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Xun Zhu and Amber K. Worthington receive top student paper honors from NCA

We congratulate graduate students Xun Zhu and Amber K. Worthington on their top student paper in the Applied Division of the National Communication Association. The paper is titled "Users' Evaluations of Health Information Websites and the Impact of Message Features and Genetic Determinism on Information Diffusion: Insights into the Sharing of Science."


"This paper stems from work we did as research assistants on Dr. Rachel A. Smith’s grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The purpose of the grant is to examine how people living with a genetic condition, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD), make medical decisions and how these decisions, together with discrimination and genetic stigma, influence communication and well-being."


"In this paper we looked at how people with AATD evaluate the information and design features of the NIH website about this genetic condition and how these features influence their intention to share this information with others."


"We would like to thank Drs. Rachel A. Smith and Roxanne L. Parrott for their guidance in writing this paper. Most importantly, we are grateful to the members of the Alpha-1 Research Registry for sharing their thoughts and experiences with us."


New CAS degree to be offered in Fall '16

Starting in Fall 2016, students will be able to earn a new degree, the Bachelor of Science in Communication Arts and Sciences. This degree is perfect for students interested in combining the core communication studies with course work in research methods, math, and statistics. The degree program prepares students for success in communication graduate programs (which demand expertise in research design and quantitative analysis) and in careers as analysts (including such fields as sales, survey research, health and human services, social media, and politics). Details about the degree will be posted on the CAS undergraduate website. We look forward to welcoming the first class of students earning BS degrees in Communication Arts and Sciences!

Jon Nussbaum to be named NCA Distinguished Scholar

The Department learned that Professor Jon Nussbaum will be named an NCA Distinguished Scholar at the annual convention in November.

"I am honored to be named a Distinguished Scholar by the National Communication Association. I have been mentored and supported by an extraordinary group of colleagues and graduate students throughout the entirety of my career. Their guidance and inspiration have elevated my "game" and have been the best part of my academic life."

Congratulations to Jon on this tremendous honor!! Click here to read more.


John Gastil pens new op-ed in wake of BREXIT

In the wake of the historic Brexit vote, our own John Gastil has written this new op-ed: Click here!

Kurt Braddock interviewed by Interfaith Voices

Recently, Kurt Braddock did an interview (along with Imam Mohamed Magid) with Interfaith Voices about counter-narratives and radicalization. The show broadcasts on 85 NPR stations.

Here's the link:

Rachel McLaren becomes associate professor in the Dept. of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa

Rachel McLaren, PhD 2008, was recently granted tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa! Rachel’s research seeks to clarify the interplay of communication, cognition, and emotion in response to significant experiences, such as hurtful interactions, within personal relationships. She also examines how relationship and situational characteristics influence people’s ability to process relational messages. In the classroom, Rachel teaches courses on communication and conflict and the dark side of interpersonal communication.  While at Penn State, Rachel completed her MA under the direction of Professor Dennis Gouran, and her PhD was supervised by Professor Denise Solomon.

Congratulations, Rachel! We are Penn State proud!!

Congratulations Jessica Kurr!

Congratulations Jessica Kurr!

Jessica A. Kurr has received a grant from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation for research on her book project, When the Fed Speaks. Currently a doctoral student in Communication Arts and Sciences, Jessica hopes to builds on her dissertation about the role of the Federal Reserve in economic policy debates. The project examines the differing rhetorical strategies of influential Fed chairs, including Marriner Eccles, William McChesney Martin Jr., Arthur Burns, Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan, and Ben Bernanke. The research grant from the Ford Presidential Foundation will provide Jessica the resources necessary to conduct research on Arthur Burns, who was Fed chair during the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. In addition to contributing to public understanding of the changing role of the Fed in economic debates, Jessica hopes to illuminate the challenges involved in engaging the public in debates over complex economic policies.

Jessica acknowledges the support she has received for the project from her advisor, Professor J. Michael Hogan, the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences, the Center for Democratic Deliberation at Penn State, and several other research centers and funding agencies, including the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the University of Utah library, and the Volcker Alliance.

David Dzikowski, Ines Meyer-Hoess, and Amber Walker Jackson promoted to Senior Lecturer

Three of our CAS instructors, David Dzikowski, Ines Meyer-Hoess, and Amber Walker Jackson, have all been promoted to Senior Lecturer.

David Dzikowski teaches public speaking (CAS 100A and CAS 100C) and public address studies (CAS 475).  His research focuses on the history of rhetoric, presidential rhetoric, and the rhetoric of film, radio, television, and music.  These research interests advance and inform his teaching strategies through depth of content and breadth of examples in classroom lectures and activities.

Ines Meyer-Hoess is the lead faculty and organizer of the department's study abroad program in Vienna, Austria. An Austrian native, Ines came to the United States in 1998 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Communication at Boise State University after completing graduate school at the University of Vienna. Ines worked as a political consultant before attending the School of International Service at American University in Washington, D.C., where she focused on International Politics and International Communication. Ines became a CAS-faculty member in 2006 after teaching Marketing at Penn State's Smeal College of Business. What Ines finds most rewarding is the opportunity to connect with the many dedicated, hard-working Penn State students she works with on campus, online, and abroad.

Amber Walker Jackson teaches a variety of classes in the department, from communication and information technology (CAS 283) to several of the public speaking courses (100A, 100B, 100E) and studies family and relational communication. She is thrilled about the new title and about being able to continuing to teach classes she loves in this wonderful department.

Please join us in congratulating these three on their accomplishments! Bravo!

Dr. Rosa Eberly featured in the Austin American-Statesman

A wonderful editorial by our own Dr. Rosa Eberly was recently featured in the Austin American-Statesman. She speaks to the power of public places and shared memories--a real-world application of what she frequently teaches and discusses with her students here at Penn State.

Read the full article here!…/eberly-consider-an-educ…/nqrkL/

Penn State Speech & Debate Society has impressive showing at state championships


Penn State Speech & Debate Society has impressive showing at state championships


February 25, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Speech & Debate Society made history at the annual Pennsylvania Forensic Association (PFA) Championship Tournament held Feb. 20-21 at Lafayette College.

Seckin Kara, a freshman science pre-major, won the state championship in impromptu speaking. According to PFA records, this is the first championship that Penn State has won in decades at the state tournament. Seckin was also a semifinalist in parliamentary debate and finished third in the after dinner speaking category.

Will Patton, a senior economics major, was a runner-up in persuasive speaking and qualified for the 142nd Interstate Oratorical Association Contest, the nation’s oldest competitive speaking tournament. Will called the achievement a “defining moment as a Penn Stater” despite only joining the team a short year ago. “The society has provided an avenue for me to cultivate my speaking skills,” Will said. "Joining is truly one of the best things that could've ever happened to me.”

Other members of the Speech & Debate Society also enjoyed broad success:

  • Ricardo Rojas, senior electrical engineering major, second overall speaker in parliamentary debate;
  • Collin Warren, senior economics major, runner-up in Informative speaking and finalist in extemporaneous speaking;
  • Neema Esfandi, freshman undeclared, semifinalist in parliamentary debate;
  • and Adrianne Kubiak, freshman information science major, finalist in dramatic interpretation.

The team’s impressive showing represents an important step in its growth. “Penn State used to be very dominant before the team was disbanded in the early 2000s,” said Collin Warren, who is also the society’s president.

Collin thinks this win will “create momentum” the team needs for next month's Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament at the University of Kentucky and into the future.

Jeremy David Johnson, graduate assistant in communication arts and sciences and of the team's coaches, echoed Collin's sentiments. “Our team is very young,” Jeremy said. “Our success at states means we are poised to do big things in the coming years.”

Growing the team will be difficult given its limited funds; but, with more success, its coaches and members are optimistic that they will be able to secure more funding to involve more students.

For more information about the Penn State Speech & Debate Society, visit the society's website.