About Me

I earned my PhD in Communication from Purdue University in 2012, and I was trained in quantitative and qualitative methodologies. My research is largely interdisciplinary in nature, and I conduct projects rooted in public campaign development, through the persuasive effects of message strategies, the role of narratives and storytelling in health communication, and the use of new media to promote positive behavioral outcomes. My interests are at the intersection of health and mass communication, where I study health disparities and develop public campaigns via mass and social media.

I lead and participate in collaborative teams, work with state health departments, local medical facilities, oncological centers, and collaborate with those outside my discipline who provide unique and valuable insight to the research process in health and mass media/campaign efforts, including working with lawyers, statisticians, professional practitioners, marketers, and physicians. These collaborations have resulted in presentations, publications, and public reports and presentations at the statewide and regional level, and those such as outlets like Journal of Medical Internet Research, Health Communication, Journal of Health Psychology, the Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health, and many others.

At The University of Alabama, for the 2018-19 academic year, I was named a Faculty Fellow in Service Learning at the university. The program came with grant support and enables me to continue my experiential and service learning in my teaching. My News Design & Data Visualization class participated in service learning activities, and in the spring semester, my Gaming Journalism class likewise participated in similar professional development through engaging with professional communities with guests from Riot Games, Firaxis, musical composers from Dadako Studios/Nintendo, among others, as they built prototype game concepts.

During my time at South Dakota State University (SDSU) and The University of Akron, I had the opportunity to lead in curriculum and course development in face-to-face and online courses, as well as assisting with assessment duties through ACEJMC, and now serve as co-chair of the Assessment Committee in my department at The University of Alabama. I co-developed and served as the Coordinator of the Social Media Minor at SDSU. The minor provided students with the expertise to develop and maintain data-based communication strategies, develop technical 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. I developed and taught two courses that are required for the minor, Mobile Media Application and Development, and Social Media Design.

I greatly enjoy advising graduate students and help providing them with strategies for success in careers, be it in academia, industry, as a freelancer, or other goals they might pursue. In my advising, my priority is to aid in students’ growth as they pursue their individual goals. I push students to ask difficult, original questions and discover their core area of interests that will aid them in developing strong plans of study. In the classes I teach,  I encourage students to develop unique projects that help with their own professional growth. I believe that this added tailoring allows them to help reach greater potential. Each semester, I offer a one-on-one session where I review their resumes and cover letters and work with my graduating seniors as they prepare to apply for jobs.

(When I have the time, I play JRPGs, Fire Emblem Heroes, and draw/paint!)

You’ll note that I do not link to a Facebook account on my sidebar. I joined Facebook in its inaugural year in 2004 and quit in 2019. You are welcome to ask why, though the reasons may underwhelm you. Regardless, doing so has freed up my mental space considerably, leading me to be happier and freer as I continue to work on my grants, research, and teaching and service– and enjoy my life! I look forward to building more meaningful connections with my dear friends and colleagues and family in life. I will not join Twitter, but I use other accounts solely to share my artwork.

Photos of Rebecca and her friends and colleagues