The care that Dr. Perreault has for her students is as obvious in her office as it is in the classroom. As a professor, Dr. Perreault has high standards that she fully believes each student can achieve. She bases her classes around what students really need from their education, by speaking with students to figure out where other classes or previous education may have failed them.
I remember the first day I walked into her public relations writing class to listen to her passionate lecture on the importance of structure and AP style. After class, I walked up to Dr. Perreault and I said, “I love writing, but I’ve never understood AP style and I think I am very behind.” Dr. Perreault assured me that I would not leave her class unprepared. Even on my worst days, Dr. Perreault made me feel uplifted and supported. Without her, I don’t think I would have kept on with the public relations major.
Beyond the classroom, Dr. Perreault is an engaged and helpful advisor. She encourages students to reach for leadership positions and accomplishments they may not have had the confidence to pursue before. She is very easy to get in touch with as she promptly replies to emails, sometimes within a shocking five minutes. Dr. Perreault set up a website that makes booking a time to meet with her very simple, although she will take care of the scheduling aspect for students if necessary. She is passionate about her career and the public relations field. Her vast knowledge and public relations skills reminds students that what we do is important and can lead to many fun opportunities.
I went through a period this semester where I was interested in graduating early but could not understand what classes I needed to make a December graduation possible. I knew that I needed to meet with someone who would be supportive of my aspirations, so I set a meeting with Dr. Perreault. Our meeting began as a discussion of our crisis communication class content and ended with Dr. Perreault asking me about my academic endeavors. As soon as she heard I was having trouble understanding the university’s requirements, she jumped on the computer. She assured me everything would work out as she began combing through the documents online to narrow down my final classes. She helped me figure out who to talk to about our department’s shifting graduation requirements and has kept up with my progress throughout the semester.
Dr. Perreault also discusses my long-term goals with me and often helps brainstorm different cities for internships and jobs. I do not know much about networking and internships, so she walked me through the process of applying. She has also continued to edit my resume and has read many of my cover letters during my internship application process this spring.
Another reason I respect Dr. Perreault is her drive and genuine concern for making herself familiar with the resources Appalachian has to offer. She offers relevant resources to students when necessary and works to improve student awareness of campus resources. One way she does this is by inviting guest speakers to come to class and speak with us. One of these speakers, Geralyn from the Career Center, was so helpful in class that I immediately scheduled an appointment to meet with her. Geralyn helped to talk me through what goals I had for the summer and for life in general. Without Dr. Perreault bringing this resource to me as a sophomore, I never would have known who to go to when I became overwhelmed with my future.
In the times that Dr. Perreault is unfamiliar with a resource, she is not afraid to ask involved students to help her to better understand campus resources she may be missing. I have had deep conversations with Dr. Perreault about LGBTQIA resources on campus, and I feel she has done a lot to make these resources known to her classes and throughout the department.
Dr. Perreault is familiar with Appalachian regulations, policies, and procedures. In our crisis communication class, we spent a full class period concerned with what we should do if an active shooter situation was to occur. Dr. Perreault wanted us to understand university policy and procedure for such an event. We walked through the fire route and critically analyzed some potential outcomes and problems. She goes above and beyond to connect students to organizations within the university, such as University Communication. Through these visits, we learn more about university policy, something that is relevant to us as communications students.
I have spent many hours in Dr. Perreault’s office. She creates a comfortable space where I truly feel heard and validated. We once spent an hour talking about my coming out experience. I had recently come out as bisexual to my parents, and I was really struggling with how my parents had reacted. She thanked me for being vulnerable and open with her and returned the favor by relating my struggles to her own experiences. She made me feel accepted and cared for on an personal basis. I felt understood by Dr. Perreault not only in her role as professor and advisor, but also through her role as a representative of the values of our university.
Dr. Perreault spent a lot of time planning, advertising, and recruiting attendees for the Communication department’s annual Spring Forward week. She gave particular attention to our networking event where students, alumni, and faculty spent an evening together connecting in a meaningful way. I was able to connect with an Appalachian alumna who works in crisis communication. I would not have had this opportunity if Dr. Perreault did not facilitate the event and ask her former students to attend.
Dr. Perreault cares about her students’ futures. She shows that she cares through spending quality time listening to and supporting students, which is sometimes a rare find. She is able to recommend campus resources in a meaningful way. As mentioned before, Dr. Perreault has helped me plan out my course to graduation and continues to check in on my progress, and thankfully, I have remained on track. I deeply appreciate all Dr. Perreault has done to help me and others in our journey towards graduation.