I am an Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University where I conduct research in technology and health communication. Using new technologies (mHealth, interactive Web 2.0 spaces, campaigns that evolve based on user response) to conduct multimedia projects, my research lines largely focus on serving minority and underserved rural communities and health disparities, along with sensitive health topics. In addition, I use my skills in web design, art, and computer programming to leverage new media, developing apps, web sites, and social media tools to develop promotional health campaigns.
Much of my work is grant-supported. In the 2015-2016 academic year, I received the SDSU Scholarly Excellence Fund to support the development of a campus-wide intervention, which developed programmatic ways to increase organ donor registrants across a rural university. Following that, I received the Research and Scholarship Support Fund, which allowed for a community-wide campaign that targeted a multimedia effort to reach rural young adults to promote and better understand lack of adherence to vaccine practices. I partnered with local clinics, and we are now working to develop federal grant proposals. Recently, my colleagues and I recently received National Institutes of Health subaward funding (2016-2017) to develop a social media campaign to promote living kidney donation among Native American tribes.
I currently work with the Health and Wellness Center and the Brookings Avera Clinic (the largest clinic in the town) on a multiyear project on decreasing cervical cancer through promoting preventative measures through programs offered in the community and state at large. These efforts reflect my research, which is interdisciplinary and serves to apply theoretically driven approaches to the use of interpersonal and mass media strategies in health communication research. Such efforts also involve help from our graduate and undergraduate students across the university, in areas ranging from the College of Nursing, Statistics, Psychology, Computer Science, and Communication.
In my teaching, I recently co-developed the Social Media minor at South Dakota State University with Dr. Brian C. Britt, and now serve as its coordinator. The minor serves as a way to provide students with the expertise to develop and maintain social media communication strategies, develop technical expertise, and methodological skills to properly assess the performance of social media efforts and recommend changes accordingly. Students build user-generated content through design training, informed by theoretical communication principles, and data analysis, and become equipped to effectively design strategies that will enhance their marketability to potential employers or for graduate-level work.
At the senior and graduate level, I teach the courses on campaign development and design. Students use theory and rigorous methodological approaches in their work (qualitative and quantitative, with an emphasis on the use of mixed-methods). They create and participate in campaign development and have portfolio pieces that make them attractive to employers or in furthering graduate school education.
As an aside, I am a self-taught graphic and web designer and an artist. In my spare time, I sketch and paint: you can visit my tumblr account, which I update frequently.