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Rachel A. Smith

Rachel A. Smith

Associate Head and Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, and Human Development and Family Studies

216 Sparks Building
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 865-4201

Curriculum Vitae

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Education:

  1. B.A., Boston University, 1994 (Psychology)
  2. B.S., Boston University, 1994 (Broadcast/ Film)
  3. M.S., University of Arizona, 1999 (Communication)
  4. Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2003 (Communication)

Rachel Smith is a quantitative, communication scientist who researches social influence. She advances theories that explain why certain persuasive messages delivered by specific types of influential people embedded in particular social structures are better able to change others’ beliefs and behaviors, and ultimately change a community’s beliefs and behaviors via diffusion. She also uses quantitative methods that embrace interdependence (such as network analysis), and explores how theory and method can best be used to design effective health campaigns that advance theory and improve wellbeing. She is captivated by mathematical modeling. Professor Smith teaches undergraduate courses on persuasion (CAS 220), communication theory (CAS 303), health communication (CAS 453), and intercultural communication (CAS 471), and graduate seminars in quantitative research methods (CAS 561), social influence (CAS 550), health campaigns (CAS 567), and advanced methods for dyadic and network data (CAS 563 “Pairs and pairings”). Her research has been funded by NIH, the Gates Foundation, CDC, USAID, and private foundations.