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Profiles of Florida State's Best and Brightest

Neleen Leslie

Neleen Leslie

College of Communication & Information

  • Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication, 2011

Current Doctor of Philosophy Student in Mass Media Communications

Q&A with Neleen Leslie

Why did you choose to get your Ph.D. in Mass Media Communications at FSU?

The Communication Ph.D. program at FSU isn’t like other communication programs. I have the opportunity to shape my program of studies to fit my research interests and career goals. All the Ph.D. students are encouraged to take classes in other departments. We aren’t limited, so we get a solid foundation that prepares us for what we want to do professionally.

What is the focus of your dissertation?

My dissertation focuses on cultural incongruence in advertising. I want to look at how audiences perceive people who look like members of one ethnic group, but sound like members of another. I am interested in whether or not they would be credible sources in advertising.

What is it that you find fascinating about culture’s role in marketing?

Whether we realize it or not, all marketing is cultural. Culture shapes what we say, do and interpret the world around us. As more marketers realize how huge of a role culture plays in our lives, there is this evolution in marketing in the United States. What is fascinating to me is the fact that culture is not static, it is still changing and will continue to change, and marketing has to change with it. That means that there will always be something we don’t know, always something new to explore, and I think that is amazing.

What has been your greatest struggle?

My greatest struggle has been making peace with my choice to come to the United States for school. So much has happened in the four years since I left my country. I’ve missed a lot of important events and milestones in my friends’ and family’s lives. I have younger siblings who are growing up, and I feel like I don’t know them as well as I could have if I had been back home. In Jamaica, there is an old saying, “if you want good, yuh nose haffi run.” This phrase means that you have to make some sacrifices in life, but they will be worth it in the end. That’s my mantra.


Make the most of your time here at FSU. There are so many opportunities for you to get involved both on and off campus, beyond the classroom. Take advantage of them. We are students first, and we’re all here to get our degrees, but your Seminole experience will be so much richer if you get out there and get involved as well. It may just change your life.