In Fall of 2012, I started as an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at George Mason University. It’s been great working with my colleagues both in the department and in the Center for Climate Change Communication. I’m also enjoying getting to know the students here at Mason. Since coming to Mason, I have taught undergraduate courses in Communication Research Methods, Introduction to Mass Communication, and Political Communication, while serving as the minor coordinator for the brand-new Political Communication Minor. I also teach graduate classes in Research Methods I and II and New Media and Democracy. I’m especially excited to be teaching New Media and Democracy again in Spring of 2017 – it should be very interesting after the crazy 2016 presidential campaign!
Before coming to Mason, I was a Post-Doctoral Research Instructor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University from 2011-2012. During my year as a post-doctoral fellow, I worked with Dr. Robert Entman and Dr. Kimberley Gross on a project to examine how the media and the polls framed the 2009-2010 debate over health care reform and the implications of these frames for public opinion and emotional arousal. I also offered a course in Public Opinion for SMPA in Spring of 2012.
I received my doctorate in the summer of 2011 from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I wrote my dissertation on how individuals respond to information that conflicts with their deeply-held party identifications, paying special attention to the role that dissonance arousal plays in determining how people respond. I was sad to leave the Midwest, but have not missed the winters!
My research broadly focuses on how individuals process news and information about contentious political, scientific, and health issues, particularly in response to disagreeable messages they encounter in digital media environments. I am particularly interested in testing methods to limit biased processing, to correct misinformation, and to encourage attention to more diverse content online. I also explore how political identity and pre-existing beliefs constrain how individuals respond to partisan messages and news content to inform their decisions about candidates and policies. My research has been published in a number of top communication and political science journals, including Political Communication, Journal of Communication, and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.