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Congratulations to three of our Communication Department scholars for winning top honors from the National Communication Association (NCA)

Professor Robin Jensen was awarded 2017 Winans-Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address for her book, Infertility: Tracing the History of a Transformative Term (Penn State University Press, 2016).

The awards committee said Professor Jensen's book is exceptional in its rhetorical contextualization, its breath and depth of primary and secondary sources, as well in its advancement of a theory of science narratives. Her book not only makes significant contributions to feminist rhetoric, the rhetoric of science, and how we understand the rhetoric of history, but it also makes contributions to disciplines outside of rhetorical studies. Indeed, her book is an exemplary work of transdisciplinary work.

Professor Julia Moore has won two dissertation awards this year, including the Interpersonal Communication Division’s Outstanding Dissertation Award and the Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Her dissertation is titled, From Childless by Choice to Mother: Performative and Subversive Negotiations of Face in Relational Communication about (Never) Having Children. Professor Moore completed her dissertation completed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and centered her research on women who previously indicated a desire to remain childless by choice and then became a mother due to circumstance or choice. Focusing on the how these mothers negotiated face in personal relationships, her dissertation developed and employed Performative Face Theory, which extends Goffman’s theory of face by placing in in conversation with Judith Bulter’s poststructural theory of performativity. In doing so, the dissertation speaks to operations of power in the communicative identity negotiations of women. The awards committee said the findings and theoretical landscape of this study have clear implications for a critical turn in interpersonal and family communication scholarship.

Doctoral Student Stacy Overholt has been awarded the prestigious Donald P. Cushman Memorial Award for her essay “Health Becomes You: (Re)Presenting Data Collection via Health Surveillance Technologies in the Era of Big Data.” This competitive award recognizes the top-ranked student-authored paper from all NCA units that competitively rank papers for programming at the NCA Annual Convention. The awards committee said Stacey provided a well written, engaging and timely study about the latest fad in fitness. Using surveillance and biopower literature, she provided a skillful critical analysis of Fitbit marketing. An in-depth analysis of the discourse and power dynamics surrounding the marketing of this self-monitoring health technology provides scholars of critical digital health scholarship with a solid research trajectory. In the midst of fierce competition, the committee said Stacey's use of a clear framework, strong discussion and exemplary writing proved to clearly be the 2017 winner of the Donald P. Cushman Memorial Award.

See a full list of NCA 2017 awards here.

Last Updated: 9/20/21