Alumni Profiles

Laura Buffardi

B.S. '04, Communication Studies

Traveling with her mother to Manhattan as a child, Laura Buffardi fell in love with the city. “I loved the fast pace of everything,” she recalls. High school yearbook editor and self-described “people person,” Laura was initially interested in the fields of public relations and advertising. She joined Steinhardt as a Communication Studies major but an internship at a public relations firm for home videos and DVDs made her question her interest in this area of study. “I don’t watch TV, I’m not up on pop-culture. I just couldn’t get excited about that kind of work.”

Instead, Laura found herself drawn towards the interpersonal aspect of communications. “Just for the heck of it,” she took an intro psychology course through the College of Arts and Sciences and loved it. “Psychology presents news ways to approach a problem, new ways for people to think. Taking the class, I felt like I was doing something important.” Her first exposure to psychological research was her final project in a Steinhardt course called Mass Media and Society. “I studied college-age women and their responses to romantic comedy films. These women are the ones looking for love; it was interesting to gauge their strong reactions to the films. They don’t call them chick-flicks for nothing!”

After her positive first research experience, Laura started volunteering during her junior year as a research assistant in the CAS psychology department. She assisted professors and graduate students researching relationship formation, an aspect of social psychology. “Social psychology overlapped perfectly with my new specialization in Communication Studies on speech and interpersonal communication; both focus on how people interact.” Eventually, Laura began designing her own research experiments.

After graduating from Steinhardt in 2004, Laura plans to attend the University of Georgia as a doctoral candidate in social psychology. There, she will study close relationships -- the formation of friendship and romantic attachments. Someday, Laura hopes to be a professor of psychology at a research university.

When asked about the transition from New York to rural Georgia, Laura notes, “I’m excited for the change. NYU is a big and competitive place…sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming.” She looks forward to a big apartment—a luxury rare in Manhattan. “I’m ready to move on. NYU has prepared me really well to handle graduate school. It’s like the song says: ‘If you can make it there you can make it anywhere!’”

by Clara S. Brenner