#MasonCOMM Faculty and Forensics Faculty Director, Dawn Lowry, Continues Historied Success

by Catherine Wright

#MasonCOMM Faculty and Forensics Faculty Director, Dawn Lowry, Continues Historied Success

Dawn Lowry has been at Mason for three years, improving upon the success of Mason’s Nationally Ranked Forensics Team.  In addition to guiding her team to success, Lowry also teaches several courses and serves on a documentary film festival review board in the community.

Lowry moved from Wiley College, which was made famous in Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters. After working at a small school in Texas, moving to Mason meant adapting to the sheer size of the campus!  Lowry laughed, saying, “It took me most of my first year to be able to navigate the campus without Google Maps.”  However, the occasional U-turn has been worth it for the opportunity to work with Mason’s historical Forensics program. She is extremely proud of all her students, both past and present, saying “It’s really rewarding to watch students develop over multiple years and find their voice in advocacy.”

Lowry earned her BA from Northern Illinois University in Film and Television Production, and her MA is in Communication from Illinois State University with an emphasis in Mass Communication.  Growing up, film bonded the Lowry family. She said the “first movies I watched were Easy Rider and MASH.  After that, I couldn’t get enough of everything movie related.”  This love of movies and curiosity about media is what inspired her to study film and television in college and participating in the documentary film festival allows her to keep her hand in this field.

Forensics at Mason has a long tradition of excellence.  When Lowry arrived at Mason, she was excited to carry on that tradition. Since arriving, her teams have excelled, earning recognition at the National Speech Competition, American Forensics Association National Tournament, and the National Forensics Association National Tournament, coming in the top- 5 each of the past three years.  The 2020 and 2021 seasons were certainly far different than anyone would have ever imagined, but this did not stop the team from excelling both years.  Not having to travel was a pleasant change for Lowry, but recognizes that her team does better with the energy at live tournaments.  For this reason, she is looking forward to returning to the road during the 2021-22 season.

While mentoring students in all aspects of forensics is very satisfying, though exhausting on occasion, she finds a lot of joy teaching.  At Mason she has taught Public Speaking, Oral Interpretation, and Persuasion.  Lowry said she “really enjoy[s] Persuasion. We get exposed to between 5,000 and 10,000 persuasive messages daily. The need for critical thinkers is paramount, especially now.”  She is able to take her knowledge from her years of experience in forensics and apply it to the class, which is one way in which she combines her passions.  Lowry is most excited when the students she teaches “start to make connections between the stuff we cover and class and what messages they see daily.” Being able to make her content relatable is a priority.

Anyone who’s met her would find it hard to believe that she’s nervous during the first two weeks of classes until “we start getting conversations going.”  A self-proclaimed introvert, Lowry finds pleasure in recharging at home.  “I am a stress baker, so I am always on the lookout for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.”  She mentioned that the Forensics team is gracious about eating her “mistakes,” but she mused they probably look forward to times when she’s not baking and bringing high-calorie foods in for them to eat.

Her advice to graduating seniors is simple, yet rather profound.  She says everyone should “Just try. I think we often talk ourselves out of applying or accepting opportunities for a variety of reasons, when we can often achieve more than we give ourselves credit for.”

Although somewhat new to Mason, Lowry has already made an impact on Mason and #MasonCOMM.  She has mentored her team to numerous victories with the help of her assistant coaches and she has brought her love of communication into the classroom.  Her involvement with the film festival is something she loves and allows her to keep in touch with what she studied during college and has extended a childhood passion into her adulthood.  Lastly, she brings deliciousness from her stress baking and shares it with others, something that we all can appreciate!

#MasonCOMM #ThisIsMasonCOMm