • Sports team
  • Crisis communication (putting out fires for big companies)
  • Journalist for an online newspaper or magazine
  • Social media manager
  • Marketing or public relations for a company whose interests parallel yours
  • Oprah Winfrey (TV Host)
  • Mathew McConaughey (Actor)
  • John Gruden (Head Coach, NFL)
  • Stephen Colbert (TV Host)
  • Howard Stern (TV and Radio personality)
  • J. Cole (American rapper)

Degree: Associate in Arts
Emphasis: Communication Studies

Notes for Students

  • Students are required to complete 3-5 credits in a Diversity course (D). A list of courses that satisfy the Diversity Requirement can be found in the college catalog. 
  • It is strongly recommended that students confer with an advisor at their potential transfer institution to determine the Communication Studies courses that best support or may be prerequisites for their program. This Educational Plan can possibly be modified to meet their requests. 
First Year  
Fall Quarter
  • CMST& 220 Public Speaking - 5 credits
  • CMST 250 Intercultural Communication - 5 credits
  • Humanities Distribution* - 5 credits
Winter Quarter
  • CMST 104 Racism, Sexism, & Media - 3 credits
  • ENGL& 101 English Composition 1 - 5 credits
  • MATH& 146 Introduction to Stats - 5 credits
  • Health & Fitness Distribution - 3 credits
Spring Quarter
  • CMST& 102 Intro to Mass Media - 5 credits
  • ENGL& 102 Composition II - 5 credits
  • PSYC& 100 General Psychology - 5 credits

* Fall Quarter, First Year choose a Humanities course: ART 110 2D Design, ART& 100 Art Appreciation, ART 130 Computer Graphics, ENGL& 111 Intro to Literature, or ENGL 208 Intro to Creative Writing 

Second Year  
Fall Quarter
  • CMST 240 Advanced Public Speaking - 5 credits
  • PHIL 130 Intro to Ethics - 5 credits
  • Natural Science Distribution - 5 credits
Winter Quarter
  • CMST 110 Social Media Communications - 5 credits
  • Natural Science Distribution w/Lab - 5 credits
  • Social Science Distribution - 5 credits
Spring Quarter
  • CMST 130 Debate - 5 credits
  • Natural Science Distribution - 5 credits
  • Social Science Distribution - 5 credits

CMST& 102 Intro to Mass Media (5 credits) (H)

A survey of the mass media in America: newspapers, magazines,books, recorded music, radio, television, motion pictures, the World Wide Web: with emphasis on structure, function, audience, content, effect and social responsibility.

CMST 104 Racism Sexism Media (3 credits) (D) (H)

Examine issues of race and gender in the media from both an historical and a current perspective.

CMST 110 Social Media Communications (5 credits) (H)

Students learn how social media is used in the business world to communicate with employees and external stakeholders, as well as advertising and marketing.

CMST 130 Debate 1 (5 credits) (H)

Students will learn to analyze, construct and deliver arguments on controversial topics using supportive evidence to respond to opposing viewpoints.

CMST& 220 Public Speaking (5 credits) (H)

Apply methods for managing speech anxiety, holding attention and making points in a variety of public speaking situations, including techniques for being credible and ethical. Communication theories and interpersonal skills also studied.

CMST 240 Adv. Public Speaking (5 credits) (H)

Build upon the skills learned in an introductory public speaking course. Become prepared to present in professional settings and lead effective business meetings as an audience-centered communicator. Prerequisite: CMST& 220 or instructor permission.

CMST 250 Intercultural Communication (5 credits) (H) (D)

Students will explore the dynamics of intercultural communication; how variables such as perceptions, language usage, nonverbal style, gender, class, and values influence face-to-face communication among individuals of different cultures; and strengthen communication skills.

jeff mcquarrie

Jeff McQuarrie - Program Lead

“The great thing about getting a degree in Communication Studies is that you can do almost anything with it. I know lawyers, news anchors, social media managers and politicians who majored in Communication Studies, just to name a few. It’s a degree that doesn’t pigeon hole you into a career that you may end up not liking.”

Professor McQuarrie heads up the Communication Studies program. He teaches beginning and advanced public speaking courses, Debate, and Mass Media and was the first professor in the state system to teach Public Speaking fully online. At the bachelor's level, he teaches Marketing and Communication courses.

Prior to teaching, Professor McQuarrie was president and marketing director of a popular world-class fishing resort in Alaska for 14 years, followed by eight years as principal of a marketing firm. During that time, he produced a highly-acclaimed six-hour documentary film about legendary football players.

Professor McQuarrie holds a Master of Science degree in Corporate Communication from Northeastern University in Boston. He serves on the leadership team at his church and is the director of the Statewide Inspirational Speech Championship (Washington state championship for public speaking). In 2017, he earned the Exceptional Faculty Award.

Margaret Smallwood

Margaret Smallwood - Professor

Being a good communicator is a huge advantage, professionally and personally, no matter what you do in life.”

Professor Smallwood grew up in Chehalis and lived in California, Oregon, and Texas before returning to Washington. She visited Washington every year and was finally able to move back recently. Margaret worked in journalism, public relations, and corporate communications before becoming a teacher. Before coming to Centralia, she taught communications at the University of Texas at Dallas and Sam Houston State in Texas. She earned her bachelor’s in communications at the University of California. She completed an MBA in international business and marketing from the University of Texas, and a Master’s in Communication Studies from Sam Houston State University.

austin majorsAustin Majors - Professor

Professor Majors spent his childhood in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, where he learned to love swimming, biking, and even cliff jumping. After moving and then graduating from Onalaska, he attended Centralia College, where he earned his A.A. degree. Transferring to obtain his B.S. in Psychology with minors in both Sociology and Communications brought him to the beautiful Palouse and Washington State University. At WSU, he helped plan entertainment for the college and got to book and meet popular musicians and artists. After graduating, he began his career in higher education as a Student Success Specialist for the TRiO programs. Austin then earned his Master’s Degree from Gonzaga University in Communications and Leadership.


Jeff McQuarrie
Program Lead
Office: WAH 221
Email Jeff McQuarrie