June 12, 2015


Photo of John C. Besley Ph.D.
John C. Besley Ph.D.
Principal Investigator Associate Professor & Ellis N. Brandt Chair in Public Relations, Michigan State University

John C. Besley studies citizens’ perceptions of decision-makers and decision-makers’ perceptions of the public. For decision-makers, he is focused on understanding how views about citizens shapes the quality public engagement efforts. For citizens, he is particularly interested in how these affect decision-makers affect perceptions of new technologies with potential health or environmental impacts.

More generally, John explores the relationships between media use, public engagement and health and environmental risk perceptions. His research has touched on public perceptions of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and energy technologies (particularly nuclear and hydrogen and fuel cell technologies). His work has appeared in high-ranking journals including Science Communication, Public Understanding of Science and Risk Analysis, as well as a range of edited volumes. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture.

He serves as the lead author for the National Science Board’s biennial chapter on Public Attitudes and Understanding in Science and Engineering Indicators . He previously served as the head for the science/risk communication divisions of both the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Society for Risk Analysis.

As an instructor, John focuses on community relations and civic engagement, crisis and risk communication, science and risk communication, and media relations. Prior to his Ph.D., John worked in the Policy and Communications division of Environment Canada on international environmental issues.

Photo of Anthony Dudo Ph.D.
Anthony Dudo Ph.D.
Principal Investigator Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Anthony Dudo conducts research focused on the intersection of science, media, and society. He is particularly interested in scientists’ public communication activities, the contributions of informational and entertainment media to public perceptions of science, and media representations of science and environmental issues. Some of his recent work has examined factors influencing scientists’ likelihood to engage in public communication, the effects of television entertainment programs and video games on public attitudes toward science, and media depictions of health pandemics and controversial biomedical and technological innovations.

Anthony’s work has appeared in high-impact journals including Nature Nanotechnology, Communication Research, Science Communication, and Risk Analysis, as well as numerous edited volumes. In addition to being funded by multiple National Science Foundation grants, he has been named a Kavli Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and won awards from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), the Society for Risk Analysis, and the University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication. He is also currently the Research Chair for the Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk Division of AEJMC.

Anthony’s teaching focuses on communication theory and methods, integrated brand promotion, and science communication. He previously worked in strategic communications for the Academy of Natural Sciences, a natural history museum and scientific research institution operating in Philadelphia since 1812.

Photo of Niveen AbiGhannam Ph.D.
Niveen AbiGhannam Ph.D.
Researcher Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin

Niveen Abi Ghannam studies the strategic communication of scientific knowledge and the relationships among science, society, and media platforms. Niveen studies such interactions from the perspectives of both science communicators and the public. She is especially interested in the role of scientists as public communicators and the individual and societal factors that drive their public engagement. She is also interested in understanding how the general public seeks and shares scientific information and the drivers of such behaviors. Some of her recent work includes understanding and predicting scientists’ public engagement via traditional and new media platforms, understanding people’s motivations to attend informal science lecture series, and understanding how the public uses scientific information to cope with significant life events. Her dissertation takes a gendered approach to study the discourses by which female science opinion leaders (science bloggers and science writers) communicate with their publics.

Photo of Shupei Yuan
Shupei Yuan
Researcher Ph.D. Student, Michigan State University

Shupei Yuan is a doctoral student in Media & Information Studies at Michigan State University. After Shupei finished her master’s thesis about crisis communication in social media, she further focused her research on online information-seeking with health applications. She is also involved in many interdisciplinary projects including using eye-tracking tools to measure information seeking, health information in online environment, media multitasking, and science communications. Shupei hopes her research can help to better understand the relationship between health information seekers and providers, and further develop better communications between them.

Photo of Hyeseung Elizabeth Koh
Hyeseung Elizabeth Koh
Researcher Ph.D. Student, University of Texas at Austin

Hyeseung Elizabeth Koh is interested in exploring the impact of persuasive messages on health and environmental risk perceptions and behaviors. To design persuasive messages, she studies when, how, and why people seek and process health-, environmental- and science- related information. In particular, she investigates the roles of emotions in their information processing and decision making. In her Master’s thesis, she examined the roles of prior recycling behavior and discrete emotions in the relationship between social norms message and intention to recycle. She is also interested in exploring the role social and cultural norms play in information seeking and decision making. Some of her recent work includes identifying factors that influence scientists’ willingness to partake in online public engagement, exploring college students’ health insurance information seeking, examining the interaction effects of subjective norms and risk perception on information seeking behavior, identifying factors that influence risky behaviors such as texting while walking, and investigating the effects of communication accommodation and non-accommodation behaviors between young home health professionals and their older clients.

Photo of Tsuyoshi Oshita
Tsuyoshi Oshita
Researcher Ph.D. Student, Michigan State University

Tsuyoshi (Yoshi) Oshita is a doctoral student in the Media and Information Studies program at Michigan State University. Prior to pursuing a Ph.D., Yoshi worked over 10 years in advertising and public relations as an advertising media planner at a major publisher in Japan and as a senior PR consultant at Burson-Marsteller Tokyo. His areas of expertise extend to media relations, internal communication development, crisis communications and interview skill trainings.

Yoshi earned his first master’s degree from the the University of Tokyo (2001) in Socio-Information and Communication Studies. He also holds a M.A. with distinction in International Public Relations from Cardiff University (Cardiff, UK). He has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo, Japan) in 1998.

Photo of Nagwan R. Zahry
Nagwan R. Zahry
Researcher Ph.D. Student, Michigan State University

Nagwan R. Zahry is a doctoral student in the Media Information Studies (M.I.S) in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. Her work mainly focuses on food marketing, risk communication, information processing and consumer purchase behavior.

Before starting her doctoral studies, Nagwan R. Zahry finished her Master’s degree in Political sciences, in addition to a degree in Integrated Marketing Communication from the American University in Cairo (AUC). He worked as the Communication Manager in United States Agency for International Development, and Program Manager for Youth Advocacy Program in the Arab League. 

Her main academic interest lies in studying consumer purchase behavior for novel foods, consumers’ attitudes and perceptions about the use of new food technologies. Nagwan’s  research geared toward the effects of risk communication on consumers’ purchase behavior of food,  the role of labeling in consumers’ healthy eating behavior. Currently, she investigates consumer purchase of GM foods and perceptions about biotechnology in food production within the context of risk communication.

Photo of Jacob Copple
Jacob Copple
Researcher Ph.D. Student, University of Texas at Austin

Jacob is a first-year doc student in the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations. He received both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University, and has lived in Lubbock, Texas, most of his life. His research interests include visual persuasion of environmental and health messages as well as video game and media interactivity effects. During his master’s program, Jacob studied the effect of climate change exemplars and base rate information in both visual and text formats. He hopes to keep this same vein of research going throughout his time in the Stan Richards School, and right now he’s involved in a handful of ongoing studies dealing with science communication, depictions of environment in video games, as well as the role of positive emotions in climate change messages.

Photo of Joally Canales
Joally Canales
Undergraduate Researcher Environment & Sustainability major at the University of Texas at Austin.

Joally Canales is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, where she concentrates on the numerous ways in which an audience engages with, and reacts to scientific information given to them by popular media forms (radio, television, film, articles). She is interested in learning about how and why scientists communicate their information to the general public. As a multidisciplinary student, Joally’s ambition is to bridge comprehensive, but critical scientific material and the general public. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has focused on finding the most effective strategies to educate different types of audiences on scientific subjects that affect their environment and health.

Photo of Madeline Cuba
Madeline Cuba
Undergraduate Researcher Advertising major at the University of Texas at Austin

Madeline Cuba is a third-year advertising student at the University of Texas at Austin. Having spent the first two years of her undergraduate experience studying science and earning a minor in chemistry, she is interested in interdisciplinary studies that combine science and communications with the public. After serving as a marketing and communications intern for a science museum piqued her interest, Madeline wants to further understand how society interprets science and the relationship between scientists and the public through research. Madeline’s ultimate aspiration is to effectively foster public awareness and discussion about important scientific matters.