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I am a relationship scientist who studies interpersonal communication. I received my B.S. in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University, my M.A. in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Central Florida, and my Ph.D. in Communication Arts and Sciences from Penn State University. I have published research in journals such as Personal Relationships, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and Media Psychology. 

Research Interests

My research interests broadly center around conflicts that are difficult to resolve. These are called serial arguments. Over the last six years I have studied this phenomenon to assess what makes particular conflicts irresolvable, and what kinds of effects they have on relationships. I also have questioned our understanding of serial arguments as prior research has been largely homogenous in terms of analytical scope and sample diversity. Thus, my program of research has contributed to our understanding of serial arguments in a few key ways:

  • I utilize a variety of methods to collect data including longitudinal surveys and lab experiments.

  • I collect data from samples varying in age, relationship length, and relationship stage.

  • I analyze data using hierarchical linear modeling, multi-level structural equation modeling, and random-intercept cross-lagged panel modeling to assess within time point and over time differences in associations.

In addition, my work has explored seriality as its own construct in an attempt to understand how prior experiences with communication behaviors impact expectations and responses to similar communication in the present.

Teaching Philosophy

At the core of my teaching philosophy is the belief that college courses are meant to offer more than just an injection of information on a topic to students. Rather, a collegiate education is meant to set the foundations for students to understand how to learn effectively for the rest of a person’s life. This belief informs three main objectives for my students across every course I teach: explicit socialization into an academic setting, skill development for future success, and obtaining a mastery of the course material by highlighting its relevance to their lives.

I have observed that some educators assume that college students understand how to be a successful student because they are sitting in a college classroom. I instead assume that students may have never been exposed to efficient and effective study habits, how to engage in self-care, what the purpose of office hours are, or what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. In each of my classes, I cover this material as if it were just as important as my course content. For example, during the class following the first exam, I hold a discussion about effective study habits. Each student reflects on their exam performance and considers what study methods were effective and ineffective in their preparation process. Students then have the opportunity to share what did or did not work for them and what they may try to implement in future preparatory processes. Each course is an opportunity to expose students to novel approaches to being a student in a systematic and explicit manner.

I also keep in mind that I am preparing students to be successful in future courses and in their careers after school. One skill that is particularly important is to be able to independently find and analyze new, relevant information. I take the time to engage students in activities that strengthen their ability to find, explore, and critically engage with recent research that is relevant to the topics we are covering in class. I further take time in class to discuss writing strategies and how to craft a paper with intention when given a set of guidelines. After completing my class, students should feel they are capable of gathering new information on their own and critically examining it for any assignment they may encounter, be it in school or the workplace.

Something that is particularly special about teaching communication courses is the innately human experience being captured by the content. This is what drew me into the field as a student, and it is how I motivate students to want to engage with my courses. Each lesson affords me the ability to tie material to their lived experiences. I try to divulge relevant stories about my own life during class; for example, I talk about a friend who doesn’t adhere to conversational norms at social events by monopolizing my time when illustrating the consequences of problematic communication. I further encourage students to consider moments in their life that contradict or adhere to the content we are covering when completing their own assignments. Through my classes, students should be able to ask relevant theoretical questions about communication phenomena that are exciting, relevant, and interesting to them.

Ultimately, my goals in teaching can be summarized as aspiring to give students the tools they need to continue learning after my course. I aim to empower students to feel capable of academic achievement through explicit socializing. I further give students assignments that allow them to explore research relevant to their interests and the course material, to think critically about the methods used in that research, and to ask their own questions in response. I make my course materials relatable and exciting so as to encourage engagement with the field of communication. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a person grow into feeling more efficacious in their scholarly pursuits as they engage with communication material throughout their time in my class.

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