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CAS Fighting the Threat of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

CAS students, advisees, and professors steered a seminar on the leading threat to public health that was attended by over 250 students and over 50 local providers on Nov 17th. The seminar covered the latest social, biological, and clinical science on the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. Over 2 million infections occur a year in the United States, causing thousands of deaths. The photograph shows two PSU undergraduate students, Kaitlin Shartle and Lydia Glick, with Dr.

Rachel Levine, the physician general of Pennsylvania. CAS faculty, such as Smith and MacGeorge, and their students are conducting health communication research to guide interventions to address this leading threat to public health. Kaitlin and Lydia have been involved in this research, interned with the Department of Health, and conducted evidence-based workshops on the topic in the community, such as the event at Bennett childcare center (

Undergraduate students interested in getting involved in health communication research related to antibiotic resistance should contact Dr. Rachel Smith (

CAS Student Carrie Rein founds non-profit organization DreamTeen: Bringing Childhood Dreams to Foster Teens

For years Penn State student Carrie Rein had been pondering a single idea. “It is honestly impossible for me to pinpoint how I came up with the idea of DreamTeen,” she said, but she knew that somehow, one day, she would take foster children to Disney World.

Foster children are often subjected to many forms of neglect and abuse in foster care, severely affecting their mental health and
development, and lessening their chances of growing into a successful adult. “I decided it was time to start a nonprofit. During this time, I was in Bryan Blankfield's CAS100 [public speaking] class. Our last speech involved discussing a problem and a solution. Before writing my speech, I told Bryan I was in the process of starting a nonprofit, and asked if I could take advantage of this last speech to practice speaking about it in front of an audience. Using everything we learned in CAS100 about writing an effective speech, I wrote my first of many speeches to spread the word about my nonprofit.”

Carrie founded DreamTeen in June 2014, and received 501c(3) status a month later. Today, she is partnered with Children’s Aid and Family Services, hoping to raise enough money to bring some of their Professional Parent Homes (staffed homes serving adolescents in foster care between the ages of 13-18) on an all-expense-paid vacation to Disney World through the program DreamOrlando. “We strive to become a life-long family to these foster youth and support them through the transition process and all other life events,” Carrie said. “I am still using the effective communication skills I learned in CAS100 to form partnerships with other businesses, speak in front of other organizations, and speaking on camera. Aside from the direct skills I learned in CAS100, the indirect confidence I gained during that semester continually helps me fight through any nervousness I feel before presenting my nonprofit in front of my peers and other crowds.”

Carrie also started the DreamTeen club at Penn State, getting other students involved in supporting foster youth. They are planning the first annual DreamTeen event in April 2016. If you would like to get involved with the DreamTeen Club or the nonprofit contact Carrie at

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences applauds Carrie for her amazing and inspiring work!

LJ Shen and Jim Dillard selected for 2015 Distinguished Article Award

Professors LJ Shen and Jim Dillard have been selected for the 2015 Distinguished Article Award conferred by the National Communication Association’s Communication and Social Cognition Division.  Division Chair Matt McGlone said that their article in Review of Communication Research titled “Threat, fear, and persuasion: Review and critique of questions about functional form” was selected from “an unusually large set of nominees this year, all reporting exemplary scholarship.” Professors Shen and Dillard will receive their award November 21st in Las Vegas at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association.

Jeremy Engels appears on the radio program “A Public Affair” out of Madison, Wisconsin to discuss his new book “The Politics of Resentment”

From WORT 89.9 FM out of Madison, Wisconsin:

Pledge Edition: Rhetoric and violence in “Politics of Resentment”

To continue this week with our fall pledge drive, Karma Chavez talks with Jeremy Engels, author “The Politics of Resentment.” His new book looks at the relationship between rhetoric and violence by examining events in U.S. history.

Jeremy Engels is an Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State University. His research investigates the rhetorical foundations of democratic practices, and their beauty, ugliness, and perplexity.

Recent Publication by J. Michael Hogan and Jeffrey A. Kurr

Our own J. Michael Hogan and Jeffrey A. Kurr recently published a white paper on "The Future of the Basic Course in Communication." The white paper summarizes the findings of a special double session held last spring at the 106th Annual Easter Communication Association Convention, "Deliberation: Philadelphia." The Center for Democratic Deliberation (CDD) was invited by the First Vice President of ECA, Kanan Sawyer, to facilitate the event featuring more than thirty communication scholars and teachers.

The White Paper is available at

Stephen Browne wins the National Communication Association's Distinguished Scholar Award!

Stephen Browne, Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State, has won the NCA Distinguished Scholar Award!

The NCA Distinguished Scholar Award was created in 1991 to recognize and reward NCA members for a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of human communication. Recipients are selected to showcase the communication profession. The award is supported by the Mark L. Knapp Distinguished Scholar Fund. Since 1992, those recognized as NCA Distinguished Scholars nominate and elect members to join this select group.


"I am of course gratified by the award," Browne said, "but it is really testimony to the superb scholars and departmental support I have benefited from throughout my career at Penn State."

Congratulations Stephen!

CAS featured in AlumnInsider


CAS is featured in a recent story in the AlumnInsider – a newsletter for members of the Penn State Alumni Association. The story highlights how the Department has played a critical role in education at Penn State for years, and how we continue to push contemporary conversations about civic engagement.


Here's the link!,0,w

New tenure-track job open in diversity, U.S. politics, and political communication

The Department of Communication Arts & Sciences, in collaboration with African American Studies and Political Science, seeks an assistant or associate professor who will be appointed as tenure-track faculty. To advance the missions of these departments and the interdisciplinary mission of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy [link to], applicants should demonstrate scholarly and teaching excellence at the intersection of diversity, U.S. politics, and political communication, broadly construed. To learn more about this job, click here.

Lindsey Aloia to receive the Sandra Petronio Dissertation Excellence Award!

We would like to congratulate Lindsey Aloia on winning the Sandra Petronio Dissertation Excellence Award conferred by the Family Communication Division of the National Communication Association. She will receive her award at the Family Communication Division Business meeting in Las Vegas in November. “I am honored to receive the prestigious Sandra Petronio Dissertation Excellence Award”, she said. “Thank you Dr. Denise Haunani Solomon for your consistent care and guidance that contributed to the successful completion of this project.  Receipt of this award affirms the importance of understanding the causes and consequences of verbal aggression in interpersonal associations.” Way to go Lindsey!   

New staff member Jason Traverse has long CAS history

Jason Traverse joined the staff supporting CAS, along with Philosophy, Applied Linguistics, and related centers/institutes.

What some may not have known was Jason's history as both a CAS major and a winner of the CAS/NYT public speaking contest. Thanks to the archives, we have unearthed that winning speech, and if you want to curse the high cost of bad drivers to society, or if you just want to see Jason shine, watch the full video here:

Mark Kohler unearthed this and shared it with Jason, who says that this contest "was the event that actually made me switch majors and become a CAS major instead. So, this is the very thing that began my CAS journey almost a decade ago, which has lead me to where I am now."

Dr. Mike Hogan to become Sparks Professor in Fall 2015

Starting in Fall 2015, Dr. Mike Hogan will be an Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Rhetoric in the College of the Liberal Arts. The Sparks and other named professorships in the College recognize full professors who are leaders in their fields and have an exceptional record of publication, grants, awards, and citations. Among Dr. Hogan's many achievements are securing a National Endowment for Humanities Challenge Grant for the Center for Democratic Deliberation. That grant alone helped establish an endowment for that center that will sustain it into the future.

For more on named professorships in the College, see

CAS Coauthors Kennerly and Geraths publish article for National Communication Assoc.

Our very own Michele Kennerly and Cory Geraths have just published an article "Pinvention: Updating the Commonplace Book for the Digital Age" in Communication Teacher, a quarterly publication from the National Communication Association. We congratulate them on this achievement and their fine work!

You can read more from Michele and Cory's article here on the National Communication Association's website!


Historically, commonplace books served as tools for rhetorical inspiration, invention, and collaboration. Full of assorted notes, scrapbooked images, and countless other artifacts, such volumes allowed rhetors to assimilate social knowledge, assemble arguments, and achieve copiousness in the service of their own rhetorical situations. We advocate a return to and re-vision of the commonplace book. The social networking platform Pinterest can function as a digital space for displaying the results of invention, and we detail how—by creating various boards and “pinning” different newspaper articles, images, videos, and other artifacts—students can construct digital commonplace books that are collaborative and generative.

Jessica Bargar Kuperavage wins the National Communication Association’s dissertation award!

Our own Jessica Bargar Kuperavage has won the NCA’s dissertation award this year! Titled "From Private Tragedy to Public Health: Public Health and the Rhetorics of Responsibility", Jessica’s dissertation was chosen from a record sixty dissertations submitted for this year’s contest. “My dissertation examined the ways Progressive Era reformers collected and spread information about preventive health measures and made their case for a deeper governmental commitment for the health of its people”,  Jessica said. “I explored this development from the perspective of a series of health campaigns and reforms that addressed infant and maternal mortality - reforms that set the political and rhetorical precedents for modern health and social welfare interventions.” Jeremy Engles was her adviser, along with Penn State faculty members J. Michael Hogan, Rachel A. Smith, and Susan Squire. “At the moment, I'm a mix of stunned and delighted. My dissertation felt risky while I was writing it, because I reached across the aisle into social scientific scholarship, so getting this stamp of approval from the field at large feels really great.” Way to go, Jessica!

CAS community members Parrot, Gouran, and Krieger receive awards

Three of our own have recently been recipients of distinguished awards for their great work. Janice Krieger has been awarded a University of Florida Foundation Professorship in recognition of her amazing record of scholarly contributions. Dennis Gouran has received the 2015 National Communication Association/American Forensic Association Conference on Argumentation Senior Scholar Award for his contributions to the study of argumentation. Roxanne Parrott has been named a Brashers Distinguished Mentor--The Dale E. Brashers Distinguished Mentor Award recognizes significant contributions to the field of health communication through mentorship of and advocacy for the discipline and its members. Kudos to all three!

Smith, MacGeorge and colleagues awarded PSU Pathway to Partnerships funding for novel research!

Communication Arts & Sciences' Rachel Smith and Erina MacGeorge, along with colleagues at Hershey Medical School and PA's Department of Health were awarded first stage funding through the PSU Pathway to Partnerships (P3) program. This funding will support their new research in the pediatric care context, focused on parent acceptance of “watchful waiting” (versus immediate antibiotic use) for children's ear infections, and childcare staffs' vaccination behavior. P3 funding runs in three stages: $5000 to develop a collaborative team, $75,000 to generate preliminary data, and then $300,000 for large proposal planning. The P3 funds will support and strengthen this innovative work on antibiotic stewardship and vaccine preventable childhood illness, helping to improve health in Pennsylvania and preparing the team to apply for R01 grants through the NICHD.

PSU Speech and Debate Society defeats Pitt, shines in tournaments

The Penn State Speech and Debate Society has enjoyed great success of late, defeating the University of Pittsburgh in the Centennial Debate—an event marking the 100th anniversary of the first debate between the two universities.

They also recently competed in the Lafayette Debates tournament in Washington D.C., and the Madison Cup in Harrisonburg, VA. They made it all the way to the Sweet 16 of the Lafayette Debates tournament before losing to the top seed, and took ninth place at the Madison Cup.

We applaud the Speech and Debate Society for continuing the tradition of debate competition at Penn State!

You can read more about their victory in the Centennial Debate over Pitt here:

You can read more about their efforts at the Lafayette Debates tournament and the Madison Cup here:

CAS major Briana Adams strives to bring awareness to injustice

CAS major and Schreyer Scholar Briana Adams is lauded in a Penn State News article today for her passion and activism. We are proud to call her one of our own! You can read the full article here: