Whether you are majoring in communication or not, new professor Raquel (HA-kell) Moreira is one professor you have to meet. Raquel moved to the United States from Brazil, and brought with her a passion for communications and a desire to make a difference.
Raquel spent most of her college years in Brazil, earning both her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and her Master’s degree in communication in Rio, Brazil. She got her PhD, what she describes as her biggest accomplishment, at the University of Denver, before moving to Lamoni, Iowa to begin teaching.
Raquel did not start out wanting to be a communication professor. She began as a journalist, but, she says, “I was always critical of the media, although I was also able to appreciate the good things media can do for people.” This led to Raquel’s decision to be a teacher. “I was feeling powerless as a journalist, which made me realize I could impact people more as a professor. That’s what drove me to graduate school, that will to make an impact. I still believe I am making a bigger impact through teaching.”
When asked about the favorite place she’s ever lived, Raquel laughs and says she went from a population of seven million, to three million, to twenty-two hundred, but that each city has it’s own value. She describes Rio as a special place. “My whole family and good friends are all in Rio.” Although she probably will not return to Rio soon, the city will always mean a lot to her.
Denver, although smaller, was also a great place to live. “I have good friends in Denver, and it’s a really cool city. It’s not too big, but big enough to be cosmopolitan. I have always considered myself a cosmopolitan person.” So how did this city girl end up in one of the least cosmopolitan towns in America? Raquel says she had several job interviews, but that Graceland was the first to offer her a job. She says, “When I visited, I was really excited. They sold it to me really well, and made me feel comfortable and at home. They also described how teachers get to watch the students grow at a small university.”
Raquel insists that the two months of living here have not affected her morale, and that she is fitting in to the small-town life well. She has had to get used to cooking at home, but instead of dreading it, it’s turned into a hobby. She says the lack of restaurants are forcing her to make good food at home.
Raquel has adjusted to life in Lamoni well. “I am always busy!” She laughs. “Also, I’m in a really good division with great colleagues and great students. All of that helps. I don’t miss the city as much.” When she’s not busy with work, Raquel plays ultimate frisbee with other Graceland professors.
Overall, Raquel is pleased with her new life as a professor at Graceland. One of her favorite classes to teach is “Intercultural Communication,” but this year she has taught or will be teaching two classes that are completely new to Graceland; “Emerging and Social Media” and “Gender and Communication.” Raquel believes there are certain things that can only be learned in college, not at the workplace. She believes communication is an important skill for everyone. She says, “Communication classes prepare you with critical thinking skills and a sense of self-awareness.” Although new to Lamoni, Raquel is, and will continue to be, a valuable addition to the faculty.