You are here: Home / News

Current News

GRADS@WORK, Zhou successfully defends dissertation


Yanmengqian (Alison) Zhou recently defended her dissertation, “On the Processing and Outcomes of Conflicting Advice.” Serving on the committee were CAS professors Erina MacGeorge (advisor), Andy High, and Denise Solomon and Professor of Psychology Karen Gasper. Dr. Zhou’s future plans include moving to Baton Rouge where she will join the faculty of the Department of Communication Studies at Louisiana State University as an assistant professor. 

Congratulations, Alison!

Flores to join Communication Arts and Sciences Department

The Communication Arts and Sciences Department is excited to announce that Professor Lisa A. Flores will be the next Josephine Berry Weiss Chair of the Humanities in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State University. She will join the departments of Communication Arts and Sciences and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in the fall of 2023. 

Flores is currently Professor of Communication and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado, Boulder. An acclaimed rhetorical scholar of race, gender, labor, nationhood, and Latinx experience, she introduced Chicana feminism to the communication field. The National Communication Association and the Rhetoric Society of America have honored Professor Flores with multiple research awards, most recently for her 2020 book Deportable and Disposable: Public Rhetoric and the Making of the Illegal Immigrant. With the generous endowment provided by the Weiss Chair, she will lead campus and community-based initiatives focused on her areas of expertise. CAS is delighted to welcome Professor Flores to our faculty; we can't wait to see her on campus in 2023.

Reflections on Shootings in Buffalo and Dallas

Reflections on Shootings in Buffalo and Dallas

The mission statement of the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences opens with this sentence: “CAS is committed to the study, teaching, and practice of human communication for the betterment of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world.”  As we close the books on another academic year, can we say we are succeeding?  

What happened in Buffalo was a methodical act to kill Black people going about the normal business of their lives.  In the past month, a shooter has targeted a number of Asian-run businesses in Dallas.  The attacks resemble the 2021 rampage in Atlanta that victimized Asian women solely for being Asian women.  In 2019, a shooter targeted Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso, killing 23 people.  In 2018, eleven people were shot dead while attending services at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.  These are certainly not the only mass shootings in the past five years.  They are not even the deadliest.  They are just a sample of the ones motivated by the violence of racism.  

In past years, the department has sponsored events to encourage “Talking Together about Guns,” in hopes that deliberative discussion of the values underlying pro- and anti-gun positions could break down that simple binary and encourage useful dialogue.  In small groups, it did.  We also held a “Voices of Democracy” event to resurrect the courage of people who spoke wisdom in the face of fear and hatred.  Our faculty and graduate students have written dissertations, articles, and books on relationships among communication, violence, and civic health.  We also endeavor every semester to encourage our students to ask difficult questions and to listen carefully for responses that can counteract the polarized political and social environment in which we find ourselves.  Simple truths, while so often appealing, are inadequate in complex times.  Instead, we ask our students, in dialogue across differences and with a commitment to the principles of ethical communication, to consider complex truths.   

Meanwhile, however, people continue to be killed.  Our community might wonder: “Could what happened in Buffalo, in Dallas, in Atlanta, in El Paso, in Pittsburgh – in so many cities and towns across the United States – happen here?”  The answer is yes.  The answer is also that this isn’t the most important question.  That racially motivated mass shootings happen anywhere within the reach of our humanity is enough for them to touch us indelibly.   

We have seen in the past two years how much can be mobilized in the effort to contain a sometimes-lethal virus.  Can we not mobilize to contain the often-lethal virus that is racist violence?   Success might be the sum of small efforts, and the CAS Department will continue on with our mission.  We will also ask ourselves how to do more.

GRADS@WORK, Sweeney passes comprehensive exams


PhD student Kelly Sweeney, who studies interpersonal interactions across a range of channels, successfully passed her comprehensive exams last week. Serving on the committee and pictured here are Andy High (advisor), Denise Solomon, Mary Beth Oliver, and Shyam Sundar.

Congratulations, Kelly!

VanHaitsma tenure and promotion to Associate Professor

The CAS Department is delighted to announce the tenure & promotion of Sherwin Early Career Professor Pamela VanHaitsma to the rank of Associate Professor in CAS & Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies. She is celebrating on the trails of Rothrock State Forest!

GRADS@WORK, Maier passes comprehensive exams


CAS graduate student Sophia Maier recently passed her comprehensive exams. Here, she is shown with her advisor, Dr Rosa Eberly, after the exam. Other committee members include Dr Debra Hawhee, Dr Pamela Van Haitsma, and Dr Janet Lyon. Next up is a dissertation on rhetorical disabilities. 

Congratulations, Sophia!

GRADS@WORK, Bishop awarded Translational Research Training Program fellowship


Ph.D. student Rachael Bishop was recently awarded the Translational Research Training Program (TL1) fellowship through the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Penn State for the 2022-2023 academic year! In this role, Ms. Bishop will draw on her communication background as she leads interdisciplinary research and creates effective messaging to convey scientific- and health-related advances to diverse audiences. This NIH-funded fellowship will provide her with unique opportunities and specialized skills to prepare her for a career in translational science.

Congratulations, Rachael!

GRADS@WORK, Lee passes comprehensive exams


PhD student Dan Lee, who studies relational communication in technologically-mediated contexts, successfully passed his comprehensive exams last week. Serving on the committee and pictured here are Andy High (advisor), Jim Dillard, Mary Beth Oliver, and Shyam Sundar. 

Congratulations, Dan!

Penn State Debate Team

Nate Gillespie, Glenn Hubbard, Kaitlyn McMahon and Lenneya Murray members of the Penn State Debate Team qualified for National Forensic Association national tournament held at Illinois State University. First year student Kaitlyn McMahon received 2nd place in the novice division, and the team placed 10th in overall debate team sweepstakes

Spring 2022 Commencement

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences would like to congratulate the 44 students, who are currently on the official graduation list to receive their CAS BA or BS degree and the 3 students, who are on the official graduation list to receive their ORPCM BS degree at Penn State commencement ceremonies this Saturday, May 7th:
Aniyah Adams, BA
Thomas Baker Jr, BA
Benjamin Beaver, BA
Kaitlyn Bridge, BA
Hudson Burchstead, BA
Brendan Clark, BA
Perri Clifton, BA
Jordan Donaghy, BA
Sydney D'Orsogna, BA
James Funk, BA
Aleric Fyock, BA
Elizabeth Gordon, BA
Chadley Harley, BA
Emma Holland, BA
Kaitlyn Hord, BA
Suier Jiang, BA
Edward Kruger, BA
Seth Kuhn, BA
Emma Lutz, BA
Rebecca Malek, BA
Jahnia Marimon, BA
Molly Mayer, BA
Chase Middleton, BA
Ashley Naraine, BA
Temidoyin Olusa, BA
Gabriella Palughi, BA
Domenic Perretta, BA
Diego (Brandon) Phillips, BA
Daniel Reaume, BA
Kathryn Shuey, BA
Lauren Simakaski, BA
Nadine Sun, BA
Jillian Tate, BA
Max Theuer, BA
Anna Walkowiak, BA
Jacob Waxler, BA
Brent Williams, BA
Cory Wootten, BA
Catherine Zvorsky, BA
Nathan Buller, BS
Allyson Coyle, BS
Taylor Givens, BS
Jacquelyn Leone, BS
Clinton Pearson, BS
Chelsea Bailey, ORPCM BS
Lentera Buskirk, ORPCM BS
Jasmine Thomassy, ORPCM BS
Congratulations to all!