Ph.D., University of Washington, Communication, 2015
M.Ed., University of Washington, Measurement and Statistics, 2015
M.S., North Carolina State University, Communication, 2010
B. S., University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Communication Studies, 2008
I am a big fan of the Duluth area and am happy to be part of such a vibrant, collegial, and engaged department. I grew up in a small town a few hours south of Duluth – a town called “Luck” Wisconsin, and received my undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from a university close to my hometown (the University of Wisconsin-River Falls). After having the opportunity at UWRF to conduct original research in the realm of interpersonal communication, I knew a career in academia was the right path for me.
In pursuing my academic goals I earned my M.S. in Communication from North Carolina State University and then moved to Seattle to obtain my M.Ed. in Measurement and Statistics, and ultimately my Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Washington. Over the past few years, I’ve conducted research in a number of areas related to interpersonal and health communication. I love examining how our health and well-being impact the ways we choose to engage with others, and in turn, how communication impacts our physical, psychological, and emotional health. Most recently I’ve conducted work assessing whether therapeutic forms of writing improve cancer caregivers’ well-being, and whether this, then, increases their motivation to provide high quality social support to cancer sufferers. In addition, I’ve conducted research on interpersonal bullying, unplanned pregnancy, HPV, step-family communication, emotional expression, and mindfulness as a means toward improving the quality of our interactions. Colleagues and I recently received funding to examine whether mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) improves couples conflict resolution strategies, and whether MBSR can be used to reduce individuals’ perception of self-stigma, so I will be working on these interventions in the upcoming months.